Newcastle is headed to their first league cup final in a long time after a fairly comfortable 2-1 win against Southampton at St James’ Park on Tuesday evening.
Let’s assess how each player performed.
7 - Pope: Bottom of the league Southampton is the bane of his existence. His last two goals have been conceded to the Saints. Couldn’t do much to stop that Che Adams strike. Strong anticipation and technique to thwart Armstrong.
7.5 - Trippier: Showed consistently sound decision-making with the ball at his feet. It’s rare to find a player who reads the game so superbly in both attack and defense. He’s undoubtedly one of the most in-form right-backs in the world right now.
6.5 - Schar: The Swiss defender is not one to shy away from the responsibility of moving the ball up the pitch. Had a couple of misplaced passes but that bravery means everything. Solid in defense too.
6.5 - Botman: Was rarely troubled at the back. Continues to make defending look easy.
6.5 - Burn: Bombed up the field when he could. Handled his defensive responsibilities with ease.
8 - Longstaff: Has gotten into threatening positions week in and week out. It’s nice to see him put the ball into the back of the net. Here’s hoping he keeps shooting like he did today.
6 - Bruno: He was clever with his dribbling and deliberate with his passing in the first half. Was instrumental to building up the two goal lead. Will undoubtedly be disappointed in himself for how his second half unraveled. Would likely have been man of the match if the match ended at the half-time break even though Longstaff scored two goals. He’ll be a big loss in the next three games.
7 - Willock: Not a natural winger, supposedly. Wouldn’t be able to tell from watching because of his blistering pace and decent link up play down the left. Solid throughout, barring the misplaced pass that led to an against-the-run of play goal.
(Sub) 6 - Murphy: Was brought in to put in a shift and was subsequently brought off to waste time. Did exactly that. Not much more to it.
(Sub) NR - Anderson: Cameo
7 - Joelinton: Many, myself included, have been begging for Howe to reintroduce ASM into the starting lineup. Howe’s reluctance to break up the Joelinton-Willock dynamic was apparent in the first half tonight. Their interplay was the source of the second goal and solidity both ways down the field throughout.
7 - Almiron: Plays with an unparalleled intensity. Notched a great assist in the first half.
(Sub) 6 - Saint-Maximin: Offered fresh legs in the second half.
5.5 - Wilson: Had his back to goal often. Put in a shift, but his end product was lacking.
(Sub) 6 - Isak: Contributed with decent combination play upon being brought on.
(Sub) NR - Lascelles: Cameo