What’s wrong with Arsenal? Arteta’s path forward on a red-hot seat

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Arsenal has been bad.

Yes, mostly on a relative scale, and no, not relegation bad, as much as some headlines want to get you clicking thinking but the Gunners have been far off their standards.

We’re talking as close to the bottom three as 12th, the same proximity to 20th as third.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Arsenal will be fortunate to finish above midtable without serious adaptation.

Should those changes include removing the raven-haired manager who arrived with so much promise and delivered an FA Cup? Oddsmakers see it as quite possible following the latest loss, a 2-1 setback to Everton that left Arteta pleading for “fighters, not victims.”

Boxing Day will mark the one-year anniversary of Mikel Arteta’s first match in charge of the Gunners. What can he do to give himself hope of finishing a second year?

Luck, formation and game state

Has Arsenal been lucky or unlucky?

Which formation has been best and how has Arteta set up his teams before the coronavirus pauses, in Project Restart, and to start 2020-21?

Are the Gunners better more often than not at any stage of a game?

Expected goals (xG) fortune

Arteta will have surely raised the ire of several Gooners when he cited luck as a reason his men have struggled of late.

“We reacted really well after conceding,” Arteta said after the 2-1 loss at Everton. “We created enough chances, hit a post, and luck is just against us at the moment. We lost against Burnley without conceding a shot on target.”

Going back to xG, Arsenal has been better than its opponent in its last three losses (Spurs, Burnley, Everton). On the season, though, their in-game xG record would be 6W-1D-7L and two of the wins would’ve come with less than 1 xG (which obviously is not a goal).

In open play, xG also says Arsenal have produced 11.64 goals for and scored just eight, while conceding 16 goals when xGA is over 17.

Arsenal 2020-21 season so far (xG in parenthesis)
Result better than xG performance
Result worse than xG performance

Matchday 1 – at Fulham W 3-0 (W 2.16-0.13)
Matchday 2 – v West Ham W 2-1 (L 1.33-2.06)
Matchday 3 – at Liverpool L 1-3 (L 1.18-2.74)
Matchday 4 – v Sheffield United W 2-1 (W 0.67-0.14)
Matchday 5 – at Man City L 0-1 (L 0.84-1.43)
Matchday 6 – v Leicester City L 0-1 (D 0.74-0.74)
Matchday 7 – at Man United W 1-0 (W 1.00-0.39)
Matchday 8 – v Aston Villa L 0-3 (L 1.39-1.99)
Matchday 9 – at Leeds D 0-0 (L 0.71-1.96)
Matchday 10 – v Wolves L 1-2 (L 1.12-2.01)
Matchday 11 – at Spurs L 0-2 (W 0.60-0.39)
Matchday 12 – v Burnley L 0-1 (W 1.85-0.82)
Matchday 13 – v Southampton D 1-1 (L 0.66-1.11)
Matchday 14 – at Everton L 1-2 (W 1.25-0.66)

Twice Arsenal has drawn in a match its performance did not merit a point and once it won while being outperformed by the opponent (West Ham).

But what could encourage Arteta over the past month — which is perhaps not coincidentally when he’s been talking about luck — is that his team has deserved something from three of four losses. The derby could’ve well been 0-0 or 1-1 while the Burnley loss is especially unlucky.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 06: (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)


Versatility is key and match-ups important, but Mikel Arteta’s lineups have been all over the place. That’s pretty bonkers considering how managers have been lamenting the lack of training time to implement new ideas. It hasn’t scared Arteta.

Adjustments happen all the time inside of a game and formation shifts are common, so it’s difficult to track but let’s begin here. here is how Arteta had started the Gunners this season.

Here’s how Arteta started after taking over the club in 2019 through the end of Project Restart.

4-3-3: thrice
4-2-3-1: 15 times
3-4-3: nine times
5-4-1: once (FA Cup Final)

Notably, Arteta deployed that 4-2-3-1 in 14 of 15 matches upon his hiring, and he switched to the 3-4-3 for nine-straight games after playing the 4-3-3 for the first two of Project Restart.

That’s consistent and helpful.

Maybe Arteta believed his charges would fare a lot better in Year 2, with healthy pieces combining with new to adapt to new ideas.

Because this, this, is a lot less consistent (via Understat). And what good can come from seven minutes n a 5-4-1? Hashtag Tinkerman.



