Newcastle must break two-year club record to beat Southampton – opinion

Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United must break a two-year club record when we face Southampton on Sunday, if the Toon are to beat Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints.

We welcome Southampton to St. James’ Park on Sunday afternoon looking to record back-to-back top-flight wins, after beating Sheffield United 2-0 at Bramall Lane on Thursday night.

The St. Mary’s natives will likewise be looking to build on a favourable mid-week result, as Hasenhuttl oversaw his men beat fellow relegation-threatened side Norwich City on Wednesday to move out of the relegation places with Everton losing 5-2 at Liverpool.

Southampton have now won their last two Premier League matches and trail us by four points after 15 games, and will be keen to prolong their winning run by taking their first three points at St. James’ Park since January 2015.

If we are to prevent the south coast side doing such, we will have to break a two-year club record of our own by winning a match while David Coote is in charge.

The Nottinghamshire-resident has been named as the referee for Sunday’s league encounter, and will be assisted by Harry Lennard, Peter Kirkup and fourth official Jarred Gillett, while Martin Atkinson will be in charge of VAR with Darren Cann his number two.

Coote has held the whistle in seven of our matches across all competitions, the last being our 2-0 FA Cup Fourth Round defeat at home to Watford in January.

Rafa Benitez’s Magpies also lost the last – and only – Premier League game officiated by Coote, with West Bromwich Albion taking a 1-0 win at St. James’ Park on Matchday 36 of the 2017/18 season.

We have to go back to April 2017 for the last time the Magpies won a game with Coote in the middle, when we beat Wigan Athletic 2-1 in the Championship.

We have also beaten Northampton Town in the League Cup with Coote in charge.

What will the result be against Southampton?

Toon win

Toon win

Draw

Draw

Saints win

Saints win

Sunday’s visit of Southampton to the North East will be Coote’s sixth Premier League game of the season, having also officiated five in the Championship. His last match was Wolverhampton Wanderers’ 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United.

The Blade’s draw at Molineux saw six players shown yellow cards, as Coote brought his tally for the top-flight term to 18 – including one sending off through two cautions.

Coote holds the seventh-highest yellow cards per game ratio in the Premier League with an average of 3.6, and ranks second for fouls per game with 24.2 and third for fouls-to-tackles at 0.81.

In other Newcastle United news, a Sky Sports pundit expects a £40k-p/w Newcastle man to force a move away in January.

This article was originally posted here