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Season 2018-19
Southampton (h) Premier League


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Date:
Saturday 20th March 2019, 5.30pm
Live on BT Sports

Venue:
 St. James' Park

Conditions: Keen

 




Newcastle United

Southampton

3 - 1

 

Teams

Goals

27 mins Fuelled by righteous indignation after the Almiron incident, Isaac Hayden took the ball off the toes of Pierre Hojbjerg with a one-footed lunge into the path of Ayoze Perez. The Spaniard jinked his way to the right side of the box and just when it seemed he would pass, he slotted the ball between covering defender Jan Bednarek's leg and in off the far post. 1-0

31 mins Matt Ritchie's determination to reach the ball on the halfway line took him past a pair of idling opponents and his pass set Salomon Rondon scampering away down the left touchline.

Shadowed by two Saints defenders, the striker made it into the box before a sending over a perfect low cross to the far post for Ayoze Perez to slide in beyond Ryan Betrand and stretch his right leg, hitting the ball into the ground which took it over the dive of visiting custodian Angus Gunn.
2-0

Half time: Magpies 2 Saints 0

59 mins Nathan Redmond's cross from the right was touched into the path of Mario Lemina who hit a firm low shot from the edge of the area that beat Martin Dubravka's dive to his left 2-1

86 mins Some concerted pressure on the Saints goal led to two corners and when the second was half-cleared, Matt Ritchie threw himself at the ball. His header may have been going in but Ayoze Perez glanced the ball to the other side of Gunn and into the unguarded Leazes goal. 3-1

Full time: Magpies 3 Saints 1

We Said

Rafa:

"Iím really pleased. We can see the potential, we can see how big this massive club in this fantastic city can be.

"I was talking with the other manager before the game and he said Ďgreat stadium and atmosphereí - everybodyís impressed. Now, we have carry on, trying to continue with the same feeling
."

On James Ward-Prowse fouling Miguel Almiron:

"You see the foul, we had two players running in against the goalkeeper and I donít care how far from goal it was. 

"We had two players in the middle of the pitch and just their goalkeeper, it was a very clear chance. The next Southampton player was ten metres behind.Ē


On the chances of avoiding relegation:

"I think we are safe. Mathematically, we still have to see what happens, but it will be very difficult for us to go down. I think you have to give credit to the team and the fans.

"To have at this stage of the season 41 points, nearly safe - mathematically we cannot say that we are safe, but nearly safe - is really important, and now we have three games, and we have to try to do our best to be as high as possible in the table."

On Perez:

"Heís worked hard, but has to be more consistent and he will score even more goals! But, you have to be happy with a player that has quality and is working for the team. Heís someone that can do something different.

"The way that we play now, with Miguel Almiron with his pace, Rondon holding the ball, and the wing-backs, he is finding more space in between the lines, and also behind the defence. A lot of things are coming together.'

On the injuries:

"I think itís a hamstring injury but we have to wait and assess him. We
(also) lost Schar and Hayden, and we had some problems and had to adapt."

On his future at the club:

"Any time, we have to talk because at the end, everything that will happen on June 30 has to be good for everyone. Until then I have to decide if we sign anyone, so we have to talk any time.

"We had problems at the beginning of the season, but we stuck together and now we are doing well. We have been improving but we have a limit. 

"In the Premier League you have to compete with the teams who are finishing seventh and tenth, we have to compete with them in terms of wages and fees. We need to find a balance.

"We signed
(Martin) Dubravka last year and he won the first game against Manchester United, and he's more than 24, we have (Miguel) Almiron doing well and we have (Salomon) Rondon, who are more than 24 and doing well.

"At the same time, we have (Isaac) Hayden, (Jamaal) Lascelles, or even (Sean) Longstaff, so the balance is the key.

"(In terms of negotiations) We are in the same position as we were before. 

"When I came here, I could see the potential of the club to be challenging, certainly for seventh to 10th in the table but looking higher.

"But when you analyse the transfer fees and wage bills of other teams, we're not competing."

They Said

Ralph Hasenhuttl said:
 
"It was an intense game. First-half we were not able to stop them. After 20 minutes, it seemed we got out of the pressure but then there was the situation with the corner and a counter-attack against us, where we made a foul.

