Southampton and Newcastle do battle at St. Mary’s on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie.
The Saints, who remain at the foot of the Premier League table after they were beaten by Aston Villa on Saturday, overcame all the odds to beat Man City in the quarter-finals and advance into the last four.
Newcastle, meanwhile, powered past Leicester to set up this two-legged affair as they go in search of the piece of silverware that’ll catapult their Saudi-backed project.
Here’s all you need to know about this one.
Southampton team news
Centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap remains a doubt for the home side, with Tino Livramento, Juan Larios, Alex McCarthy and Theo Walcott all poised to miss out once more.
Sekou Mara will be hoping to replace Che Adams in Nathan Jones’ XI after he impressed in the quarter-final victory over Man City. Moussa Djenepo should come in for Adam Armstrong down the left with January arrival Mislav Orsic also in contention.
(4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Lyanco, Salisu, Caleta-Car, Walker-Peters; Diallo, Lavia; Edozie, Ward-Prowse, Djenepo; Mara.
Newcastle team news
The indestructible Bruno Guimaraes completed 90 minutes at Crystal Palace on Saturday despite sustaining what looked to have been a nasty ankle injury the week prior. Thus, the Brazilian is expected to continue in Howe’s midfield on Tuesday.
Alexander Isak and Allan Saint-Maximin could make rare starts in Newcastle’s attack, while Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Targett and Emil Krafth are all sidelined.
(4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Willock, Guimaraes, Longstaff; Almiron, Isak, Joelinton.
Southampton were seemingly on the up following back-to-back victories, but Villa brought them back down to earth ahead of this semi-final clash. The Saints defied the odds to reach the last four, but another tough test awaits Jones’ side on Tuesday night.
Newcastle, who thumped Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton 4-1 in their first Premier League meeting of the season, haven’t tasted defeat in the league since August and have kept six successive clean sheets. While Howe is perhaps yet to strike the optimal balance between security and freedom, it’ll be incredibly tough for the hosts to find a way beyond the visitors’ stubborn rearguard.
This has all the makings of a low scorer, with the Magpies edging it.
Prediction: Southampton 0-1 Newcastle