Mark Lawrenson has been looking ahead to the Newcastle v West Ham match on Saturday.
Talking about Newcastle and where they stand at the minute, the former Liverpool player thinks that Mike Ashley has been less than truthful.
He says that the NUFC owner talks about how financially Newcastle ‘are unable to compete’ but Mark Lawrenson believes this is a big fat ‘red herring’.
The BBC pundit states that Rafa Benitez simply thinks Newcastle should be competing with the likes of Watford and West Brom, rather than watching them buying players in the £15m-£20m range, whilst Rafa is bringing in the likes of Manquillo, Joselu and Atsu for around £5m each.
Away from the mess off the pitch caused by Mike Ashley, Mark Lawrenson sees Newcastle picking up their point of the season in a 1-1 draw tomorrow.
He thinks West Ham are having settling in problems this season, which won’t have been helped by having to play all early games away from home due to their stadium being used for the World Athletics championship.
However, over the course of the season with the quality of their squad, both established players and new signings such as Hernandez, Lawrenson says ‘You just know they will be fine’.
As for how ‘fine’ Newcastle United will be this season, much may depend of Mike Ashley swallowing his red herring and backing Rafa Benitez in the remaining six days of this transfer window.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“Newcastle are winless so far in the league and got beaten 3-2 at home in the EFL Cup by Championship side Nottingham Forest – but I think they will get a draw here.
“Owner Mike Ashley talks about the lack of money there and how they are unable to compete but I think that is a bit of a red herring.
“They might not be able to compete with the top seven but they can surely compete with the rest in terms of finances. They get 50,000 through the door at home.
“Manager Rafa Benitez’s way of dealing with all this is to have a shot across the bows.
“The point he has made is that they should be competing with the likes of Watford and West Brom in terms of spending. It is what he does.
“This is West Ham’s third away game in a row. They have lost the previous two and they really slipped up at Southampton last weekend.
“Getting back to 2-2 after being 2-0 down, they should have closed the game off. But they are better than the results they have got so far suggest.
“Javier Hernandez does not need many chances to score and they have other good players such as Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini. Andy Carroll will be good when he is fit. You just know they will be fine.”
“Mark Lawrenson prediction: 1-1.”