Newcastle and Southampton have the opportunity to definitively cut themselves clear of the Premier League relegation battle when they meet on Saturday.
Rafael Benitez’s side are seven points clear of the bottom three and probably safe, though another win would carry them over the magic 40-point threshold.
The Saints, meanwhile, are two points worse off but have played a game fewer than their weekend hosts. With three wins in their last four, they come into this clash a team on form and almost certainly just one victory away from safety.
|Game||Newcastle United vs Southampton|
|Date||Saturday, April 20|
|Time||5:30pm BST / 12:30pm EST|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|NBC||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be available for viewing on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4k UHD. It can be streamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4k UHD||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Dubravka, Darlow, Elliot, Woodman|
|Defenders||Lascelles, Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Barreca, Dummett, Yedlin, Manquillo|
|Midfielders||Hayden, Ki, Shelvey, Diame, Ritchie, Kenedy, Almiron|
|Forwards||Atsu, Perez, Rondon, Muto, Joselu|
Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez only has a couple of selection headaches before this match: both Florian Lejeune and Sean Longstaff are sidelined and neither will play again this season.
Possible Newcastle starting XI: Dubravka; Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie ; Perez, Hayden, Diame ; Almiron, Rondon
|Goalkeepers||McCarthy, Forster, Gunn, Rose|
|Defenders||Vestergaard, Hoedt, Stephens, Yoshida, Bednarek, Targett, Cedric, Bertrand|
|Midfielders||Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Davis, Redmond, Elyounoussi, Hojbjerg, Lemina|
|Forwards||Ings, Austin, Long, Gallagher|
Southampton have a number of minor doubts before their trip to St. James’ Park. Alex McCarthy, Matt Targett and Charlie Austin are expected to prove their fitness but there are greater concerns over Jannik Vestergaard and Mario Lemina.
Michael Obafemi has been ruled out.
Possible Southampton starting XI: Gunn; Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard; Valery, Ward-Prowse, Jojbjerg, Bertrand; Sims, Redmond; Ings
Betting & Match Odds
Newcastle are a 31/20 shot with bet365 . Southampton can be backed at 21/10, while a draw is available at 11/5.
If Newcastle are on the verge of Premier League football again for the 2019-20 season, it seems increasingly likely that the man who has them in this position, Rafael Benitez, will not be present to oversee that campaign.
Out of contract in the summer, the Spaniard has worked wonders this season with a limited squad, in order to keep them away from the bottom three.
His efforts, however, have not been rewarded with a new deal from the board.
“I don’t want to give too much information,” the former Real Madrid boss said this week when asked about his future.
“All I will say is that we had contact behind the scenes because we couldn’t be talking every week about our conversations. I was saying: ‘Concentrate on that, make sure we are safe’, but at the same time, we will do what we have to do.
“Now, we are in the same position we were in one month ago. That is it. Waiting for answers.”
But the manager’s future is not the only one that is uncertain. Several players, including Matt Ritchtie, have been linked with moves away from St. James’ Park and Benitez is worried that minds wander before the end of the campaign.
“My concern, when I was reading different stories about players, is that we are losing focus. We still need to win another game,” he insisted.
“We need to make sure we are safe, and then after that, if people start to lose focus, okay. But at the moment, we have to be sure we can get another three points.”
If that feeling of safety is not evident in the north east yet, on the south coast Southampton have shown no relent, and enjoyed a superb 3-1 victory over Wolves last weekend.
“It was an important win, a massive win,” manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who was disappointed to see Cardiff overcome Brighton in midweek, said. “You see the result on Tuesday shows that it was important that we won against Wolves, and there is now still a way to go.
“It underlines that speaking about 40 points is not being negative, but being clear what it's about to stay in this league. It looks good in this moment, but there is still a way to go and I know no-one in this building has the feeling that we are safe, so let's keep on working hard.
“The players like to play in the style we are playing in at the moment, they feel comfortable and they are hungry, and that's the most important thing – hungry for taking points and hungry for taking wins, and that's what we will do on Saturday.”
Even in defeat, both sides will live to fight another day, but victory for either club would offer a few precious pressure-free weeks before the holidays.