|Newcastle United 3 v 2 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 6th February 2021 Kick-off 15:00
|Newcastle United 3 v 2 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 6th February 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton At Newcastle United The Preview
Saturday, 6th Feb 2021 09:15
Its the beginning of the future today, as Saints put the horror of Tuesday behind them and look to get back a few players to the squad and regain their form of only a few weeks ago. What is done is done, it is only the future that can change.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will be working with the squad this week on rebuilding confidence, he will be pointing out to the players that the result at Old Trafford was all about a collision of certain things arriving all at once, a horrendous injury list that laid the squad bare to the bone, a rush of blood that led to sending off after only 75 seconds, two terrible VAR decisions that turned the result from a mere rout to a total debacle after the second sending off.
No one is pretending that any of the incidents cost us the game, but even with the sending off we kept going and if Che Adams goal had counted and VAR had rued out the late penalty the result would have looked a little more respectable.
All of that combined to conjure up a freak result and Ralph will be quick to emphasise that this was not a full side completely outclassed, that would be hard to repair, but as we get players back from injury we can put this behind us and show the class we showed only a few weeks ago.
From this perspective the squad will be boosted not only by the rescinding of the red card meaning that Jan Bednarek can play at St James Park, but by the prospect of several players ready to make a return from the injury list.
Ralph has played his cards close to his chest on who may be fit and who are not quite there yet, but he will be using the positives to motivate his squad.
So who will be returning to the squad, it seems that Kyle Walker Peters, Oriol Romeu & Jannik Vestergaard will all travel, but although one maybe two might be fit to start, the likelihood is that at least one will be on the bench, Jannik Vestergaard having been out the longest is perhaps not ready for 90 minutes just yet.
But just their presence is a boost and add to that the arrival of Takumi Minamino, it will be a stronger better balanced squad that will face Newcastle.
No one is pretending that Tuesday evening did not happen, but it's now history and we can't change that, but we can change today at St James Park and move forward.
Ralph will still have a small block of experienced players that will form his starting XI but he will have a few more options to choose from than he did on Tuesday, we are not quite out of the woods yet but at least we can see the light.
Saints record at St James Park is not good, we have lost the last three visits and aside from a 2-1 win and a draw under Ronald Koeman, it has mainly been defeats & the odd draw for the last 24 years .
One omen is that the hero in that last win 6 years ago was another winger on loan Eljero Elias, could history repeat itself this year with Minamino.
So this is a good day for a revival and a win would take us back up the table or at least keep us in touch with a top 8 place.
Newcastle are a funny side this season, our win over them earlier in the season at St Mary's was as comfortable as it can get and they looked a poor side, but they have revived in recent weeks and pulled themselves clear of the relegation dog fight.
Today would ideally see us win the game and silence a few critics, but the first thing we need to do is restore our pride, we still wont have anything like our full side out, but we want to see a team that is organised and can compete.
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Today we face a trip to Crawley, not usually a venue that bears fruit for the U’s it has to be said. In nine visits we’ve only won once in the league, and once in the League Cup. Of course, we’ll all remember that League Cup victory, indeed many of us were probably there to see us progress through to 5th round and the dream fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford. All of our goal-scorers that night, Luke’s Norris and Gambin, and Cohen Bramall (okay, technically an O.G.), are no longer with us, so let’s hope at the very least that recent departee and subsequent returnee Frank Nouble can bag another like his late equaliser against Mansfield. Steve Ball commented during the week about how tight the league is at the moment, and he’s right that a couple of back to back victories would see us move significantly up the table away from danger – but we’ve got to win them first Steve – something we’ve failed to do since our 1-0 victory at Scunthorpe on December 8th.
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
And so the dust settles on another transfer window closing, and despite (my) expectations that the possibility of incoming business was going to be remote, we have instead seen a veritable flurry of activity, with no less than three coming in. Big Frank Nouble, making a very welcome return on loan from Plymouth Argyle, of course needs no introduction. Neither really does feisty Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, here on loan last season, and this time signed full-time from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Actually paying hard cash for someone did come as a surprise, presumably offset by the sale of Cohen Bramall to Lincoln for a similarly undisclosed fee. However, the fact that the Addicks have insisted on not only a sell-on clause, but a rarely used buy-back clause too, suggests (a) Wiredu’s signing fee probably wasn’t too high, and (b) Charlton are protecting those finances with these clauses. The last one, which would have been a complete surprise for me were it not for a contact leaking me the news earlier yesterday, is left-back Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley. Josh was only announced once outgoing left-back Bramall was confirmed, and presumably his loan is directly related to part-time fashion model, TV and radio celeb and former left-back Mark Wright signing for Crawley on a non-contract game-by-game basis in December. We have also released seven from the academy, Ollie Kensdale, Miquel Scarlett, Sammie McLeod, Michael Fernandes, Ollie Sims, Danny Collinge and Matt Weaire, and I’m sure we all wish them the best for the future.
Letters from Wiltshire #30 by wessex_exile
Friday night football – can’t beat it. Gives you that feelgood factor all weekend, sitting back to enjoy a stress-free Saturday afternoon watching others fail in your wake. Of course, you have to win first, which we’ve been struggling to do for a while now, so be prepared for the possibility of a miserable weekend just in case. We share this evening with Reading v AFC Bournemouth, albeit they kick-off an hour later than we do. In the real world, leaders of the UK’s five largest business groups have written to Boris demanding action on the substantial difficulties they are facing over Brexit bureaucracy, whilst French border authorities are reporting that two-thirds of lorries arriving from the UK are empty (i.e. no exports leaving the UK). Still, at least the NHS can enjoy their extra £350m per week…
Letters from Wiltshire #29 by wessex_exile
Looks like some around the world have started 2021 a bit cross. Never mind the attempted insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month, those normally laid-back Dutch have now been rioting for three nights running about the imposition of a night-time curfew to try and curb the spread of coronavirus. Farmers in Delhi have stormed through police lines and breached the Red Fort in protest against market reforms, and tragic Somalia has just passed the 30th anniversary of their ongoing civil war. In brighter news, President Biden has immediately begun dismantling and/or reversing some of Trump’s more contentious decisions, including rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, renewed funding for the World Health Organisation, revoking the ‘Muslim travel ban’, defunding the border wall, rescinding Trump’s report calling for a ‘more patriotic’ syllabus in schools, and overturning the ban on transgender people serving in the military.
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