Another dismal weekend:
A quarter of the season has passed, and Newcastle sit bottom of the league and have yet to register a win all season.
Unfortunately for Newcastle fans this is the headline once again this week after a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Brighton. The match had been seen as must-win in the build-up to last weekend, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Newcastle had won if you had only seen the stats after the game.
After a home defeat to possible relegation candidates which took Newcastle to bottom of the Premier League, it’s clear fans aren’t going to be taking many positives from the game. Nevertheless, the Magpies had the best of the chances throughout the game. Yoshinori Muto, Kenedy and Jonjo Shelvey all came close to finding the equalising goal. Newcastle dominated possession, which has been a rarity this season, and had more than three times the number of shots than their opponents.
Brighton’s goal came from a corner which they never should have had, after the ball ran out off of Solly March but the referee awarded Brighton a corner. From the resulting corner the ball would drop to Jose Izqueirdo at the edge of the box whose effort was deflected passed Martin Dubravka. Had Newcastle been correctly awarded a goal kick we could’ve seen a very different game of football. Is anybody else thinking of VAR or is that just me?
Their next opponents:
This weekend Newcastle take on fellow early season strugglers, Southampton. The south coast side sit 16th in the table on 6 points after the first 9 games of the season. They haven’t picked up a league win since September 1st and have lost 3 of their last 4 matches. Last weekend they played out a 0-0 draw against Bournemouth. Adam Smith and Josh King both missed chances off a Callum Wilson cutback, while Stuart Armstrong had the best chance for Southampton. He chested the ball down just yards away from goal but missed the ball entirely as he tried to put it past Asmir Begovic who gratefully cleared the ball away.
Pressure beginning to build:
After missing a big opportunity to pick up their first win last weekend, this weekend’s fixture has even more importance. It is still early in the season don’t forget, but the importance of a win cannot be underestimated for Newcastle fans. A win could lift them out of the relegation zone and would relieve the pressure that is beginning to build on both the players and Rafa Benitez. The support for Benitez has been clear ever since he joined the club. Meanwhile the distaste (to be polite) for owner Mike Ashley grows day-by-day. Unfortunately, as football fans know all too well, when things aren’t going as planned the fingers are usually pointed towards the manager. The Newcastle fans support for Benitez has been huge, but there are things that simply aren’t working for the Magpies on the pitch, so Benitez will be desperate to turn things around.
Predicted Southampton line-up: McCarthy; Cedric, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bertrand; Redmond, Hojbjerg, Lemina, Elyounoussi; Ings, Austin.
Predcited Newcastle line-up: Dubravka; Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy; Perez, Muto.
Predicted Scoreline: Southampton 1-1 Newcastle