Premier League Preview: Southampton vs. Newcastle
- Newcastle is six points deep in the relegation zone
- Southampton sits seventh with six matches to play
- Benitez’s future with Magpies up-in-the-air
Southampton will play host to Newcastle on Saturday (10 a.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra) as the Magpies look to avoid relegation under interim manager Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle hasn’t secured a win in their last six matches, including a 5-1 thrashing from Chelsea in the middle of February. If the side wants to stay up in the PL next season, a win will be a necessity at St. Mary’s Stadium.
While teams like Leicester and West Ham have succeeded greatly in 2015-16, Southampton has gone a bit under the radar in their pursuit for European football. While the Saints sit in the top half, just six points out of fifth place, Ronald Koeman’s side hasn’t received the recognition that they probably deserve.
Led by goalscorers Graziano Pelle and Shane Long, who have 19 combined finishes this season, Southampton has proven to be one of the more exciting teams to watch this Premier League season. On the opposite end of the pitch, Fraser Forster has made a name for himself in net after beginning the season out injured.
What they’re saying
Koeman emphasizes fast start after Leicester defeat
“It’s always important to start on a good way, because then you dominate the game, you have the ball, and it’s always easier to play with the ball,” he said. “That was our disappointment about our start in the game, because we spoke before the game about the spirit.
Benitez says never say die attitude key for Newcastle
“21 points still to play for, so we have to concentrate just on this game. Get 3 points if we can (against Southampton). If we cannot win we have to keep fighting right until the end. That is our message to the fans - we will not give up.”
Newcastle’s season and Premier League stay are crumbling quickly, and with Southampton still in the chase for Europe next season things are not looking good for Benitez and his team. The Magpies have won just two matches on the road in 2015-16, and that’s simply not good enough. While the tradition of Newcastle should be preserved in the Premier League, this is a much different Newcastle team from the past. I simply don’t see how they can manage three points, and believe the Saints will win 3-1.