Loan stars Willock and Minamino shine as Newcastle edge Southampton

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 2 min read
Loan stars Willock and Minamino shine as Newcastle edge Southampton

Newcastle’s Joe Willock and Southampton’s Takumi Minamino, on loan from Arsenal and Liverpool respectively, took centre stage as the Magpies claimed a thrilling 3-2 win at St James’ Park.

Both Willock and Minamino were Deadline Day signings for their respective clubs and if Saturday’s Premier League encounter is anything to go by, both will have big roles to play before the end of the season.

Joe Willock

Willock, particularly, looked bright for Newcastle in the formative stages. In a side that has so often lacked attacking threat this season, the Arsenal man provided dynamism from the centre of the field and opened the scoring after being set up by Allan Saint-Maximim.

Certainly, his contribution faded in the second half, when Newcastle were forced down to nine men after a red card for Jeff Hendrick and an injury for Fabian Schar. It was not an ideal situation for Willock, a player so short on competitive minutes. Nevertheless, he managed to win the vast majority of his duels – both on the ground and in the air – made two interceptions and six ball recoveries.

Takumi Minamino

Minamino, meanwhile, was a strong performer for Saints as he grabbed a goal on his debut. The on-loan Liverpool attacker’s finish was an emphatic one from a tight angle to draw his side back into the game after they had conceded the opening two.

When in possession, he was a direct runner and drew four fouls, including the one that saw Henrick dismissed. Only James Ward-Prowse eclipsed him from a Southampton perspective.

Certainly, there are signs that both Willock and Minamino have not yet fully settled into life at their respective clubs as both touched the ball on relatively few occasions, but when they were involved, Newcastle and Southampton fans have cause for optimism that both will be successful additions to their side.