Can we learn anything definitive from given the small number of minutes? Probably not a ton given how few minutes the Gunners have been deployed in most of the formations.

Looking at the top three, though, you can that Arsenal is being out-attempted in all three.

We all have our preferences for formation and this isn’t to suppose any formation as superior to the other, rather that perhaps Arteta has put the cart ahead of the horse.

In-game performance

Given all the changes, how is Arsenal playing over the course of 90 minutes?

Here’s a bit of good news. The Gunners have been better once Mikel Arteta can talk to them inside of a match (Stats again via Understat).

First half — 5-12
Minutes 1-15: 1-1 (xG 2.77-1.61)
Minutes 16-30: 3-6 (xG 3.01-5.87)
Minurtes 31-45: 1-5 (xG 2.36-3.50)

Second half — 7-6
Minutes 46-60: 4-0 (xG 3.63-1.98)
Minutes 61-75: 2-3 (xG 2.06-4.13)
Minutes 76+: 1-3 (xG 2.23-2.98)

Here’s more over-simplification: Arsenal has come out of the gates with decent motivation and game plan, but hasn’t produced an opener. They then fall apart until halftime, when Arteta reorganizes them only to fall apart again before producing desperate final quarter-hours.


Defenders like him just fine (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


The Gunners have struggled for any number of reasons but a slumping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang isn’t helping anyone.

Neither is the availability of Thomas Partey, one of if not the most important moves of the transfer window for any traditional contender (Ruben Dias now and Thiago Alcantara later would and will like a word, respectively).

And let’s start here: We’re mostly going to talk about attackers below, because the defense has not been the problem or at least a main one. Arsenal has allowed less goals than Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton, and Southampton, less shots than Leicester City, Tottenham, and Man United, and less expected goals than all but four teams in the entire Premier League.

Thomas Partey

Arsenal is yet to collect many results with big signing Thomas Partey in the lineup, but there’s little debate the Ghanaian’s absence has loomed large.

Partey has only gone more than 45 minutes thrice, wins against Rapid Vienna and Manchester United but a loss to Leicester City. Arsenal only conceded two goals in those three matches.

Obviously he has the glaring error of not going down while injured in the run-up to Spurs’ second goal in the 2-0 North London Derby loss, but if there’s any area that’s unfair to Arteta it’s failing to note that the manager has been without his top signing for most of this silly season.

Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal’s best player in terms of expected goals has been a man who can’t get on the pitch.

Alexandre Lacazette is the first player to appear on the Premier League’s xG+xA/90 minutes list, coming in 28th of players to have played more than 500 minutes this season with 0.54 per game. 0.46 of that is xG, and Lacazette is 14th in the PL on that list. Bukayo Saka is the only Gunner in the Top 50 for xG.

Lacazette hasn’t scored in the Premier League since tallying in each of Arsenal’s first three outings, but was handed five starts.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang

The 31-year-old has often been shut down, whether put out wide or played centrally, and Arteta’s biggest failure has been the Gabonese man’s failure to produce goals or assists.

Aubameyang has three goals and one assist despite being used almost exclusively in the Premier League (He has two goals in 119 combined minutes between the Community Shield and Europa League).

That’s a far cry from his incredible first two-and-a-half seasons at Arsenal, where he scored 70 goals and chipped in 15 assists.

What’s wrong? Plenty but we’re not far removed from his wonderful 2019-20 season, are we? Expect better when he’s back on the pitch.

Mesut Ozil

Arteta has deemed the German playmaker surplus to requirements, as they say, but it’s probably worth noting that the headline-making Ozil wasn’t terrible last season.

Ozil averaged 2.1 key passes per game over his 18 matches last season before not making an appearance during Project Restart. Nicolas Pepe (1.3) and Dani Ceballos (1.2) were second and third in passes leading to a shot.

This season? Willian leads the team with 1.3 and Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka, Ceballos, and Aubameyang are between 1 and 1.1 per game.

During Arteta’s tenure, Ozil had a goal and an assist in 10-straight starts as the Gunners went 4W-5D-1L including a win over Manchester United plus a draw with and loss to Chelsea.

Nicolas Pepe

If Arteta isn’t going to use Ozil — and that argument is still easy to understand — then not using dynamic but inconsistent Pepe is baffling.

The red card was stupid. The dynamism isn’t.

