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Southampton 2 v 0 Newcastle United
Barclays Premier League
Friday, 6th November 2020 Kick-off 20:00
Saints V Newcastle United The Verdict
Saturday, 7th Nov 2020 09:19

Eight months ago Saints lost to Newcastle United and a couple of days later the Country went into lockdown and the season was suspended, with Saints fans still looking over their shoulders at the bottom three, fast forward and the Geordies came back but it's a different story now.

With injury issues Ralph Hasenhuttl opted to be brave and go for the win rather than be cautious, he kept the same formation with Jan Bednarek fit and brought in Jack Stephens at left back, in the midfield he moved Theo Walcott into a more forward role and brought in Moussa Djenepo in his place on the left.

Good management from the Austrian, he had to make changes but he didn't complicate them by reshuffling too much or changing formation.

From the very start it was obvious that Saints were focused on the job and had the visitors on the back foot, we were the Saints of the first half at Villa Park not the team of the second and it paid early dividends, in the 7th minute Theo Walcott did some great work and puled the ball back for Adams, it was a difficult chance but the striker executed it perfectly smashing it past several defenders and leaving the keeper no chance.

It was a goal that Danny Ings would be proud of, in the previews I have been saying how confident I was, that Che Adams would step up to the plate and it was pleasing to be proved right.

Saints were a potent force going forward with Theo Walcott and Moussa Djenepo making some great runs.

At the back the defence held strong, give Kyle Walker Peters the ball and he rarely loses possession even under great pressure, Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard were strong and as stand in left back Jack Stephens did a good job.

In the centre of midfield James Ward Prowse and Oriol Romeu were strong they won the ball and used it well.

But for all our dominance we didn't get the second goal and there was always the chance that Newcastle would snatch it and Alex McCarthy did his job when called upon.

In the 82nd minute came the second goal that the TV audience of Saints supporters were waiting for, Stuart Armstrong won the ball and fired home to finish off lingering Geordie hopes and suddenly everyone realised that the dream was to come true and Saints would be top of the Premier League.

A job well done and typical of the spirit that Ralph Hasenhuttl has given not only his team but this football club, he has given us our pride back.

A comprehensive victory where it is hard to find any criticism of any player, they all did their job and did it well, just a shame that Saints fans could not be in the ground to see it, a little over a year ago on a wet Friday evening we witnessed perhaps the lowest point in our club history but definitely since we were first in the Premier League in 1992, this was perhaps the best moment since that time and the complete exorcism of that night against Leicester.

Saints are top of the Premier League, it might only be till 2.15pm today, so lets enjoy it !

Photo: Action Images

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HythePeer added 09:46 - Nov 7
The best I have seen Saints play under RH. There were no match winning individual performances but a solid positive team performance where each player stuck to his task. Additionally, players were eager to move the ball forward even JWP!! Stephens was a bit bizarre?! As soon as he got the ball he would stand still look about then give it to a nearby player, but he was in an unfamiliar role so I'll forgive him that. Walcott has matured into a cool and collected forward and looks a great buy/loan. All night everything that Armstrong did just didn't quite come off so I was glad he got his goal he deserved it. RH seems to have abandoned all his weird managerial ideas now and is allowing the right players to play their right game; if he and the players continue as such there is no reason they can't do a "Leicester".

Block8 added 09:59 - Nov 7
Great result & performance by all & apart from one header they were unable to create anything. A mention for Jack playing out of position but intelligent enough to keep it very simple & not expose his obvious weakness, no left foot.
The fact they don't have the, unfortunately, many moaners in the crowd, who have no real understanding of the game and expect us to bomb forward with reckless abandon every time we will the ball, is obviously helping the team. So no booing the very good game management Ralph employs allows this team to play & dictate games.
However saying that I miss being there or away incredibly!

WestSussexSaint added 10:08 - Nov 7
The ultimate team performance. The potency we showed against Villa with a bit more discipline. Everyone deserved motm including the manager.

Soooo happy right now!

LordDZLucan added 10:34 - Nov 7
In his post match interview Ralph said that not having the pressure of playing in front of the home fans had made the players braver in terms of the football that they try to play. the result - we're top of the league. There's a lesson for us fans there. We need to be more supportive.

underweststand added 10:34 - Nov 7
A game that all Saints fan will recall put us top of the Prem. (perhaps) albeit for one day. Not a classic performance and one we made hard work of to get the second goal.
Having said that everyone DAJFU without exception when many feared the worst without talisman Danny Ings, and with right-footed Jack Stephens playing at LB.
Djenepo put in his best performance before going off, and Theo Walcott beginning to look like he was never away (and providing his second assist had hard luck not to score).
Romeu and JWP looked massive in MF, and just rewards for Stuart Armstrong and Ché Adams who is starting to look more like the sort of player we hoped he would become.
We should be in for a real treat when he and Danny Ings really "come on song ".

IS Walker-Peters the "steal " of the season ? . Not the tallest player in the squad, but surely the most fearless. Overall... a very satisfying result, and now a couple of weeks break to help get over the shock of being in top spot, and prepare for the next 30 games.


