You often get the feeling that Paul Merson doesn’t exactly earn his money.
When he turns up on Sky Sports and has his say, I don’t think anybody believes he does hours of research to help give him an informed view.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s match at Selhurst Park, we see further proof of that.
Paul Merson declaring: ‘I just don’t see anything but a Palace win here’.
His main evidence for this appears to be: ‘It’s been a bit of a shocker for Newcastle recently on and off the field’.
He also says that Palace have been ‘in decent form recently’.
In the last seven matches, Palace have had two wins, three draws and two defeats.
Newcastle have had two wins, three draws and two defeats – those two defeats being against runaway leaders Manchester City.
I can’t disagree with his assessment about the mess at Newcastle off the pitch, with Mike Ashley yet again undermining Rafa Benitez in a transfer window.
However, Rafa has been holding it together on the pitch and getting his team to be far better than the individuals making up that side.
On Wednesday night they were far better than seventh in the table and only bad luck and bad finishing prevented the win.
In terms of the rest of this season and the relegation fight, Rafa has in the end got three players in on loan and these include two who have already played in the Premier League. Kenedy was very good against Burnley and Islam Slimani has scored a very decent amount of goals for Leicester in his limited opportunities, in contrast Palace’s big signing is Alexander Sorloth who has only played in the weak Norwegian, Dutch and Danish leagues.
Palace have actually bought him so he may pay longer term dividends but my money would be on Slimani in the short-term, though it still doesn’t excuse Mike Ashley refusing to allow Rafa to buy anybody.
No Newcastle fan is going to claim this current set of players are great but Rafa has got them back to grinding out results and being difficult to beat.
It is actually five months since any of the current bottom nine clubs beat Newcastle United, so there is every reason to hope/expect that Newcastle won’t be beaten,unlike Merson’s clueless/baseless prediction.
Add in the fact that Roy Hodgson will be missing at least six players, including their most in-form attacking player, Bakary Sako, and Newcastle can come away with something.
Like every point they have got this season, Newcastle will only get anything if they put in the work and are disciplined, with Kenedy and Slimani (if passed fit), we will hopefully see a bit more end product at the other end as well.
Paul Merson talking to Sky Sports:
“It’s been a bit of a shocker for Newcastle recently on and off the field.
“They got hardly anything in the window. Islam Slimani came in but he’s injured and can’t play, while on the field they were winning against Burnley before Joselu missed a penalty and Karl Darlow’s own goal handed the visitors a point.
“I just don’t see anything but a Palace win here.
“Palace had a bit of a disappointing Deadline Day but that shouldn’t affect them too much.
“They have been in decent form recently but they do have to be a bit careful.
“They are still in the relegation battle, as the Arsenal result proved, so they still need to pick up wins consistently.
“Prediction is Crystal Palace 2 Newcastle 0.”
Crystal Palace v Newcastle Match Betting:
All Crystal Palace v Newcastle betting HERE
New customers to BetVictor qualify for up to a £40 welcome bonus in free bets.