MATCH PREVIEW: Southampton v Newcastle United. St Mary’s Stadium, 9/Apr/16, KO 3pm, Premier League.

by • April 7, 2016 • Match previewsComments (13)2264

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Remember Summer 2009?  I do.  A really good trip to Eindhoven (it’s a cracking city, go!) and a cracking Summer at my student job which was working at Headingly Cricket Stadium and Leeds Rugby League stadium (which are adjoined to each other) made it enjoyable. Getting paid to ‘steward’ and watch international and domestic sport.  My last ‘Summer holiday’ before University ended and ‘real life’ set in, it’s as good as Summer as I’ll ever have.  Which is odd.  As the side we all follow had just done the unthinkable and been relegated for the Premier League for the first time in my football supporting life.  I did every home game and 15 away games that season, so I saw first-hand how pathetic and lifeless the side which stuttered to a paltry 31 points was.  Just not good enough.

The despondency that set in at Villa Park at the final whistle was replaced by defiance and anger after 15 seconds or so. Benitez2 This publication helped a lot. I was just a reader of true faith at the time, not even a contributor, but the stance of defiance from the editor and this fanzine helped set a tone with the 40K who stuck with the club through relegation.  No tears or heart break, just anger at the people who did this to us and defiance to those revelling in our misery, predicting an empty SJP and a tumble through the leagues.  However that Summer was odd as for the first time I paid no attention to Newcastle United at all.  None at all.  Normally I’d be transfixed on transfer rumours, club news and attending away friendlies.  Not the Summer of 2009.  There was no football fix.  Not even an international tournament to distract. It was easy as well, to forget about football.  To not even contemplate our manager less side until the season opener (live on BBC).  Defeats, player departures and manager rumours – I switched off from it all.  It was too easy.  I’m sure you’re bored of hearing about my Summer of 2009 and I’ll get there eventually with my point, but that Summer I intentionally paid no attention to my football club and was happier for it.   It shouldn’t have to be that way.

I fear the Summer of 2016 to be a repeat of 2009.  That’s why it’s worth fighting.  Forget about the worst parts of relegation, even the best bits aren’t worth accepting demotion to the second tier.  We have 4 home games left.  We CAN win those games.  Maybe we’ll win none of them.  I don’t care about being wright or wrong.  I don’t understand the people who have thrown the towel in.  I will believe survival can happen until it is impossible.  Even if we lose this weekend, we can stay up.  Imagine the feeling walking out of SJP 4 points behind Norwich when they draw against Sunderland after losing at Palace. The place will be rocking.

You know it will, so why give up now.  Keep fighting.  I don’t think the players have given up, as they had done under McClaren.  We scored twice away from home last week.  It’s a start.  We were terrible and Norwich could only beat us with a 93rd minute goal that should never have stood.  They were if anything, worse than us. We will get better under Benitez.  We already have, each game.  We’re still terrible, but so are the sides around us.  Remember how bad West Brom were when we beat them at home?  That’s the same side Allardyce simply couldn’t break down.  The other teams around us are rubbish.  21 points to play for.  4 wins could be enough.  Maybe 4 wins and a draw.  It could happen. I think it will.  I’m not ready for another Summer (and beyond?) of emotionally dethatching myself from this football club.  It’s the last thing I want to do.  So I’m going to keep on fighting and believing.  If I’m wrong then so what.

You don’t know me and I don’t know you.  If you’re telling yourself and all around you that we’re gone already and it’s nottf_nt_15_percent_voucher worth the effort I’ll give you no credit whatsoever as no one cares about opinions or who is right and who is hopelessly wrong. Staying up is the only thing anyone should be interested in.  All the people desperate for tickets to the derby ever year should be more desperate to get tickets to Swansea, Man City or Palace.  Everyone should be excited about these games – a chance to do something special and pull ourselves out of all of this.  I’m going to do everything I can each game to help the team win.  If 50,000 others do the same, I’ve no doubt we’ll stay up.

