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Top-four contenders Newcastle travel to Southampton who desperately need points
Newcastle to win 2-1
Tournament: Premier League 2022-2023 | Venue: Southampton, St Mary's StadiumBet Now
Newcastle’s quest to upset the elite of the Premier League continues this weekend, with their place in the top four theirs to hold onto right now.
The Magpies have made a fantastic start to the season under Eddie Howe. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of his appointment, and the changes he has made during that time have been dramatic.
They are now a club that doesn’t rely on just one or two big players, but have a team of excellent individuals who have gelled together well under Howe’s management. Can they hold onto 4th spot?
Southampton’s season continues to rumble on near the foot of the Premier League, with the club separated from the bottom three by a single point.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has a number of key players returning from injury here, which could provide a timely boost for him. However, he will be under no illusions about the size of the challenge facing him here.
A defeat could see his side slip into the bottom three, which would add further pressure to an already stretched squad.
Reasons to be cheerful:
Bella-Kotchap and Lavia could return from injury
Best performances usually come at home
Reasons to be fearful:
Just one win from their last 10 games against Newcastle
Poor record against teams in the top four
Southampton are a team that could struggle with a relegation battle all season, such is the inconsistency we see from them each week.
We saw in the second half against Arsenal a team that looks committed and focused, not to mention one with a good deal of talent. Unfortunately, that sort of performance is a rarity at the club these days.
Here, Hasenhuttl should have the highly rated Bella-Kotchap back in defence, while Romeo Lavia could be fit enough to return to the starting XI too.
That said, they have two poor records to contend with. The first is their results against Newcastle over the past 10 games, of which they have won only once.
Secondly is their record against a top four team. They haven’t won any of their last 13 fixtures against a team starting the day inside the top four.
Star Man – James Ward-Prowse
To get the better of Newcastle, you need to play well against their midfield. Ward-Prowse has been Southampton’s leading light in midfield for too long, but alongside Lavia could have a role to play.
Reasons to be cheerful
Saint-Maximin could be fit enough to start the game
Have the tightest defence in the league
Reasons to be fearful
Joelinton will miss out due to suspension
Fixture congestion could put pressure on their squad
Newcastle’s season keeps getting better right now and they are fully deserving of their place inside the Premier League’s top four.
There are no glaring weaknesses around the starting XI, nor are there any big egos or bad attitudes that Eddie Howe needs to be concerned about right now.
The Magpies’ only issue going forward will be regarding their strength in depth – is their squad big enough to cope with the demands of the season going forward? They play three times in the next seven days.
Here, they will be without their rejuvenated engine in the middle of the pitch, Joelinton, who must sit out after picking up five yellow cards. In his place could come Saint-Maximin, who returned from injury last week.
Star Man – Callum Wilson
Alongside his strike partner, Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson has loved being part of Eddie Howe’s energetic squad. He has six goals from his nine games this season, including three in his last two.
A game of high intensity from both teams
Can the Saints break down Newcastle’s defence?
Will Newcastle hold onto their top four space?
The higher you are up the table, the more pressure you are under to deliver.
Newcastle have very much been the challengers up until now, but people are now starting to take notice of them inside the top four. Can Eddie Howe’s team handle the expectation that comes with success?
Southampton are a side that can’t seem to play well for an entire half, never mind 90 minutes. They need the very best from their players here to come away with three points.
The Magpies have the bit between their teeth and you would expect them to claim the points here.
Newcastle to win 2-1
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