Southampton fans have seen a surge up the table after Fraser Forster returned from injury.
Six clean sheets in a row with five wins and a draw in January/February propelled the Saints up the table, with recent wins over Stoke and Liverpool stabilising their current position of seventh.
An unlucky defeat to league leaders Leicester last week doesn’t appear to have dampened the expectation of Southampton fans, especially with Newcastle up next…
Interesting reading what their supporters have to say below, many of them expecting a walkover but also a significant minority expressing caution.
Maybe a bit of an age divide in those comments, with younger people generally more full of it whilst those who have been around the block a few times, remembering past times when expectations have been flattened.
We searched out the reaction of the Southampton fans ahead of the match, via one of their top message boards at SaintsWeb:
‘We will win by at least three.’
‘That attack (Austin, Long, Man Rodriguez) could rip Newcastle apart. Let’s not fail to test what looked like a very easily beaten keeper for Newcastle (Darlow at Norwich).’
‘Worries me that this is a fixture where they have everything to play for, and we are probably winding down to the end of the season, possibly even one or two players thinking of their move in the summer. Is the ‘attraction’ of qualifying for the Europa League such an incentive ?
If we turn up and are motivated we should win but…’
‘I have to say, as ungracious as it sounds, I would like to put a ‘nail’ in the coffin of the ‘big club’ that is Newcastle. The arrogance shown by some of their fans over the years needs to be checked.’
‘Have to disagree on that one, I’ve a soft spot for Newcastle for a number of reasons. Always found them to be quite ‘gracious’ in the days when MLT used to single handedly put a spoke in their title challenges for example.
Would prefer Slobberdyce to go down with Sunderland.’
‘If we are going to buy Wijnaldum in the summer on the cheap – relegating this lot is going to be key. 3-0 saints.’
‘Never underestimate a wounded animal. Newcastle found a bit of spirit against Norwich in the 2nd half. If they show the same desire and Saints are slow and complacent from the start there could be a real game on.’
‘Newcastle’s defence looks shaky, and they have a third choice keeper in goal, i say go for it and let’s have an entertaining end of season game. 4-2 Saints my prediction.
Last Saturday home game of the season for us, tickets sold out quickly which is impressive due to Cat B prices and the fact Newcastle sent back block 43 and 44 which have since been sold to Saints fans. They still haven’t sold out, not how many will travel but looks like they’ll have one of the smallest followings this season.’
‘With there rookie keeper and a shaky defence, a fast start is required with a goal or 2 to go with it, please. Don’t want one of those games where we dominate early, don’t score, then they start coming into it. Our attackers should relish this game.’
‘Newcastle fans don’t sound very confident but when you look at some of the players in that squad they should really be doing better. I might have a couple of quid on Shelvey to score anytime, Andros Townsend often seems to do well against us as well.
They’ve been a bit unlucky with Krul being injured for so long but interesting to read so many want them to drop Sissoko.’
‘Newcastle are dire, should be a straightforward 3 points. I hope!’
‘Lets face it, If we’re serious about our European ambitions then we simply have to win this game. Anything less than 3 points means we will have failed to beat any of the teams currently in the bottom 3 at home this season.’
‘I think this will be tough buoyed up by the news Newcastle UTD have increased their profit margin by £13.7 million this season the traveling toon fans will no doubt be very happy and roar their team on to victory knowing they’ve helped Mike Ashely earn some more money.’
‘Interesting that in the Newcastle thread, not only are people writing off Sissoko, but some (or maybe just one) are also suggesting that Wijnaldum is a ‘passenger’. Funny how grabbing a few goals makes other teams (and fans) have them down as world beaters but those who watch them every week aren’t so convinced.’
‘I think you need to learn more about football if you think Newcastle are just going to whack 5 up front from the off.
They will look to win by doing things they have been getting wrong, right. Win the 2nd ball, put better quality final balls in. Be first to a 50/50, frustrate us, quiet the crowed down etc. We have been in enough relegation fights to know (or should do) how it works.’
‘I know it’s gonna happen anyway but it would be great (if we go 1 or 2 up early) we don’t spend the whole game gloating about their predicament – it wasn’t too long ago that we were in the same position, and it’s more likely to bite us in the ass then do anything positive.’
‘There are plenty of reasons why they (Newcastle) might improve. They’ve recently brought an excellent, experienced manager on board. They do have some genuinely good players. They’ve obviously put in a lot more poor performances than good ones this year, but they’ve got the ability to certainly give us a game. I reckon they’ll nick something.’
‘I’ve seen Newcastle live a few times this season and it’s hard to overstate how bad their defence is. They’ve got a third choice keeper, a non left back at left back and the centre backs are really poor. Janmaat, whilst talented, looks like he doesn’t want to be there
They’ll win 1-0 then…’