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Newcastle United 2 v 2 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 28th August 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton At Newcastle United The Preview
Friday, 27th Aug 2021 10:00

Saints hit 8 goals at Newport County but all that will mean nothing if they lose at St James Park on Saturday, they go into the game with confidence high whilst the Toon Army is revolting after another poor start to the season for the Mags, can Saints win up there for the first time in a while.

Saints have lost the last 4 visits to St James Park and we have to go back to the opening game of 2015/16 for our last point there when a 79th minute Shane Long goal earned us a 2-2 draw, the pervious season was the last time that we took all 3 points when two goals from loanee Eljera Elia gave us a 2-1 win.

Before that it was season 96/97 for our previous last win when Matt Le Tissier scored the only goal of the game, so that makes it only two wins plus 3 draws in our last 16 outings.

Last season we really should have won when they firstly went down to 10 men and then 9 for the final portion of the game after running out of substitutes, but we just couldn't break down the staunch rear guard action after handing them all three goals and went down by the odd goal in 5.

But this season should hopefully be different, Ralph Hasenhuttl has virtually a full squad to call on and more importantly a bench full of both experience and a hunger to succeed.

Last season our bench had 6 virtually untried youngsters on it and only one of them, Nathan Tella has broken through. Compare that to November when we beat Newcastle comprehensively at St Mary's to go top of the Premier League.

So the time for excuses is over, we have revamped the squad, we are no longer reliant on putting 17 year old's on the bench to fill the space and we have no real injury issues, at least ones we can't deal with.

The time is here for our squad and manager to show that they are up to the job in keeping us in the mid table of the Premier league and then building on that to push us up towards the top 10.

To do that we need to be going to places like Newcastle and winning or at least not losing year in year out, this is an opportunity to put an early distance between us and a team that will be our rivals for a place in the Premier League.

We go there with the confidence that a draw against Manchester united and routing Newport County can give us whereas with Steve Bruce whinging in the press about the frailties of his squad, morale is low on Tyneside both in the dressing room and the stands.

Defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa in the opening two games were not a disgrace, but it leaves them needing to beat the lower sides if they are to avoid yet another relegation battle, if you want to finish comfortably mid table then these are two sides you need to be picking up points against.

So the job for Saints is to put the right team out there to compete.

The first question is again about the goalkeeper, Alex McCarthy didn't distinguish himself either at Everton or Manchester United and although it wasn't a direct error for any of the 4 goals conceded in those games, at least 3 of them he should have done better on.

Fraser Forster played against Newport County, but didn't have a shot on target to save, he could do nothing to further his cause to be back in the team, I could probably have played in goal and we would still have won, I might even have kept a clean sheet such was our dominance.

So that is the first question for Ralph.

The second is the defence, does he keep with the back 4 of the first half against United and if so he needs to bring back Jan Bednarek but who for, or does he opt to play a central three with wing backs and again that offers options and therefore problems of who to play.

There is also the question of whether new signing Lyanco is ready to slot straight into the starting line up, if Ralph opts for a back three I would not be surprised if he came in,

Personally if he goes with a back 4 I would play Kyle Walker Peter at right back. Bednarek & Salisu with Perraud at left back, square pegs in square holes.

If he opts for the latter and plays Stephens, Bednarek & Salisu then he has a few things to consider.

Who plays right wing back, here he is blessed with either KWP or Livramento and it is probably the latter who he will go with, on the left side although he could opt to play KWP, again square pegs in square holes and for me Perraud has to play.

I think though we will go for a back four and if we go with my preferred four than in midfield Livramento has to play on the right, JWP & Romeu in the middle and then the question is who plays left ?

There are several options here, he could go for Moi Elyounoussi, Moussa Djenepo, Nathan Redmond or even Theo Walcott, my money would be on Djenepo who was decent against both Everton & United.

Up front it is Che Adams and Adam Armstrong who are forming a good complimentary partnership and there contrasting styles work well together.

But attacking wide we are going to have some good options off the bench and I would be surprised if Armando Broja is not on the bench.

Last season was one of two halves, the first we showed what we can achieve and pushed ourselves into the fringes of the top 6, the second saw us fall away for reasons beyond our control , but now we are back to an even playing field.

Saints can now move forward with some confidence, they have a better & more importantly bigger squad than last season with only Danny Ings likely to be a big loss and questions about how well he will be replaced still to be answered .

But this is one of those games that will define the season, win it and we have made a solid start, a draw would not be a disaster, but defeat would be a big knock to the confidence.

Last season we should have won at St James Park, this season we have perhaps our best chance in many seasons to do so, we have to take it.

Photo: Action Images

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TimSaint added 10:58 - Aug 27
Keep it simple and cut out the errors - especially at GK and in defence. We have a habit of gifting teams chances and last season we were punished regularly.
We look to have more options out wide and up front now, so hopefully RH can see what is happening and change things accordingly - and not with 10 mins left.
Keep the locals quiet,nick an early goal and go for it, don't try to sit back for the rest of the game. We tried and failed that so many times already !!

Peterx added 12:10 - Aug 27
There is little doubt in my mind that with our squad we will be stronger than them in the last 30 mins of the game.

The trick will be to make sure that we don't get caught by some sucker punches before then which leave us chasing the game.

Livramento v Saint-Maximin will be a key battle.

Scrappy2020 added 13:14 - Aug 27
Same starting eleven,change to a back five in the second half as we tire using our subs

WestSussexSaint added 13:49 - Aug 27
I doubt we will see many changes. In goal, McCarthys new contract cements him as number 1 so I would be surprised if Forster gets much game time outside of cup games unless there is an injury or McCarthys form drops off a cliff.

As for the outfield players the only change I would like to see is Elyounoussi coming in probably in place of Walcott. Moi’s performance on Wednesday merits getting a chance. The good news is Ralph has so many options at his disposal now so we genuinely could have changes anywhere on the pitch and not reduce the quality. Probably the only positions that are relatively certain are the centre midfield two and the strikers.

Here is hoping for that momentum from last Sunday and Wednesday to continue to build.

Just hope we don’t see much need for VAR. M Dean is in the chair!

felly1 added 19:33 - Aug 27
Their key players offensively will be Almiron and St Maximin. Keep them relatively quiet and we have a good chance.
The next key thing is will we take our chances?

felly1 added 19:33 - Aug 27
Their key players offensively will be Almiron and St Maximin. Keep them relatively quiet and we have a good chance.
The next key thing is will we take our chances?

saintpete01 added 10:14 - Aug 28
You are correct to highlight Momentum a Winning mentality builds
Confidence and creates maximum Team performance we are in the zone
let’s not loose it


Boris1977 added 16:31 - Aug 28

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