Premier League Preview: Newcastle United vs. Southampton

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•Newcastle are unbeaten in 11 home games against Southampton in all competitions (W9, D2).

•Southampton have dropped just two points from winning positions so far this season, the fewest in the top flight.

•Newcastle’s tally of 18 points from their first 10 Premier League home matches of the season is their joint-best since 2002-03 (27 points). (BBC Sport)

Newcastle United have won only two games out of their last ten, and against Southampton tomorrow, the Magpies will look to gain a favorable result over the Premier League’s surprise top-four squad.

At 12:30 pm, United will welcome the Saints to St. Mary’s Stadium, and the game will be ready for viewing on NBC, or online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

[RELATED: Newcastle v. Southampton stream on Live Extra]

United’s caretaker boss John Carver recently saw his side fall to Chelsea, 2-0, at Stamford Bride last weekend, and the previous two games he was in charge also ended without three points: a 1-0 loss to Leicester City in the FA Cup Third Round on Jan.3 and a 3-3 draw to Burnley on New Year’s Day.

Newcastle currently sits at 10th in the league table, the exact same position where the Toons finished their 2013-14 campaign and one that might improve over the course of this season.

Top scorer Papiss Cisse has gone to the Africa Cup of Nations with his international side Senegal for an extended time away; therefore, Carver must find a way to elevate the squad’s attacking play in the short-term.

Ronald Koeman’s Southampton crew has exceeded expectations, and their rise to the top began in September, when the first six PL matches ended in with four wins and only one defeat for the Saints, causing an immediate rise to second place.

In that month, Southampton hosted Newcastle at St. Mary’s Stadium and trounced Alan Pardew’s club, 4-0, with striker Graziano Pelle netting a brace.

The Saints edged Ipswich Town, 1-0, in the FA Cup Third Round after drawing Chelsea and taking three points from matches against Arsenal and Manchester United in the past month. In third place, Southampton is slotted 10 points back from leader Chelsea.

What they’re saying

Saints’ midfielder Eljero Elia talks about this upcoming fixture (Southampton official website): “I think it will be the same as Manchester United, it’s going to be a hard game. It’s another away game and we have to focus…We need to defend very well and then with good action in front we have to try to win the game. As a debut it could not have been better. To win against Manchester United, everything was totally perfect.”

Newcastle caretaker John Carver on latest PL result vs. Chelsea (Chronicle Live): “Obviously, you would like to do it for 90 minutes, but we were playing against the side who were top of the league. But I have had another week to prepare and that’s why I think the results should; be proven again on the pitch, and hopefully they will be. We had a week to prepare for that game, so I was allowed to put certain things in place.

Match injuries/absences

Newcastle midfielders Mehdi Abeid  and  Siem de Jong were back in training for the week, but won’t be featured against Southampton.

Papiss Cisse, as was noted earlier, is on international duty, and so is Ivorian midfielder Cheick Tiote.

Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama is done playing for up to five weeks with a hamstring injury sustained in the FA Cup win at Ipswich. Morgan Schneiderlin and Toby Alderweireld are not available as well, though Jack Cork has overcome an ankle issue to be ready.

Prediction

It’s tough to not have the scoring capability of Cisse, but regardless, this match should produce a better result for Newcastle than what transpired in the fall, especially with such a solid record on home ground. Newcastle 1-1 Southampton.