Newcastle United, under Rafael Benitez, have successfully retained their top-flight status on back to back occasions despite budget constraints and certain limitations. The Magpies hosted Southampton this evening at St James’ Park and were expecting a fierce fight en route to securing a midtable finish one more time.
The Saints had a slow start, and although they picked it up after the break, an Ayoze Perez hat-trick led Newcastle to a 3-1 win. The Magpies are now 12th in the league standings.
Below are the Newcastle United players rated in their commanding win against Southampton.
Martin Dubravka: 7
The custodian conceded one which he could have done little to deal with on the day. But the Slovakian was alert otherwise and dealt with the pressure well when the visitors were pushing for an equaliser in the second half.
Javier Manquillo: 7
Mostly concentrated on his defensive duties with timely tackles, clearances and challenges. Made overlapping runs occasionally but linked up well with Perez down the right flank.
Fabian Schar: 7.5
His long balls lacked accuracy, but the centre-back made his presence known at the back with a towering physical as well as aerial presence. An injury saw him leaving the pitch and making way for Federico Fernandez midway through the second half.
Jamaal Lascelles: 7
The skipper maintained the discipline at the back with no-nonsense clearances and interceptions. Won the duels exhibiting his physicality, however, struggled at times while defending set-pieces.
Paul Dummett: 7.5
Made some crucial blocks to deny Southampton from staging a comeback. Showcased a great sense of positioning and helped the Magpies maintain resilience at the back.
Matt Ritchie: 8
An attacking left fullback these days, Ritchie was excellent down the wide areas with overlapping runs and crosses. Created a few chances linking up well with Almiron and assisted Perez in his hat-trick in the closing minutes of the game.
Ayoze Perez: 9.5
The Spaniard, rated highly by Benitez, showed why he had been their main man of late in the survival race. Operated from the right flank but grabbed the opportunities exquisitely to score twice in the first half and went on to clinch a hat-trick with a few minutes remaining.
Ki Sung-yueng: 7.5
An all-round display from the Korean helped the Magpies have control of the midfield game. Threatened high up the pitch with his long balls, key passes and attempts from a distance. Hit the woodwork from 20 yards out and also marshalled the backline while defending the lead.
Isaac Hayden: 8.5
Set it up for Perez to break the deadlock and kept on troubling the Saints with his dribbling, passing and through balls. The former Arsenal youngster enjoyed operating in a box-to-box role and received applauds from the supporters while making way for Mo Diame late in the game.
Miguel Almiron: 7
The Paraguayan linked up well with Ritchie down the left and had moments of excellence with his flashy skills, cut insides and work rate. His game, however, had a premature ending as an injury forced him to make way for Christian Atsu just over the hour mark.
Salomon Rondon: 7.5
Played his part in Perez’s second and kept on troubling the visitors with his physicality, holding attribute and the ability to create space by dragging opponents towards him before releasing it to his teammates who made the run inside.
Christian Atsu: 6.5
Had a positive impact since coming on as he kept on questioning the Saints backline with his pace, directness and trickery.
Federico Fernandez: 6.5
Did well to protect the lead slotting in the heart of Newcastle backline since coming on in place of Schar.
Mohamed Diame: NA
Played too little to warrant a rating.
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