Coming off the back of a 0-0 draw away to Bournemouth, many Southampton fans and players deemed it a decent result and a solid foundation to build upon. A strong defensive showing which Mark Hughes has been drilling into them in recent weeks highlights a possible improvement to a normally leaky defence. However, with no goals scored in Southampton’s last four Premier League matches and only six league goals scored all season, the other end of the pitch is an issue.
It is not unfair to suggest Newcastle United are being plunged into crisis at the moment. With support for the chairman, Mike Ashley, virtually gone and steady regression being shown at St James Park over the last couple of seasons, there is certainly a sceptical mood surrounding the club. Some could some argue Southampton fans know this feeling too well! A 1-0 defeat at home to Brighton last week meant that Newcastle slipped to the foot of the table, ensuring the Magpies remain winless in all competitions this season.
For the Saints, Mario Lemina is likely to be available having overcome a minor issue with his left knee, after picking it up at the Vitality Stadium last weekend. Aside from Lemina, Hughes has got a full strength squad at his disposal.
Last 5 Results (All Competitions):
Without doubt, the result of this fixture will have a massive impact on the feeling neighbouring both clubs. For Mark Hughes, nothing less than the three points will lift the scrutiny off the Welshman. Being unable to win key games within a season has haunted Saints for a couple of years now and with Newcastle even more fragile than the hosts, they have the perfect opportunity to win on home turf. The win would put to a halt a dire record at St Mary’s in 2018, having only won once in that time.