Southampton vs. Newcastle United
T.V: Sky Sports Premier League
Southampton play host to Newcastle United at St Mary’s on Sunday, with both sides sitting just two points apart in the 2017/18 Premier League table.
Newcastle under Rafa Benitez have lost just one of their last five Premier League games, with their 1-1 draw against Liverpool prior to the international break meaning that Benitez’ men sit ninth in the PL table with ten points in the 2017/18 Premier League campaign so far.
Southampton are yet to truly kick-start their Premier League campaign under Pellegrino, scoring two goals and amassing just three points for the whole of September (L3 W1).
With a promising set of October fixtures to follow the clash with Newcastle; WBA (H) and BHA (A), Southampton will see this as a game of upmost importance to progress their season, despite coming up against Premier League opposition in comparatively stronger form.
Shane Long (hip) is expected to potentially miss the clash with Newcastle, with Manolo Gabbiadini or Charlie Austin set to deputise for the Saints in his place.
Mario Lemina and Oriol Romeu; who have formed a strong defensive partnership in Southampton’s midfield, are expected to retain their starting places, whilst Virgil Van Dijk’s re-integration to the Southampton side looks to be complete, with the Dutchman expected to start on Sunday.
Mauricio Pellegrino could turn to Southampton academy product James Ward Prowse to replace Dusan Tadic (ankle) in the starting XI, despite Ward Prowse accumulating just 171 minutes of Premier League football so far this season.
Rafa Benitez will run last minute injury checks on Jonjo Shelvey (wrist), Matt Ritchie (thigh) and Christian Atsu (hamstring) prior to Sunday’s visit to Southampton, whilst Mikel Merino and Ayoze Perez are expected to start in number nine and ten roles respectively.
Benitez is expected to make minimal changes to a Newcastle defence who have conceded just two goals in their last five Premier League fixtures.
Jamaal Lascelles is expected to start, alongside Ciaran Clark and DeAndre Yedlin, though it waits to be seen whether Chancel Mbemba or Javier Manquillo will make the final defensive spot in Newcastle’s back-line.
Prediction: Southampton 1 Newcastle United 2
Written by Tom Newman.