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:

Palace win 21/20Draw 12/5Newcastle win 31/10

Kenedy to score first goal 19/1NUFC win 1-0 19/2NUFC win to nil 6/1

All Crystal Palace v Newcastle betting HERE

New customers to BetVictor qualify for up to a £40 welcome bonus in free bets.

  • Paul Patterson

    Dressing room wall on Sunday job.

  • JonMag

    Bad finishing, what do you expect when he plays his Spanish [email protected]@king Donkey.
    he wants to get a grip & put his best players on the pitch instead of p1$$ farting around. his selections & his tactics are playing a major part in the position we are in

    • Anita kick up the Hoop

      Rafa has cost us points through negative management, tactics and team selections… I’m sick of hearing “we are a championship squad” … so are most of the bottom half of the premiership but they have a positive outlook and attack games …. winning one game and loosing two is better than drawing two and loosing one … Rafa set out not to get beat rather than win.

      • Geordiegiants

        So West Brom for argument sake, have a championship squad?

        • Anita kick up the Hoop

          Player for player YES… the reason we are performing so badly is we are trying to force players to play Rafa’s system rather than adapt a system to suit the footballers we actually have in our squad … we simply don’t have the players to defend and counter attack the way Rafa wants …the club itself isn’t built for negativity on the field … we thrive on atracking intent and positive football …our squad isn’t the best but it’s not as bad as Rafa makes out IF we just played to our strengths

          • Geordiegiants

            Our strengths are our defence, until yesterday we didn’t have a striker. The only quality we have is our defenders.

          • Wor Lass

            Exactly – he just contradicts himself. Or should that be “contradicks”?

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            We should have been playing off Mitrovic with pace and movement around him all season

          • Geordiegiants

            Mitro is just as shyte as Hoss, why all of a sudden has Mitro became a super striker when he isn’t playing?

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            Our strength is only our defence because Rafa is so defensive …. it stands to reason ffs

          • Geordiegiants

            Because Rafa didn’t want to buy a striker or use the striker we had the last time we’re relegated? He is a fool isn’t he?

          • Wor Lass

            If, player for player, we`re not as good as the team at the bottom when we`re 14th then the manager deserves a bit of praise, I would have thought.

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            Don’t be so daft … he’s the one who’s said at every opportunity that the squad is awful … don’t talk places in this division when three points seperate so many sides .. we are a match for many of the sides who’ve not just been promoted ESPECIALLY IF we played on the front foot against them and went into games against teams in and around us with a bit more positivity.

          • TheFatController

            Having watched Gayle and Joselu miss chance after chance presented to them whilst creating virtually nothing themselves, what strengths should we play to again, sorry ?

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            I’d play off Mitrovic… haven’t I said that enough ?

          • Kneebotherm8

            Is that the same guy that was our centre forward in our relegation team a couple of years ago?………….when our football under McLaren was as dire as I’ve seen in many a year…….we couldn’t score goals and conceded goals by the bucket load……a team full of superstars who would be the most expensively assembled relegation outfit ever,or so we were told by the experts……..that team was,thankfully,disassembled by Benitez at great profit to the owner who hasn’t returned the favour.

          • thewildchimp

            He is one of the main reasons we even had a chance of stayin’ up! Along with Townsend, injured Eliott and Darlow.

            You expect a 21 yr. old lad, first time in England, to do what exactly? He scored 9 goals, ffs… Rashford had almost as many games last season and scored 5. This year 4. And he’s brilliant and plays in ManU and is from England. Also 3 years younger than Mitro, but the point is – they are all kids in footballing terms.

            Also, I don’t think it’s fair saying that Benitez made all that profit. It was Ashley who did, helped by Benitez. I don’t like him one bit, but credit where it’s due. He knows how to milk the market. Unfortunately, the club as well.

          • Kneebotherm8

            You’re not seriously comparing Rashford with Mitrovic……and the main reason we had a chance of staying up was Benitez…….not Mitrovic…….who got 9 goals in 34 games……it’s not a much better ratio than the carthorse has this season…

        • Paul Patterson

          And Rafa wanted two of those in Sturridge and Gibbs.

        • ghostrider

          If they don’t then neither do we.
          It’s laughable that we won the championship and now we are still a championship squad.
          We are a premier league squad like the rest and will only become a championship one if we get relegated.
          That means there’s 9 teams that have that potential.

    • Geordiegiants

      Rafas tactics have also won us the league last season and kept us out of the bottom three all season.

      • Anita kick up the Hoop

        Crept over the line playing dreadful negative football in a truly awful division

        • GToon

          Having lost at home to nearly all the decent teams too. Just like this season.

  • Lord

    Pundit algorithm: two bottom half sides meet, go for home win.

    Bottom half meets top half, go for top half win.

    Check out his other predictions this week, they all follow the same pattern.

    • Wor Lass

      To be fair, that`s probably what most people would do. Merson`s still a w*nker, though.

  • John

    Apart from the fact palace have only lost 1 of their last 10 at home, that being against arsenal you nugget. Do your research before writing garbage just because a pundit thinks we’ll get beat. If it wasn’t for a few lucky wins from set pieces we’d be buried now, so why would anyone back us?

  • ghostrider

    I know Merson isn’t too keen on us but I enjoy his input on the overall football. I think he talks a lot of sense but I genuinely think many football fans just see him as some dumb drunk or whatever.
    Mud sticks and frenzies start with dislike for any reasons.

  • GToon

    But imagine what we would think if a pundit or expert came on and tipped us to finish mid table , commenting on the quality of our squad. For the first time in 50 years of supporting this club, in either division I just cannot see where the next win is coming from. We can talk squads all we like but the fact is we are not good enough either at home or away. Take West Ham and stoke out of the league and then what?

    • Danimal

      The first time? Are you sure? Your powers of optimism must have been tested in the 77/78 season (10 consecutive defeats early on and no win at all in the 78 bit. Or for younger readers, let’s go for the John Carver era or Steve “we go again next week” McClaren. I agree with you it’s going to be tough but we still have a chance.

      • GToon

        I started going in 76 and did go to games in our relegations since then but I was too young to understand the reasons why we went down. This time round I don’t really think we have given it our best shot and really gone at teams. Look at Bournemouth beating arsenal, Chelsea and stoke. Look at Swansea beating arsenal and Liverpool. I just don’t see us getting any shock results this year and then when I look at the teams around us that we have to play I just don’t think we can beat any of those either. Unless…..the tactics change and also the personnel up front. Lets see what happens when Slimani plays. He might make a difference.

        • Danimal

          I hope so too. Contrary to what people say, we have had some decent chances which should have been taken. Also having a decent striker might lead to more chances as it keeps opposition defences busy. And no, we don’t look capable of pulling off surprise wins. Maybe the two new boys will enable us to have more of a go against Manure etc. I know it’s a lot to pin on two players…

          • GToon

            The is the first time I can remember us playing “damage limitation” games and not just against that team owned by a country from the Middle East.