Final thoughts

Is there enough here to believe Arteta can snap Arsenal out of its funk? There’s something here, sure, but you wouldn’t get high odds from a bookmaker.

Moreover, if Arteta wasn’t, well, Arteta, would he have been canned by now? Is he breathing off of FA Cup fumes? Would Unai Emery or most managers not named Arsene Wenger have lasted this long?

If you’re a director looking at the big picture, you probably remember the FA Cup well and recognize the import and expectations of acquiring Partey from Atletico Madrid.

The red cards don’t help, nor do stories of locker room cliques, but those are also part and parcel when it comes to struggling clubs.

If you’re Arteta, your best bet is to go back to a formation that your players best understand for Tuesday’s League Cup quarterfinal versus Man City and Saturday’s PL visit from Chelsea.

And it’s probably best to ride that into Brighton and West Brom before Newcastle arrives for the FA Cup. With Palace and Newcastle then visiting the Emirates in the league, this should be all about manufacturing something from City and Chelsea, both perhaps without Aubameyang, and then finding footing against five bottom-half sides across two competitions.

Good luck.

Chelsea in Portugal for Enzo Fernandez medical ahead of record deal


Chelsea is ready to trigger Enzo Fernandez’s $129 million release clause and is in Portugal to conduct a Deadline Day medical on the World Cup winner.

The fee would break the British record set by Manchester City when it purchased Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

Fernandez, 21, has been chased by Chelsea for some time and wants to make the move to Stamford Bridge from Benfica.

[ MORE: Weston McKennie moves to Leeds United ]

The Argentina star has a goal and six assists in 22 matches across all competitions, but his skills as an elite ball progressor are what most attracts the Blues.

Fernandez ranks in the 99th percentile of midfielders in progressive passes per 90 at 9.47 and in the 95th percentile in shot-creating actions per 90 (FBref.com).

Chelsea’s revolutionized its squad since the club was purchased by Todd Boehly’s consortium last year, with Wesley Fofana, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, and many more.

Follow Peacock’s Sky Sports News simulstream from Noon-7pm ET Tuesday, and join ProSoccerTalk’s Deadline Day Show at 5pm ET.

Enzo Fernandez

Premier League transfers: Complete list of January deals


The January transfer window has again seen big-name imports into the Premier League, and the final hours of the window we saw a flurry of deals take place.

Chelsea spent big, once again, as a British record $130 million deal for Enzo Fernandez nears completion, while Liverpool signed Cody Gakpo and Arsenal added Trossard, Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior to strengthen their title hopes.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United | Arsenal ]

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur made additions to deepen their squads’ top-four pushes late in the window too and there were plenty of late deals for clubs in the relegation battle.

Below we list the confirmed deals from January in terms of ins and outs at Premier League clubs.

Latest transfer deals developing – January 31

Weston McKennie to Leeds United was a done deal on Jan. 30, as the American midfielder has joined on loan until the end of the season, with Leeds having an option to buy him for $36 million.

As for deadline day itself Jorginho has joined Arsenal from Chelsea in a big move across London, while Manchester United are chasing the singing of Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich after they lost Christian Eriksen to injury.

Chelsea are pushing hard to sign Enzo Fernandez and it looks like it could happen right around the deadline, while Bournemouth, Southampton, Fulham and Tottenham are all busy on deadline day too and pushing deals through late on.

AFC Bournemouth

Dango Ouattara (Lorient)
Darren Randolph (West Ham)
Antoine Semenyo (Bristol City)
Matias Vina (Roma) Loan
Illia Zabarnyi (Dynamo Kiev)

Ferdinand Okoh (Dorchester) Loan
James Hill (Hearts) Loan
Will Dennis (Slough) Loan
Noa Boutin (Gosport) Loan
Gavin Kilkenny (Charlton Athletic) Loan


Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
Jakub Kiwior (Spezia Calcio)
Jorginho (Chelsea)

Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Coventry) Loan
Miguel Azeez (Wigan) Loan
Arthur Okonkwo (Sturm Graz) Loan
Ovie Ejeheri (SJK Seinajoki) Loan
Harry Clarke (Ipswich Town)
Marquinhos (Norwich) Loan
Omar Rekik (Wigan) Loan
Albert Sambi Lokonga (Crystal Palace) Loan

Aston Villa

Aaron Ramsey (loan recall)
Tyreik Wright (loan recall)
Alex Moreno (Real Betis)
Jhon Duran (Chicago Fire)
Bertrand Traore (loan recall)

