Newcastle United have failed to get their survival bid up and running under the new manager Rafa Benitez. Since Spaniard has taken over at the club, The Magpies have only managed 2 draws and a defeat.
Next up for Benitez awaits a stern test against Southampton who never gift their opponents any free points. Benitez has some thinking to do and some tactical change to make ahead of this all-important game this weekend.
Prior to the kick-off, we take a look at three key questions which will be answered when Newcastle take on Southampton at St. Mary’s this weekend.
Has Mitrovic done enough to get a start?
Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored three goals in his last two appearances for Newcastle after coming on from the bench. This goal return must have prompted Benitez to start the mercurial Serbian striker against Southampton his weekend.
Can Saints keep the pressure on West Ham?
Southampton have done very well to remain 7th this season after all the transfer fiasco surrounding Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama in January.
They are 4 points behind West Ham for the Europa League qualification spot and a win would keep the pressure on The Hammers, who play a tough game against Arsenal this weekend.
A win against the relegation fighters would keep The Saints in hunt to finish 6th this season and qualify for European football next season.
Time for a tactical switch from Benitez?
Most likely we will see a tactical shuffle this weekend from Rafa Benitez as he looks to get Newcastle’s first away point of the year 2016.
We could see him go to a 4-4-2 system with Moussa Sissoko dropping to the left back role while Papiss Cisse starting with Mitrovic in a 2-man strike force. Vurnon Anita will be back from injury and is expected to be drafted straight in to the starting XI.
Image Credit: Getty