Newcastle United v Southampton – In Toon Today
In Toon – Newcastle United v Southampton: It was Barcelona who decided to make football simple, fill your team with home grown talent who have been playing the same way since the day they started at the Academy. When you’ve got the ball, keep it, pass it and move into areas that your team mates can pass it back to you, when the opposition have got the ball, press them as a unit and win it back. This weekend Southampton will come to SJP and try to play like Barcelona and all NUFC have to do is do what everyone else doesin order to beat them.
Mauricio Pochettino was a tough and uncompromising centre half who played 500 games in Spain and France but it was as Espanyol manager that he cast envious glances over the city towards Pep’s revolution at FC Barcelona and decided that the future was to play like that.
At Southampton he has built a young squad, promoting talent to the first team no matter how young they are, keeping a firm disciplinarian hand and expecting total commitment to the cause. He has built a well-organised and fit team which constantly press all over the pitch, keep the ball, pass & move and try to score goals. Just like they do at Barcelona.
Southampton restrict space and time, topped the Premier League last season in tackles and interceptions and for a while it has worked. Now it isn’t working so well because everyone has worked them out. Just like they did at Espanyol. In the last 15 years, five Southampton Managers have lost their jobs around the festive period and Pochettino will have to hope that by the time he has learnt to speak English, his first statement to the media isn’t to tell us how disappointed he is to have lost his job.
Who Have They Signed:
A player who has found it hard to settle into English football is £15millionItalian forward Pablo Osvaldo. Hescored a brilliant goal last time out against Man City though the goal celebration, running to the home fans before dropping to one knee and simulating machine gunning them all, was quite bizarre.
Liverpool forward Robbie Fowler was once fined for pretending to take drugs as part of a goal celebration, odd then that the FA consider Fowler’s celebration to have broken football rules but simulating the mass-murder of the crowd isn’t against any regulations.
Manager Pochettino should know how to bring the best out of Osvaldo as the two had the same relationship at Espanyol where Osvaldo scored 20 goals in 44 games and Osvaldo should play. He’ll be the one who looks like Jonas, he’ll be the one with the rubbish goal celebration like Jonas, but unlike Jonas he might actually score.
Who Have We Seen Before:
A few of their players were rumoured to be interesting the TOON at some point in the past, Nathaniel Clyne and Victor Wanyama were both on NUFC’s radar but for one reason or another are now both playing in red and white rather than black and white. It could be because NUFC can’t compete with Southampton, something Alan Pardewonce said but has never fully explained. Must be something to do with money then. Or planning. Or ambition.
How Will they do this season:
Keeping the ball is the sign of a good team and any team who has 51% possession against Arsenal at the Emirates and 77% against Villa three days later, can obviously play.
However, Southampton didn’t win either of those games and despite being lauded early on for their general brilliance, it hasn’t taken the opposition long to find Southampton’s weaknesses.
Teams have studied Barcelona for long enough to know how to beat them, it is putting the plan into practice against Messi, Neymar, Iniesta and Fabregas that is the problem. Decent players though Lallana, Lambert and Ramirez are, they are more easily contained.
Injuries are also already starting to take their toll on a team who work as hard as Southampton do and as the season progresses, they may struggle at home more, especially against the poorer teams. The best teams in the league will probably fancy their chances against the Saints anywhere and concentrate more on their own play than the likes of Villa, who are happy to sit deep and hit on the break.
Southampton have already won at Liverpool and drawn at Manyoo, teams who are likely to play in their style no matter what the opposition, but they lost at Norwich and drew at the Mackems and West Ham, teams who have no style to play in and are more likely to concentrate on the opposition’s weaknesses.
Are We Going To Win:
Sing the lads to victory today and remember our own South American, Tino Asprilla, conqueror of Barcelona.
If we can beat the real Barcelona, we can beat these pretenders. Couldn’t be more simple.
December’s issue is out today and on sale from our numerous sellers outside St.James’ Park before the Southampton match. For those not going to the match THE MAG is available in all Tyneside newsagents from this (Saturday) morning.
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