Southampton moved to the top of the Premier League table for the first time ever by storming to a comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle on Friday evening.
The Saints needed just seven minutes to open the scoring through Che Adams, who fired home an impressive volley from a Theo Walcott cross. The south coast side remained on top for the remainder of the first half and probably should have doubled their lead shortly before the break, only for Walcott to drag his effort wide of the post.
The one-way traffic continued in the second half as Southampton pushed for a second goal. Jan Bednarek had an effort cleared off the line and Oriol Romeu saw a long-range effort crash over via the bar, and they finally got their second in the 81st minute as Stuart Armstrong fired home after some shocking defending from Newcastle.
The Magpies almost grabbed a goal back late on through Joelinton, but the Brazilian’s header was expertly kept out by Alex McCarthy, ensuring Southampton’s victory was about as perfect as could be.
Alex McCarthy (GK) – 7/10 – Did well to stay alert throughout and made an outstanding save to deny Joelinton late on.
Kyle Walker-Peters (RB) – 7/10 – Did all the defending he needed to but spent most of his time in the attacking third, wreaking havoc down the right side of the pitch.
Jan Bednarek (CB) – 6/10 – Callum Wilson’s movement caused him a few problems but nothing too severe. Stood his ground and ensured the Newcastle forwards couldn’t get in their grove.
Jannik Vestergaard (CB) – 8/10 – Vestergaard’s passing was one of the highlights for Southampton. The Dane fired forward passes with ease all night look and looked relaxed doing it.
Jack Stephens (LB) – 5/10 – Looked uncomfortable playing out of position and misplaced a few passes. Caught on camera reminding us all he’s ‘not a f**king ball boy’.
Stuart Armstrong (RM) – 9/10 – Pulled the strings for Southampton out wide but often drifted inside to take advantage of Newcastle’s awkward midfield. Seemed to be everywhere and took his goal with real class.
Oriol Romeu (CM) – 8/10 – Outstanding work rate from Romeu, who was a one-man wrecking crew as he charged back and forth to recover possession. Looked comfortable on the ball too and struck the bar with an excellent strike.
James Ward-Prowse (CM) – 9/10 – Did absolutely everything in every area of the pitch. Typically brilliant in possession but equally impressive doing the dirty work at the back. Playing out of his skin right now.
Moussa Djenepo (LM) – 6/10 – Struggled to match the outstanding impact from his teammates. Managed to get on the ball enough but found it hard to get into the box and often had to resort to rushed shots or crosses.
Theo Walcott (ST) – 9/10 – An absolute animal. Deployed centrally but was given the freedom to roam around an exploit space. Tormented Newcastle with his pressing, so we’ll let him off about his less-than-ideal cross to Adams.
Che Adams (ST) – 8/10 – Was more of a focal point than Walcott but still happy to move around in search of the ball. Could have scored an excellent long-range effort just seconds before volleying Southampton ahead.
Nathan Redmond – 6/10
Shane Long – N/A
Karl Darlow (GK) – 6/10 – Made some decent saves but will be disappointed to have seen Adams’ strike go over his head.
Jacob Murphy (RB) – 5/10 – Threatened to make something happen in attack but his legs looked to be working faster than his brain in the final third.
Fabian Schar (CB) – 4/10 – Did not look up for the fight with Walcott and Adams. Regularly ripped apart by Southampton’s pace and looked lost at sea at times.
Jamaal Lascelles (CB) – 5/10 – Just as poor as Schar but made a goal-line clearance shortly after the break to stop Bednarek from scoring.
Federico Fernandez (CB) – 4/10 – Looked far too slow to cope with Southampton’s dynamic attack, but admittedly was given no support from his midfielders. Passing was far too boring.
Jamal Lewis (LB) – 3/10 – Caught in possession far too often and put his side in danger regularly. Given the run-around by Armstrong and Walker-Peters.
Miguel Almiron (CM) – 2/10 – Seemed to forget Southampton existed when he was caught on the ball for Adams’ goal. Not a natural deep midfielder and looked uncomfortable, but that doesn’t excuse some of his errors.
Sean Longstaff (CM) – 1/10 – Barely touched the ball and spent most of the game charging around trying to keep up. Couldn’t get anywhere near Southampton’s forwards and was inexplicably caught in possession for Armstrong’s goal.
Jeff Hendrick (CM) – 2/10 – An anonymous performance from Hendrick. Chasing shadows for most of the game and never really looked like helping out. Lucky to be brought off on the hour mark before things got worse.
Callum Wilson (ST) – 3/10 – Tried to cause problems with his movement but was so isolated in attack. Managed just nine touches in first half and can’t have had many more after the break before he went off injured.
Allan Saint-Maximin (ST) – 3/10 – Seemed starved in a central role, meaning Steve Bruce’s tactic of ‘give it Saint-Maximin and hope for the best’ didn’t pay off.
Matty Longstaff – 4/10
Andy Carroll – 5/10
Joelinton – 5/10
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