Cameron Archer (Middlesbrough) Loan
Tyreik Wright (Plymouth Argyle)
Frederic Guilbert (RC Strasbourg)
Indiana Vassilev (St. Louis City SC)
Danny Ings (West Ham)
Jan Bednarek (loan recall)
Morgan Sanson (Strasbourg) Loan
Ludwig Augustinsson (loan recall)
Marvelous Nakamba (Luton Town) Loan
Aaron Ramsey (Middlesbrough) Loan


Byron Wilson (Coventry)
Conor McManus (Bray Wanderers)
Fin Stevens (loan recall)
Mads Bech (loan recall)
Beaux Booth (Dorking)
Kevin Schade (Freiburg) Loan
Paris Maghoma (loan recall)
Romeo Beckham (Inter Miami) Loan
Nathan Young-Coombes (loan recall)
Vincent Angelini (Watford)

Myles Peart-Harris (Forest Green Rovers) Loan extension
Aaron Pressley (Accrington) Loan
Lachlan Brook (Crewe) Loan extension
Edon Pruti (Hartlepool)
Mads Bech (Groningen) Loan
Ellery Balcombe (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Tariqe Fosu (Rotherham) Loan
Paris Maghoma (MK Dons) Loan
Charlie Goode (Blackpool) Loan
Sergi Canos (Olympiacos) Loan

Brighton & Hove Albion

Facundo Buonanotte (Rosario Central)
Jamie Mullins (Bohemians)
Mark O’Mahony (Cork)
Yasin Ayari (AIK)

Aaron Connolly (Hull) Loan
Reda Khadra (Birmingham)
Ed Turns (Leyton Orient) Loan
James Beadle (Crewe Alexandra) Loan
Leandro Trossard (Arsenal)
Antef Tsoungui (Lommel) Loan Details
Lorent Tolaj (Dundee) Loan


David Datro Fofana (Molde)
Benoit Badiashile (Monaco)
Andrey Santos (Vasco da Gama)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Mykhailo Mudryk (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven)
Malo Gusto (Lyon)

Bashir Humphreys (Paderborn) Loan
Malo Gusto (Lyon) Loan
Cesare Casadei (Reading) Loan
Jude Soonsup-Bell (Tottenham Hotspur)
Jorginho (Arsenal)

Chelsea transfer news
Benoit Badiashile (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Crystal Palace

Luke Plange (loan recall)
Naouirou Ahamada (Stuttgart)
Albert Sambi Lokonga (Arsenal) Loan

Killian Phillips (Shrewsbury) Loan
Jack Butland (Man Utd) Loan
John-Kymani Gordon (Carlise) Loan
Malcolm Ebiowei (Hull) Loan
Ryan Bartley (Eastbourne Borough) Loan
David Boateng (Dover) Loan
Luke Plange (Lincoln City) Loan


Ellis Simms (loan recall)
Nathan Broadhead (loan recall)
Niels Nkounkou (loan recall)

Salomon Rondon (released)
Nathan Broadhead (Ipswich)
Tom Cannon (Preston) Loan
Niels Nkounkou (Saint-Etienne) Loan
Sebastian Quirk (Accrington Stanley)
Tyler Onyango (Forest Green) Loan
Anthony Gordon (Newcastle)
Joe Anderson (Sunderland)


Anthony Knockaert (loan recall)
Sasa Lukic (Torino)

Idris Odutayo (Maidenhead) Loan extension
Anthony Knockaert (Huddersfield) Loan
Ibane Bowat (Den Bosch) Loan
Connor McAvoy (Partick Thistle) Loan
Josh Onomah (mutual termination)
Nathaniel Chalobah (West Brom)

Leeds United

Max Wober (RB Salzburg)
Georginio Rutter (Hoffenheim)
Weston McKennie (Juventus) Loan
Diogo Monteiro (Servette)

Mateusz Klich (MLS pending)
Alfie McCalmont (Carlisle) Loan
Leo Hjelde (Rotherham) Loan
Max Dean (MK Dons)
Cody Drameh (Luton) Loan
Joe Gelhardt (Sunderland) Loan
Diego Llorente (Roma) Loan

Leicester City

George Hirst (loan recall)
Victor Kristiansen (Copenhagen)
Tete (Lyon)
Nathan Opoku (Field Masters Sporting Club)

