Southampton need to try and make amends for the 3-2 defeat to Tottenham when they host Newcastle United, with the Saints squandering a two-goal lead at White Hart Lane. Meanwhile, the Magpies will be in similar position as they go into the clash at St Mary’s on the back of a 3-0 home loss to Everton.
Injury problems mounting
The general impression is that Southampton should have done better this season, even if everybody at the club will be delighted with what is likely to be their first Premier League top 10 finish since 2003. The Saints are currently 11 points clear of 11th-placed West Ham, meaning their top half berth should never come into question, but Mauricio Pochettino and his men are eager to further improve their league position, as their recent performances would suggest. Southampton recovered well from the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool as they recorded back to back triumphs over Crystal Palace and Norwich, before creating a two-goal lead against Tottenham at the Lane. However, some defensive mistakes allowed Spurs to get back into the game and record a 3-2 victory, which is likely to give the Saints and extra incentive to do well against Newcastle. The triumph over the Magpies would see Southampton climb to eighth position in the standings and no doubt the hosts will give their best to continue the rich vein of form on Saturday afternoon.
Kelvis Davis, Maya Yoshida and Nathaniel Clyne are all out injured, whilst Jay Rodriguez, Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama and Steven Davis face fitness tests.
Newcastle in problems
Some disappointing performances in the second part of the season have proved just how important Yohan Cabaye had been for the team and the creative department simply does not look the same without him. Newcastle endured a shocking run at the turn of the year, losing seven of nine games in all competitions, before finally showing some improvement at the end of February. However, the Magpies were then unfortunate to have star forward Loic Remy pick up an injury, and while they somehow managed to defeat Crystal Palace by scoring in the dying moments of the match, the 3-0 home defeat to Everton proved they are currently not in a position to match league’s top sides. To add insult to injury, goalkeeper Tim Krul picked up an injury in the process that will see him miss between two and three weeks of action. This means the Magpies will have problems both at the back and up front, so this is clearly not the right time to be facing revived Southampton.
Tim Krul, Loic Remy, Sammy Ameobi and Mathieu Debuchy are out injured, but Davide Santon should return to the side.
Even if they ended up losing at the Lane, Southampton have produced three very good performances in a row which give them confidence ahead of the clash with severely weakened Newcastle. The Magpies largely struggle up front without Loic Remy, whilst Tim Krul’s injury is likely to have an effect on their defensive record.
Top pick: Home win 1.75 (3/4) @ bet365
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 1.82 (41/50) @ 888sport
Alternative pick 2: Southampton/Southampton 2.70 (17/10) @ William Hill