Team News & Predicted Starting XIs: Southampton vs Newcastle

Southampton and Newcastle will have the final say on the Premier League’s weekend action in Sunday’s 4pm kickoff and considering the two sides have conceded just 13 goals between them this season, it looks set to be something of a tactical chess match at St. Mary’s.

But how will the plans of Mauricio Pellegrino and Rafa Benitez be affected by injuries? Football FanCast take a look at the likely starting XIs…

Southampton

With a clean bill of health following the international break Pellegrino looks set to stick with what is arguably his strongest starting XI, retaining the 4-2-3-1 formation Southampton have used exclusively thus far in the Premier League this season.

It didn’t achieve the right result last time out away at Stoke but there’s more than enough quality in the XI to turn what has been a somewhat disappointing start to the season around.

However, following the summer signing of Wesley Hoedt and amid Southampton’s recurring failure to create consistently, Pellegrino may opt for a new-look team with three at the back.

Up front is another point of contention; Shane Long is believed to have overcome the injury that saw him miss Ireland’s win over Wales on Monday night, but he may start on the bench as a precaution.

Newcastle

There’s a fair few question marks hanging over Newcastle ahead of Sunday’s game, not least including the availability of Jonjo Shelvey after breaking his finger trying to stop a fight between Jamaal Lascelles and Mo Diame.

That could see defensive midfielder Isaac Hayden return to the engine room alongside Mikel Merino – something that seems likely away from home in a game that will probably be decided by just one goal.

Aside from that, Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie are both doubts, which would severely impact Newcastle’s options going forward, but are expected to travel to the south coast.

Ayoze Perez looks set to continue playing just behind in Joselu in attack, while Benitez will be reluctant to change a back four that performed so well against Liverpool.