Southampton vs Newcastle Preview: Magpies look for rare win at St. Mary's
Photo: Getty Images - Serena Taylor

Southampton vs Newcastle Preview: Magpies look for rare win at St. Mary's

Two teams that struggle for goals and wins in a high-pressure match on Saturday afternoon

Nestor Watach

The wait goes on for Newcastle United’s first win of the season, but Saturday presents a good opportunity to get it as they travel to St. Mary’s to face fellow strugglers Southampton.

Mark Hughes men will have the same mentality as they look to get a first win in six games, having failed to score in their last four. This Saturday 3pm kick-off won’t be one for the neutrals as two of the Premier League’s most toothless sides face off.

Few happy memories at St. Mary’s

Newcastle haven’t won away at Southampton since 2004, back when Graeme Souness was boss.

The Magpies have endured some particularly miserable afternoons there since Southampton returned to the top-flight in 2012, with back-to-back 4-0 drubbings with Mauricio Pochettino and then Ronald Koeman in charge in the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons, results that typified the latter days of Alan Pardew’s reign.

However, they did manage to take a point last season, and Southampton don’t look a great deal better under Mark Hughes this campaign with just one win from their opening nine games.

Currently bottom of the table, Newcastle could get out of the relegation zone with a win, while a defeat could see Southampton fall into it.

No injury excuses for Newcastle

Rafael Benitez doesn’t have a fully fit squad to choose from, but almost all of his most important players are available.

Florian Lejeune remains sidelined but has arguably been usurped by summer arrival Federico Fernandez, who has made a promising start and Newcastle and looks to have built a solid partnership at the centre of defence with Jamaal Lascelles.

Jamie Sterry is the only other absence but wouldn’t have made the first team, while Ciaran Clark is fit again for the bench after suffering with a thigh problem sustained on international duty.

Salomon Rondon’s return is the big boost, with the Venezuelan likely to lead the line ahead of Yoshinori Muto and Joselu. He’s not featured for Newcastle since a thigh injury forced him off against Crystal Palace over a month ago.

Goals badly needed

Newcastle huffed and puffed but failed to find the back of the net against Brighton last week, despite taking 27 shots. They will be desperate for a response after the 1-0 defeat, especially as they will have viewed it as eminently winnable.

Southampton did well to deny free-scoring Bournemouth goals last weekend, but they failed to find the back of the net themselves and have gone nearly 300 minutes without scoring.

Predicted Newcastle team

Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett; Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy; Perez; Rondon (4-4-1-1).