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Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong ruled out of Newcastle match

Stuart Armstrong has been ruled out of Saturday’s clash at home to Newcastle, while there are also doubts over other players.

What’s the latest?

The Scotland international has been a regular under Ralph Hasenhuttl this term but will be absent due to a concussion he picked up early on in the previous match against West Ham.

He played the remainder of the game in East London but is now unavailable, along with youngster Will Smallbone who has featured in the last two games.

Danny Ings could be back after being rested last time out, while Moussa Djenepo could also feature after being given a leave of absence, though the Saints boss may avoid starting him if he is not yet back up to speed.

Could Armstrong's injury plunge Southampton back into relegation trouble?





Formation change

Hasenhuttl has spoken of his concern about the no.10 position due to the latest injuries picked up, and he has several key decisions to make because of that.

Nathan Redmond’s absence also means that Southampton may only have Sofiane Boufal available to start out wide against the Magpies, and that means a different system may have to be brought in.

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A change back to 3-5-2, which Hasenhuttl discarded due to its ineffectiveness in the early part of the season, is likely the most suitable formation for the players available currently.

James Ward-Prowse could move back into midfield after operating at right-back recently, allowing January loan signing Kyle Walker-Peters to come into the side.

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That style also allows Ings to partner Shane Long up-front, should the manager wish, but it is a change that may not sit well with supporters and possibly the squad too, as the Saints have won just one out of nine matches playing with three-at-the-back formation this season.

Included in that was the 9-0 defeat to Leicester, and since Newcastle’s preferred style has often been a 5-4-1 system it may lead attritional battle between the two sides, possibly leading to limited goalscoring opportunities in a match where three points would ease Southampton’s relegation fears once again.

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Article title: Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong ruled out of Newcastle match

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