Southampton take on the visitors Newcastle in the semifinal match of English Football League Cup. The match will be played on Tuesday, January 24th at St. Mary's Stadium (Southampton).
Southampton for a long time looked frankly disastrous this season. This is despite the fact that after the appearance of a new owner, ambitions clearly grew here, and almost a fight for European cups was expected from Ralph Hasenhüttl and his wards. After a weak start, the board said goodbye to the Austrian, but with his successor, Nathan Jones, there was no improvement. On the contrary, Soton completely slipped to the very bottom in the Premier League, to 20th place. It would seem that in such a situation it was necessary to fully concentrate on the struggle for survival. And it was not in vain that in January they signed, without stint, newcomers at the level of Carlos Alcaras and Mislav Orsic. But at the same time, the club interrupted its series of defeats just in the cup, but 2-1 was largely attributed to the problems of the opponent, unstable in the winter of Crystal Palace. But a few days later, Southampton took unexpected 2-0 with Manchester City! This made it possible to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup, where Nathan Jones and his wards do not mind creating another sensation.
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Newcastle a year ago in many ways resembled the current Southampton – also trailed at the very bottom of the Premier League standings. But Eddie Howe's coaching talents, combined with the generosity of Saudi investors, made it possible in the spring not only to avoid demotion to the Championship, but also to climb into the middle of the final table. During the first half of this season, the Magpies lost only once, and it is not surprising that they are stable and confident in the quartet of leaders. Of course, it's too early to relax, and one cannot say that the long-awaited return to the Champions League has already been secured. Perhaps this is precisely what can explain the defeat of the modest Sheffield Wednesday – it seems that they simply got rid of the cup. It’s just that Southampton can hardly expect that Newcastle will arrange a drain even now - the final is too close, for a very long time the ambitious team from St. James Park has not been so close to at least some kind of trophy.
Newcastle are doing well now against Southampton. In the last 4 fights there were 3 wins and a draw. Quite recently, at the beginning of November, at the same arena, the Magpies won 4-1. Newcastle are unlikely to spend a lot of energy, realizing that this is the first match in the semi-final round, and everything can be decided at home.
Prediction for the match: Newcastle to win.