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Saints V Newcastle United Dan's Preview
Friday, 8th Apr 2016 13:00

A trip to Southampton for Newcastle United hasn’t been something looked forward to for 40 years, one league win and a cup win in four decades for the Toon Army will hopefully be a record that won’t be improved.

With new manager Steve McClaren appointed at the beginning of the season, Newcastle would’ve hoped that they wouldn’t be a repeat of last season, where they survived relegation on the final day, but with seven games left for the Tyneside club it’s looking as if this season will be worse.

With the appointment of Rafa Benitez, following the sacking of McClaren in March, it would seem likely that hoped filled the fans of the famous club but the Spaniard has received a point out of a possible nine whilst in charge.

I personally think that the appointment of Benitez will be fantastic for the club if they stay up but the ex- Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid boss has never been in a relegation battle, thus another manager may have suited the situation better. Yes, Benitez has made the team look more organized but they conceded three times against relegation rival, Norwich in their last match.

The Saints visited St. James’ Park on the opening weekend of the campaign. Goals from Graziano Pelle, Georginio Wijnaldum, Pappi Cisse and a late equaliser from Shane Long meant the points were shared as the result was 2-2. But two great chances for Sadio Mané were missed in the final moments, meaning that three points were deserved.

When Newcastle come to St. Mary’s on Saturday I think it will be tense for both teams who both have big ambitions. We want to qualify for the Europa League and they’re fighting relegation.

Neither team have started recent games very well so the opening 15 minutes may go either way. Hopefully Saints will be more dominant in the first quarter of the match and get a goal in that period. This will give confidence to push on for more. Plus, with the returns of Charlie Austin, Jay Rodriguez and hopefully Shane Long will be fit, we’ll have real firepower in the starting line-up and on the bench.

I’m predicting a 3-0 win for the Saints. We’re due a clean-sheet and to be honest I haven’t seen a player in Newcastle’s team that seems that bothered

about the club’s situation. Plus, with both first and second choice goalkeepers out with serious injuries the new keeper Newcastle played could’ve saved at least one of the goals. Finally, Rafa apparently has a release-clause on his contract so he isn’t stuck with the club if they go down and if they are relegated only the players are to blame.

With a possible five attackers in our squad I’d be surprised if Newcastle got a clean sheet. The only Newcastle player I can see scoring is Mitrovic who scored a penalty in their last match and in the Tyne-Wear derby before that. But he started on the bench last week so I don’t know whether he’ll start or not.

My Saints Line-Up: 4-3-3

Forster, Cedric, van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand, Wanyama,

Ward- Prowse, Rodriguez, Mane, Pelle, Long

Targett didn’t do as much as I would’ve liked him to have done on Sunday when we played with five defenders, I’m a fan of him though but with the lack of attack Newcastle provide he won’t be needed. Ward-Prowse needs game time, another player I’m a fan of.

I didn’t expect Jay Rod to be in the squad last weekend but he was on the bench. He must be fit enough to start playing and we’ve missed his great ability and he bagged a hat-trick for the under-21s before the International break so he has scored since returning from injury.

Three attackers will hopefully guarantee goals and this is a must win game for us because, the way the table looks, even if we get a point on Saturday seventh will be the highest place we’ll finish and winning five consecutive games is unlikely with our inconsistent form.

If we get a win though and other results go our way (especially West Ham vs Arsenal) we could be only one point off of the top six with two winnable fixtures up next.

Photo: Action Images

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SanMarco added 16:56 - Apr 8
Brave man saying Everton away is 'winnable fixture'. It isn't usually and Lukaku likes us!!

halftimeorange added 20:51 - Apr 8
Why no Romeu in your line-up? Without Davis we'll lose that work ethic in midfield and JWP doesn't work hard enough for me. He can be brought on at about sixty minutes if we need his dead-ball expertise. Hopefully, by then we'll be comfortable. I don't think it's a gimme though as Newcastle players know if they don't win this one they're as good as down with Spurs, Liverpool and Man City yet to come.

hortonsaint added 21:37 - Apr 8
Not sure about that line up as a 4-3-3 Nick, you have 2 midfielders and 4 forwards. You could play that side as a 4-2-3-1 with Mane as the no 10, Long and Rodriguez either side of Mane and Pelle up top. Don't see Rodriguez starting, it'll most probably the side you've named with Davis and Clasie instead of Rodriguez and JWP.

aceofthebase added 23:31 - Apr 8
Any formation that doesn't include Cedric and Clasie would be fine with me. Can't afford to give away any more points.

IWOZTHERE added 08:36 - Apr 9
Romeu is going to go the same way as Cork if this carries on...... He plays well enough to earn a regular place then gets ditched as soon as we've got players back. Dropping him for Wannaway for instance, flies in the face of stuff like team spirit, commitment etc. and doesn't exactly build for next season?

IWOZTHERE added 08:44 - Apr 9
Agree with San Marco about Everton. I can just see Forster on the edge of the six yard box punching all those crosses off Lukaku's head....or possibly not?

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