|Newcastle United 2 v 1 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 8th December 2019 Kick-off 14:00
Saints V Newcastle United The Preview
Friday, 6th Dec 2019 15:10
Two wins in the last week have pushed Saints out of the relegation zone, can they make it three in a row and pull even more clear up at St James Park on Sunday or will the weekend be a downward turn again?
Saints have not won three Premier League games in a row since the final matches of 2015/16 season when they won the last four to finish 6th.
Back then we though that we were on the way to better things, but Everton came in and stole our manager and boasted of the bright future they had ahead of them with an owner who was going to spend big and make them a giant again.
It is therefore rather ironic that as Saints supporters have been up in arms about our plight being purely because Gao hasn't splashed any cash that this should be a week that we move above Everton who drop into the bottom three, thus proving that in the 3 1/2 seasons since May 2016 that it is not about spending money it is about spending it well.
Everton will try and get above us again by beating Chelsea in the first game of the weekend, but we have to focus on our own game and the trip to Newcastle, of course we need the teams around us to drop points, but we are now in a position that our fate is in our own hands and we need to keep it there.
Newcastle had a good win at Sheffield United but like us they are a side whose results have been mixed this season and so far their home form where they have not been beaten in the Premier League since the opening day on paper looks ok but looking deeper not so much.
Although they have had some good results namely a draw with Manchester City and a win over United, they have struggled to beat the lesser sides, Watford and Brighton both got draws as did Leicester and Wolves, but aside from the United win their only other 3 points came in a 2-1 win over Bournemouth.
They like games where the opposition are on top and they can go on the break, therefore it doesn't suit the when they are in a position to dominate a team on their home turf so this one may not be for their liking.
Our problem is when we are able to press sides we struggle to defend on the break so it could be a very interesting game and one that could go either way.
Our record there hasn't been great of late, the last two games have seen poor performances and defeat in crucial games , so we don't wan't to make it three in a row of defeats at St James Park but three straight wins for us.
The fact is there isn't much difference between us and any of the other teams up to Sheffield United in 9th and the fact we start the weekend only 4 points behind them tells us we can come through our defensive issues and rise up the league.
We could do with that by winning up at Newcastle, but now we need to pick up every point we can get, in recent games we have conceded soft late goals and how we could do with the three points that those games cost us now.
I don't expect Ralph Hasenhuttl to ring the changes too much for this one, his team is benefiting from continuity and that is leading to more discipline and organisation and although the problem at the back is still there it is not so pronounced as before at the moment.
There may be the odd change, but I think Ralph will stick to the team that has performed so well in the last three games.
So all to play for and we have a chance to get up into mid table, yes it will only paper over the cracks for a while, but it will buy us time till January when we can buy a defender, yes other teams may well spend, but none has a gaping problem like we have, we plug that and we are well capable of pushing up the league, the only question in January should be whether we start the new year playing catch up or with our heads in front.
Photo: Action Images
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