"We were a little bit lucky it was only a yellow in this moment but then the crowd was loud and their team was very aggressive. We were sitting on the back foot and it was not good enough today.

"I have to say it, in the first-half it was too calm, too slow and not aggressive enough. In that way, you canít play in the Premier League because you have no chance. If you start like that and are 2-0 down at half-time, it's hard to come back.

"The opponent was very good today, very aggressive and physical. We had no chance to keep the ball and that creates pressure sometimes.

"That was why we changed so much at half-time by taking off two players and the shape. You normally do if you have the feeling that nothing works. In the second-half we were coming back from 2-0 down but against such a team in this stadium it is not easy to come back.

"We tried everything and had a few chances for an equaliser. We played very well in the second half but it was too late They didn't have a lot of chances in the second half, apart from hitting the post, which was lucky.

"We have to be sharper and more aggressive. We know we are not safe - 40 points is the reason why it's a crucial game on Tuesday. We need to be concentrated and hard working.

On goalscorer Lemina:

"Iím happy for him. He came into the second-half in a very difficult game and showed that he has quality on the ball and good physical attributes. It was a fantastic goal for him..

"Itís a good sign for him and I hope he can stay without pain because that will be good for us.

"The second-half was a good first step for him to get 45 minutes and we play again on Tuesday so letís have a look to see what position we can use him.Ē

Stats

 
With three games left, Newcastle now have 41 points - three less than they managed last season and ahead of their totals in 2008/09 (relegated with 34), 2012/13 (survived with 41), 2014/15 (survived with 39) and 2015/16 (relegated with 37).

(24 hours later, a 0-2 home defeat for Cardiff at the hands of Liverpool mathematically confirmed that we couldn't be caught and had retained top-flight status. Fittingly, the goalscorers were two SJP old boys; Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner).

NUFC after 35 games:

2017/18: Won 11, Drawn 8, Lost 16. Gd of -9 (scores 35, conceded 44) 41 points.
2018/19: Won 11, Drawn 8, Lost 16. Gd of -9 (scores 35, conceded 44) 41 points

The Magpies have now scored 35 Premier League goals this season - matching their smallest previous total, set back in the 1997/98 season. 22 of those goals were scored at home, which exceeds our lowest PL of 21 that was recorded in the 2017/18 campaign. 

Perez's hat-trick is Newcastle's first in the PL since Gini Wijnaldum hit four against Norwich City at SJP in October 2015. United's most recent treble in all competitions meanwhile was Dwight Gayle's Championship effort at home to Birmingham City during December 2016.

Perez reached double figures for the season in the PL and is top scorer with 11 in all competitions - one more than Salomon Rondon (nine in PL +1 in League Cup). Ayoze moved up to ninth in our PL scorer chart, his 31 goals taking him above Obafemi Martins, Demba Ba and Gary Speed:

Ayoze Perez 31
Robert Lee 34
Papiss Demba Cisse 37
Nolberto Solano 37
(OG 39)
Les Ferdinand 41
Shola Ameobi 43
Andy Cole 43
Peter Beardsley 46
Alan Shearer 148

After bagging a brace on six previous occasions in all competitions for the club, it was seventh time lucky for Perez in completing a first NUFC hat trick. The Spaniard is the eleventh player to have bagged a PL treble for us, this was the fourteenth hat trick completed by those eleven:

1993/94 Peter Beardsley v Wimbledon (h)
1993/94 Andy Cole v Liverpool (h)
1993/94 Andy Cole v Coventry City (h)
1995/96 Les Ferdinand v Wimbledon (h)
1996/97 Alan Shearer v Leicester City (h)
1999/00 Alan Shearer v Sheffield Wed (h) (5)
2005/06 Michael Owen v West Ham (a)
2010/11 Andy Carroll v Aston Villa (h)
2010/11 Kevin Nolan v mackems (h)
2010/11 Leon Best v West Ham (h)
2011/12 Demba Ba v Blackburn Rovers (h)
2011/12 Demba Ba v Stoke City (a)
2015/16 Gini Wijnaldum v Norwich City (h) (4)
2018/19 Ayoze Perez v Southampton (h)

Saints in Toon - Premier League era:

