Saints maul the Magpies
Saints have been threatening to totally blitz a team all season. On Saturday, Newcastle United became the unfortunate victims, as the home side romped to a 4-0 victory.
As is so often the case in football though, the scoreline doesn't represent the whole story of the game. It could, and perhaps should, have been a lot worse for Alan Pardew's men. Saints had countless chances, and had this game ended 5-0, 6-0, 7-0 or maybe even 8-0, the Geordies could have had no complaint. Had it not been for the heroic performance from their goalkeeper Rob Elliott, then it would have finished with a margin of at least six goals.
This was Saints at their fluid best going forward, and the front three of Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, proved yet again that all three of them are worthy of a place in England's World Cup squad as they combined superbly, alternating their roles as goalscorer to provider with aplomb, and showed brilliant levels of selflessness in front of goal.
Backed up by the tireless commitment of Steve Davis, Jack Cork and James Ward-Prowse, the three England musketeers peppered the Newcastle goal with opportunities, gliding through their static back four with an ease that will give Pardew nightmares.
Saints' use of their two teenage full-backs was also impressive, and it wouldn't surprise me if Calum Chambers became the next England Saint. The right-back took a while to settle into the game, but gave a near immaculate performance from there on in, defending expertly and adding another dimension to attacks. In Luke Shaw, Saints fans have a player whose brilliant performances almost go unnoticed because they have become the norm. His direct runs at the Newcastle back-line had them panicking and his first goal is going to come sooner rather than later.
When Saints play like they did on Saturday, there isn't a team in the Premier League who will shut them out. Their attacking play could have resulted in a scoreline more suited to a rugby match, and that was against a team that started the day above them in the league table.
Saints now occupy eighth place and the target for the rest of the season should be to stay there. If the performance levels can be maintained then that looks like it could be accomplished with ease.