Newcastle and their travelling fans will make the longest trip in the Premier League this weekend as they face a 700 mile round trip to take on Southampton.
The Saints are back in the big time this season after a seven season absence which has seen them drop through the Championship into League One and back to the Premier League finally.
This game also rounds off a trio of Alan Pardew’s former clubs that we’ve come up against in recent weeks. A draw at Reading and a home loss against West Ham have ensured that we haven’t fared too well against Pardew’s former employers but I’m hoping that changes this weekend. In fairness I think we’re all hoping that changes this weekend.
If it is to change we will have to do it with a lengthly injury list. Newcastle will be without Shola Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Dan Gosling, Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic, Xisco and Adam Campbell through injury with Fabricio Coloccini also out of the game as he serves the final game of his three game suspension following his red card against Liverpool.
Papiss Cisse, Jonas Gutierrez and Gabriel Obertan are all doubtful although James Perch is reportedly close to making a comeback. Another comeback kid could be Nile Ranger who has been named as part of the matchday squad against the team who once had him on their books. Ranger was released by The Saints in 2008 following a string of off-field issues.
Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow are the only absentees for Southampton. Guly do Prado and Artur Boruc could be recalled after missing the games against Swansea and QPR.
Newcastle have one just one game in the last 19 league trips to St Mary’s and, prior to their new ground, at The Dell. That win was our last visit to the South coast back in 2004 with a rare goal from Stephen Carr sealing the three points on that occasion. Our last win prior to 2004 came in 1972!
There have been 43 meetings at Southampton over the years. Southampton have won 27 of those games, Newcastle just five with the other 11 ending in a draw. Newcastle just shade it overall though with 34 wins compared to 31 for Southampton with 17 draws making up the 82 meetings between the two sides.
Match stats and facts:
Newcastle are looking to avoid three straight defeats. the last time we lost three on the spin was back in September 2008.
Southampton are the only side in the Premier League without a clean sheet.
Newcastle have won just one game since Alan Pardew was awarded his eight-year contract.
It’s going to be a tough game, any away game in the Premier League is in fairness, but with the clutch of missing players we have to contend with it leaves us looking light on numbers.
Not only numbers are light though. Also confidence seems to be in short supply at the moment which isn;t a good thing.
We haven’t had things are own way this season and you could argue that this run we are in currently is the first real test of Alan Pardew’s Newcastle tenure. The only thing that will turn it round is results which will buy time to get the performances right again.
Unfortunately I can’t see that happening tomorrow.
Howay the lads!
Date: Sunday, 25th November, 2012
Venue: St Mary’s Stadium