Newcastle United-Southampton Preview
Southampton would move to the top of the Premier League if they beat Newcastle United on Friday, but Ralph Hasenhuttl insists he is not focusing on Saints' position ahead of the clash.
A run of four wins from their last four matches has lifted Southampton into fifth, three points behind leaders Liverpool and with the same goal difference as Jurgen Klopp's team.
Victory on Friday would therefore see them, temporarily at least, take top spot, though Hasenhuttl - who is to be without star striker Danny Ings for up to six weeks due to injury - was adamant this is not a message he has been hammering home to his squad.
"It's not really surprising when I tell them this because I know that they know it," he told reporters.
"In the moment, it's a nice situation when you can do it, but I think it's better to focus a little bit more on the things that can help us to get there.
"I don't like this message: 'what happens if we…' let us first do it, and things we can really influence in the game to focus on a little bit more makes it much easier to win games."
Newcastle come into the clash on the back of a 2-1 home defeat of Everton, while Steve Bruce's side are also unbeaten away from home this season.
Callum Wilson has been in excellent form, scoring six goals from 16 attempts in seven appearances, though three of these strikes have come from the penalty spot.
"The most important thing he does is score a goal. I think he's got three goals from a yard this season, which is an unbelievable knack," Bruce said of the former Bournemouth striker.
"You can't coach that - it's just that instinct to be in the right place."
Southampton - James Ward-Prowse
Captain Ward-Prowse scored two free-kicks and provided an assist in Southampton's 4-3 win over Aston Villa last time out. The playmaker been involved in four goals in his last two Premier League games - more than he had in his previous 28 in the competition.
Newcastle United - Ryan Fraser
Another ex-Bournemouth star who has found a new home in the north east is Fraser. The Scotland winger has made just one league start this season, though came on to set up Wilson's second - and ultimately crucial - goal against Everton on Sunday.
- After a seven-game unbeaten run against Newcastle in the Premier League between December 2013 and October 2017 (W4 D3), Southampton have lost four of their last five against the Magpies in the competition (D1).
- Newcastle won the corresponding fixture 1-0 last season, their first away league win against Southampton since September 2004. They have never won back-to-back visits to Saints in league competition.
- Victory for Southampton would see them finish a day top of the Premier League for the very first time. Indeed, the last time Saints ended a day at the summit of the top-flight table was back in September 1988 under Chris Nicholl.
- Newcastle are unbeaten in their last four Premier League away games (W1 D3), winning once and drawing twice on the road so far this term. They last had a longer run without an away Premier League defeat between May-October 2011 (six games).
- Wilson has scored six goals in his seven Premier League appearances for Newcastle, more than he had in his final 30 for Bournemouth in the competition (5). These six goals have been worth six points to Newcastle so far.
Updated November 5, 2020