Newcastle won the first leg 1-0 at St Mary’s Stadium. They generally dominated the contest but could only score one goal despite all of their efforts. A place in the final at Wembley awaits the winner, most likely against Man Utd. For the Toon, their chance to end a 60 year long major trophy drought is the main motivation. Southampton have endured a difficult campaign in the Premier League but new manager Nathan Jones could lead his side towards some silverware.
Just as with my Premier League stats packs, I’ve provided the stats from the two teams’ domestic seasons below for this EFL Cup semi final, which is filled with everything you need to pick smarter selections for your bet builder. Use the info along with the tips in my Stats Pack Guide to beat the bookies today.
Newcastle recently signed Anthony Gordon from Everton for £45m but he is cup tied so definitely won’t be able to feature here. The Magpies have been very settled recently and have been able to maintain a consistent XI. The one possible change might come upfront where Swedish star Alexander Isak has been pushing for a place in the XI. Callum Wilson has not been firing recently so there is every chance that Eddie Howe might make the decision to employ him from the off.
Southampton perhaps have bigger fish to fry such as the upcoming Premier League match vs Brentford at the weekend. Their XI is harder to predict but it’s possible that Salisu might play at left back again to counteract the threat which Miguel Almiron poses. Romain Perraud did have a good FA Cup match at the weekend scoring twice though, so could retain his place. Right back James Bree might make his debut for the club after recently signing from Luton Town. Duje Caleta-Car was suspended for the first leg but highly likely to return to the team here.
Newcastle average 1.65 goals per game and just 0.55 against. They have been massively overarching defensively because their xGA per game is as big as 1.37 A combination of strong defending and some exceptional keeping from Nick Pope has been the main reason for this overachievement. Pope proved his worth with a magnificent save vs Palace at the weekend. The Magpies have fired in an average of 14.30 shots in each fixture, of which 4.80 have been on target. Only 3.05 SOT against per match has been crucial in restricting their goals conceded.
Eddie Howe’s men have a brilliant set piece taker in Kieran Trippier and regularly play for corners and free kicks. They average a massive 7.15 corners per game and 4.30 against. They registered an astonishing 15 corners on Saturday vs Palace. Newcastle games can get a bit frantic, and the cards have flown. The Toon average 1.75 cards per match with their opponents picking up 2.40. Newcastle matches can potentially explode given the right sort of conditions.
Southampton have underachieved compared to their xG and xGA metrics. They only average 0.85 goals per game, but it should be much higher at 1.26. They fire in 11.20 shots per match but only 3.50 of those have been on target, which is obviously a major problem. At the other end of the field Southampton only concede 3.95 SOT against per match, which isn’t too bad. They do however concede over 12.40 shots overall in each fixture,
Corners have been slightly higher than average in Saints games. They average 4.20 themselves in each fixture, whilst their opponents have obtained 5.30. Cards have also been hovering around the above average range. Southampton themselves average 1.60 cards per game with 1.65 against.
Player shots and shots on target
Callum Wilson averages well over three shots per 90 mins but only has a SOT rate of 1.30 He scores plenty of goals but isn’t always the most accurate of shooters. Allan St Maximin has similar numbers and averages 2.59 shots per 90 mins. Attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron has been amazing this season. He is averaging 2.45 shots per game but only converting that into 0.76 SOT. Alexander Isak is a strong candidate to start here. His data is more limited from just 5 appearances, but he averages 2.81 shots per 90 mins with a very high SOT ratio of 2.19.
Whoever starts upfront will be a candidate to shoot regularly, be it Che Adams or Sekou Mara. Adams averages 2.13 shots per 90 mins with a relatively poor 0.79 accuracy. Mara has fired in nearly four shots per 90 mins with a terrible 0.56 accuracy. Look at shots rather than SOT for either of those two.
Both Sam Edozie and Adam Armstrong average around 1.50 shots per 90 mins with an accuracy ratio close to 40%. James Ward-Prowse often catches the eye from set pieces. He averages 1.05 shots per 90 mins with roughly half of those efforts on target. At some stage, you have to think he will get an opportunity to shoot directly at goal from a free kick.
Player goals and assists
Miguel Almiron tops the Newcastle scoring charts, netting 9 goals. His form has dried up though with no goal in any of his last 7 appearances. Callum Wilson has scored 6 times and also contributed with three assists but is another in poor form with no goals since the World Cup break. Midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has both 3 goals and 3 assists. Kieran Trippier is the primary set piece taker and leads the Toon with four Premier League assists this season. Isak has scored three goals from just five appearances, including a recent last minute winner vs Fulham. He also set up the winner for Joelinton in the first leg.