This is a hard game to kick start a miracle.  I’m not interested in our rotten run of form on the South coast.  Benitez won’t care, neither should you.  Southampton are beatable.  They’ve lost 5 at home already.  They’re capable of conceding goals.  Scoring them too.  But so are most teams.   We needed to start scoring away from home, and we did.  Mitro will start.  Hopefully De Jong will come in for the utterly anonymous Winjladum.  Let’s hope we turn up for a first half. Colo and Dummet might be back.  Hopefully they are, it’s almost essential they are.   There’s not a lot more to say.  Asides from playing our best players we just need something from the game.  I believe Leicester and Palace will do us favours this weekend, so we’re still alive despite a defeat, but every game gone and points not collected make things more difficult, if not impossible.

Benitez will play cautiously in the first half again.  Get in at half time in the game.   Get to 60 mins in the game.  Win the game, or take something from it.  We can play like that and not be terrible like we were for much of Norwich.

We can stay up.

Prediction: 2 1 United



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13 Responses to MATCH PREVIEW: Southampton v Newcastle United. St Mary’s Stadium, 9/Apr/16, KO 3pm, Premier League.

  1. Mark says:

    I’m with you, Alex. Everyone who attends the match needs to have the belief that Benitez can get the team to a win on the south coast. I’ll be watching the match half a world away in Australia making sure my voice will be heard at St Mary’s. This club will NOT go down.

  2. GeordieBKK says:

    Great review – captures the realism that we need at this stage but puts a touch of hope on top too.

    Looking forward to the weekend now.

  3. Peter Shearer says:

    I do admire the passion and the fight and the fact that Ashley has not yet managed to take that away. But if we stay up where does that take us? Are we really expecting Benitez to stay? I just cannot bring myself to believe anything that Ashley does is for the benefit of NUFC. I do not wish relegation on the fans, but for those of us who are boycotting, relegation is exactly what Ashley deserves. It is the inevitable result of a failed policy and staying up may well only delay our eventual redemption. It is just another throw of the dice by Ashley.

    I guess we all have to do what we consider is right, and wheras I too got caught up in the passion last season with the final home game,I cannot do so this time. Ashley is using the passion of the fans for all the wrong reasons. That is not to condemn the passion, as it is still the best thing about Newcastle United, but if only it was shared by the man that owns us!

    I think I was meant to be keeping quiet -but it is hard when you still care!

  4. Boomtown says:

    the results over the last couple of weeks mean that we can no longer
    a) win the premier league title
    b) qualify for the champions league
    c) qualify for the Europa league

    anything else is still possible! Palace are in free fall, Norwich are riding their luck, Sunderland can’t win a game or keep a clean sheet (excluding the last match where wba didn’t;t have a shot)…

    its a big gulf to cross, but its not impossible…. yet! We still have villa, palace and Swansea to play!

  5. mike says:

    Its not up to the fans……about time ALL the players put in some passion and commitment. If they give their all (you know who I mean!) then we have a slim change if Rafa cant motivate them then we are down with a whimper.

  6. Ian Summers says:

    Well said Alex. Rafa Benitez is key here and if he can keep us up helped by support from us we could have a bright future. He certainly represents an opportunity for a wholesale reformation of the club. I can’t understand those who approach games with pessimism . I suspect a key to any improvement away from home will be dropping Wijnaldum as no side can have passengers in the premier league and he was completely anonymous against Norwich. Such a sad waste of ability and I hope the post match analysts at the club took a good luck at his OPTA statistics! A dream would be to finish above Palace, strange how quiet a gloating media have become regarding Pardew.

  7. mikey says:

    Yes Mate! Well said.

    I’m getting sick and tired of everyone throwing the towel in. We’re right in this, and we have a strong of winnable games. Norwich and sunderland are awful teams. They’re both going to stutter over the finishing line.

    We’ve got to distinguish ourselves from them by believing we can do it, back Rafa, the best manager amongst the relegation sides, and keep on till the bitter end.

    A resut and Southampton and the whole thing is wide open again.

    Keep the faith

  8. Rob says:

    Not sure where all this optimism is coming from. We’ve just taken 1 point from two games against what the table says are the 3rd and 4th worst teams in the league. I think we can all agree that both Norwich and Sunderland are utterly crap so where does that leave us?. Can’t see this bunch getting a result against a decent Southampton side away from home, they have already used up their surprise away win for the season at Spurs. I could quite easily see us not winning again this season, the only team we are playing who are clearly worse than us is Villa and we couldn’t even beat them at home. I do hope I’m wrong and very happy to look like a miserable shite talker if I am.

