While Newcastle will have a confident Allan Saint-Maximin in their side on Sunday, Southampton might be missing their bit of x-factor.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed ahead of the game that Sofiane Boufal is a doubt, having missed the midweek win over Norwich City.
“I must tell you that there is still a problem with him, he’s still not training,” the Saints boss told their official website on Friday.
“In the last game he was on the bench and there was no reason to bring him in. I decided to let him out and give him the rest.
“Tomorrow he will train for the first time and we must look and see how he is. We must pay attention to it because such an injury can take longer if you are not careful.”
The Moroccan winger is undergoing something of a renaissance at Southampton, having spent last season on loan at Celta Vigo. But Boufal has been handed a second chance at St Mary’s, and he’s certainly taking it.
He’s an incredibly gifted footballer, with sublime balance and dribbling ability making him a nightmare for defenders. However, the physical nature of the Premier League has proven too much for Boufal to handle at times.
The end product hasn’t always been there, although he did inspire the Saints’ comeback victory against Watford last week.
Boufal is the kind of player who can give players and fans a lift. He’s able to carry the ball up the pitch and relieve pressure. That’s exactly what Saint-Maximin has been doing for Newcastle.
The Frenchman scored his first goal for the club on Thursday night, the only thing that was missing from his game since arriving this summer. Saint-Maximin will be in confident mood against the Saints, while the away fans will be praying their own mercurial talent is passed fit.