Southampton vs. Newcastle United: 6 Things We Learned

Dan Sheridan@@dansheridanContributor IMarch 29, 2014

Southampton vs. Newcastle United: 6 Things We Learned

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    Southampton smashed four past Newcastle United on Saturday, and could have scored a lot more in an embarrassingly one-sided affair at St. Mary’s Stadium.

    Strikes from England internationals Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert sealed all three points for the Saints, who were dominant from the first whistle to the last.

    Stand-in Magpies goalkeeper Rob Elliot made a string of saves as Mauricio Pochettino’s men bombarded the visitors with 23 shots on goal and 11 on target.

    So as Alan Pardew wonders where his team goes from here and Southampton celebrate their biggest Premier League win of the campaign, we look at six things that were learned on the South Coast.

Southampton Enjoyed Their Easiest 90 Minutes of the Season

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    Without taking anything away from Southampton’s performance, they will rarely endure a more straightforward fixture than Saturday’s clash with Newcastle United.

    Such was the ineptitude of the Magpies’ defending, the home side enjoyed a bout of shooting practice in the first half and could easily have netted four or five before the break.

    Their dominance continued after the restart as the Toon's woes continued, and a lack of leadership or direction in the visitors’ ranks paved the way for a landslide victory.

    The Saints played some attractive football, especially in the final third, but they were the benefactors of one of the worst Newcastle performances in recent years.

Newcastle Looked Disinterested from the First Whistle

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    Worryingly for Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew, his players displayed a total lack of passion and determination on Saturday, and were deservedly well beaten.

    From the very first minute, Southampton were allowed the freedom of the St. Mary’s pitch as the Toon struggled to find any momentum or ask any questions of the home side.

    At one point, Magpies captain Fabricio Coloccini, his central defensive partner Mike Williamson and midfielder Cheick Tiote were seen arguing amongst themselves.

    And unfortunately for 2,000-plus Newcastle fans who had made the 323-mile trip to the South Coast, that was the most fight their team showed throughout the entire game.

Rob Elliot Kept the Score Down to Single Figures

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    Standing in for the injured Tim Krul, Newcastle United goalkeeper Rob Elliot was possibly the only visiting player who could leave the pitch with his head held high. 

    A string of top-class saves kept the rampant home side at bay until first-half stoppage time, when the impressive Jay Rodriguez netted from close range.

    And though he conceded another three after the break, the London-born stopper was in fine form throughout and saved the Toon from a far heavier defeat.

    Most of the Magpies’ players failed to earn much more than a three out of 10 following a woeful performance, but Elliot was the one exception, and earned a solid eight as least.

Alan Pardew Has Some Sleepless Nights Ahead

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    Hot on the heels of a 3-0 home defeat to Everton, Newcastle United’s latest humiliation will almost certainly have manager Alan Pardew fearing for his future. 

    Saturday’s thrashing at the hands of Southampton was the Toon’s 10th defeat in 15 games since the turn of the year, and the 10th time they’ve failed to score in the same run of fixtures.

    But statistics aside, it was the manner of the defeat that will keep Pardew awake at night, and such a gutless performance does not bode well for the 52-year-old.

    The club have stood by him since his now-infamous headbutt incident at Hull City in early March, but many more performances like the one at St. Mary’s and owner Mike Ashley may be forced into a rethink.

Southampton Made It a Great Day for England

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    After what was a glorious afternoon for Southampton and their fans, Mauricio Pochettino won’t have been the only manager beaming from ear to ear on Saturday.

    England boss Roy Hodgson is just six weeks away from naming his provisional 30-man squad ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, and the Saints may have made his job a little easier this weekend.

    Following strikes from Three Lions internationals Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez’s second goal of the game prompted chants of “four nil to the England” from the St. Mary’s stands.

    In all, 34 of Southampton’s 49 league goals this season have been scored by Englishmen, and along with defender Luke Shaw, it seems Southampton could be well represented in South America this summer.

Newcastle Fans Are Left Wondering What Might Have Been

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    It’s not so long ago that Newcastle United’s supporters were talking of another European campaign, but such ambition felt a million miles away following Saturday’s debacle.

    After crushing Stoke City 5-1 on Boxing Day last year, the Magpies found themselves on 33 points and in sixth place going into the second half of the campaign.

    This weekend, however, with just six games left of the 2013-14 season, Alan Pardew’s men have added just 13 points to that total, and hopes of Europa League qualification have long since vanished.

    Victories over the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United are now distant memories, and for the second season in a row, Toon fans can’t wait for it all to end.