THE excellent Adam Goodwin (@agjournalism) has backed a particular side in the Premier League contest between Southampton and Newcastle.
Southampton vs Newcastle | Sunday 15th October 2017, 16:00 | Sky Sports
The international break is over and the Premier League returns with a Super Sunday involving teams from the South East and the North East. Both Southampton and Newcastle sit unambiguously in mid-table, and neither sides are yet to pull up any trees so far, this season.
A late Peter Crouch winner inflicted Southampton to defeat in their last game, a match where they dominated possession, had more shots on target, more corners – it’s hard to comprehend how they didn’t come away from the game with a win.
Newcastle irked out a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Super Sunday before the international break, a game they were extremely fortunate not to lose.
I’ve discussed Newcastle’s terrible Premier League away form in a previous article and Rafa Benitez will be hoping to turn the tide on their record away from St James’ Park this Sunday.
Southampton struggling with scoring
Southampton’s lack of goals has been a massive problem for them this season, they’ve scored just five goals in the league and three of those were in one game.
Manolo Gabbiadini started his Saints career on fire but the Italian hasn’t replicated his goal scoring successes this campaign. Shane Long is 100% fit and he’s touch-and-go ahead of this clash at St Mary’s. It could be an opportunity for Gabbiadini to step up and get the goals that Southampton fans have been calling out for this campaign.
Many people were surprised to see Claude Puel get the sack last season after guiding the Saints to a cup final and an 8th placed finish. Mauricio Pellegrino was appointed after a successful campaign in La Liga with Alaves.
He saved the Basque club from relegation whilst playing a firm and resolute style of play, something he has brought with him to the South Coast. Tactically, Pellegrino looks to be playing an extremely negative system which explains their lack of goals.
The Saints need to utilise the likes of Nathan Redmond, Dusan Tadic and Sofiane Boufal – all of whom have yet to make an impression so far this campaign.
Newcastle nursing some key injuries
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve already discussed Newcastle’s away form in previous reviews I’ve done, and their lack of goals and victories away from St James’ Park is likely to come to fruition again this Sunday.
The Magpies still have plenty of injuries to key players, including the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu. Those three are vital in Newcastle’s attacking play and they will be sorely missed by Rafa Benitez.
In their last Premier League away game, Newcastle failed to break down at Brighton side who are far from the best defensive team in the division, and without the likes of Ritchie and Atsu you must question where the goals will come from.
Aleksandar Mitrovic is too unreliable and Dwight Gayle isn’t back to full fitness yet. Joselu scored against Liverpool but it was the luckiest goal he’ll ever score, as Joel Matip kicked it onto the Spanish forward before it dribbled into the back of the net.
Unfortunately for the Super Sunday neutrals, I think all signs point to a lack of goals at St Mary’s. Surprisingly, Southampton has the 2nd best-expected goals ratio outside of the Top 6 but I can’t agree with those stats when you look at how poor they’ve been in attack up to now.
Both sides have scored a combined 12 goals in 14 games and with some key offensive players out for both Southampton and Newcastle. I think I fancy Southampton to nick it 1/2-0 but I’m going to opt for a goal bet on the Asian handicap.
Back Under two goals on the Asian handicap at 47/20 with Bet 365. If there are 2 goals you’ll get a refund and zero or one goals will bag you a winner.
Southampton v Newcastle – Under two goals on the Asian handicap (47/20 Bet365)