Newcastle 3-0 Southampton: Saints slump to disastrous defeat at St. James Park

Struggling Southampton slumped to a 3-0 defeat away to Newcastle United as relegation becomes a real possibility.

Kenedy, a January loan signing from Chelsea, scored his first goals for Newcastle as the Magpies eased their own relegation worries with an easy victory over a very poor Saints side.

Southampton made the worst possible start conceding after only 63 seconds, when Kenedy controlled a Jonjo Shelvey’s pass on his chest, turned and fired past Alex McCarthy on the half-volley.

Following a disastrous first ten minutes and some more than questionable defending Southampton grew into the game, monopolising the ball, with long periods of possession, but as has been the case too often this season,  doing very little with it.

Things got worse as the hosts doubled their advantage with a quick counter-attack following a Southampton corner. Mario Lemina’s untimely slip allowed Ayoze Perez to break free, he played in Dwight Gayle who unselfishly squared to Kenedy to tap in his and Newcastle’s second.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Kenedy of Newcastle United celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park on March 10, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Mauricio Pellegrino made two changes at half time, replacing Mario Lemina and Dusan Tadic with Shane Long and Josh Sims, who was unlucky not to start.

Things didn’t improve for the south coast side after the break, conceding a third on the 57th minute when Shelvey set up the unmarked former Portsmouth and Bournemouth player Matt Ritchie to curl a fine finish into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Southampton created very little in the final third, Martin Dubravka in the Newcastle goal was relatively untroubled for the majority of the game. Ryan Bertrand headed over when unmarked from a James Ward-Prowse corner, but Saints best effort came from substitute Josh Sims as he cut in from the right wing to fire a shot across goal from the edge of the area, forcing a save from the Slovak.

Before the game fans had called for Mauricio Pellegrino to play two strikers, he instead opted to start with just one. Guido Carrillo was a forlorn figure, isolated for long periods. Pellegrino who chose to leave Manolo Gabbiadini on the bench introduced the Italian for the Argentine after 66 minutes. He struggled to have an impact as the game petered out.

It was a comfortable win for Newcastle as Southampton never really got going, failing to thoroughly test the Magpies defence. It’s a vital three points for the northerners who move up to 13th in the Premier League table, five points clear of the bottom three.

Saints however, are still in 17th but could drop into the bottom three if Crystal Palace can beat Chelsea or if Stoke beat top-of-the-table Manchester City on Monday.

Next up in the Premier League for the Saints is an away trip to West Ham, who are having troubles of their own both on and off the field. Before that tie Saints will go to Wigan looking to book themselves a Wembley date and a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.