2018/19 Won 3-1 Perez 3
2017/18 Won 3-0 Kenedy 2, Ritchie
2015/16 Drew 2-2 Cisse, Wijnaldum
2014/15 Lost 1-2 Gouffran
2013/14 Drew 1-1 Gouffran
2012/13 Won 4-2 Sissoko, Cisse, Cabaye (pen), OG
2005/06 Won 1-0 Dyer (FAC)
2004/05 Won 2-1 Shearer (pen), Bramble
2003/04 Won 1-0 Shearer
2002/03 Won 2-1 Sh.Ameobi, Hughes
2001/02 Won 3-1 Robert, Shearer 2 (1 pen)
2000/01 Drew 1-1 Gallacher
1999/00 Won 5-0 Ferguson 2, Solano, Dabizas, OG
1998/99 Won 4-0 Shearer 2 (1 pen), Ketsbaia, OG
1997/98 Won 2-1 Barnes 2
1996/97 Lost 0-1
1995/96 Won 1-0 Lee
1994/95 Won 5-1 Watson 2, Cole 2, Lee
1993/94 Lost 1-2 Cole

Almost unnoticed on the visiting bench was former Magpie goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who hasn't featured competitively for the Saints since December 2017.

  

Waffle

A first hat trick in English football for Ayoze Perez on Saturday helped United secure the victory that took them past the 40 point mark and banished any lingering doubts about Premier League status.

This teatime game kicked off under blue skies, but the warm temperatures and a lack of goalmouth activity initially threatened to leave supporters snoozing.

That all changed midway through the first half, when referee Anthony Taylor's refusal to dismiss James Ward-Prowse for a cynical bodycheck on Miguel Almiron fired up home players and fans alike.

The Paraguayan was still in his own half, but with a clear route to goal as he raced forward with Salomon Rondon in support. Blatantly denied a goalscoring opportunity by Ward-Prowse in the absence of any covering defenders, the outcome was a yellow card, rather than red.

Surrounding by protesting players and with an incensed manager and staff protesting at pitchside, coach Mikel Antia was sent to the stands for abusing the linesman, Rafa fortunate not to follow him.

That anger though was quickly channelled in a positive way by the black and whites, and renewed harrying of the opposition defence would soon bring tangible reward.

Isaac Hayden's persistence set up Perez to weave his way into the Saints area before netting with a low shot that went through a covering defender's legs and nestled in the far side of the goal.

1-0 soon became 2-0 as more slackness from the visitors allowed United to push forward down the left flank and Salomon Rondon squeeze a cross to the far post for Perez to force the ball home. 

Rondon himself almost made it 3-0 a minute into added time, but his shot from eight yards out was blocked as he seemed certain to convert.

Despite not being certain of their own top-flight survival, Southampton had shown remarkably little as an attacking force in the opening 45 minutes, but would dominate the game following the interval.

A double change by Ralph Hasenhuttl saw Mario Lemina and Stuart Armstrong arrive, and Lemina got one back just before the hour mark as he was given time to shoot from the edge of the area.

Maya Yoshida missed twice from close range for the visitors, while rare attacks by United led to Ki striking the base of a post and Gunn somehow saving a deflected drive from Hayden.

Injuries to Almiron, Fabian Schar and Hayden saw all three substituted and affected our balance - concern that what looked like a hamstring pull by Almiron could bring his season to an early conclusion. The Paraguayan looking like he was almost in tears as he left the pitch.

Pressure continued to build on United and there was a clear sense of unease within the ground, not helped when Rondon's header was blocked on the line by Ward-Prowse after a scramble in the area.

However, Perez wasn't finished and was in the right place to glance home Matt Ritchie's goalbound header four minutes from full time - the committed intervention of Ritchie capping a display surely motivated by the boyhood Pompey fan facing his Hampshire rivals.

The Saints kept pushing on to make the five added minutes slightly uncomfortable before the final whistle sounded and Perez left the field with the match ball and applause ringing in his ears. 

There were rousing choruses of appreciation for the manager too, as he was left in no doubt about the support he retains from the stands during what could be his penultimate home game in charge.

In his post-match media comments, Benitez then reiterated the importance of the club striving to do more than merely survive in the Premier League - a view seemingly at odds with comments from Lee Charnley following the release of the club accounts this week.

Three games to go then and safety has been reached, but little else seems decided on Barrack Road.


Biffa/Niall


Page last updated 25 April, 2019