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Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 12th August 2018 Kick-off 13:30
Saints At Newcastle United The Preview
Friday, 9th Mar 2018 09:11
Saints travel to Newcastle knowing that victory would see them rise above the hosts, so can they use the pressure on the home side to their advantage ?
Last week saw Saints fail to beat Stoke City in front of their own fans, thePotters came to St Mary's that day and used the pressure on them to deliver a performance that has been lacking in them all season, now Saints have to use that as a yardstick to do the same to Newcastle.
The Toon Army will be putting pressure on their own team to deliver and it up to Saints to pile that pressure on by digging in and putting in a display and earning a win.
Saints should go there with confidence, the problem has been our failure to win games rather than getting stuffed week in week out, we have been beat only once in 10 games since the defeat against Palace on the 3rd January, we have won 4 times, the problem being that 3 of them came in the cup.
We should play without fear, Newcastle's home record is barely better than ours, in 14 games they have won only 4 times at home, drawn another 4 and lost 6, exactly the same number we have lost in our 16 home games.
So although we have not been winning games of late, we haven't been losing them either and we have got points at far better teams than Newcastle.
Indeed it will suit us far better to be playing away than it will at home, although the fans are clamouring for two up front, this is probably not a game to be doing that, it is going to be about keeping behind the ball, frustrating Newcastle and then hitting them on the break and Saints have the players to play that formation.
At home Newcastle have scored even less goals than us, only 12 in those 14 games, thats less than we have scored on the road and in total Newcastle have only netted 27 times in the Premier League whilst we have scored 29, so what have we got to fear butfear itself.
So this is going to be a game that by the end of it will see one side very happy and another fearing relegation even more, Saints have to make sure that the team with the smiles on their faces is theirs.
So i expect Mauricio Pellegrino to go pretty much with the starting line up of last week with a subtle change or two, in goal and at the back assuming that everyone is fit I expect no changes, in midfield I would hope that Mario Lemina is partnered with Piere Emile Hojbjerg, I think he deserves to be in slightly more than Oriol Romeu at present.
Out wide I would think that he will stick with Josh Sims and Nathan Redmond, both have done well in the last two games, although some would be loath to give Redmond the credit he deserves.
Up front I think Guido Carrillo willlead the line, although he is not scoring, he has been creating and in our position it is about creating good chances to score from.
So that leaves one position to fill, the third central midfield position, assuming that the manager does not use Dusan Tadic in a wide role and drop one of the two aforementioned, then he has many choices here.
He could opt for Romeu and aim to dominate the midfield and go on the break, he could opt for James Ward Prowse who would offer ball playing skills and the ability to tidy things up as well, he could opt for Tadic to try and play in behind Carrillo or he could use Sofiane Boufal in the same role.
Or perhaps he could be really brave and put in Manlo Gabbiadini, I would expect the manager to go cautious here though and perhaps for this game he should not be criticised, it is firstly about not losing and then about winning.
So this is more a must not lose game than must win, of course we have to start winning games, we are running out of time and to be blunt we need to win three more this season as a minimum, winning this one would be ideal, but not losing t just as important.
Now is the time for the players to show their class, their passion, their intensity, yes the manager is quite rightly criticised for his selections, tactics and lack of motivation, but when the players cross the touchline and the game kicks off there has to be a time when they motivate themselves and step up a gear, we have seen that happen late in games when it is too little too late, we need to see it more from the start.
A big weekend for Saints, but as those who were around in the 90's will tell you, it is the teams that gets the siege mentality in place that stay up !
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