Southampton welcome Newcastle United to St Mary’s Stadium in the second part of a Friday Night Football double-bill.
Victory will send Southampton top ahead of the weekend’s games whilst Newcastle could climb to fourth and above the Saints with a win.
Danny Ings is ruled out for Southampton after suffering a knee injury in the closing minutes of Sunday’s seven goal thriller at Aston Villa.
Jake Vokins (unspecified) is sidelined but Will Smallbone (Quadriceps), Jan Bednarek (head), Ryan Bertrand (thigh), Mohamed Salisu (fitness) and Ibrahima Diallo (leg) are doubts and will face late fitness tests.
Newcastle have no fresh injury concerns to report as Martin Dubravka (heel), Jonjo Shelvey (hernia), Matt Ritchie (shoulder) and Dwight Gayle (knee) remain absent.
- Southampton are winless in their last six matches against Newcastle United (D2, L4).
- Newcastle have won just one of their last seven trips to St Mary’s Stadium (W1, D2, L4).
- None of Newcastle’s three goals against Southampton last season were scored by a striker.
- Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse is the first Premier League player to score more than one free-kick this season, scoring twice from free-kicks in last weekend’s win at Aston Villa.
- Newcastle United’s Frederico Fernandez has produced the most blocks in the opening seven rounds of matches, creating 12 blocks in seven appearances.
Southampton were absolutely clinical at Villa last Sunday and particularly from free-kicks but they are going to have to adapt to playing without Danny Ings who was influential across the left flank as well as centre, whilst also ensuring that they don’t switch off defensively once built up a comfortable lead which could of cost them if they had turned off the gas earlier.
Newcastle meanwhile showed excellent energy and creativity to defeat Everton last weekend but against this Southampton team who should dominate given their quality and clinical play, the Magpies have to be fully focused and take full advantage of any attacks that come their way.
Both teams should therefore be able to produce a cracking tie because I can see Newcastle hitting Southampton on the sucker punch with pace but the Saints do look like an aggressive but organised team when got their attacking gears turned up, so I reckon this could be a surprise thriller.
Prediction: Southampton 2-2 Newcastle
Result: Southampton 2-0 Newcastle