Gary Neville is generally seen as one of the best TV pundits.
Even Newcastle fans who generally hated him for the dirty twisty faced player that he was, concede that he talks a lot of sense these days.
Although Neville did get the blood pumping when going over the top about the way Rafa Benitez approached the Manchester City match, even though the tactics and team selection almost earned Newcastle a point.
Gary Neville has now also made himself a talking point where Newcastle United are concerned this coming weekend.
Making predictions for the FA Cup third round, Gary Neville has gone for:
Man City 2-1 Burnley
Newcastle 1-2 Luton
Watford 2-0 Bristol City
Wolves 3-2 Swansea
Bournemouth 2-1 Wigan
Fulham 1-1 Southampton
Whilst I did find Gary Neville irritating on the subject of the Man City match eight days ago, I don’t think any Newcastle fan should be getting uptight because he has tipped NUFC to lose on Saturday.
It may be Premier League against League Two but that hardly tells the full story.
Even Rafa Benitez has admitted that the FA Cup is an unwelcome distraction to the relegation struggle.
Rafa Benitez asked whether Luton in the FA Cup will be a ‘welcome distraction’ from the relegation battle:
“We have two or three injuries and maybe they will need (more) time…we don’t have too many players.”
The United boss is happy to say he will be making major changes to his team to face Luton. He made 10 changes when Newcastle lost to Forest in the League Cup in August, only Chancel Mbemba staying in the team.
He is never going to admit it but Rafa Benitez is hardly going to be upset if Newcastle lose on Saturday. The fourth round games fall on the weekend before Newcastle face a crucial Premier League match at home to Burnley on Wednesday 31 January.
At best, Newcastle will have a makeshift team out, who would be a lower half Championship side at best.
In contrast, Luton Town may be League Two but they are absolutely flying. Four points clear at the top of Kevin Nolan’s/Shola Ameobi’s Notts County and 11 points clear when it comes to automatic promotion.
They have scored only two goals less than Manchester City (though Luton have played four more matches), their 62 goals being 42 more than Newcastle have scored this season.
They are being backed by almost eight thousand travelling fans on Saturday and their impressive young manager Nathan Jones has just signed a new contract on Thursday morning.
As you can see by the bookies odds below, they don’t exactly see Newcastle as a certainty, yes they are odds on to win at 4/9 but at 11/2 Luton aren’t seen as no-hopers. When the teams are announced on Saturday I’m guessing those odds will shorten on an away success.
I don’t want to depress any Newcastle fan who is still dreaming of FA Cup success but with the cards Rafa Benitez has been dealt this season, this is not going to be our year!
Only 12 months ago Newcastle were stuffed 3-0 by League One Oxford United and these 10 previous years of Mike Ashley have seen Newcastle only win four FA Cup games.
Enjoy the game!
All 18 FA Cup matches played so far by Newcastle under Mike Ashley:
Oxford 3 Newcastle 0 – 28 January 2017 (Fourth round!)
Newcastle 3 Birmingham 1 – 18 January 2017 (Third round replay)
Birmingham 1 Newcastle 1 – 7 January 2017
Watford 1 Newcastle 0 – 9 January 2016
Leicester 1 Newcastle 0 – 3 January 2015
Newcastle 1 Cardiff 2 – 4 January 2014
Brighton 2 Newcastle 0 – 5 January 2013
Brighton 1 Newcastle 0 – 28 January 2012 (Fourth Round)
Newcastle 2 Blackburn 1 – 7 January 2012
Stevenage 3 Newcastle 1 – 8 January 2011
West Brom 4 Newcastle 2 – 23 January 2010 (Fourth round)
Newcastle 3 Plymouth 0 – 13 January 2010 (Third round replay)
Plymouth 0 Newcastle 0 – 2 January 2010
Newcastle 0 Hull 1 – 13 January 2009 (Third round replay)
Hull 0 Newcastle 0 – 3 January 2009
Arsenal 3 Newcastle 0 – 26 January 2008 (Fourth round)
Newcastle 4 Stoke 1 – 16 January 2008 (Third round replay)
Stoke 0 Newcastle 0 – 6 January 2008
Newcastle v Luton Match Betting:
All Newcastle v Luton betting HERE
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