Newcastle United were forced to dig deep for the right to claim another victory today, but in the end did so emphatically against relegation-threatened Southampton.
Before the game, it was expected that the Magpies would waltz to victory at St James’ Park, fresh off the back of a comfortable victory at Goodison Park. However, when the Saints struck late into the first half, Eddie Howe cut a bewildered figure on the sidelines after the hosts had squandered numerous golden opportunities.
Dragging his side in at halftime, the former AFC Bournemouth boss seemingly tore into the players at the break, as they came out fast at the start of the second period.
This gave way to the hosts enjoying 64% of the ball, creating five big chances that accumulated 4.47 expected goals, via Sofascore.
It felt like the equaliser was always coming, and in the end, it was Callum Wilson who claimed it, placing an unorthodox finish past Alex McCarthy. From then, it was one-way traffic, as the score eventually finished 3-1.
Although the former Cherries forward will steal the headlines for his brace from the bench, it was actually Alexander Isak who forged that crucial much-needed opener. For that, the young forward deserves praise.
How did Alexander Isak play vs Southampton?
Starting as a sole striker, it was only really at half time when the Sweden international came alive; much like the rest of his team in all honesty.
The introduction of his striking teammate meant he was moved out onto the left, where he was able to isolate a dreadful Lyanco.
The Brazilian was terrorised all afternoon and was arguably left culpable for that aforementioned opener. With the ball fired out wide, Isak drove into space past the defender, and it was his left-footed delivery that created the goal.
However, this was just the tip of the iceberg for the former Real Sociedad wonderkid, who created two big chances among his three key passes and was successful in five of his six attempted dribbles, via Sofascore.
With 46 touches, the £120k-per-week trickster was an ever-present threat who will likely appear in Ruben Selles’ nightmares for the next few days. At least, that is the prediction of journalist Chris Waugh, who suggested he had “petrified” the visitors.
Having gone into half-time 1-0 down, their Champions League dream must have felt somewhat shaky. However, with Isak propelling them to such an important result today, they are now one step closer to making that a reality.
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