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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 2 Southampton 2

2 weeks ago
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Saturday afternoon ended Newcastle 2 Southampton 2.

Not a classic for the return of fans to St James Park after 15 months away but it was a victory, achieved via a very good assist and finish, whilst Allan Saint-Maximin did his best to entertain the 10,000 inside the ground.

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 David Punton.

POSITIVES

Key men make their mark

To even stand a chance of staying up this season, we are going to need the likes of Saint-Maximin and Wilson to find the back of the net on a regular basis.

The quality they possess is the reason why we came within an undeserved whisker of nicking all three points. Wilson opened his account with the kind of movement you expect from a striker who cost that much. Right place, right time, six yard area – goal.

With ASM, his pace is phenomenal. The breakaway shattered Southampton and he was there to find the net with an emphatic strike, it looked like being the winner.

The fact the club basically stood still over the summer (bar any further later signings) means these two players are the men we have to pin our hopes on.

Point taken

Small mercies are all the rage in the Mike Ashley era, so we can indulge in having one solitary single point on the board.

That’s another 39 to go in order to secure Premier League survival. Easy, right?

The draw stopped a repeat of the 1999 season when Gullit’s men made losing at home look as easy as falling off a log.

Brucey sailed it close but the draw was a lot better than getting beat. Like I said above, small mercies.

Fighting qualities

Many will feel the team under Steve Bruce lack modern day tactics but they certainly showed a bit of fight.

There was evidence of effort there on the pitch.

We want a team that tries, and thankfully, for now, we still have that. The body language at the end was tough to take, as 99 times out of a 100 that ASM strike would have been enough to edge home a 2-1 win.

The players have to keep up the fight. It’s a long season.

NEGATIVES

The first half

It’s hard to know what happens when a manager does a pre-match pep talk and then the players put in an opening 45 minutes likes that.

That was some of the worst ‘Bruce ball’ we’ve seen since…erm…last week at Villa Park.

If you felt we were robbed at the end of the game, it is worth remembering we were so poor before half time it was a minor miracle Southampton weren’t home and hosed.

Paying the penalty

There needs to be a focus on not conceding the spot kicks. That was the third league game running we have given the opposition a chance from 12 yards.

Do that every week and we’re in serious trouble. This time it was Jamal Lascelles who slid in and made enough contact for the VAR to give the decision. And it was Adam Armstrong, just to add insult to injury.

One to address on the training ground, Steve.

Defence case

Two home games. Six goals conceded.

Is it the formation or the personnel?

Matt Ritchie got pelters after the West Ham game and there is a nagging worry that both he and Murphy are getting found out as wing backs.

We desperately need some clean sheets between now and Xmas. The defence was so good under Rafa and it’s slipping under the current backroom set up.

Bruce told BBC Newcastle recently that he and Steve Agnew take the defence coaching session and Graeme Jones takes the attackers. In hindsight, Steve Bruce has made another rod for his own back by revealing that one.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – Saturday 28 August 3pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Wilson 55, Saint-Maximin 90

Southampton:

Elyounoussi 74, Ward-Prowse (pen) 90+5

(In brackets the first half stats)

Possession was Southampton 65% (63%) Newcastle 35% (37%)

Total shots were Southampton 22 (11)  Newcastle 10 (4)

Shots on target were Southampton 6 (3) Newcastle 5 (1)

Corners were Southampton 4 (1) Newcastle 4 (1)

Referee: Paul Tierney

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar, Murphy, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Willock (Fraser 84), Ritchie, Wilson (Joelinton 67), Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Clark, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Manquillo, Gayle

Crowd:

44,017 (950 Southampton)

(‘The crowd was now mixed between support for the team and abuse for Steve Bruce…’ – Read HERE)

(Mike Ashley suppressing the reveal of just how many empty seats against Southampton – Read HERE)

(Alan Shearer does miss one key thing with analysis after Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce can’t help himself with these latest embarrassing comments post-Southampton – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – You just hate to see it happen this way – Read HERE)

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

(Ralph Hasenhuttl finds it ‘unbelievable’ that Southampton weren’t leading against Newcastle United – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 match highlights and all four goals – Watch them HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – Wilson and ASM not enough to save NUFC from Steve Bruce negativity Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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