Paul Merson believes that Newcastle have to beat Norwich, saying ‘there’s no two ways about it’.
However, he thinks that the most likely outcome will be a 2-2 draw, a point not a great deal of use when you are bottom of the league.
Merson points to the fact that the team played well in the first half against both Chelsea and Manchester City, yet came out of those matches with only a single point and eight goals conceded.
The former Arsenal player has accused the Newcastle players of ‘downing tools’ against Manchester City and it is hard to disagree with that.
Paul Merson talking to Sky Sports:
‘Newcastle have to win this. There’s no two ways about it.
For 45 minutes against Man City they were very, very good. They should have come in at 3-0 up. But to let that many goals in in 20 minutes is worrying. The players downed tools and that is not on if you’re a manager.
For 60 minutes against Chelsea and 45 minutes against City they were very good and they have come out with one point and let in eight goals.
They need to perform for 90 minutes and the effort shouldn’t just be upped because you are playing last season’s top two.’
Elsewhere, Paul Merson thankfully got on of his other predictions correct.
He fancied West Brom to edge it 1-0 against Sunderland and that one came in, thanks to a Saido Berahino goal.
In summing up that game, Paul Merson described it as a ‘must not lose’ match and said that defeat would mean having to win three matches just to get out of the relegation zone.
This is obviously the case for Newcastle as well, a defeat like the disastrous Watford one last month, would be…disastrous.
So United have to step it up today and take advantage of the fact that Bournemouth, Villa and the mackems all lost on Saturday.
Paul Merson’s prediction for West Brom v Sunderland:
‘This is a cup final for Sunderland, a must-not-lose. If they lost this, you’re probably talking about having to win three matches to get out of the bottom three, and we’re only eight or nine games in. That’s a big, big ask.
West Brom still have that bit of cutting edge, and I think Sunderland will go there and shut up shop and go for a 0-0, but West Brom will break them down.
The Sam Allardyce appointment will panic other chairmen down the bottom of the Premier League. When push comes to shove, his experience could be priceless. It’s a huge month for Sunderland.
Predicted score: 1-0 to West Brom’