Newcastle continued their winning run with a comprehensive victory over relegation candidates Southampton. Stuart Armstrong fired the visitors into the lead late in the first half before a much improved second half performance by the Magpies saw them complete the turnaround and run out 3-1 winners on a windy Sunday afternoon at St James’ Park.
There were four changes made by Eddie Howe to his side that thrashed Everton during the week. Alexander Isak was preferred in attack instead of Callum Wilson. Anthony Gordon, Jacob Murphy and Dan Burn all returned to the starting eleven, they replaced Sean Longstaff, Matt Targett and Miguel Almiron.
James Ward-Prowse returned to the Saints starting eleven as Ruben Selles made five changes to his side. Armel Bella-Kotchap, Lyanco, Stuart Armstrong, Moussa Djenepo and Kamaldeen Sulemana all featured from the start.
The hosts had the first chance of the game with just under ten minutes on the clock. Gordon drove down the left before unleashing a shot with his left foot but it rippled the side of the net. Southampton had their first chance of the game just a minute later and it was by Armstrong. The Saints midfielder cut inside and fired at goal which forced Pope into punch it clear. Guimaraes should have opened the scoring moments later when he volleyed wide from 12yard out after a cross from Gordon. The hosts started to grow into the game and Gordon was unlucky not to have his first goal for the Toon. The young winger was played in from behind by Isak, he unleashed an effort at goal which left McCarthy beaten…only to be denied the post. Southampton took the lead just before half time. Sulemana was played down the right, he delivered a low cross into the box which was poked home by Armstrong. Half Time Newcastle United 0 – Southampton 1.
Newcastle levelled things up just eight minutes into the second half and it was the man who can’t stop scoring at the minute…Newcastle United’s number nine, Wilson! Isak is the architect yet again with yet more magical footwork before crossing into the box and Wilson was there to slot it past McCarthy. Willock went close with a low driven shot just inside the final 30minutes but McCarthy saved well. The Saints keeper was called into action just a couple of minutes later, this time it was Wilson with a header which needed to be tipped over the bar. Wilson thought he completed the comeback with his second goal of the game in the 74th minute with a left footed shot from the centre of the box only to be ruled out for offside in the build up. The hosts finally got their second goal in the 79th minute and it was a Saints player who the goal will be credited to. Trippier’s corner was met by the head of Botman who’s effort bounced off Walcott and into the back of the net. Wilson got his second goal of the game just inside the final ten minutes when he tapped home after rounding a Southampton defender and then their goalkeeper. Guimaraes almost got his self on the scoresheet with a curling effort that just skimmed past the post. Wilson has the crossbar to blame for not once, but twice denying him from getting a hat-trick inside the final couple of minutes. The striker received the ball in the penalty area, turned and shot only for the ball to bounce off the crossbar. Full Time Newcastle United 3 - Southampton 1.
Sutty’s Full Time Thoughts: A classic case of a game of two halves. The first half we were nowhere near the standards we have seen so far this season. Eddie Howe once more worked his magic with the team talk and our performance improved massively. Without a doubt we missed Sean Longstaff in the centre of the midfield today, without him we are like a rudderless ship with no engines. It’s just a shame we will likely be without him for the remainder of the season after he picked up an ankle injury in the victory over Everton. Going up the pitch..the combination between Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak is turning into a real threat for any opposition it seems. They are both at the top of their game now and it’s a delight to see. Wilson’s brace today is his third this month! He has deserved this glory after his dry spell earlier on in the season. This club is something else.
Newcastle United Line Up: N Pope, K Trippier ©, S Botman, F Schar, D Burn, A Gordon (45, C Wilson), J Willock (90+1, E Anderson), B Guimaraes, Joelinton, A Isak (90+1, M Ritchie), J Murphy (69, M Almiron).
Newcastle United Bench: M Dubravka, P Dummett, J Lewis, J Manquillo, M Targett, M Ritchie, E Anderson, M Almiron, C Wilson.
Southampton Line Up: A McCarthy, K Walker-Peters, Lyanco (70, A Maitland-Niles), J Bednarek, A Bella-Katchap, J Ward-Prowse, S Armstrong (71, M Elyounoussi), K Sulemana (70, A Armstrong), R Lavia, M Djenepo (64, T Walcott), C Alcaraz (77, C Adams).
Southampton Bench: G Bazunu, D Caleta-Car, A Maitland-Niles, M Elyounoussi, I Diallo, A Armstrong, C Adams, S Mara, T Walcott.
Referee – Anthony Taylor
Assistant’s - Gary Beswick & Adam Nunn
Fourth Official - Stuart Attwell
VAR - Robert Jones
Assistant VAR - Nick Hopton
What’s Next: The Magpies entertain title contenders Arsenal on Sunday 7th May at St James’ Park in a 4:30pm KO.
Michael Arteta’s side have let their guard down in recent weeks which has allowed Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to close the gap and leapfrog them into first place. Come the start of this calendar year, Arsenal sat at the top of the league with a nice little seven-point gap to their rivals in second place, now at the time of writing this (30.04.2023), The Citizens are leading the charge on 76 points with 32 games played. They also have a game in hand over the Gunners so it’s now City’s title to loose.
They travel to Tyneside to face a Newcastle United side that is full of confidence and who have one hand on finishing in a Champions League place.
Coincidently, the Magpies are only ten points behind the Gunners so who knows…could we pip them to second place?! we can dream haha.
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