Newcastle United and Southampton have had their fair share of problems but have also managed to find solutions. This has put them in a slightly more comfortable position as they are highly likely to survive and in fact finish way above the relegation threatening zone.
Position: 13th(35 Points)
Season before Lockdown: Another club for whom the break came at a bad time. Newcastle were on a good note before lockdown, win over Saints and a good FA cup run against Rochdale and Oxford. After their initial struggles which saw them linger in the relegation zone as well, they have done some hard work to place themselves in a safe position. There have been talks of a £300 million Saudi takeover which can be too intimidating for fans and players at times.
Positives: Players who have excelled this year amidst some very turgid defensive football from Steve Bruce. Allan Saint-Maximin, French Winger has been a great signing for the Toons. Isaac Hayden & Almiron has finally adapted to Steve Bruce’s brand of football. Dubravka has been solid.
Concerns: Tough run of fixtures, against teams who are chasing Europe or fighting relegation. And so it could go either way for the club, if the takeover is announced and they continue the good run they could be looking at a top 10 finish. If not it could spiral downwards quickly. In the last month or so, off the pitch issues dominated the club along with Mike Ashley’s attempts to drain out the last penny from the club with direct debits. When the league restarts they will have the disadvantage of not having the crowd which crucial for the club, they had given 10000 free tickets this year just to boost atmosphere this season.
Remaining PL Fixtures: Sheffield United(H), Aston Villa(H), Bournemouth(A), West Ham(H), Manchester City(A), Watford(A), Spurs(H), Brighton(A), Liverpool(H)
Position: 14th (34 Points)
Season before lockdown: Among the Premier League clubs, Southampton were the first club to give up their part of wages in order to help the NHS to overcome the crisis. Having achieved that distinction, it indirectly shows the fragile financial structure of the club. During the pandemic, Southampton gave a contract extension to their manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Also, the contract extension was provided to their striker, Shane Long, to keep the high morale of both club and player. The 9-0 drubbing to Leicester in October was an awful start to the season, Hasenhuttl went back to 4-2-2-2 from Leipzig and got better results. High pressing style and a young team have been exciting to watch.
Positives: Danny Ings has scored 15 goal and looks a different man than he was at Liverpool. The midfield of Nathan Redmond, Stuart Armstrong and James Ward Prowse is a powerful unit capable of orchestrating Saints’ attack.
Concerns: Saints are in the middle of financial trouble. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the club captain, is not signing a contract extension. Except Everton, every single team they play for the remaining season is either top 8 or relegation fighting clubs.
Remaining PL Fixtures: Norwich City(A), Arsenal(H), Watford(A), Manchester City(H), Everton(A), Manchester United(A), Brighton(H), Bournemouth(A), Sheffield United(A)
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