Southampton visited St James’ Park to face Newcastle United in game-week 3 of the 21-22 Premier League season. It was a wonderful game of football, and even though both teams had to share the points, it was also a very interesting and tactical match. All 4 goals were scored in the second half, and Southampton went behind twice but were able to equalize through a 95th-minute penalty from Ward-Prowse. The shot map of Southampton shown above shows that Southampton took shots from all around the pitch.
Southampton were great in this game in terms of xG creation. They had a staggeringly high xG of 4.51 in the game, taking their overall xG of the season to 5.47, which is the 5th highest in the league so far. This also depicts the problems the Saints and coach Hasenhüttl are facing this season, they have had enough possession and have been creating a lot of goal scoring opportunities but have not been clinical in front of goal. Also, the Saints have been the third-best side in the entire premier league in terms of recoveries in the opposition half and the second-best in terms of offensive duels win percentage. Their performances early in the season have been positive even though they are yet to register a victory in the league, but also showed great signs in the Carabao Cup where they registered an 8-0 victory.
The game was very equally poised in the first half. With the first half ending goalless, both managers had to come up with a game plan to win the match in the second half. The xT and xG timelines show that Southampton were the team that had a higher xG(expected goals) compared to Newcastle in the first half. Both teams had an almost similar xT in the first half.
Both the team started the second half with more attacking intent, and the Magpies were successful in taking the lead on 55 minutes through Callum Wilson’s goal. Ralph Hasenhüttl then made two changes after conceding the goal, bringing on Nathan Redmond and Armando Broja for Djenepo and Che Adams. The changes made by the manager surely helped the Saints as they equalized on 74 minutes through Elyounoussi, who scored from a brilliant cross from substitute Nathan Redmond. After making the changes, Southampton played much better, as they had 75% possession in the last 30 minutes of the game. The xG timeline shows how dominant the Saints were after the one hour mark.
The Magpies took the lead for the second time in the last minute of the allotted 90, when Saint-Maxim capitalized on a goal-line clearance by James Ward-Prowse. With three minutes added on, the Saints showed the belief that they could still get out something from the match. They kept possession for the entirety of extra time, and were able to create an opportunity for Armstrong who was one on one with the goalkeeper. Defender Lascelles made a last-ditch challenge to save the Magpies, but after going to the monitor as prompted by VAR, Paul Tierney pointed to the spot. Ward-Prowse took the penalty to equalize for the Saints the second time. Southampton manager, Ralph Hasenhüttl should be happy with the point away from home. Southampton have shown early in the season that they are a confident team who are able to keep possession of the ball and create a lot of chances.