Greetings fellow travellers,
Newcastle come into this game off the back of an encouraging performance and what could prove to be a very good result as the season progresses. Southampton have been consistently impressive since their promotion, and have been a bit of a bogey team for Newcastle as of late, handing out some severe drubbings in the past couple of seasons.
Under Steve McClaren’s guidance the players look like different men, there’s a confidence and fluidity that was sorely lacking under Pardew and his gang of chuckleheads and that was made obvious last weekend. The fact that new boys Wijnaldum and Mbemba look to have slotted in almost seamlessly has helped as well. Of course this is early doors so there’s no point in making firm statements about the season ahead but the signs seem positive.
The Liberty Stadium hasn’t exactly been a happy hunting ground for the Magpies since Swansea gained promotion, with only a single win in the last four attempts. That solitary victory was courtesy of two goals from a shit-hot Papiss Cissé, one of which was nothing less than a truly inspired finish over the head of Michel Vorm.
Since then things have changed significantly for the Swans. Brendan Rodgers, whose perceived sense of tactical nous, intelligence and insight fit perfectly with Liverpool’s perceived sense of superiority, lustre and overall quality, moved on to the Scouse club and Garry Monk was handed the reins after Michael Laudrup failed to inspire. To the shock and horror of pundits across the land, a man with no Premier League experience managed to mould Swansea into an extremely competent team and the siren’s call of Europa League football now beckons them.
This will be a stern test for Newcastle away from home and also a chance for McClaren to exhibit exactly how he wants his Newcastle team to play when they’re not favourites.