Only a few months after arriving in England, Rafa Benitez watched his Liverpool side beat Southampton 1-0 at Anfield.

It is 14 years later and the now Newcastle boss is yet to see a second Premier League victory against the Saints.

Rafa hasn’t faced Southampton all that many times but still a curious statistic, as he saw his Liverpool team then lose 2-0 on the south coast in 2005.

Followed by a draw and defeat when at Chelsea, then defeat at St Mary’s 3-1, in only his fourth ever match after arriving at Newcastle in March 2016.

The Newcastle Manager picked up three wins and three draws in the final half dozen matches of that season and the Southampton result ended up playing a part in the relegation.

Two seasons later and Newcastle should have comfortably won at Southampton this season, only to gift a draw when Lejeune gave away a needless penalty.

Hopefully Rafa Benitez has stored up all his Southampton good luck for this particular occasion because it is a massive game.

There might be still nine matches remaining but this could well be one that is looked back on at the end of the season, as being decisive, one way or the other…

Southampton have only lost once in their last seven Premier League matches and Newcastle have won only one of their last nine top tier matches at home.

This is where statistics only tell you so much though, as that one home win in nine just happens to have been the last one played and it was against Manchester United.

A similar performance will surely produce a similar result.

Character is what is needed at this point in a season and nobody can accuse this Newcastle team of not playing for the manager.

Can fans, team, and manager, come together and take a giant step towards safety and better times ahead?

This very much feels like the calm before the storm at the minute.

Saturday is absolutely crucial to our ambitions.

Newcastle v Southampton Match Betting:

Newcastle win 9/5Draw 11/5Southampton win 9/5

NUFC to lead at HT and FT 19/5NUFC to win and at least 3 goals in the game 18/5Ritchie to score 1st goal 9/1

All Newcastle v Southampton match betting HERE

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