NEWCASTLE meet Southampton on Saturday evening. Gaurav Chaddah (@Gchaddahjourno) shares his betting thoughts.
Newcastle v Southampton | Saturday 20th April 2019, 17:30 | BT Sport
Both Newcastle and Southampton come into this game on the back of victories which has more than likely confirmed both sides’ safety for another season.
Ayoze Perez’s goal gave Newcastle a crucial 1-0 away win at Leicester, meaning Rafael’s Benitez’s boys are now seven points above the drop zone, whilst Southampton enjoyed a 3-1 success over Wolves, moving them five points clear of the bottom three and edging ever closer to ensuring their Premier League status.
The Magpies have had a moderate campaign after a summer fuelled with speculation over the future of Benitez, talk that will no doubt resurface again in the coming weeks until his long-term status with the Toon is confirmed.
Benitez guided his side to a 10th last year but it’s difficult to see the Geordies doing quite the same this year, being eight points off Watford in the top-half. However, the Spaniard will still be hoping for a strong finish to the campaign.
Newcastle’s home form since the turn of the year has played a huge part in their upturn. Prior to a 1-0 loss against Crystal Palace a fortnight ago, the Toon won five successive home games, including the scalp of Manchester City, as well as coming back from 2-0 down to beat Everton 3-2.
Saints finishing strong
Southampton are by no means 100% safe just yet but last week’s triumph over Wolves was crucial. Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived on the south coast in December, replacing the departing Mark Hughes, and has been a major improvement, winning his first two games before a blip which saw his side back into the relegation battle.
Two wins from nine games meant the Saints were fearing again for Premier League life but have since turned a corner, with victories over Fulham, Spurs, Brighton and Wolves, in the mix of defeats against Manchester United and Liverpool, Southampton supporters can now see the safety line in sight.
Hasenhuttl has made his side a tough nut to crack on the road too, which will be vital as they head to St James’ Park. Prior to his arrival, under Hughes Southampton’s away record read W1–D1–L7 but under the Austrian, Saints’ return reads W3-D2-L2 with the loses coming to Arsenal and a late 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford.
Take out United and Arsenal and the Saints have taken points from teams in and around them on the road under their new gaffer, edging out Brighton at the end of last month, drawing at Burnley and beating Huddersfield, plus also gaining a point at Stamford Bridge.
The betting angle
Newcastle’s win last week pretty much ensures their safety whilst Southampton will be aware that just one more victory will most likely confirm their own destiny.
It’s difficult to overlook the change Hasenhuttl has bought to Southampton, particularly on the road where they were so poor earlier on the season, and motivation will be high as they seek to confirm their Premier League position.
The same motivation might not be there for Newcastle who lost their last home game by 1-0 against Crystal Palace and at 9/4 with Betfred I’m more than willing to take the chance the Saints will come away with all three points.
I also anticipate a rather tight, cagey affair. Games with Newcastle often are low-scoring with Under 2.5 Goals landing in eight of their last 10 games and at 8/1 I will be playing small stakes on a 1-0 Southampton victory.