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Southampton march top of the table with easy Newcastle win

Goals from Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong were enough to send Southampton past Newcastle and to the top of the Premier League for at least one night.

Southampton - Newcastle saw the Saints of the south coast go top of the Premier League table for the first time in club history, thanks to a 2-0 victory at St. Mary’s Stadium on Friday.

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Che Adams scored the opening goal very early in the first half, and though Southampton dominated the proceedings — Newcastle had just four shots over 90 minutes, including just two through 67 minutes — Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side played with fire until putting the game to bed through Stuart Armstrong’s clincher in the 82nd minute.

3 things we learned: Southampton - Newcastle

1. Adams shouldering the load without Ings: Adams has been the perfect partner for Danny Ings, who is now set to miss four to six weeks with a knee injury, potentially leaving a massive hole in the Southampton attack without Adams’ stylistically adept running mate. Whether or not Adams can shoulder a larger chunk of the goal-scoring load — not just the chance creation, where he’s been so strong to begin 2020-21 — will go a long way toward Southampton keeping their heads above water until the talisman returns. Through 90 minutes of life without Ings, Adams is passing with flying colors.

2. Fail to plan, plan to fail — the Mike-Ashley-Newcastle story:

3. Another title/top-four contender emerges: At this point, it feels like half of the Premier League has a legitimate case to a top-four place in 2020-21, based on the early-season troubles plaguing the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. It’s far easier to throws your hands up in the air and say, “Sure, why not, toss another one in the mix,” than to argue the likes of Southampton, Leicester City, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers out of the picture.

Adams bagged his third goal of the season in the 7th minute. He took two cracks at Darlow’s goal in very short order with the first being desperately saved from outside the box, but the second was simply unstoppable as Adams hammered Theo Walcott’s cross through the hands and over the head of Darlow, who knew very little about where the ball was headed.

Walcott fired a half-chance, which would have given Southampton a deserved 2-0 lead, wide of the post in the 42nd minute. Moussa Djenepo set Walcott up for the chance with a brilliant flick out of traffic, but Walcott raced into the penalty area and cut back onto his right foot and put his shot just wide of the far post without the requisite curl.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The start of the second half saw Newcastle come under heavy fire as they very nearly fell 2-0 and 3-0 behind inside the first six minutes.

First, Jan Bednarek hit an awkward volley from near the penalty spot that appeared headed for the back of the net, but Jamaal Lascelles headed the ball off the line. Barely 30 seconds later, another was of red shirts attacked and Oriol Romeu smashed the crossbar with a strike from 22 yards out.

Southampton were slow to salt the game away, but they finally doubled their advantage inside the final 10 minutes. Sean Longstaff was caught between seven minds on the edge of his penalty area and eventually gave the ball away to Armstrong, who danced around two defenders to create a half-yard of space to drag a low strike into the bottom corner for 2-0.

Follow @AndyEdMLS