What a massive day in our battle to beat the drop, with Benitez and the boys putting in another big effort at St James’ Park to see off Southampton in today’s relegation six-pointer at the bottom.
Not only did results go our way elsewhere, but today’s win puts us up to 13th and 5 points clear of the drop zone (with a far superior goal difference to most around us too).
- Kenedy showed his class, taking his first goal excellently and scoring the all important second too.
- Lejeune was excellent and looks a proper player next to Lascelles (who was a rock once again).
- Dummett’s defensive work was outstanding once again – very few players successfully take him on!
- Gayle could and should’ve scored but his assist for our all important second showed brilliant composure.
- Another goal for Ritchie was great to see – two in two for him at home after failing to score all season prior to Man Utd
- Diame set the tempo once again in the middle with some non-stop pressing – he looks so much fitter and stronger
- Shelvey didn’t have assist to his name all season before this one – now he has two, setting up our 1st and 3rd goal today!
- Dubravka commanding from crosses – that’s two clean sheets in two games at St James’ for him!
— The Spectator's View (@thespectoview) March 10, 2018
So often this season we’ve failed to take our chances, letting ‘beatable’ sides get away with it at St James’ Park, but today was different. Kenedy’s early goal was crucial – a brilliant show of quality which gave us all a huge lift in a game that promised to be tight and tense before kick off.
For a few moments after our opener I worried that we were about to sit off Southampton and take our foot off the gas, and although we did retreat at times, we didn’t really have to get out of second gear to beat a woeful looking Saints side today.
They rarely threatened, however we know how fragile our home form has been this season, so Kenedy’s second goal felt massive. Quite incredibly, it was only the second time this season we’ve lead by more than one goal at St James’ Park this season (the first time since August’s 3-0 win over West Ham!).
From then on it was plain sailing. A combination of our hard work, discipline and desire mixed in with their total lack of intensity meant an all important three points always looked safe – and that was made certain when Matt Ritchie’s sweeping low shot found the bottom corner. There are few sights in football better than Matt Ritchie sprinting towards the Gallowgate in celebration ready to give the corner flag an absolute leathering, and it was great to see that once again today!
— NUFC Online (@NUFC_Online) March 10, 2018
Not only have we pulled off a huge win ourselves today, putting us on 32 points with 8 games to go, but results elsewhere couldn’t have went much better.
We’ve gained two on Huddersfield and Swansea (who drew 0-0), we’ve leapfrogged West Ham (who got stuffed 0-3 at home to Burnley amongst some ugly scenes), Palace are 2-0 down at Chelsea as I type, Pardew’s bottom of the league West Brom got stuffed at home to Leicester and Brighton lost at Everton. Our 3-0 win also does wonders for our strong-looking goal difference too.
Aside from all this though, this win puts us 4 points clear of Southampton in 17th – a team who stunk of a side going down if you ask me. They lacked fight, looked a soft touch at the back and offered as little going forward as any side has this season at St James’.
A great day for NUFC ahead of our 3-week break. Bring on Huddersfield on in 21 day’s time!
Here’s Rafa’s reactions followed by the updated Premier League table..
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 10, 2018