On Thursday, comparisons to Newcastle United’s final stretch of the 2002/03 season, when they last qualified for the UEFA Champions League (UCL), were strong. With a game left to play, a 4-1 victory at Goodison Park gave them an eight points lead over the next four teams with one game remaining. Eddie Howe’s team will now be focused on claiming a fourth consecutive home victory, something every sports-book seemed to bet on.
The Tynesiders were up 5-0 against fellow UCL berth candidates Tottenham by halftime in the most recent Premier League (PL) home encounter for the Magpies, which ultimately ended 6-1. Amazingly, the last time Newcastle won both halves of a PL home game was on October 29th, which only strengthens their commanding position as favorites.
But there is a lot to suggest that will change when they face bottom club Southampton, especially after the Saints lost 1-0 to Bournemouth at home on Thursday, ending their eight matches winning streak. Above all else, the Saints’ dismal Premier League record this season as an underdog (W6, D5, L17), including a 4-1 thrashing in the reverse H2H in November, is difficult to ignore.
Alarmingly for the visitors, they’ve conceded three or more goals in each of their last three matches against teams in the top seven, so it’s really just a matter of how many now. The Saints have only given up more than once on the road once in their previous five outings, against Arsenal (D 3-3), so there is a slim chance of a surprise victory.
In just Newcastle’s last two games, Jacob Murphy has tripled his Premier League goal total for 2022/23 with two goals in the first ten minutes against Spurs and the final goal against Everton. Theo Walcott has scored emphatically in each of his last two goals scoring encounters against Newcastle, making him one of the Saints’ potential heroes.
Dan Burn, Jacob Murphy, and Alexander Isak were replaced by Matt Targett, Miguel Almiron, and Callum Wilson in Eddie Howe’s midweek roster adjustments.
Although Bruno Guimaraes, Joe Willock, and Sean Longstaff are anticipated to stay in midfield, those changes could be reversed on Sunday as Howe tries to limit fatigue during a busy schedule of games.
Allan Saint-Maximin and Emil Krafth are still out injured, therefore the backline will still consist of Sven Botman, Fabian Schar, and Kieran Tripper.
Mohamed Salisu, Romain Perraud, and Juan Larios are all expected to miss this weekend’s games for Southampton, and Tino Livramento and Armel Bella-Kotchap are questionable for Sunday.
James Ward-Prowse’s participation is also in doubt after the club captain was taken off at halftime of Thursday’s loss to Bournemouth due to illness.
Theo Walcott and Carlos Alcaraz will remain in an advanced position, with Romeo Lavia and Mohamed Elyounoussi occupying positions behind the forward line.
Newcastle United possible starting lineup
Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Guimaraes, Willock, Murphy, Isak and Joelinton.
Southampton possible starting lineup
McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Caleta-Car, Perraud, Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Armstrong, Walcott and Alcaraz.
We predict: Newcastle United 4-0 Southampton
Newcastle, who has recently defeated Tottenham and Everton, looks poised to upset struggling Southampton with ease, handing Southampton their sixth loss in eight games after scoring 10 goals in those victories.