Paul Merson has cast his eye over Stoke v Newcastle.

The former Middlesbrough player says that ‘this is a very big game for Newcastle’, especially if he is proved right with the Sunderland v Crystal Palace match 24 hours earlier.

Paul Merson has predicted that Sunderland will beat Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace 2-1 on Tuesday night and move two points ahead of Newcastle, pushing their local rivals to second bottom.

As for the match at the Britannia Stadium, Merson says that he never bets against Stoke at Home and that they are now back on form with wins over Newcastle’s relegation rivals Villa and Bournemouth.

It doesn’t matter who the opposition happens to be away from home this season for Newcastle, losing 11 of their 14 away trips, including the FA Cup match at Watford.

Paul Merson expects the home side to win and perhaps the only surprise is that he is tipping the Magpies to score a goal in a 3-1 defeat, considering there has only been seven goals scored by Newcastle in those 14 away matches.

Needless to say, United desperately need a change of ideas and potentially the team selection, as negative tactics followed by defeat are happening time after time.

Paul Merson talking to Sky Sports:

“I never go against Stoke at home.

“They hit a bit of a brick wall a few weeks ago but wins over Bournemouth and Aston Villa have made them a hot team again.

“When they get going they can beat anybody and I expect them to beat Newcastle.

“This is a very big game for Newcastle, especially if I get my prediction of a Sunderland win right (Merson: ‘This will be one of the games that Sam Allardyce has highlighted for Sunderland to win and I’m going to back them to get a massive, massive victory’), but I have to go for Stoke.”

Elsewhere, Paul Merson does though predict Norwich to lose also, 2-0 at home to Chelsea, which would see them remain level on points with Newcastle but ahead of United in 18th place. He also predicts Swansea to lose at Arsenal and Bournemouth to get a point at home to Southampton.