Paul Merson has been predicting what will happen in today’s match at St James Park.

The Sky Sports pundit thinks that the opening 20 minutes could be vital.

Newcastle have had mixed fortunes at home and with three wins and two defeats in the five games at St James Park, it is a far cry from the 2009/10 season when United went unbeaten in all 23 home games on the way to promotion.

Paul Merson sees Brentford as dangerous opponents and points to a win they had ‘not too long ago’ (it was five weeks ago) at Brighton. That finished 2-0 to the away side and on-fire striker Scott Hogan (has scored 13 goals in last 14 league games) scored both goals that day.

However, Brentford’s big strength has been at home where they have only conceded two goals in six games and are unbeaten, whereas on the road, that Brighton win was their only success in five.

Merson goes for a tight 2-1 win for Newcastle and let’s hope he is proved right for once.

Paul Merson speaking to Sky Sports:

“I think that this is a very difficult game.

“I’ve gone for Newcastle to win 2-1 because they’re at home but it’s a dangerous game.

“Brentford are a good team and they pass the ball around, they had a great result at Brighton not too long ago, who are a very good team.

“I think the first 20 minutes are very important.”