A brilliant result in Southampton for the Magpies, who moved one step closer to Wembley with a 1-0 win over Southampton in the first leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final.
Not our best performance by any means, but we kept another clean sheet and take a lead to St James’ Park next week. Here’s the ratings following a dramatic night on the south coast.
Nick Pope – 8 – Brilliant performance from the big man. He made three smart saves, was typically quick off his line and dominant in the air, catching the ball well from corners and crosses. That’s 10 clean sheets in a row now for a player surely knocking for England’s number one shirt. Looks unbeatable at present in between the sticks.
Kieran Trippier – 7.5 – Was by far our best player in the first half and seemed to be the only one demonstrating composure at key times in the match. Leadership qualities there to see all night in a match that needed someone to take control of the game. Got booked against the tricky Edozie and had the odd sloppy moment in the second half, but five tackles, a couple of lovely crosses and one key interception sum up a really solid game.
Fabian Schar – 7 – A knock threatened to cut his evening short after five minutes but recovered well. Played some beautiful cross field passes in the first half opening up Southampton’s frail defence.
Sven Botman – 7 – Not at his brilliant best but solid nevertheless. Four clearances and a brilliant block to deny Armstrong. Spurned a good chance in the second half from a tight angle and had a few ropey moments as the Saints piled the pressure on in the second 45.
Dan Burn – 6 – Really struggled to affect the game in the Southampton half and never really got up to speed in the match. Really quiet going forward but played his part defensively. Got done by Armstrong for the Southampton disallowed goal and was struggling to cope before Saint-Maximin came on to push Walker-Peters back.
Sean Longstaff – 5 – Looked well off the pace in the first half with stray passes, lethargic movement and lack of focus, although he did flash a wicked ball across the six yard box early on which was begging for someone to be on the end of. Blazed over a good opportunity from the edge of the box in the second half and played some really silly passes, although one late ball through to Isak almost helped us to a second. It’s so apparent his shooting needs work.
Bruno Guimaraes – 7 – More passes than any other player. Some classy moments in the middle of the park but by no means one of his better performances. Looked to be forcing it at times and not at his all-action best, a little like his solid but unspectacular display on Saturday. Booked for an altercation with a Southampton player in the second half.
Joe Willock – 5 – Rushed two massive chances in the first half, blaring both over the bar. Needed to improve his composure on a night where he could’ve come away with two or three goals. The second chance especially he should’ve tried to caress, rather than try to take the net off. Plenty running but a real lack of end product; which was a similar story at Palace.
Miguel Almiron – 6 – Looked a real threat running in behind in the first half, drawing the first of two yellow cards from the Southampton’s Caleta-Car. Created a few big chances and worked hard, but looked absolutely spent late on. I do wonder if teams have ‘worked him out’, so to speak, as his penetrating runs in behind don’t seem to be as effective. Seemed a bit one dimensional at times. Maybe suffering from fatigue, as Howe has barely rotated much since the break.
Joelinton – 7 – His goal helps make up for that absolutely APPALLING miss early on in the second half. That said, he’d have come away with a brace had VAR not chalked off his early strike! Worked hard off the ball as expected and his lung busting run for the goal was an outstanding bit of attacking movement. Won seven duels in midfield (more than any other player) and didn’t sulk after a few big moments went against him before his winning goal.
Callum Wilson – 5 – Appeared well off the pace again. Howe commented in his pre-match that Wilson has had limited training time due to illness and it was apparent again this evening. Lacked strength to hold the ball up and seems reluctant to release the explosive pace he once possessed, making few trademark burst in behind. Really hope he gets back to his lethal best soon but wouldn’t be surprised to see him replaced by Isak in the eleven next Tuesday.
Allan Saint-Maximin – 8 – Helped change the game tonight and set the bar for future performances. Committed players to tackles, drew fouls, creates space elsewhere, brought players into the game, got Caleta-Car sent off and forced Walker-Peters to retreat just as the full-back was causing Burn problems at the other end. Our attacking play and threat on the break completely changed following the Frenchman’s introduction. A rare start next week could be in order?
Alexander Isak – 8* – He was the difference makers in the final third, much like his French teammate. Left Caleta-Car for dead with an explosive turn of pace, squaring the ball beautifully for the Joelinton tap in. Looked really sharp and perhaps is now getting back to full fitness, with him almost helping himself to a second after rounding Bazunu in extra time. Would expect to see him start against Southampton next Tuesday.
Jacob Murphy – 7 – Gets a seven alone for that SUPERB wave off to the Southampton player who was sent off! Elite gamesmanship. Performance related, he looked a threat off the bench and caused Southampton issues with his relentless pressing from the front.