Newcastle United tactical analysis: Major talking points and key moments from Southampton draw

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Key moments - goals, VAR, misses & more

MISS - Moussa Djenepo (22)

🟨 YELLOW - Fabian Schar (40)

HT - Newcastle United 0 Southampton 0

⚽ GOAL - Callum Wilson (55) - 1-0

🔄 SUB - Joelinton ON, Callum Wilson OFF (69)

⚽ GOAL - Mohamed Elyounoussi (72) - 1-1

🔄 SUB - Ryan Fraser ON, Joe Willock OFF (83)

⚽ GOAL - Allan Saint-Maximin (90)

📺 VAR CHECK - Jamaal Lascelles foul on Adam Armstrong (90+4)

⚽ GOAL - James Ward-Prowse, penalty (90+5)

FT - Newcastle United 2 Southampton 2

Tale of the first half

A real struggle - and largely one-way traffic. Saints deserved to be two up by the break after two horror misses while United were penned back, out-passed and out-worked for large periods of the opening 45. They improved, marginally, in the final 10 minutes of the half.

The second half story

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Much better in an attacking sense and again two goals at home for the second time in a row, but opened up far too easily down both flanks, which is where the late equaliser came from.

Team selection - did Steve Bruce get it right?

One change from the side beaten at Aston Villa for Steve Bruce - and it was an enforced one.

The injured Isaac Hayden was replaced by Sean Longstaff, who'd excelled in the deeper midfield role against both Burnley and in the second half at Villa Park.

Did the manager get it right? Well, that's debatable.

The 5-3-2 is looking very open defensively, despite the extra numbers, with a narrow midfield doing little to prevent wave after wave of opposition attacks. This was evident in the 25 minutes from 13 onwards. Both full-backs are often covering two men, which should never be the case but so often is.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Longstaff selection worked, he was good defensively and got things moving in attack.

But the sad reality is, this side look to easy to score against.

Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton runs with the ball away from Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United  and  Southampton at St. James Park on August 28, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton runs with the ball away from Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United  and  Southampton at St. James Park on August 28, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton runs with the ball away from Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park on August 28, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. | Getty Images

Tactical analysis - what went wrong? And what went right, if anything?

Setting up in very much the same way as previous, United looked to use Sean Longstaff to keep things ticking over with a narrow two either side of him. That approach, however, lasted just 13 minutes, as Saints worked United out early.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The visitors pressed the United lines high, and used Tino Livramento as their main weapon down the right, clearly targeting Matt Ritchie in the left wing-back role.

Deep. Just about sums up United's opening half hour of football. They just couldn't get out from their banks of five and three in front of the Gallowgate End. And they should have been 2-0 down with Moussa Djenepo missing two gilt-edged chances, one of which was an open goal. With this, loud chants of 'we want Brucey out' began to grow from the Gallowgate corner. As things showed little signs of improvement, they grew like wildfire.

The right-hand side, the Magpies' left, was a big issue. Livramento was given the run of the park and Ritchie little to no cover around him. Miguel Almiron was too narrow, which was addressed after 35 minutes - and this did stem the flow, somewhat.

Although, there was nothing in terms of Ritchie in a forward sense, despite having created the second most opportunities of any player.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Saints continued to trouble down the flanks, but their point of attack seemed to switch to Djenepo and Kyle Walker-Peters down the left after the break.

While United's own left was quiet in the opening half, it came to prominence in the second, with Ritchie edging further forward and Almiron linking with ASM out on that flank.

The goal itself, slightly against the run of play, originated from a Longstaff tackle, which saw United break, then recycle the ball as Fabian Schar sprayed out to Joe Willock whose header was then nodded in on the dive by Wilson.

The lead didn't last long. And an equaliser was probably deserved.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It came, as expected, from the left where Nathan Redmond had replaced the wasteful Djenepo. His cross, after beating Jacob Murphy, saw Mohamed Elyounoussi turn home at the second attempt.

A more physical presence up top with Joelinton helped carve out another goal for Allan Saint-Maximin but that weakness between the full-backs and back three out wide was again opened up as Adam Armstrong was chopped down by Jamaal Lascelles - and James Ward-Prowse made no mistake, as ever, from the spot.

Lessons learned for Steve Bruce?

*Needs to consider changing either the system or working on it, as United are too open out wide. Cover from narrow midfield three is non-existent.

*Try working more players into their natural roles. Miguel Almiron is lost in this system.

*This team needs improving, so he needs to get some wheeling and dealing done asap with the window shutting on Tuesday night.

Star ratings

⭐⭐⭐ - Allan Saint-Maximin

⭐⭐ - Sean Longstaff

⭐ - Callum Wilson

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.