After Rafael Benitez appointment Newcastle have earned only 1 point in 3 games (draw against Sunderland). Still we can admit the team started playing a bit better. They were beaten by Leicester City 0:1 (Okazaki’s spectacular goal) as well as by Norwich City last matchday (conceded on 92’).
There is no much to be happy about but it’s not that team that conceded several goals in every away game anymore. Newcastle United are fighting and this game won’t be easy for Southampton.
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On top of that the hosts lack motivation a bit. If the Magpies are battling to survive the Saints have actually nothing to strive for. After last-game defeat by Leicester Koeman’s team lost their chances to be in the top-4. In fact they need to win all of their 6 games to get there and expected Manchester United, Manchester City and West Ham United to lose points. It’s very doubtful. They could play in the Europa League, but considering their this season performance they obviously lack motivation to perform there successfully. West Had did the same thing once again proving how English sides treat Europa League.
We should also say Southampton rarely win by big margin. The Saints won 5 of their last 10 games, but all of them were close ones. Newcastle in their turn have not been suffering serious away losses lately.
Koeman cannot count on Mane and probably Long, while the visitors’ Colback is out. We can say there will be no key players absent.
Both Sunderland and Aston Villa managed to earn points here and Newcastle surely can try too. They tied Southampton 2:2 at home and now they will be way more motivated.
Prediction: Newcastle to win with (+1) handicap.