Southampton (H): Pre-match thoughts, preferred XI, team news & predicted line-ups

The definition of a six-pointer, this one. Win and we’ll go 4 points clear of Southampton, but lose and they’ll be 2 points ahead.
 
As Rafa Benitez will tell you, this game won’t define our season, with us having 24 points available to still be won after it, however there’s no denying that this is a huge chance to get closer to where we want to be.
 
Interestingly, Southampton have had such a similar season to us. Both Benitez and Pellegrino’s sides have virtually the same goal difference, goals scored, points and goals against, however Pellegrino’s pre-game comments make me think they’ll have a far more conservative approach to this game than Benitez’s NUFC.
 
Benitez has vowed to attack, but the Saints boss has claimed pre-kick off that both teams would take a point. They’ve won just 1 in their last 16 and drawn 9 of those, suggesting he often sets up not to avoid defeat, not take all three points.
 
We were criticised at Anfield for not having a go and surrendering to a defeat, but I think we’ll be trying to match that intensity and attacking intent shown in the win over Man Utd last time out at St James’. That’s the plan anyway..

Preferred XI

I’d make just two changes from the side that lost 2-0 to Liverpool last weekend, bringing in Ritchie and Perez for Atsu and Murphy.

We need to approach this game as we did Man Utd at home last time out, so playing practically the same side makes sense to me:

Merino looked off the pace at Anfield, but he’s the best options for me (presuming Shelvey does miss out). Hayden is an alternative, but a midfield combination of him and Diame seems far too defensive in a game we should be looking to attack.

Atsu and Murphy started last time out at Liverpool, however both were pretty ineffective and having Perez and Ritchie back in the side will make sense in a bid to replicate the front-foot performance we put in against Man Utd in our last game at St. James’.



We need more from Kenedy, who was sloppy last weekend, however he’s a player who’s far more suited to playing on the front foot – so this tomorrow’s game should hopefully suit him.

Having Gayle and Perez at it could be key. They had great energy and enthusiasm about them against Man Utd and never gave their centre-backs a moments rest. We need that again tomorrow to unsettle a Southampton side low on confidence.

Predicted NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Dubravka– Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett – Diame, Merino – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy –  Gayle

 

The Opposition

Here’s a few players to watch out for tomorrow’s visitors:

Mario Lemina – The central midfielder their best player at St Mary’s earlier in the season and he looks a cut above most of their players when I’ve watched them recently. An impressive all-rounder who looks destined for bigger things to me.

 Ryan Bertrand – An England international full-back whose a threat going forward and often their out ball down the left. Ritchie and Yedlin will need to keep an eye on him.

James Ward-Prowse – Aside from Kevin De Bruyne, I don’t think there’s anyone with better delivery into the box than him. We’ll need to be on our guard from set pieces if he starts.

Dusan Tadic – Has plenty of ability but doesn’t always turn up. Could be a threat from the number 10 role. Another one for Diame to watch.

Predicted Southampton XI – (4-3-3) – McCarthy – Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand – Lemina, Romeu – Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond – Carrillo

For an inside look into this weekend’s opponents, take a look at the latest edition of the ‘Opposition Opinion’ . A great insight into this weekend’s opponents.

 

Form

Newcastle – 16th (29 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 1 / Drawn: 3 / Lost: 1

Southampton – 17th ( 28 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 1 / Drawn: 3 / Lost: 1

 

Team news

Benitez has confirmed that he will make a late decision tomorrow on Jonjo Shelvey, whilst Islam Slimani remains on the sidelines, with Huddersfield hit target on March 31st.

Rob Elliot and Jesus Gamez have been ruled out by Rafa today (what is going on with the latter I will never know!)

For Southampton, Steven Davis and Maya Yoshida are out with hamstring and knee injuries respectively, whilst striker Charlie Austin remains a long-term absentee.

 

Match Prediction

Show the sort of desire, intensity and concentration levels as we did last time out at home against Man Utd and I’m almost certain we’ll get the result we need in this one – but doing that against a ‘lesser side’ just isn’t what we tend to do!

That being said, we can see the finish line now and I think Benitez and the boys will be fully focused here and ready to take all three points.

It’s a huge game, but I have faith in Benitez’s calming influence when it comes to these sort of situations. It’s down to the players to deliver, but I think we’ll have enough.

Prediction: Newcastle 2-0 Southampton

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

165 thoughts on “Southampton (H): Pre-match thoughts, preferred XI, team news & predicted line-ups

  1. Premandup:
    True but palace play, Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Brighton, Stoke and West Brom. I think the ought to get enough points from those games to survive.

    Urrgghh. You are right. They play 5 shit teams so will probably stay up.

      (Quote)

  2. I think West Brom and Stoke will go down. However it could be any one from Southampton, West Ham and Huddersfield to Join them.
    I see Palace, Swansea and us pulling clear.

      (Quote)

  3. Premandup:
    I think West Brom and Stoke will go down. However it could be any one from Southampton, West Ham and Huddersfield to Join them.
    I see Palace, Swansea and us pulling clear.

    After today man, Southampton. Did they even have a shot?

      (Quote)

  4. They really were so shit. Stevie G, Carra and g-Nev all say we are Championship level but have they watched Southampton?

      (Quote)

  5. Well Bobby Moore must be spinning in his grave at them scenes, and on the 25th anniversary of his death too.
    God I hate West Ham, minging club and shite fans

      (Quote)

  6. That must be the funniest own goal ever. Mr Roy. Have Rooney run the team and Harry Kane take corners. You deserve it.

      (Quote)

  7. Paddy Power‏Verified account @paddypower · 1h1 hour ago

     More

    Latest reports coming from West Ham are that the fans are now in charge of the club, David Moyes is getting 10 public lashings and the Stadium has been renamed Brexit HQ

      (Quote)

  8. Dubai Toon:
    Both Arma and Mitro score a brace today.

    DT: isn’t it plan B though. I think Rafa will do an even better job next year, But, Plan B – the Mad Serb.

      (Quote)

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