Newcastle United vs Southampton Preview: Magpies eye comeback in relegation battle against Southampton

Newcastle United vs Southampton Preview: Magpies eye comeback in relegation battle against Southampton

Rafael Benitez men go into the match on the back of a 2-0 defeat against Liverpool and face what could be a season-defining encounter against The Saints

Jordan Cronin and Azeem Siddiqui

Newcastle United and Southampton are preparing to battle it out for Premier League survival in Saturday's relegation clash at St James' Park. 

The game will be a nervous and winner takes all affair with a possiblity of a relegation into the Championship still freshly on the horizon. 

Before the kick-off on Saturday, the Magpies sits on the 16th position with 29 points, just one ahead of the Saints, who sit on the 17th with 28 points.


Last meeting - Newcastle lead twice but settle for draw

Manolo Gabbiadini scored a brace as Southampton drew 2-2 at home to Newcastle United after back-to-back losses before the international break.

Newcastle took the lead through Isaac Hayden, striking the ball on the rebound from 20 yards past Fraser Forster who was still recovering from the earlier effort.

Gabbiadini equalised after some hard work inside Newcastle's penalty area, but moments later Ayoze Perez restored the away side's lead at the second attempt.

Gabbiadini then brought Southampton level once again, this time from the penalty spot after Florian Lejeune brought down Shane Long.

Goal difference the key

In normal circumstances, the top-half of the table is a congested one, where teams are fighting it out to secure glory, but so is not the case anymore.

Manchester City are runaway leaders, and other four are fighting it out for three spots for the Champions League.

On the other hand, in the bottom-half of the table, it is unbelievably tight, where only three points separate seven teams from 13th to 19th, which means goal difference might prove to be a real deal come the last day of the campaign. 

Interestingly, Newcastle and Southampton are the two teams with best goal difference in the last eight teams on the table, which shows that both teams might be too reluctant to give their all and play expensive and aggressive football.

Pressure on Pellegrino

Mauricio Pellegrino was brought in by Southampton in place of Claude Puel at the start of the 2017/18 season.

It remains unclear why Puel, who is doing extremely well with Leicester City now, was removed from the managerial post after guiding Saints to the eight spot finish in the league last season.

By the look of the evidence till now, it is clear that the experiment of bringing Pellegrino has taken the club backwards, instead of forward.

Come Saturday, and the 46-year-old will be up against a Newcastle side, who are extremely hard to beat.

If the Magpies get the better of the Saints in this bottom of the table clash, it might prove to be the final nail in the coffin of Pellegrino’s time at the Saint Mary’s time.