Looking to make it three wins on the bounce, Southampton travel to Newcastle United on Sunday in the Premier League. Prepare yourself for the fixture at St James’ Park with our Match Pack, in association with eToro…
Newcastle vs Southampton
St James’ Park
Sunday 8th December, 2.00pm GMT
Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Harry Lennard, Peter Kirkup
Fourth official: Jarred Gillett
VAR: Martin Atkinson
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann
WHICH KIT WILL SAINTS BE WEARING?
Sunday’s game forms a unique occasion, with the Premier League requesting Saints don their all-red 2018-19 third strip to avoid any colour clashes with Newcastle who will be in their traditional black and white stripes. Saints will be wearing all-red shirts, black shorts and red and black striped socks.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Southampton’s back-to-back home wins over both Watford and Norwich lifted Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side out of the relegation zone; proving the perfect start to a vital Christmas period.
A further win at St James’ could see them rise to as high as 12th if results go their way, highlighting just how tight the Premier League is at this stage of the season.
Amongst those Saints will be looking to leapfrog are Sunday’s opponents Newcastle, who are proving a tough team to beat at home this season.
Since losing to Arsenal on opening day, the Magpies haven’t lost as hosts in the Premier League; beating the likes of Manchester United and holding the champions Manchester City to a 2-2 draw.
Their 2-0 win at high-flyers Sheffield United on Thursday night epitomising the confidence flowing through Steve Bruce’s side at the moment.
Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has confirmed that Sofiane Boufal remains a doubt for this weekend's trip to Newcastle with his toe injury.
The Moroccan's injury meant he was unable to be involved in Wednesday night's win against Norwich, the manager confirming he will train on Saturday for the first time since picking up the knock.
Hasenhüttl also noted that some players were experiencing fatigue as a result of the quick turn around and the intensity of training in recent weeks, but assures that all are ready and able to play on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Stuart Armstrong is still out following the hamstring injury picked up at Arsenal, but Hasenhüttl confirmed that a return for the home fixture with West Ham is a possibility.
For Newcastle, manager Steve Bruce has hinted a rotation may be likely due to the hectic schedule.
Thursday night goalscorer Allan Saint-Maximin is one of those who may be rested with many feeling he was rushed back from his recent hamstring injury.
Norwich (h) 2-1 (Ings, Bertrand)
Watford (h) 2-1 (Ings, Ward-Prowse)
Arsenal (a) 2-2 (Ings, Ward-Prowse)
Everton (h) 1-2 (Ings)
Man City (a) 1-2 (Ward-Prowse)
Sheffield United (a) 0-2 (Saint-Maximin, Shelvey)
Man City (h) 2-2 (Willems, Shelvey)
Aston Villa (a) 2-0
Bournemouth (h) 2-1 (Yedlin, Clark)
West Ham (a) 2-3 (Clark, Fernández, Shelvey)
Ralph Hasenhüttl: "It will be interesting how many players will be rotated. I think they have a few slight injuries. We also have a few after the last game. It was a very intense third game in a week, so we must have a look at the starting eleven.
"I expect a game with a very good organised opponent. They don’t have a lot of possession but they defend very well. They have a lot of counter attacks they are very strong. Not an easy team to play against.
"I think for us it will be a little bit different. Like in the last game we had an opponent who was building up from behind which gave us a lot of chances. I think we had the highest amount of ball wins from our entire season I think. This will be a different game, with different tactical options. Let’s find a good game plan to take something."
Steve Bruce: ""It’s a huge month for us. It’s season-defining, I think it is for every team because there are so many games.
"We have had a really decent month and I have always said that a few results along the way helps everybody, so we’ve given ourselves a nice platform going into the busy Christmas period – which is decisive for me.
"But the spirit amongst the players and their attitude and the way they are playing has delighted me and they carried it on after running a million miles against Manchester City on Saturday. They have showed some resilience again and I am very pleased, it stands us in good stead."
ONE TO WATCH
James Ward-Prowse: Whether it be through his goals or assists, Ward-Prowse’s latest form and Saints’ recent run of results have come at no coincidence.
The midfielder has three goals in his last five, including a vital free-kick winner at home to Watford and away goals at the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City.
Jonjo Shelvey: Newcastle’s top scorer this season with four goals, Jonjo Shelvey is proving to be a reliable figure in the heart of midfield this season.
His recent stunner to rescue a point at home to Manchester City last week, alongside his winner at West Ham, typified just how crucial he has become to Steve Bruce’s side.
Danny Ings 10
James Ward-Prowse 4
Moussa Djenepo 2
James Ward-Prowse 3
Danny Ings 3
Sofiane Boufal 3
Jonjo Shelvey 4
Ciaran Clark 2
Jetro Willems 2
Christian Atsu 3
Jetro Willems 3
Miguel Almirón 1
HEAD TO HEAD
Played – 98
Saints – 37
Draws – 23
Newcastle – 38
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
April 2019: Newcastle 3-1 Saints (Lemina)
October 2018: Saints 0-0 Newcastle
March 2018: Newcastle 3-0 Saints
October 2017: Saints 2-2 Newcastle (Gabbiadini x2)
April 2016: Saints 3-1 Newcastle (Long, Pelle, Wanyama)
DID YOU KNOW?
- Newcastle haven’t won a home Premier League game in December since 2015 against Liverpool, winless in nine games at St James’ Park since (D3 L6).
- Each of Southampton’s last 12 Premier League goals have been scored by Englishmen – excluding own-goals, the last team to have a longer run were also Saints in 2014 (13 in a row)
NOT AT THE GAME?
There’s nothing to worry about if you can’t make it to St James’ Park, because we’ve got you covered! Across our channels we’ll bring you all the action, as well as a host of behind-the-scenes access.
Check out our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, with all of the live in-game updates and free audio commentary of the match, and be sure to follow us on social media for further updates and exclusive content: