Jan 23, 2023
We look at the first two legs of the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, where Southampton host Newcastle, and Man United travel to play Nottingham Forest.
Southampton v Newcastle
Southampton were unfortunate to have dropped all 3 points in their game against Aston Villa. The first half was one that will not live long in anyone’s memory, with Southampton managing a sole shot, before a drone flying over the stadium delayed the game for around 10 minutes.
Southampton took the lead when a Ward-Prowse effort deflected into the back of the net, only for VAR to rule it out for a foul in the buildup.
Villa then took the lead with 13 minutes to go, Ollie Watkins heading in a free kick from Douglas Luiz. Southampton would have hoped they could build on their brilliant win against Everton previously, but they remain joint bottom of the table for another week.
In the cup, however, Southampton are a different beast. Under Nathan Jones they have not lost a cup game yet, advancing in both the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup. Having home advantage first for Southampton will be a big boost, they can play their game and try to win by a few goals, albeit against a very solid defence, then sit back and soak up the pressure in the away game.
Newcastle recorded their 3rd 0-0 result in 4 games against Crystal Palace. They were by far the better team throughout the entire match, but, as they did against Fulham, they struggled to break down a defensively solid approach from their opponents.
Going forward, Newcastle are a great team to watch, but they are lacking a player who can take the ball past 2 or 3 defenders to make things happen. When Saint-Maximin is fully fit he may be the player to fill this role, but it is something Newcastle should be looking at in the transfer window, as was evident against Palace, Fulham and Leeds.
At the back, Newcastle are unbelievably solid, and it is hard to predict when they will next concede a goal. They have not conceded in their last 6 games, since a 4-1 win against Southampton. Defensively they are the best team in the league at the moment, and it is one of the reasons they are within a shout of a Champions League place.