Mark Lawrenson predicts new approach for Rafa Benitez
Mark Lawrenson sees two teams that haven’t been creating enough opportunities.
It is fifth bottom playing fourth bottom on Saturday and is very much a relegation six pointer at St James Park.
Defeat or either team could be crucial with then only eight matches remaining after Saturday.
Mark Lawrenson says ‘Southampton are not creating enough opportunities to win games’ and that ‘Newcastle never looked like scoring themselves’ at Anfield next week.
However, the BBC Sport pundit predicts a new approach for this crucial game and that there will be ‘an atmosphere to match’ a more attacking display.
It paid dividends against Man Utd, which was Newcastle’s first Premier League win at home in nine games.
Only West Brom have picked up fewer points on home turf, so Lawrenson’s claim that ‘fans know their home form will be crucial in keeping them up’, should maybe rather be that Newcastle supporters ‘hope’ this will be the case. As the reality has been that Newcastle have generally played better away from home.
This is really though two teams on very indifferent long runs of form and who struggle to score goals.
Newcastle have won only three of their last 20 PL games and scored more than one goal on only four occasions in those 20 matches.
As for Southampton, they have won only one of their last 16 PL matches and only in three of those scored more than once.
For me, if Newcastle can press from the start, get the atmosphere whipped up (like v Man Utd) and score first, then I can’t see Southampton getting back into it.
Rafa is up against one of his apprentices though in Mauricio Pellegrino so it could be a real battle of tactics and wearing them down…
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“Southampton are not creating enough opportunities to win games, which is why they are languishing near the bottom of the table.
“Similarly, Newcastle’s main aim against Liverpool at Anfield last week was to keep the score down.
“The Magpies never looked like scoring themselves and the game was over as soon as the Reds went ahead.
“But their whole approach will be very different this time and I am expecting an atmosphere to match at St James Park because their fans know their home form will be crucial in keeping them up.
“Prediction is Newcastle 2 Liverpool 1.”
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