Newcastle have slowly slipped down to 10th position in the table since they had dragged themselves up to 5th after they beat QPR in late November in a run of five straight wins.
Since then, a run of nine games with five defeats, two draws and just two wins, as well as the departure of manager Alan Pardew, has left them in a strange period of transition that can’t be allowed to go on for too long otherwise they’ll start looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone.
The Magpies are currently eight points above 18th placed Hull City, so it isn’t a desperate situation just yet, but they will still be keen to continue picking up points in order to maintain their distance.
Newcastle United’s home record: Played 10 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 2
As for Southampton, they will be bubbling with confidence after their magnificent 1-0 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend which has lifted them to third in the table.
They also continued their good domestic form in midweek with a narrow FA Cup third round replay win over Ipswich Town at Portman Road thanks to a goal from Shane Long.
The Saints are certainly staking a huge claim to show that they’re capable of qualifying for Champions League football this season and if people weren’t taking them seriously before, they most definitely will be now.
Southampton’s away record: Played 10 – Won 5 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4
With the best defence in the division and the fourth highest scoring attack, Southampton will be tipped as favourites for the win, but Newcastle is always a tough place to go, so it makes for a fascinating contest.
Newcastle will be without numerous players through injury, suspension and African Cup of Nations duty, namely Papiss Demba Cisse and Cheick Tiote while Southampton are without Toby Alderweireld (hamstring), Sadio Mane (calf), Morgan Schneiderlin (thigh) and Maya Yoshida (international duty).
Newcastle United’s last five: L/L/W/D/L
Southampton’s last five: W/W/D/W/W
Key stat: Southampton haven’t lost a Premier League game in which they’ve scored the first goal this season.
Key player: Dušan Tadić – The Serbian has been a revelation this season and Newcastle must stop his creativity if they’re to take anything from the game.
Score prediction: Newcastle United 1 – 1 Southampton