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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 3 Southampton 1

1 year ago
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Saturday night finished Newcastle 3 Southampton 1.

Rafa’s players back to winning form at St James Park after Crystal Palace had ended a five game run of victories at home.

Plenty of talking points including NUFC fans witnessing only the second Premier League hat-trick from a Newcastle player since 2011.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives after the final whistle.

This time it is David Punton:

POSITIVES

Seeing Off The Trolls

The first half performance had a lot of things we all want to see from a Newcastle United side. Strong in defence, control of the midfield and dangerous up front.

It was such an accomplished 45 minutes from NUFC. It was high energy, full of intensity and clever movement from a front three who seem to dovetail beautifully. Perez brings the movements, Almiron the pace, and Rondon the power. This really does bode well for next season if some more quality players can be added to the squad and the dead wood moved on.

The performance of Ayoze Perez was his best to date and caps a hugely impressive run of games for the Spaniard. Perez had a swagger about him, like a matador. He’s finding spaces and high quality finishes with his boot and head. He held on to the ball really well and showed some excellent dribbling skills too.

A player who gets a lot of criticism, hence his now familiar fingers in the ears goal celebration, has surely seen off the trolls who have dished out way too much stick. Luis Garcia tweeted on Saturday that he thinks Perez warrants a call up to the Spanish squad, and it’s hard to disagree on this form. If anyone can score against Liverpool in the looming title cruncher then it is Ayoze.

Home Comforts

The home form up to Xmas was abysmal. Fast forward a few months and it is six wins from seven at St James’ Park that has saved the day.

I’m not sure how Rafa did it but he’s transformed our home comforts, because at one stage I wasn’t sure we were going to win many there, such was the lack of confidence, and at times, a rub of the green stuff.

The Welsh Maldini

I was hugely impressed with Paul Dummett.

Every time Southampton poured forward he was there to pick the ball off or head it clear. All hail the Welsh Paulo Maldini!

Now that might be a bit far-fetched, but what we have here is a local lad who has grown into a senior player who can operate very well at left back and in a back three. In fact the back three seems to suit Dummett even better, where he’s got Lascelles and Schar in there with him.

It has been finely tuned by Rafa. A mark of excellent coaching. The Lemina goal was a blip but they held on pretty well until the third goal killed the game. At 2-1, with 85 minutes on the clock, I reckon we would have clung on even if Perez had not scored number three.

NEGATIVES:

Injuries

United picked up a fair few injuries in this game. Schar was holding the back of his leg in the first half and it looked inevitable he needed to come off. I’m amazed he lasted so long.

Then came the hammer blow of Almiron limping off with what looks a hamstring problem. That’s a big set back and if he’s torn it that could be his season over. Such a shame given he is only starting to find his feet as a Premier League player. He was in tears as he left the field. It was sad to see.

Isaac Hayden also has a niggle. Hayden has been immense. The way he wins the ball in this current run of form is seriously good. It would be a pity if that was his last game for the club.

Need To Be Ruthless

Allowing Southampton a way back into the game was annoying. That game was won and we came out for the second half and the game management was sloppy and we looked a bit leggy. Better sides will cash in. We need to be smarter.

Rafa’s Situation

The sound of Rafa’s name being sung was amazing and it defies belief he could be gone soon. His contract runs to June 30 and his comments after the game indicated no movement yet. They really need to get this sorted out now the club is safe.

Even if it has to be a one year compromise package – which would kick the can down the road – that would work better than letting Rafa walk away. He doesn’t want to go, just allow him a bit more leeway and get deals done more quickly. It’s basics and we’re rubbish at it thanks to Mr Ashley.

The win, for me, was a bit tempered by the Rafa situation. His post-game quotes about fees and wages seemed a bit of a comeback after Charnley’s back patting exercise with the club’s statement of accounts.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Southampton 1

Goals:

Newcastle:

Perez 27, 31, 86

Southampton:

Lemina 59

Possession was Southampton 57% Newcastle 43%

Total shots were Southampton 15 Newcastle 14

Shots on target were Southampton 3 Newcastle 6

Corners were Southampton 11 Newcastle 4

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar (Fernandez 69), Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden (Diame 78), Ki, Almiron (Atsu 64), Perez, Rondon

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Shelvey, Muto, Yedlin

Crowd: 52,191 (1,700 Southampton)

(Blinding honesty from Ralph Hasenhuttl after the 3-1 defeat – HERE)

(Rafa tells Mike Ashley after win over Southampton that Newcastle have to start and compete on transfers and wages – HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to beating Southampton HERE)

(Alan Shearer reacts to Newcastle 3 Southampton 1 HERE)

(Date and time finally confirmed for Newcastle v Liverpool on Saturday night – Details HERE)

(NUFC match ratings and comments – HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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