I have to agree with Paul Merson on one thing.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the former Middlesbrough and Walsall star says that Newcastle v Burnley a ‘massive football match’.
The latest transfer window shambles under Mike Ashley, has seen Newcastle United’s actual matches going into the background.
However, this is arguably Newcastle’s most winnable game that they have left this season.
Having all but reached Premier League survival by December, Burnley have totally taken their foot off the gas. They have failed to win any of their last eight matches, including seven in the league.
Added to this, Sean Dyche’s squad have half a dozen injuries to key players and with only a handful of points needed for safety, it is unlikely he will be risking anybody who isn’t totally fit and potentially losing them for a lengthy period.
In contrast, Newcastle have actually done ok and Rafa Benitez has pulled the team out of their horrendous run of one point from nine games in the Autumn.
It is seven and a half weeks now since anybody apart from Manchester City beat Newcastle in the Premier League, so it surely would be a bit of a surprise if Burnley pulled off a win.
However, that hasn’t prevented Paul Merson predicting disaster for Rafa Benitez, even though he admits Burnley’s results ‘have started to level out’.
Merson predicts a 1-0 away win with the pressure on Newcastle.
For sure there will be pressure on Newcastle to perform in this game but this is surely a must win match and despite only Kenedy arriving (so far…), there can be no excuses for the players not to take the game to an injury weakened Burnley side in poor form.
Paul Merson speaking to Sky Sports:
“This is another massive football match.
“Newcastle went out of the cup at the weekend so it’s another year without a trophy.
“Newcastle will be under pressure to bounce back against Burnley at St James’ Park.
“Burnley have hit a bit of a brick wall of late. Their results have started to level out after what was an unbelievable start to the season.
“However, I thought they were very unlucky against (ED: Manchester!) United and could have even sneaked a draw.
“With another performance like that, I’m backing them to sneak a win.
“Prediction is Newcastle 0 Burnley 1.”
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