EFL Cup Semi-Final – 31/01/2023, 8:00pm
The last team to score at St James’ Park against Newcastle was Brentford in a 5-1 defeat in October.
Southampton know they will have to score twice to get past the Magpies on Tuesday night and deny Newcastle a place in their first major final in 24 years. They are around 14/1 to qualify on the night, with the general feeling that Newcastle will get over the line.
Eddie Howe’s men won 1-0 in the Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg last week and another clean sheet will be enough to take them to Wembley.
Howe’s men have been remarkably solid at the back with nine clean sheets in the last 10 games in all competitions. That stability has been built on a back four that has hardly changed all season.
Fabian Schar, Sven Botman, Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier have formed a formidable quartet, but Saints did offer plenty of threat last week. And as Nathan Jones pointed out, they did score against Newcastle but had it ruled out by the VAR.
Jones said: “That’s pretty much like any Premier League game, you know. We had chances against Newcastle, we had good chances against Newcastle. We actually scored and had it disallowed so technically we have scored against them. It’s just about being the best version of ourselves. We’ll go there with the game-plan, we’ll go there to try and be as positive as we can because we know we have to win the game.”
Saints know exactly what is required and if Jones is good to his word then we may well see a humdinger of a second leg.
“We can’t go there and be cagey or anything and I think that could play into our hands as well because they’re a good side, a fantastic side, but it’s evenly poised. We’re not going there three down, it’s a real mountain to climb. What we’ve got to make sure is we start well, be positive and try to get the first goal. If we do that then it’s game on,” added Jones.
Saints warmed up for the tie with a 2-1 FA Cup win over Blackpool at the weekend. Newcastle, meanwhile, had a free weekend after losing 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday in the third round – only their second defeat of the season.
Howe made a number of changes that day, but he will likely name the same team that won on the south coast last week, while Saints are set to welcome back Gavin Bazunu, Mohammed Salisu, Carlos Alcaraz and captain James Ward-Prowse.
It will be an alien situation for Newcastle. Leading by the odd goal and knowing a draw will take them to Wembley. That may well cause them one or two issues and they may be caught in limbo to a certain degree.
Southampton are capable of scoring goals and they have won at Crystal Palace and Everton recently, but their statement win over Manchester City in the previous round means they should not be taken lightly.
A goal is not beyond them and it’s certainly not out of the question that they could win 1-0, especially with free-kick expert Ward-Prowse in the ranks.
But with only one clean sheet since October, it would take a monumental effort from Jones’ men and going for the draw might be the safer option.
- Newcastle have seen over 2.5 goals in their last seven home matches against Southampton in all competitions
- Southampton have seen over 2.5 goals in 13 of their last 17 matches against Newcastle in all competitions
- Newcastle have scored at least two goals in their last 5 matches against Southampton in all competitions
- Newcastle have kept a clean sheet in nine of their last 10 games in all competitions
- Southampton have won four of their last six games in all competitions
- Southampton to beat Newcastle 1-0 – 5/1
- Newcastle vs Southampton under 2.5 goals – 10/11
- Newcastle vs Southampton draw – 7/2
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