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Newcastle: Matt Targett was Eddie Howe’s unsung hero v Saints

Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side won for the sixth time in seven games as they triumphed 2-1 against Southampton at St Mary’s on Thursday night.

Stuart Armstrong bundled the ball home from close range after sloppy defending from the Magpies as he was the quickest to react in the six-yard box. The hosts had other chances to be out of sight in the first half as Armando Broja and Che Adams both spurned opportunities.

Newcastle rode out Southampton’s strong start and got back in the game when Chris Wood brilliantly headed to the net from a sumptuous cross by Jonjo Shelvey to make it 1-1 before half-time.

Bruno Guimaraes then scored the winning goal on his full debut for the club as he backheeled the ball into the roof of the net on the volley, securing the three points in style.

Has Targett been a good signing?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Forget Bruno

Whilst the Brazilian may steal the headlines with his stunning strike, there were a number of impressive performances which may go under the radar. January signing Matt Targett was an unsung hero at left-back as he put in a sublime display down the flank.

The on-loan defender caught the eye at both ends of the pitch and Howe will surely be buzzing with how the 26-year-old handled himself throughout the match.

Defensively, he was solid. As per SofaScore, the £35k-per-week dynamo won a whopping 90% of his individual duels, coming out on top in nine of his 10 battles against the opposition. He ended the match with five clearances, one block, two interceptions and four tackles to his name, which shows how much effort he put into the defensive side of his performance.

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Ameobi celebrates a Newcastle goal

Who scored more goals for Newcastle? An easy one to start...

Targett dominated his opponents with his strength and was then able to read the game to make key interventions and clearances to protect Martin Dubravka’s goal.

On the ball, he was a useful outlet. As per SofaScore, he completed both of his attempted dribbles, played three successful crosses and registered two key passes. This shows that he was able to merge rock-solid defending with quality in possession to create chances for his team-mates in the final third.

It was a complete performance from the left-back, who was able to win the majority of his defensive duels and then utilise his own ability on the ball to make things happen at the other end. This is why he was Howe’s unsung hero against the Saints on Thursday.

AND in other news, 80% duels lost: £37k-p/w NUFC dud was bailed out by Bruno, he’s “out of his depth”…

Article title: Newcastle: Matt Targett was Eddie Howe’s unsung hero v Saints

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