Southampton will look to avoid equalling their record of five successive defeats in the top flight and seek to make amends after suffering another 9-0 defeat last Tuesday at Old Trafford. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have experienced a dip in form the past two months but will see this game as an opportunity to kick-start the second half of the season and gain some momentum heading into a busy February fixture list.
Newcastle lost at home to Crystal Palace in midweek but looked lively, replicating the philosophy that saw them take the three points at Goodison Park last week. Steve Bruce will comprehend the importance of improving their home form, after only managing to gain two points in their past five home matches.
Newcastle will be boosted with the availability of their January acquisition Joe Willock.
To the contrary, Bruce’s side suffers an injury problem at the back with Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernández, Paul Dummet, Jamal Lewis and Ciaran Clark set to miss the clash this Saturday.
Southampton’s signing, Takumi Minamino will be available.
Hasenhuttl’s long injury list is set to be reduced this weekend as many players are set to return. Jannick Vestergaard has recovered from a knee injury, Oriol Romeu has recovered from a knock and Mohamed Salisu is in contention again.
Jan Bednarek is also available as the red card has been overturned by the FA.
Stuart Armstrong will miss out due to a muscle injury.
The last time the sides faced off, Southampton came out as comfortable winners in a 2-0 win at St. Mary’s courtesy of a goal from Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong, putting Southampton top of the table albeit only for a day.
The last outing at St. James’ Park ended in a 2-1 win for Newcastle, as Bruce’s side fought back from a Danny Ings goal via goals from Jonjo Shelvey and Federico Fernandez.
Newcastle have only lost just one of their past 15 Premier League home matches against Southampton (W11, D3)
Ones to watch
Southampton may turn to their January acquisition, Minamino, to subdue their woes in front of goal. There has been a distinct lack of fluidity in the final third, with the likes of Ings and Adams misfiring. Minamino will be hoping to reignite the spark that was ever-present at the start of the season, adding that bit of quality in the final third.
Not only does Minamino offer quality but his work on and off the ball in open play has come on leaps and bounds. The Austrian manager’s philosophy has been clear to see this season, with the press becoming an integral factor to the success it has reaped. Hasenhuttl has extreme demands of each and every player, with Minamino seemingly capable of fulfilling the expectations the manager demands. Getting someone of the Liverpool player's ilk should be viewed as a coup.
Newcastle’s threat is likely to come from their summer acquisition Callum Wilson, already managing to net a healthy total of 10 times in the Premier League this season. Wilson offers great pace that causes any defence problems in the league, as seen against Everton, grabbing a brace. The ability the English international attains with the ball at his feet will also be integral to Newcastle as they will look to hit Southampton on the break.
What the managers have to say
Bruce expressed his contentment with his side’s performance against Crystal Palace despite suffering a 2-1 loss. He will be hoping that Newcastle can replicate the performance but with a clinical edge on Saturday.
"We had 20 attempts and 60% possession which pleased me. The number of chances we created pleased me too but unfortunately, we gave poor goals away and that 15/20 minutes ultimately cost us. For large parts of it I thought we played OK."
Hasenhuttl has thanked the fans for the support the club has received on the back of their heavy defeat against Manchester United. Southampton will look to take that and use it as a platform to build on to kickstart the second half of the season.
“Because of this result, I received unbelievable messages from fans of this club. I want to say thank you because it has given [the team] a lift. The support, I’ve never had such in my managerial career. I don’t want to resign after this game, the opposite.”
Where to watch the match
The match will kick off at 15:00 on Saturday and will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1 in the UK and Ireland. As always you can catch all the build-up, live coverage and reaction here on VAVEL.