Newcastle supporters will anticipate a few changes to be made by Rafa Benitez for the visit of Southampton to St James’ Park on Saturday.
Benitez will have meticulously analysed the faults present in his side during the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last weekend and will adjust his team accordingly for a crunch six-pointer against a struggling Saints side managed by under-fire Maurico Pellegrino.
The most likely alteration that Benitez will make is switching United back to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation after switching to 5-4-1 for the trip to Anfield – otherwise known as the ‘damage limitation’ tactic.
In terms of personnel, it becomes a little more difficult to predict where Benitez will chop and change. Expect the same back-four that started against Bournemouth a fornight ago to line up in front of Martin Dubravka, one player assured of his place for the time being, whilst the midfield partnership of Mohamed Diame and Mikel Merino is unlikely to be broken up.
Several players are pushing for starts in attacking positions so that’s where Benitez is most likely to tinker as he searches for the formula that will produce the goals to get Newcastle back to winning ways – and, most importantly, as far away from the bottom three as possible.