IanRC added 10:38 - Nov 7
Great performance and a brilliant tweet from Southampton FC to celebrate. Thought JWP was immense.

halftimeorange added 10:49 - Nov 7
Steve Bruce showed his usual honesty when admitting his side had been outplayed by a very good Saints team. My only concern is not with our performance, but with Ralph being again linked with Man U - this time by the BBC. I'm rather hoping that Pochettino will recue us by taking that post when it becomes available. If not, and Ralph goes, would we have MP back here? He does favour a similar pressing style of play.

felly1 added 11:09 - Nov 7
It's amazing what a difference confidence makes. The Ralph revolution has been a bumpy ride at times but the rewards in sticking with him and the players is really paying off.
So proud to be a Saints fan right now. I've had non Saints fans friends texting me saying how good we look and what an exciting team we have and it just feels like we have a the right blend of players who are suited to this high tempo style of football.

mattthelegend added 11:22 - Nov 7
Dominated them, 😇💪

Boris1977 added 12:08 - Nov 7
Incredible and we'll deserved. Just hope we can keep this squad and manager together for a few seasons at least.

theralpholution added 12:18 - Nov 7
Another game where we got away with it. Sure it was the fourth clean sheet in six games but we must not get carried away. We must remember that these are championship defenders and some games we'll keep a clean sheet and in others we won't be troubled by the opposition. The problem is that there are no leaders in the defence and no organisation. I've said for four years now that what we need is a near retired defender to stand around shouting out stuff or we're going to carry on this slippery slope to the top. The balance is wrong between the defenders as you need a stopper and one who isn't a stopper or something like that and Stephens disrupts the defence when he comes in and keeps a clean sheet so sort it out Ralph, you can still get someone on loan, it's not too late.

felly1 added 13:05 - Nov 7
Theralpholution.. You're a very naughty boy indeed!! 😂

davepid added 13:10 - Nov 7
It might be a bit premature to be singing,’ we are the Champions ‘ , but I do think we can sign, ‘we are staying up.’

davidargyll added 13:12 - Nov 7
Three points I would make about last night’s performance.
First our method of play makes opposition teams look ordinary because they simply cannot take the pace of our pressing and counter-attacking. Someone will surely work us out in due course but let’s enjoy it while it lasts. I’m not thinking about any high finishing spot, simply that if we continue to play like we are, then I will remain an extremely happy season ticket holder and the sooner we get back to SMS the better.
Second, the joy on the faces of all the Saints’ players says it all - they are clearly all really enjoying themselves and that has been instilled by the manager.
Finally, to all those moaners who said we were a really badly managed club and the owner/ceo has no interest in investing in it, I think it’s time for some serious word-eating...

TeamCortese added 14:05 - Nov 7
Brilliant result and very professional performance from the players. 24 points needed after eight games in is nothing short of exceptional!

halftimeorange: normally I would take such rumours with a pinch of salt; however, I'll be keeping my ears open simply because Sir Alex Ferguson called Ralph the night we lost 9-0 to Leicester.

That for me is a massive deal as he must be looked upon very fondly by the Man Utd hierarchy. Fingers-crossed Poch takes the role!

SanMarco added 14:58 - Nov 7
Great performance - it is time to enjoy the moment!! I am too old to start fantasising about trips to the Camp Nou but 24 hours on top is something to be enjoyed - we have enough bad times so I am enjoying a good one and modestly hoping there may be more.

Given past experience it is not foolish to worry about the Manure thing. I felt a bit torn this afternoon - wanted Everton to lose so we stayed top but want Olly gone asap so Poch can take over. I don't think Ralph would go mid-season so the sooner the better on any 'big' managerial role becoming vacant. I would also worry about Spuds because their current manager never stays anywhere very long and well its Spuds...

ItchenNorth added 16:13 - Nov 7
I think having no fans in the ground is helping Saint transition the football philosophy that Hasenhuttl sets out, far quicker than if the stadium was full of fans. It has allowed the players to play without fear.

What I love about what we are seeing is a very clear style and identify of play, that all players have bought into. We attack quickly, but if it breaks down, we just turn back and start again (going as far back as to passing to McCarthy if needed). If fans were in the stadium, I think many would moan at this (why are we going backwards all the time etc). What it does though is it retains possession of the ball. We start again and build patiently until the next opening arrives, and then we speed up again in our attack.

Similarly, we only press in certain moments and when we do, we hunt in packs.

Tactically this is the best I've seen Saints in many years and the players are well drilled now.

Would a home crowd allow the players the time to learn and employ what Hasenhuttl demands, doubtful imo (which is a shame). That said, when we do all return to St Marys, the team won't need to navigate a transitional period in front of fans, it will be there as will the confidence in Hasenhuttl"s game plan.

Great stuff Saints and a big hats off to Hasenhuttl and the team.


AmericanSaint added 16:14 - Nov 7
So great game last night and after we scored the first goal, it is the first time this season that I was never nervous about us finishing out the game. We controlled the game the whole time and except for one excellent header by NU, which AM dispatched with plumb, they never bother us. This should build the confidence of every player and now there should be the attitude that we can beat any team. My one question is what will this do for the potential sale of the club? I am hoping Gao still sells to the American and doesnt try to change the negotiated price. I fear Goa will get greedy and then we will lose a potential owner who will invest in the club. Has anyone heard of where the potential sale is going? Let's enjoy the next two weeks and hope Dnany recovers fast. COYR.

NewburySaint added 20:10 - Nov 7
Just think, if we win our next 30 Prem games we become champions!

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