Martin Keown was full of compliments after watching Newcastle United take on Southampton.

The former Arsenal defender saying that Rafa’s players ‘look like now they belong in the Premier League’.

The second goal in particular caught his eye, a move that started at right-back with Yedlin, ended with Perez scoring, and Martin Keown declared ‘Beautiful the way they played that’.

Keown thinks that the confidence of a young Newcastle side is there for all to see and Jonjo Shelvey is pulling the strings – but he thinks the whole spine of the team looks good and everybody wants the ball.

Summing up Sunday’s performance and where Rafa and his players have got to after eight games, Martin Keown says Newcastle are making things happen, they now believe it’.

Martin Keown speaking on Match of The Day 2:

“Newcastle are a very young side but the spine of the side: Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden in there, every one of their players looks pretty comfortable.

“They look like now they belong in the Premier League.

“You couldn’t say that before about some of the Newcastle teams in the past, looked haphazard at times.

“There is a structure to the way they play, Shelvey at the centre of everything.

“Everybody wants the ball now in a Newcastle shirt. A threat going forward – Matt Ritchie, I think a lot more to come from him.

“It really impressed me that they managed the ball really well: comfortable passing, linking up, control. They are not out of their depth and they are probing all of the time – they have got lots of bodies in the final third.

“The movement for the (second) goal, you are not watching Manchester City by the way, but you have Yedlin coming out (with the ball) from the back, then Shelvey – a punishing pass, right into the heart of the opposition. Then they have willing runners, making the movement off the ball. Perez gets a little bit lucky, keeper should do better. Beautiful the way they played that.

“18 shots on goal, their most this season.

“Newcastle are making things happen, they now believe it.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Southampton 2 Newcastle 2


Newcastle: Hayden 20, Perez 51

Southampton: Gabbiadini 49,75 (pen)

Possession was Southampton 62% Newcastle 38%

Total shots were  Southampton 12 Newcastle 19

Shots on target were Southampton 2 Newcastle 5

Corners were  Southampton 3 Newcastle 8

Referee: Kevin Friend

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Atsu (Murphy 82), Perez (Merino 63), Joselu (Gayle 68)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Diame

Crowd: 31,437 (Newcastle 3,200)

(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)

(Read Rafa Benitez’ thoughts HERE)

(Mauricio Pellegrino thought a point was a decent return)

(Alan Shearer’s reaction to the match HERE)

(To view the player ratings and to add your own go HERE)

(Read Alan Pardew’s take on the game HERE)

  • Wor Lass

    For once, I have to agree with Keown. It was a strange game because, even though Saints had so much more posession, I always felt we were the better team and they were the ones hanging on. The confidence oozes through the team and it`s really encouraging that Rafa can ring the changes and still get a performance from the lads – apart from up top. Perez ran his heart out as usual (it`s a shame that rebound didn`t go in) but still made mistakes going forward, Joselu was pretty anonymous and Dwight just doesn`t look like he can influence the game. Surely, Rafa has to go with Mitro next game and give the guy another chance. I know he`s let himself and the team down periodically in the past but he has to be a better bet than the other two on current showing.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Mitro needs to start the other 2 just aren`t up to it

      • Wor Lass

        We desperately need a proven PL goal scorer in Jan. If he`s not crocked then Danny Ings would be a decent shout. Anyway, our gimp count is pretty low at the minute – he would pep it up a bit!

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          I always liked Ings he`ll get you goals Ok if he`s fit

          • Bradley Sparkes

            We don’t want another “if” striker… we need to recognise that we have to invest good money in the kind of player that will make a significant difference in our points tally at the end of the season!

      • RAFmag

        Doesn’t look good for Mitro not being in the match squad in successive games. Rafa doesn’t appear to trust/rate him.

    • MadMag83

      Very difficult for Gayle to make any impact with no support. Joselu isn’t the greatest finisher but he does put a shift in and links up reasonable well. I think Mitrovic has probably let Rafa down too many times now for him to trust him. A proven goalscorer is needed in January, not a crock.

      • 1957

        Hoss has been getting gradually worse and Sunday was his worst game for us IMO, he was as someone described him in another post the invisible man.

        Dwight just isn’t suited to playing the lone striker role, the defenders in this division are much better than the Championship. For me Dwight needs to play with a partner, in a system with two up front. That’s not going to happen given Benitez relative success with his preferred system and I suspect he will move on in January.

        • MadMag83

          Yeah it would be interesting to see Gayle and Joselu up front together at some stage. Of course any January departures will likely depend on Rafa being able to bring in a suitable replacement.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    For me Jonjo must start every game if fit, Mikel is very good but Jonjo`s better

    • Wor Lass

      I agree but they can both play.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Course they can they looked good last week

        • Wor Lass

          We`d better run that past Clarko first, though.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose


  • hetonmag

    After watching the game yesterday it was pretty obvious where Rafa wanted to strengthen, a keeper and a striker. Getting Reina and Abraham would have been a major boost to this team.

  • steve pearce

    Thank you Martin. It’s rare to have honest praise from a pundit – now I’ll let you go back to preparing for Halloween and you definitely don’t need a costume with that mug!

    • Peaky Magpie

      Yes,I’m sure I’ve seen both him and Gareth Bale in Planet of The Apes,no make up required.

  • David

    Rafa doing great with limited options and in general average players, also all the People questioning his Keeper search were wrong.. Also a quality Striker needed asap please .

  • Wor Monga

    Totally right in his evaluation…we look like a good team throughout with good movement on and off the ball, good pace, shape and control, and we can make
    changes and yet still look a good team…that’s the difference between these days and the previous umpteen…

    …what’s more most of our players have enough time in front of them for solid continuous improvement, under Rafa!!!