George Hirst (Ipswich) Loan
Ben Nelson (Doncaster) Loan
Jakub Stolarczyk (Hartlepool) Loan
Ayoze Perez (Real Betis) Loan
Nathan Opoku (OH Leuven) Loan


Cody Gakpo (PSV)
Billy Koumetio (Austria Vienna) Loan recall
Max Woltman (loan recall)
Jakub Ojrzynski (loan recall)
James Balagizi (loan recall)
Fidel O’Rourke (loan recall)
Rhys Williams (loan recall)

Jake Cain (Swindon Town)
Jarell Quansah (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Luke Chambers (Kilmarnock) Loan

Liverpool transfer news
Cody Gakpo photo vis twitter.com/LFC

Manchester City

Liam Delap (loan recall)
Maximo Perrone (Velez Sarsfield)

Josh Wilson-Esbrand (Coventry) Loan
Liam Delap (Preston) Loan
Kayky (Bahia) Loan
Joao Cancelo (Bayern Munich) Loan
Luke Mbete (Bolton Wanderers) Loan

Manchester United

Jack Butland (Crystal Palace) Loan
Wout Weghorst (Burnley) Loan
Marcel Sabitzer (Bayern Munich) Loan

Martin Dubravka (loan recall)
Shola Shoretire Loan (Bolton Wanderers)
Charlie Savage (Forest Green) Loan
Ondrej Mastny (Portadown) Loan
Di’Shon Bernard (Portsmouth) Loan
Charlie McNeill (Newport) Loan

Newcastle United

Amadou Diallo (free) 
Garang Kuol (Central Coast Mariners)
Martin Dubravka (loan recall)
Anthony Gordon (Everton)
Harrison Ashby (West Ham)

Garang Kuol (Hearts) Loan
Chris Wood (Nott’m Forest) Loan
Dylan Stephenson (Hamilton) Loan
Niall Brookwell (Darlington) Loan

Nottingham Forest

Gustavo Scarpa (Palmeiras)
Danilo (Palmeiras)
Alex Mighten (loan recall)
Chris Wood (Newcastle United) Loan
Felipe (Atletico Madrid)
Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United)
Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain) Loan

Loic Bade (loan recall)
Dale Taylor (Burton Albion) Loan
Aaron Donnelly (Port Vale) Loan
Ateef Konate (Oxford United) Loan
Brandon Aguilera (Estoril) Loan


Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb)
Carlos Alcaraz (Racing Club)
Jan Bednarek (loan recall)
James Bree (Luton)
Kamaldeen Sulemana (Stade Rennes)
Paul Onuachu (Genk)

Dynel Simeu (Morecambe) Loan
Dan Nlundulu (Bolton) Loan
Nico Lawrence (Torquay) Loan
Kazeem Olaigbe (Harrogate Town) Loan
Lewis Payne (Eastleigh) Loan
Thierry Small (St Mirren) Loan
Jack Turner (Braintree Town) Loan


Arnaut Danjuma (Villarreal) Loan
Jude Soonsup-Bell (Chelsea)

Bryan Gil (Sevilla) Loan
Djed Spence (Stade Rennais) Loan
Matt Doherty (Atletico Madrid)

West Ham United

Luizao (Sao Paulo)
Armstrong Okoflex (loan recall)
Danny Ings (Aston Villa)

Thierry Nevers (Bradford) Loan
Craig Dawson (Wolves)
Pierre Ekwah (Sunderland)
Darren Randolph (AFC Bournemouth)
Will Greenidge (Colchester) Loan
Harrison Ashby (Newcastle)

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Joe Young (loan recall)
Louie Moulden (loan recall)
Theo Corbeanu (loan recall)
Christian Marques (loan recall)
Lewis Richards (loan recall)
Mario Lemina (Nice)
Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain)
Craig Dawson (West Ham)
Dan Bentley (Bristol City)
Ki-Jana Hoever (loan recall)
Joao Gomes (Flamengo)

Leo Bonatini (released)
Joe Young (Telford) Loan
Goncalo Guedes (Benfica) Loan
Theo Corbeanu (Arminia Bielefeld) Loan
Leonardo Campana (Inter Miami)
Connor Ronan (Colorado Rapids)
Fabio Silva (PSV) Loan
Matija Sarkic (Stoke) Loan
Ki-Jana Hoever (Stoke) Loan
Jackson Smith (Walsall) Loan
Chem Campbell (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan

Premier League transfers
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Matheus Cunha  (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Transfer Deadline Day, live! Join our show, send questions, analysis


Transfer deadline day is here for January 2023, as the winter window shuts at 6pm ET on Jan. 31 for Premier League clubs.

