Saints start Premier League campaign with McClaren’s Magpies meeting


Newcastle United fans will be watching on in hope some Steve McClaren magic making their team the talk of the Toon this season under their new head-coach, and that potential rejuvenation begins with a home encounter against Southampton.

St James’ Park will be the venue for the Magpies’ hopeful new-era under the former Derby County boss, and the hosts are 9/5 with Coral to kick their campaign off with a victory on home soil.

Although, Ronald Koeman’s travelling Saints will undoubtedly still pose a massive threat to a successful start to McClaren’s reign, having made several new signings, and they are 8/5 favourites to triumph.

It’s familiar face from last season, Graziano Pelle, who is in fine form, though, as he netted first home and away in Southampton’s Europa League third qualifying round tie against coach Koeman’s old club Vitesse Arnhem. Pelle is thus a nifty 9/2 to strike first for the third match running.

Eight league places and 21 points separated the two sides last term, with the Magpies narrowly avoiding a shock relegation, while Southampton clinched seventh-place and a Europa League spot.

Despite losing defensive trio Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne and Toby Alderweireld this summer, Koeman recovered quickly snapping up plenty of replacements for his latest crop of departed stars.

Young Spanish striker Juanmi arrived from Malaga, along with Portugal right back Cedric Soares from Sporting Lisbon, Cuco Martina from FC Twente, England cap centre back Steven Caulker and deadly deep-lying Dutch playmaker Jordy Clasie.

The latter Netherlands international is set to star heavily for the Saints this term, possibly becoming their key creative spark, and he is 6/1 to mark his Premier League debut with a goal anytime.

As outlined above, the key danger to the Toon will be Italy international hitman Pelle, who also bagged a brilliant brace in this fixture last season, and he is 6/1 to net two or more this time out again.

Jay Rodriguez recently returned from a long-term injury and will gunning for a fresh start against a side which he struck in both meetings during the 2013/14 campaign, making him 5/1 to open proceedings.

Bizarrely, Saints boss Koeman may miss the match after suffering an injury in training, while Ryan Bertrand, Gaston Ramirez, Florin Gardos and Fraser Forster are absent, with Shane Long a doubt through illness.

The Toon have over £35m worth of new talent to showcase, including midfield maestro Georginio Wijnaldum, who signed from Dutch Eredivisie PSV Eindhoven, and former Anderlecht pair Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba.

Wijnaldum is 2/1 to net anytime, while Mitrovic possesses the attributes to become a genuine goalscoring hero on Tyneside, and he is 11/2 to score the game’s last goal.

The mood may have greatly improved around St James’ Park ahead of the new season, but McClaren’s job is to turn that into positive results quickly, beginning with a tough home clash against a new-look Saints.

Betting tip: Pelle netted a double against the Toon last term and is a tasty 6/1 to do so again on Tyneside.

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