By 90Min
October 27, 2018

Two of the Premier League's most out of form sides collided as Newcastle and Southampton played out an abysmal encounter at St Mary's Stadium.

The first half was not blessed with much quality, but it was the Saints who looked the most likely to find a goal. Mohamed Elyounoussi and Mario Lemina both had decent chances to open the scoring, but Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka never looked concerned as the two sides played out 45 minutes of football which was largely devoid of excitement.

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Southampton remained on top following the break, with Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond both looking dangerous, but they still struggled to create many significant chances. Shane Long missed a fantastic chance in the dying embers of the game, but ultimately the Saints could not find a goal before the referee put the fans out of their misery and blew for full time.


SOUTHAMPTON


Key Talking Point

Southampton have now failed to score in five successive matches, and the future is starting to look bleak for Mark Hughes' side.

Charlie Austin, who has not netted a league goal since April, certainly worked hard but found himself struggling to create any opportunities for his side. Both Austin and Ings were suffocated by Newcastle's deep defence, who were happy to deal with tame cross after tame cross.

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If the Saints are committed to sending crosses into the box, they need a target man who is ready for a physical battle with opposing defenders. They don't possess such a forward though, and Hughes needs to find a way to get the best out of his current crop of players, or else they will find themselves slipping into real trouble.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: McCarthy (6); Soares (6), Stephens (7*), Hoedt (6), Bertrand (6); Elyounoussi (6), Romeu (7), Lemina (7), Redmond (6); Austin (5), Ings (6).

Substitutes: Gabbiadini (6), Long (6), Ward-Prowse (6).


STAR MAN - Jack Stephens

With Southampton's struggles in attack, it should come as no surprise that their top performer was a defender. None of their defenders looked concerned at any point during the match, but 24-year-old Stephens put in a commanding display.

James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Newcastle's tame efforts were easily dealt with by Stephens, who kept his side organised and in control of the match. He led his side in clearances and ensured that Newcastle never came close to threatening McCarthy in goal.

WORST PLAYER - Charlie Austin


Something is clearly not right with Charlie Austin. He has built up a reputation for being a reliable poacher in front of goal, but seems to have completely lost his magic touch. Austin worked hard to try end his drought, but consistently failed to add anything to his side's attack.

Fans seem to be losing patience with the Englishman, and were quick to express their frustrations on Twitter.


NEWCASTLE UNITED


Key Talking Point


Yet again, Newcastle found themselves lacking any sort of quality in the final third. Alex McCarthy was rarely involved and was never threatened as Newcastle failed to create many chances.

Many fans are hoping that the returning of Salomon Rondon will help reverse the team's fortunes, but Newcastle's creative struggles will not change with a new striker. The likes of Kenedy, Ayoze Perez and Matt Richie simply must find a way to improve, because the entire team looks as though they have no idea how to score goals.

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

The problem could be Rafa Benitez's tactics, or it could be that Newcastle simply do not possess the appropriate personnel to survive in the Premier League. However, they cannot continue to perform like they did against Southampton, or else they will be emphatically relegated. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Dubravka (6); Yedlin (7), Lascelles (6), Fernandez (7*), Dummet (6); Ritchie (6), Diame (5), Shelvey (5), Kenedy (6); Muto (5), Perez (5).

Substitutes: Rondon (6), Ki (6), Atsu (6).


STAR MAN - Federico Fernandez


Newcastle's defence was kept busy throughout the match, even if Southampton rarely posed any serious threat. Jamaal Lascelles and DeAndre Yedlin were both impressive, but Fernandez looked dominant in the heart of his side's defence.

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Fernandez's 11 clearances was the most of any player on the field, as the Argentinian defender showcased an impressive ability to anticipate danger. Southampton's strikers struggled to find space against Fernandez, who ensured that they were forced to work hard for their chances.


WORST PLAYER - Yoshinori Muto


Muto was merely a spectator during the match. He could not find any space and never looked capable of saving Newcastle from their current predicament. He was understandably substituted in his side's search for a goal, and fans were not impressed with the 26-year-old.


Looking Ahead


Newcastle will welcome in-form Watford to St James' Park in their next match, as their search for that elusive first win of the season continues.

For Southampton, they will be desperate to remember what it feels like to score a goal. However, their struggles may continue as their next test comes in the shape of an away trip to Manchester City.

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