Che Adams is the leading Southampton attacker with four goals. Set piece specialist James-Ward Prowse has now netted five times and also weighed in with two assists. Ward-Prowse looks about the best chance Southampton have for hitting the back of the net at the moment. Left wing back Romain Perraud has two goals and two assists, but in general the scoring charts for Southampton are fairly bleak.
Newcastle only average 51% possession but it is a number which has been increasing more recently, especially at home. In the first leg they had 56% down on the south coast and prior to that they had over 60% possession vs Palace and Fulham respectively. Manager Eddie Howe is gradually transforming this team into being more comfortable on the ball which is worth looking out for.
Bruno Guimaraes just edges Kieran Trippier in their list for average passes per 90 mins (53.0), and he’s a real engine in the middle of the park. The two are such key players for Newcastle. They rank in at 1.25 and 1.06 to break the 50 mark tonight. The top defender on the passing list is Fabian Schar (48.4).
Southampton only average 44% possession, a figure that has typically been even lower under the management of Nathan Jones. Apart from when facing lower league opposition in cups, the former Luton Town boss has yet to oversee a match where Saints have had more of the ball.
Only Mohamed Salisu averages over 50 passes per 90 mins, however he adopted an unlikely position at left-back last week which sees much less of the ball. James Ward Prowse is one of their most involved players playing the full 90 and averaging 49.0 passes, but again Jones has adjusted his position as the more advanced midfielder, which again will naturally see less attempted passes. With Jones in charge backing passes in a bet builder for any Saints player makes for little appeal though.
There is no getting away from the fact that Newcastle are a dirty team. Joelinton has obtained seven cards this season and averages nearly two fouls per 90 mins. Kieran Trippier usually fouls at least once per game and has netted five cards. Centre back Fabian Schar is another player worth keeping an eye on for a potential card. Upfront, Callum Wilson is a pressing forward type of player and will get stuck in, often mistiming a tackle. Isak could replicate this role if the Swedish international starts instead.
Sam Edozie averages a massive 6.15 dribbles per 90 mins and is fouled 3.46 times on average. Sekou Mara is another with a high dribble rate and will cause issues to the Newcastle defenders on the break. In midfield Romeo Lavia dribbles nearly 1.59 times per 90 mins. Two other players to keep an eye on are Djenepo and Walker-Peter. Both have high dribbling rates, over 3 per 90 mins and possess raw pace. Joelinton and Kieran Trippier could find themselves under pressure in this match as a result.
Matchups to watch
Joelinton vs Kyle Walker-Peters
Kieran Trippier vs Samuel Edozie or Mislav Orsic
Fabian Schar vs Sekou Mara
The Saints rank quite moderately for fouls and cards. Centre back Salisu has four cards, and he also averages 1.11 fouls per 90 mins. Winger Mohamed Elyounoussi has been in and out of the team under Nathan Jones, but should he feature then he’s one to keep an eye on. The Norwegian international averages 1.59 fouls per 90 mins, the most for any Saints player and also has three cards. Both Lyanco and Lavia average over one foul per 90 mins and are also candidates in the disciplinary markets. Lyanco has especially seen his foul count rise recently and has four cards to his name.
Bruno Guimaraes is a foul magnet and is going to be an obvious problem for Carlos Alcaraz or Romeo Lavia in the middle of the park. Whoever plays upfront might be a crucial matchup against Salisu. Allan St Maximin will no doubt be unleashed at some stage on the left wing off the bench. The Frenchman averages an astonishing 8.70 dribbles per 90 mins. Lyanco and Walker-Peters will have his hands full with him and also Joelinton throughout the game.
Matchups to watch
Lyanco vs Alexander Isak or Callum Wilson
Mohamed Salisu vs Miguel Almiron
Carlos Alcaraz or Romeo Lavia vs Bruno Guimaraes
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
If you’re looking at the stats pack and wondering how to make best use of it, here’s just a few selections that stood out to me as value based on the numbers.
Newcastle vs Southampton
Newcastle take 7.15 corners per game.
Southampton concede 5.30 corners per game/
Kieran Trippier commits 1.17 fouls p/90.
He has been booked 5 times, plus was booked last week against Southampton.
Newcastle average 51% possession to Southampton’s 44%.
Bruno Guimaraes averages 53.0 passes p/90.
Newcastle average 4.80 shots on target per game.
Joelinton averages 0.65 shots on target p/90.
Against Southampton last week, he scored once, had one disallowed goal, and one open goal. He gets in the positions against this Saints side.