From team news to key stats and star men, get ready for Saturday's Premier League clash with Newcastle with our in-depth match preview...
Southampton vs Newcastle United
Saturday 27th October, 3pm BST
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Daniel Cook, Sian Massey
Fourth official: Kevin Friend
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Despite being just the tenth game of the Premier League season, both teams go into Saturday’s meeting at St Mary’s with the sense that a fair amount rides on its outcome already.
A solid showing at Bournemouth last time out will give Saints hope of getting off the mark on home soil for the campaign particularly since they have lost just one of their last 17 matches against the Magpies on the south coast.
Following Cardiff City’s 4-2 success over Fulham, Newcastle are now just one of two sides yet to register maximum points.
This is the club’s worst ever start to a season – picking up two points from nine games – but after crossing paths with five of last year’s top six, they will view this as a chance to get on the board at last.
Rafa Benitez’s men were perhaps unfortunate to emerge pointless from their last two Premier League outings against Manchester United and Brighton, a game in which they mustered 27 shots on goal before succumbing to Beram Kayal’s heavily deflected shot, and have generally performed better away from home so far this term.
A win for either side could mark a turning point in their respective seasons.
Southampton: There are no fresh injury concerns for Mark Hughes going into this weekend’s meeting at St Mary’s after the Welshman confirmed that the only possible doubt, Mario Lemina, is in contention once more.
The midfielder has overcome a minor problem with his left knee which forced him prematurely from out of the action against Bournemouth but the manager has been encouraged by Lemina’s progress in training throughout the week.
Newcastle: Defender Florian Lejeune is set to remain on the sidelines as the Frenchman continues to work towards full fitness on the back of a lengthy injury lay-off.
The visitors are hopeful meanwhile on the chances of Salomon Rondon playing some part at St Mary’s; the Venezuelan returned to full training this week alongside Ciaran Clark.
The striker has played just 222 competitive minutes for the club signing on a one-year loan deal from West Bromwich Albion in the summer.
Bournemouth (a) D 0-0
Chelsea (h) L 0-3
Everton (a) D 1-1* (Ings) (Carabao Cup)
Wolves (a) L 0-2
Liverpool (a) L 0-3
Brighton (h) L 1-0
Manchester United (a) L 3-2 (Kenedy, Muto)
Leicester (h) L 0-2
Crystal Palace (a) D 0-0
Arsenal (h) L 1-2 (Clark)
Mark Hughes: "It's been a good week and I think we had a lot of confidence from how we played against Bournemouth. The disappointment on the day clearly was that we didn't take the chances that we created.
"We won’t be underestimating the ability of Newcastle because they’re a good side, they’ve got good talent, good pace in wide areas and up too.”
Rafa Benitez: “I’d like to see the team play at the level we played at against Manchester United at Old Trafford - the chances that we had, the belief, the determination, the team is working so hard.”
“We are so close to winning the first game, and we have to believe we can do it. Our job now is to keep encouraging the players to do what they can do, and hopefully we can be successful.
“Our away fans are fantastic and we know they will be supporting the team. It’s a long-distance race, and we have to carry on. I am optimistic and realistic.”
Mark Hughes admitted to springing a surprise in his team selection at the Vitality Stadium last Saturday, namely pairing Wesley Hoedt with Jack Stephens at the back.
Both duly impressed in one of Saints’ most accomplished defensive performances of the season so far.
No player on the field made more clearances (10) or regained possession more times (nine) than Hoedt who was also one of his team's most productive passers, second only to Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
With Newcastle’s Rondon in line to return, both will need a repeat performance at St Mary’s this weekend.
On a day where a single goal could well decide the direction of the points, fellow defender Federico Fernandez could be critical to the visitors’ chances on the south coast.
With Florian Lejeune sidelined due to a long-term knee injury, Fernandez has slotted seamlessly into the Magpies’ rearguard since joining from Swansea City in the summer and has arguably been their player of the season so far.
Behind him, goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has maintained the impressive form that earned a permanent move from Sparta Prague following a richly successful loan spell from January to May of the previous campaign.
Previous five meetings:
March 2018: Newcastle 3-0 Saints
October 2017: Saints 2-2 Newcastle (Gabbiadini 2)
Apr 2016: Saints 3-1 Newcastle (Long, Pellè, Wanyama)
Aug 2015: Newcastle 2-2 Saints (Pellè, Long)
Jan 2015: Newcastle 1-2 Saints (Elia 2)
DID YOU KNOW?
• Southampton have won 15 Premier League games against Newcastle – at least three more than against any other opponent
• Newcastle United have won just once in their last 14 matches in the Premier League (D2 L11), beating Chelsea on the final day of 2017-18 (3-0).
• Newcastle won their last Premier League match against Southampton in March (3-0) but they haven’t won consecutive league games against them since January 2005.
NOT AT THE GAME?
Not with us for our Premier League return to St Mary's? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com will have all the build-up, team news, match updates and live commentary, while our social channels will bring you behind-the-scenes access and keep you bang up to date with the action as it happens, so make sure you’re following us!