Newcastle – Southampton: Allan Saint-Maximin set up for two goals and Miguel Almiron bagged a brace as 9-man Newcastle United rode their luck in a 3-2 win over Southampton at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
Newcastle finished with nine men after an early second-half sending off of Jeff Hendrick was joined by a bad injury to Fabian Schar after Steve Bruce had made all three substitutions in part due to injuries to Callum Wilson and Javier Manquillo.
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Arsenal loanee Joe Willock scored on debut for Newcastle and Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino did the same for Southampton and James Ward-Prowse scored a typically-wonderful free kick in the loss.
Newcastle moves 11 points clear of 18th-place Fulham in avenging an early-season loss at St. Mary’s. The Magpies are four points behind 12th-place Southampton.
Three things we learned from Newcastle – Southampton
1. Chaos reigns at St. James’ Park: If you wanted to introduce a new fan to the “anything is possible” nature to the Premier League, slap this one on DVD or some other mode of safekeeping. The Magpies took a 2-0 lead via free-flowing football — a welcome respite from recent performances regardless of result — and Saints struck for their two goals in highlight-reel style. Jeff Hendrick’s ridiculous second yellow card looked like he had no idea about the first, but set up a wild finish. That was made even crazier by a bad injury to Schar, who was stretchered off with what looked like a long-term problem after being kicked squarely below the knee, as Newcastle finished with nine men.
2. Almiron’s finest hour: Ex-Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron had arguably the best game of his Newcastle career in his 78th appearance for the club, producing two goals and showing not just his threat and industry — which is usually apparent — but control of his talent and cool in the final moment. He upped his NUFC goals from 11 to 13, and added three tackles while winning 6-of-9 duels when forced to deploy his best defensive stance.
3. Southampton woes continue: Saints’ fifth-straight loss showed that there were still new ways for them to drop points. Deserved 2-0 losers at Leicester and home to Arsenal, Southampton was vastly superior to Villa in 1-0 loss at St. Mary’s and then finished with nine men in a 9-0 midweek loss at Manchester United. The side’s bad run of injuries combined with the overall chaos of Saturday to highlight that sometimes things just aren’t going to go your way in the Premier League.
Man of the Match: Allan Saint-Maximin
Only went 67 minutes during his first start in ages, but the Frenchman was electric in setting up the first two goals and completing seven of nine dribble attempts while winning 12-of-15 duels and drawing three fouls. He’s their no-doubt best talent and it’s hard to imagine someone won’t be waving big money at Newcastle for his services soon.
Newcastle – Southampton recap
Willock, 21, feasted off the spoils of Allan Saint-Maximin playmaking to open the scoring, as the assisting Frenchman made his first start in months.
The youngster was on the right side when Saint-Max took a long ball out of the air with his chest and dusted off his mark to sent a pass through the 18 for Willock to slot home.
Almiron had it 2-0 when he took a pass from Saint-Maximin and hit a cross/shot that turned off Bednarek’s heel to fool Alex McCarthy.
That’s when Minamino got on the score sheet with a vicious finish to pull Saints back within one, Ryan Bertrand getting the assist.
But Almiron was back amongst the goals on a 3v2 break before halftime, restoring Newcastle’s two-goal lead from inside the 18.
Shelvey came close to scoring Newcastle’s fourth just after the break and would’ve been ruing that miss when Ward-Prowse whipped out his latest set-piece marvel in the 48th minute.
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No sooner had that happened that Jeff Hendrick took one of the worst (read: least necessary) second yellow cards you’ll ever see to put Newcastle down a man but up a goal for the final 40 minutes.
Saints were so nearly level when Danny Ings struck the far post and the ball headed back into traffic but straight into Karl Darlow’s hands.
Che Adams then had the ball in the goal with a 65th-minute goal but Ings was offside in the build-up.
But Southampton found no answer even after Schar was kicked hard on the shin and could not move his right leg, leaving Newcastle with nine men and no subs for the final 15 minutes.