  9. Tomb says:

    Sure we had 34 points and went down on goal difference last time. Not important really. I’m old enough to remember worst seasons than that but its a depressing time. I can only see us staying up due to other teams failings, either Norwich stuttering or our opponents not really being arsed as its the end of the season and making it easier for us. I don’t think we’ve seen any improvement yet under Benitez, (not that there should be 3 games into his tenure) we had some decent moments under McLaren (West Ham, Spurs, Norwich)and in games we lost as well but couldn’t sustain it over 90 minutes. The three final games, Palace, Villa, Spurs are probably our only chance of survival if those three teams seasons are effectively over. Norwichs last two games are Watford and Everton who have nowt to play for either so it balances out.

  10. Dave says:

    Great preview Alex. A massive part of me is trying to remain positive (mainly cos we’ve managed to get the best manager since I can’t remember when) although if only he’d been brought in much much earlier I’d perhaps be more confident. Having followed this lot for 54 years it still hurts big time after every embarrassing & humiliating defeat & my God hasn’t their been plenty of them. My only hope is that Rafa somehow keeps us up, stays as manager & is allowed to rebuild from the bottom to the top & retun us to some good 100% performances once again with perhaps more wins than defeats, (don’t care if we don’t win trophies) sadly we can’t rely on many of our current crop of multi-millionaires who have absolutely no affiliation with the region, shirt or badge to help save us from this inevitable hell & some of them (you know which ones I mean) are deluded to think a Champions League club will come calling, yeah right, take a look in the mirror mate. We need to do a “Leicester” in our remaining games to have any hope & although not impossible, the cynic in me says its improbable. I hope to fuck I’m drastically wrong.

  11. Steve says:

    I will take two of what you are having please! There’s optimism and realism! Anyone who truly believes we can win 4 more matches is insane. In hope I’m wrong but we just ain’t good enough with or without Rafa.

  12. Chris Nappin says:

    We’ve been utter gash with one up front for ages now, I wish we would try and change the formula. Is Mitrovic a hold up player? Is Cisse? It’s just a waste I reckon, we have a winger now in Townsend and I don’t think he’s been bad really. Stick that big dopey heartless useless crock of shite Sissoko on the other wing and let’s avoid trying to grind out another load of garbage like we have for every other first half I can remember. Play to the players’ strengths and not whatever system happens to be in fashion, we’ve not really got a lot to lose in changing it up surely. We have impoved under Benitez but it’s hardly been groundbreaking stuff, the players clearly don’t work together under the current set up, they haven’t all season. Look at Norwich’s players individually, we’re meant to be Newcastle fucking United man for fuck’s sake. We have a better manager, better individual players and better support, we should be imposing ourselves on teams instead of hoping that jokers like Palace save our necks.

    We definitely can do it, and hopefully Colo will come back and actually play to the level he’s capable of, if nothing more than to get that utter coward Steven Taylor off the pitch. It actually sickened me to watch him turn his back in the lead up to the Norwich goals last week, I would have thrown my grandmother in front of those shots. Fucking dick. I reckon we’ll actually do something tomorrow, Mitrovic finally looked like a player in the last game. He’ll not want to be associated with taking us down. Wijnaldum has it in him as well, so why is he so hit and miss? He literally has zero influence in the majority of games. He makes good runs off the ball but we link up so poorly in midfield it’s painful to watch. It’s like he doesn’t know what his role should be half the time and just ends up wandering with no purpose. We still have 19% of the season left though, let’s not all throw in the towel and be one of football’s early walk out merchants. If you really care about the club you don’t lose anything by staying to the end. Come on Newcastle

  13. tomb says:

    I actually thought Norwich looked a lot better than us albeit their winning goal shouldnt have stood. The difference between us and Leicester last year is that Leicester were competing all season but were getting results / defeats that didn’t justify their performances. Everyone was saying that they looked a decent but luckless side. So not much had to change for them to put a winning run together. I don’t think we can claim that over the course of the season our position is down to bad luck, think of our win at Bournemouth. The bad luck we’ve had are the goalkeeper injuries but you could argue that Elliott has had a better season than Krul would have had anyway. Rather than do a Leicester we need to try and do a Sunderland that is raise our game and beat teams who have one eye on the summer holidays or the Euros at this stage of the season