TEAM NEWSSouthampton expect Shane Long to be fit to play despite the forward missing the Republic of Ireland’s win against Wales on Monday because of a hip injury.Saints have reported no other new injury concerns.Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey could play wearing a special cast, having broken a finger while trying to break up a training ground row a week ago.
Wingers Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu are set to feature despite withdrawing from international duty.Defenders Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara remain sidelined. MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTESSimon Brotherton: “Newcastle’s record at Southampton in the Premier League is a pretty miserable one that has seen them win on only one of the previous 16 visits. “They’ll head south on a better recent run of results than their opponents though, with three wins from the last five matches. “The only defeat in that run was along the coast in Brighton three weeks ago.”Southampton’s biggest problem continues to be in front of goal. They’ve now failed to score in eight of the last nine at home in the Premier League. “Wins over West Ham and Crystal Palace have kept them in the middle of the pack for the time being, but they’ve not been a big enough threat going forward.”Twitter: @SimonBrothertonWHAT THE MANAGERS SAYNewcastle manager Rafael Benitez, discussing a training ground row a week ago in which Jonjo Shelvey broke a finger:”It was part of a small training game and there was a fight [between Jamaal Lascelles and Mo Diame]. Jonjo was in the middle so he was making peace and everything was fine.”After the incident, they apologised to each other. Maybe they will buy lunch for everyone – it was Mo’s idea to take the team out to lunch.”I have seen worse than that over the years. When you are in the middle of a game, and you are losing or winning, players can react in different ways. “It is nothing… later on they were fine, and they have been training fine without anything special since.”LAWRO’S PREDICTIONSouthampton are a team that have been short of goals but they deserved to get something against Stoke in their last game, and I think they will edge this one.Prediction: 2-1Lawro’s full predictions v rapper Wretch 32Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor gameMATCH FACTSHead-to-headSouthampton have won 15 Premier League games against Newcastle, more than against any other side.The Magpies have recorded just one win in 16 Premier League games away to Saints (D3, L12).Newcastle have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 26 top-flight games away to Southampton since a 0-0 draw at The Dell in 1969.Southampton Southampton could lose three successive league games for the first time since a run of four defeats in December and January last season. Saints have failed to score in eight of their last nine home Premier League matches, with the exception being August’s 3-2 win against 10-man West Ham.Southampton are unbeaten in their last nine top-flight home games against newly-promoted opposition, winning eight.Shane Long has scored two goals and set up two more in his last three Premier League games against Newcastle.Long has failed to score in 24 games for club and country since his goal against Sunderland on 11 February.Newcastle UnitedThe Magpies have earned just five points from the last 42 available in Premier League away fixtures, with their solitary win coming at Swansea last month (W1, D2, L11).Newcastle have conceded just 10 goals in their last 13 Premier League games.The last time they conceded three or more goals in a top-flight game was on their most recent visit to St Mary’s – a 3-1 loss in April 2016.Newcastle have averaged the youngest starting line-up in the Premier League this season (25 years, 211 days).Rafael Benitez has suffered defeat in all three of his previous Premier League games away to Southampton – with Liverpool in 2005, with Chelsea in 2013 and Newcastle in 2016.SAM’s verdictMost probable score: 1-0Probability of draw: 25%Probability of home win: 53%Probability of away win: 22%SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Liverpool that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.
Source: BBC Hamp