[ LIVE: Every Premier League transfer deal as it happens ]

The clock is ticking late in the window and we will have all angles covered for you here at Pro Soccer Talk.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United | Arsenal ]

From clicking on the links above to read the latest reports and analysis, having Sky Sports News live on Peacock all day long and to our own Pro Soccer Talk live deadline day show which starts at 5:30pm ET on Jan. 31, you won’t miss a thing.

WATCH: Sky Sports News live on Transfer deadline day on Peacock

Click on the video below to send in your questions for the PST crew for our deadline day chat where we will round up all of the deals happening late in the window, dish out grades to Premier League teams based on their business and give our analysis on the best signings of the January window.

Newcastle takes care of Southampton, reaches League Cup Final


Sean Longstaff scored twice and Newcastle United navigated a concession to reach its first domestic cup final since 1999 by outlasting Southampton in the League Cup semifinal.

The Magpies entered the second leg up 1-0 on a Joelinton goal and moved their aggregate advantage to 3-0 in the first half before Che Adams scored a pretty goal to bring Saints within two at St. James’ Park.

But it wasn’t all good news as Bruno Guimaraes was sent off after Video Assistant Referee reviewed a hard, studs-first tackle outside the 18 with about 10 minutes to play and will miss Newcastle’s next three matches.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Newcastle seems likely to meet Manchester United in the final, which will be played at London’s Wembley Stadium on Feb. 26, as the Red Devils lead Nottingham Forest 3-0 after one leg and return home to Old Trafford for Wednesday’s semifinal second leg.

Newcastle is off to a final for the first time since the 1998-99 FA Cup, when the Magpies were beaten by the famed, treble-winning Manchester United side.

[ MORE: Weston McKennie joins Leeds: Is this a good move for the USMNT star? ]

Newcastle can dream of silverware earlier than expected

Newcastle suffered a precipitous decline under former owner Mike Ashley, and it’s been a decade since the Toon Army’s experienced European football via quarterfinal run in the 2012-13 Europa League.

It may surprise younger fans to note that the Northeast side qualified for the UEFA Champions League on either side of turn of the century, and the city’s been ready to erupt for their boys for some time. The vibes at St.James’ Park on Tuesday were terrific.

The Magpies not having Bruno Guimaraes — assuming the red card isn’t overturned — is a huge miss for the next three games, but they will have Bruno for the final against Manchester United’s mighty and experienced midfield assuming it holds onto its first-leg advantage over Nottingham Forest.

For Saints, they’ll turn their attention to the FA Cup and keep their attention on the relegation fight, which should be very, very tricky as Premier League sides are fortifying on this Deadline Day.

Stars of the Show

Sean Longstaff

Sven Botman

Nick Pope

Mohammed Salisu

Che Adams

What’s next?

Newcastle hosts West Ham at 12:30pm ET Saturday in Premier League play, while Saints are off to Brentford for a 10am ET kickoff on the same day.

Newcastle vs Southampton score: Hosts lead 2-1, 3-1 on aggregate

How to watch Newcastle vs Southampton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3 pm ET, Tuesday
Online: Stream via ESPN+

Key storylines & star players

Eddie Howe’s side has performed well above expectations this season, mounting a serious top-four challenge one or two years ahead of reasonable expectations. Getting to — and winning — a final in the same season would merely be icing on the cake for Howe, who took over the Premier League’s 19th-place side (5 points from 11 games) from Steve Bruce in November 2021.

Saints reached the League Cup final in 2017, but were somewhat controversially beaten by Manchester United at Wembley Stadium. Southampton have won more cup ties (6 of 7) than PL fixtures (4 of 20), which goes a long way toward explaining why Nathan Jones’ side sits rock-bottom of the PL table with just 15 points.

Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Jonjo Shelvey (calf), Matt Targett (foot), Emil Krafth (knee)

Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Juan Larios (adductor), Duje Caleta-Car (suspension), Moussa Djenepo (head), Alex McCarthy (ankle)

Follow @AndyEdMLS