Legs, goals, bottle and determination – Liam Kennedy's SEVEN Newcastle United takeaways from Southampton win

Bottle. Who’d have thought it a few short weeks ago that when the chips are down Newcastle United would come out fighting?

Sunday, 7th February 2021, 12:00 pm

They did just that – and then some – against Southampton.

Here’s Liam Kennedy’s SEVEN Newcastle United takeaways...

Legs, goals, quality

Newcastle's English midfielder Joe Willock (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 6, 2021.

The signing of Joe Willock, at this stage, looks absolutely inspired by Steve Bruce.

The Arsenal loan man looked a breath of fresh air in the Magpies midfield, as he broke at will in the opening 45 to support Callum Wilson and the United frontline.

He took his goal brilliantly but the off the ball stuff – the hassling, the chasing, the tackling – also added immense value to the Newcastle midfield.

A very, very positive start in black and white.

Isaac Hayden – so much more than Newcastle’s Mr Versatile

For too long now Isaac Hayden has been a fill in man. Drop him here, put him there.

Hopefully after another faultless performance, manager Bruce will realise he needs to cherish the former Arsenal man.

As good at the heart of defence today as he was in the centre of midfield at Everton.

He is fast making himself one of the first names on the teamsheet.

Miggy Almiron – licence to roam

The smile has returned – and long may it remain.

Miguel Almiron has been cut loose in this new system and finally, Bruce is getting the very best out of the Paraguayan.

As a central forward, with the knack of dropping into holes and causing havoc among opposition midfield and attack, Almiron looks a real threat.

Two goals adds to his ever-increasing tally in black and white.

Wilson concerns

Three points came at a cost.

Three injuries means United’s treatment room will be particularly busy next week – but the most concerning of all has to be a problem picked up by Callum Wilson.

The 10-goal frontman limped off in the opening period and United will hope the focal point of their revival will not be forced to miss too much of the rest of the season.

United got points on the board, but in order to make sure they keep rolling in, they need Wilson fit and firing.

Maxi-mum impact

Newcastle United look a better team when Allan Saint-Maximin is in the side.

And for the first 45 minutes of this one, he was at his very best.

He tired in the second half, and that was no surprise, but it was a real positive to see the Frenchman beating men and tying the Saints backline up in knots.

An excellent assist for the first goal.

ASM certainly likes playing against Southampton.

Victory claimed in spite of midfield duo

Two players stood out for all the wrong reasons on Saturday – and in many ways United won in spite of two of their most experienced players.

Jeff Hendrick’s sending off was needless – and you’d hope he’s hung his head in shame for making every player who stayed out on the park run an extra mile or two.

One player who did stay on, but was ridiculously ineffective, was Jonjo Shelvey.

The energy in this side is there for all to see now, but none of that lies with Shelvey.

His miss to make it 4-1 was a shocker – and it almost cost his side so dear.

Steady improvements continue

Three games in a row I’ve mentioned Jamal Lewis in this column – and it’s because, for me, he just keeps getting better and better.

Defensively he’s more sound than before and always bombs on in attack.

His performances lately have been on a definite upward trajectory.

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Newcastle United coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription; sign up here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor