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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 3 Southampton 2

3 weeks ago
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Saturday afternoon ended Newcastle 3 Southampton 2.

Newcastle taking all three points after 90 minutes (plus added time) of incident-packed football.

Three first half goals winning the game for an NUFC team who had only scored five first half goals in total in the opening 22 Premier League matches of the season.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.

This time it is Jack Watt:

POSITIVES

Miguel Almiron

Yet again looked a completely different player to the one we have seen for 95% of the time under Steve Bruce.

Instead of playing as an extra defender, the Paraguayan actually allowed to play in the opposition half, what a genius the Newcastle United Head Coach is!

Almiron was excellent in the nine Premier League starts he made when arriving under Rafa Benitez, totally changing the attacking style of the team, it has been criminal how Steve Bruce has treated him.

How on earth Steve Bruce has taken 19 months to realise that Almiron needs to play as far up the pitch as possible, as he always so alive to taking advantage of any mistakes from the opposition, perfectly seen with the winning goal when the Southampton keeper gifted the opportunity. If Miguel Almiron had been playing in his usual role next to the Newcastle 18 yard box, there is no way that mistake would have been punished and the game won.

The weather

If we are honest, the weather proved a massive help in getting this win over the line.

At one point the amount of rain falling got so bad early in the second-half, it looked as though the game could even end up being called off, as the ball started to threaten to hold up in standing water on the pitch. Thankfully it eased off at that point to just make the conditions very very difficult.

The ball still moved across the grass / water but it meant it was impossible for Southampton to play quick passes, or get to the edge of the box and play clever one / twos and balls into the box. It largely negated the one man advantage when Hendrick went off and even when down to nine after Schar was forced off for the final ten minutes. The defence obviously still deserves massive credit but the weather undoubtedly was a massive help.

The three points

The most obvious positive from Saturday afternoon.

With a run of one win and ten defeats in thirteen matches and Chelsea and Man Utd away to follow next, if Newcastle didn’t win this one then alarm bells would have been reaching even Mike Ashley’s ears.

The win was achieved via a mix of dogged defending, Karl Darlow, the woodwork, luck, some enterprising play from ASM, Almiron and Willock, plus match officials who were generous in allowing Newcastle’s timewasting to continue throughout the second half, especially from Darlow.

NEGATIVES

Newcastle midfield

Yet again the Newcastle United midfield exposed as a major weakness.

Shelvey and Hendrick simply not good enough and / or don’t contribute anywhere near enough in matches. The red card an added bit of stupidity from Hendrick.

Willock came in and had a decent debut, especially with the goal of course. Simply by running around a bit and getting into the box, he proved a number of levels above Hendrick and Shelvey.

Injuries

Serious to very serious looking injuries for three different players.

Wilson, Manquillo and Wilson all forced off during the games.

With Callum Wilson, you have to question whether Steve Bruce has overplayed him, especially a player with a poor injury record and who has had a number of previous hamstring injuries in his career.

No fans

With the appalling and clueless football served up by Steve Bruce, it has been very rare when I felt like I have been missing out on anything at St James Park.

Naturally, I miss the pre and post-match rituals of meeting up in the pub(s) and seeing friends and family for a laugh and talking nonsense, mainly about NUFC.

However, the actual 90 minutes, not normally. Saturday afternoon though with the team clinging on and going down to ten and nine men, those are the kind of games where it is class to be there, feeling like you are making every block and clearance with the team.

It is lovely to win 4-0 or 5-0 (or so I have heard!) but these kind of mega tight matches where you just hold on, they are the best.

StatsĀ from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Southampton 2 – Saturday 6 February 3pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Willock 16, Almiron 26, 45+4, Hendrick red card 50

Southampton:

Minamino 30, Ward-Prowse 48

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Southampton 74% (68%) Newcastle 26% (32%)

Total shots were Southampton 14 (6) Newcastle 6 (4)

Shots on target were Southampton 5 (3) Newcastle 4 (4)

Corners were Southampton 7 (1) Newcastle 9 (0)

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo (Krafth 24), Hayden, Schar, Lewis, Hendrick, Willock, Shelvey, Almiron, Wilson (Joelinton 36), Saint-Maximin (Dummett 67)

Unused Subs:

Dubravka, Anderson, Carroll, Ritchie, Gayle, Fraser

Crowd: 00,000

(Newcastle 3 Southampton 2 match report – One to remember and savour – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce update on three new serious injuries for Newcastle United – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 3 Southampton 2 – Watch all the goals and incidents in official match highlights HERE)

(Newcastle 3 Southampton 2 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 3 Southampton 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s win – Read HERE)

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