With both Newcastle United and Sunderland in the last 16 of the EFL Cup, Charlie Nicholas has been talking about their respective chances of heading into the quarter-finals.
The Sky Sports pundit asks the question, just why would a club of Newcastle’s ‘stature…not consider having a go at this competition’.
Well…I think that question should really be addressed to Mike Ashley for what has gone on in the past, why indeed would you tell your managers not to try in the cup competitions?
Charlie Nicholas says that having got through the opening rounds and got yet another home game where Newcastle are overwhelming favourites, it is a chance for the club to give something back to the success starved fans.
Nicholas predicts a 2-0 home win for United and identifies both Shelvey and Gayle as key figures, the question is though whether they will actually play with Rafa sure to make numerous changes.
As for the chances of a derby match in the quarter-finals, Charlie Nicholas reckons there is zero possibility. The former Arsenal player predicting a 3-0 defeat at Southampton on Wednesday night.
Here’s hoping he is right this time.
Charlie Nicholas talking to Sky Sports:
“Newcastle are going well again now with Rafael Benitez getting some graft from his team to go with the quality.
“If you’re a club of this stature then why would you not consider having a go at this competition?
“I know there’s a lot of games to get through, but when you get to this stage against significant underdogs then it’s a chance to give something back to the fans that have kept faith.
“Jonjo Shelvey seems to have his swagger back and Dwight Gayle is scoring plenty of goals, so I’d make these along with Arsenal my home bankers.
“I was speaking to Gerry Francis, who I’ve always had great respect for, and he surprised me by saying Gayle is one of the best finishers he’s worked with, which is saying something given he has worked with the likes of Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand.
“Prediction: 2-0 “
Southampton v Sunderland
“This is a tough one for Sunderland, with Arsenal to come at the weekend, and I can’t see anything but a comfortable home win.