Newcastle were singing in the rain and the sunshine yesterday as they left St Mary’s with three points and another hat-full of goals being scored.
Just how high Eddie Howe’s side can finish is difficult to measure. The one thing we do know, though, is Newcastle will be in the top four come Christmas. That in itself is a massive statement.
St Mary’s has been one of those grounds for Newcastle, quite often putting in some frighteningly bad performances. The magpies had only won on four out of fourteen visits, but thankfully Halloween had come and gone and it was Newcastle who would scare Southampton off the pitch.
It may not have been a vintage display from Howe’s side—with the manager admitting it was not their best showing. How good is it to say that and still win 1-4 away from home?
Southampton had started brightly and looked to disrupt Newcastle. The Magpies looked off the pace in the opening 20 minutes. Sean Longstaff (the best player on the field) had a wonderful opportunity to grab his second of the season. The tenacious midfielder saw his diving header go over the crossbar, but the Magpies were moving through the gears.
In the 35th minute, Miguel Almiron—yes, that man again—played the ball into Callum Wilson who flicked it back to the Paraguayan. Almiron evaded the challenge of Maitland-Niles expertly before finishing by placing the ball exquisitely in the bottom corner. That made it seven goals in as many appearances, a man very much in form… Hello again, Jack Grealish!
Newcastle were soon singing in the rain after appeasing Southampton's pressure. Chris Wood came on for the unwell Wilson at half time, the New Zealand international pivoted superbly before firing the ball past a hapless Gavin Bazunu. Newcastle had their tails up and made it 0-3 a few minutes later. The brilliant Kieran Trippier pounced on a loose ball before unleashing a menacing through-ball for Joe Willock to latch on to. The former Arsenal man cooly toe-poked the ball into the bottom corner.
Romain Perraud scored a late consolation goal for Southampton, denying the visitors yet another clean sheet. Nick Pope could do nothing about it as Perraud cut inside and whipped the ball into the top corner.
Newcastle’s heads wouldn’t drop, Bruno Guimaraes restored the visitors’ healthy lead with a fantastic strike from distance. Four shots on target and four goals for Newcastle, now that is clinical. Cue the World Cup call-up by Brazil coach Tite.
The result saw Newcastle climb up to third in the table, yes, THIRD.
A win against the Blues next weekend would see Newcastle reach the 30-point mark—the Magpies reached 31 points on 10th March last season after a victory over Southampton. Let that sink in… Newcastle only got past the 30-point mark with eleven games remaining. They’re now sat in the Premier League’s top three and are only looking up.
Before that game, though, Howe’s side host Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening.
Howay the lads!