The second of our South Coast fixtures take us to Southampton as Mauricio Pellegrino’s men play host to Newcastle. Now I have nothing against Newcastle but the fact that they are on “Super Sunday” for the sixth time in the first eight weeks of the seasons is bizarre to say the least. But at the end of the day I’m not in charge of the fixture scheduling at Sky Sports so it is what it is.
Southampton go into this game with just one win from their last five Premier League outings. That win came against Crystal Palace in what was former England manager Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge, Steven Davis early goal was the winner that afternoon and it has been the only thing to smile about for the Hampshire club as of late.
Before the international break they traveled to Stoke and were bested by a late Peter Crouch winner at the Bet365 Stadium. That game saw Virgil Van Dijk make his first start of the season and it looked like he was playing with his mind already elsewhere.
For someone who is meant to be valued in the region of £60m his performance was certainly not fitting of a player of that value especially when he gave away a penalty after a lazy shirt pull on Saido Berahino. The fact that Berahino missed the penalty was irrelevant, it’s a mistake that a focused Van Dijk simply would not have made.
I doubt that error will be one that sees Van Dijk not featuring today but the Dutch international will be looking to turn in a better performance especially if he is to earn himself a move in January. If he turns out sub standard performances then Southampton may well have a depreciating asset on their hands.
Southampton have found goals particularly hard to come by as they have only found the net on five occasions but in fairness to them they are not giving away too much at the other end with just seven goals conceded at the other end. That said the lack of goals is an issue especially when you consider the fact that three of those came in one game.
Newcastle themselves have not had it all their own way in front of goal with just seven goals to their name – averaging at a goal per game but the difference being that they have only conceded six and it’s that robust defence that sees them currently sit 9th in the table. A win today would see them advance up the table with the top six firmly in their sights.
Last time out before the international break they managed a well earned point at home to Liverpool. There was an element of fortune to the goal but the fortune was more outweighed by farce as the Liverpool defence parted like the red sea to allow Joselu to score a scruffy goal. To be honest they all count and Newcastle fans would have had little complaints.
After three straight wins for Rafa Benitez‘s men they have only picked up a point from the last six, that said there can be few complaints to their start of the season. The key now is to maintain their form and more importantly league placing in a bid to put further daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
Obviously a win for Southampton would see them move up the table and allow them to look up the table than opposed to over their shoulder. A win for them would see The Saints be lifted up to 9th while overtaking Newcastle in the process.
The stats point to this one not being a particularly high scoring game and I think Southampton’s relative shyness in front of goal may again be an issue this afternoon. I think Newcastle may just edge this and continue their march up the table. A slender away win for me.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) October 13, 2017