Southampton can cement their grip on third place in the Premier League by taking all three points away to mid-table Newcastle United in Saturday’s late kick-off.
Under the supervision of caretaker-boss John Carver, the Magpies had leaders Chelsea worried last time out for much of the first half, only to concede a goal against the run of play shortly before half-time. From on, they were less of a threat, meaning they are still without a win since Alan Pardew left the managerial hot-seat.
Midfielder Moussa Sissoko has been an outstanding performer this season, and will be critical to Newcastle’s chances of turning over the Saints, but he continues to be linked with a move away. Should he leave, their season would be danger of petering out as it did last time around.
Organisation and solidity was the order of the day as Southampton ended their 27-year wait for a triumph over Man Utd at Old Trafford on Sunday thanks to a solitary goal from Dusan Tadic, and despite some injury problems, Champions League football is starting to become a realistic prospect.
Goalkeeper Fraser Forster increased his lead in the race for this season’s Golden Glove, but those in front of him have played such a key role, with Jose Fonte proving a fine defensive leader, with Florin Gardos slotting in seamlessly alongside him, and they go to the North East full of confidence.
Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote are both at the Africa Cup of Nations and miss out for Newcastle, while Siem De Jong and Steven Taylor are among those on the injury list.
Victor Wanyama is absent for Southampton after picking up an injury in the FA Cup replay win at Ipswich Town. Toby Alderweireld, Jay Rodriguez, Sadio Mane and Morgan Schneiderlin are also out.
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