Since returning to the Premier League in 2011/12, Southampton can be very pleased with their progress. They have moved from a 14th place finish in their first season back in the English top-flight to 6th place in 2015/16 and 8th place in 2016/17.
However, the success of the team has seen managers come and go with regularity in recent years. In the past 7 years, Nigel Adkins, Mauricio Pochettino, Ronald Koeman and Claude Puel have all managed the club with a degree of success and then moved on to new things.
The current manager at St Mary’s is Mauricio Pellegrino, their second Argentine manager in five years and he will be hoping to build on the success of previous coaches on the south coast.
To do that, the consistency of the team will need to improve this season and ahead of their home clash with Newcastle this Sunday, trends show Southampton have won only one of their previous six Premier League games.
The Saints have tasted defeat in three of their last four league matches, with losses at home against Watford and Manchester United plus an away defeat at Stoke City.
Southampton have lost each of their last three home games in all competitions and have failed to score in all three of them. In fact, trends show Southampton have failed to score in ten of their last fourteen games in all competitions and their lack of cutting edge in attack is worrying.
Newcastle United make the long journey down the length of England on the back of a good point in a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool prior to the international fixtures.
The point means Newcastle have lost only one of their last five games in all competitions and they come into this match on 10 points, 2 more than Southampton.
Away from home, Newcastle have played Huddersfield Town, Swansea City and Brighton and Hove Albion. Two of these teams were also promoted last season and Newcastle have lost to both 1-0, with the only win coming at Swansea, which also a 1-0 score line.
Rafa Benitez is clearly keen to keep things tight when on the road and this match will be their biggest test away from home so far in the Premier League this season.
Newcastle’s record against Southampton is poor and trends show they have won only one of their last eight matches in the Premier League against the Saints.
Looking ahead to the team news and Southampton could without striker Shane Long, who picked up an injury while on international duty with Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, they should be close to full strength.
Newcastle will travel without the injured duo of Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett. Massadio Haidara is recovering from a knee injury and this game could come too soon for the Frenchman.
Given the poor scoring form of Southampton at home and Newcastle’s tendency to keep things tight on the road, we could be in for a low scoring match and under 2.5 goals. In fact, a 0-0 draw is not out of the question.