Southampton v Newcastle has predictably been an easy match for the pundits/experts to call.
The likes of Paul Merson, Mark Lawrenson and Michael Owen, amongst many others, forecasting a stroll for the home team.
Southampton supporters overwhelmingly believe this as well, whilst being honest, probably even more Newcastle fans also believe this to be the case!
Whilst so much divides the two teams at the minute in terms of league position, recent results and so on, it is easy to get carried away and see today’s match as an insurmountable challenge.
Yes, Southampton are far more likely to win today but I bet if Newcastle did manage a victory, I don’t think you would get that many neutrals thinking it was such an incredible outcome.
Southampton are decent but they are seventh in the table and not heading for a title win, unlike Leicester who Newcastle visited and restricted to a single shot on target…
A team like Newcastle with everything to play for (survival) should have every chance against a team who have already succeeded this season and maybe in reality have little to play for now.
As Rafa Benitez said on Friday, the hardest thing for him to achieve is to get the players’ mentally right for these last seven games.
If they can’t be strong enough mentally then they really do have very little chance but if they can click a little and convince themselves they can do it, the why not?
Sunderland recently led at Southampton until deep into injury time before ultra negative tactics by Sam Allardyce invited a by then 10 man Saint team to equalise in the final seconds.
Similarly, Aston Villa went to St. Mary’s in December, took a first half lead and only gave it up with 17 minutes remaining.
Two of the three worst teams in the Premier League have gone to Southampton, each coming away with a point when arguably they should have both won their games.
If Rafa Benitez gets his team selection right today and gives it a go, then for some strange reason I feel pretty confident today…
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