It is Tottenham v Newcastle on Wednesday night and Paul Merson has been making his prediction.
As he helpfully jokes/points out: ‘Newcastle do not get the chance to go to Wembley too often, do they?’
It is actually 18 years since NUFC were last at Wembley, just before the old stadium was knocked down, Newcastle lost 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final to Chelsea.
So in terms of the ‘new’ Wembley, this will be a first ever visit.
I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed anything and if Newcastle did spring a surprise, it would be a first United victory at Wembley in a competitive match in 63 years, today actually being the exact day (7 May) in 1955 when the Magpies defeated Man City 3-1 to lift the FA Cup.
As usual, Paul Merson doesn’t bother with anything so trivial as research, the Sky Sports pundit saying Newcastle ‘will have to be careful’ as they’ll be expected to ‘put on a show’ if they have a big following at Wembley.
However, Newcastle will only have the 3,132 fans in the official away section, despite Spurs revealing there is set to be tens of thousands of empty seats.
In their last two home games, Tottenham managed to lose thirty thousand fans in between the two matches, when Watford turned up after the previous visit of Man City.
A stadium map showing which seats still available for Wednesday, made clear that it will be a crowd for the Newcastle game similar to the fifty two thousand who were at Spurs v Watford, rather than the 80,000+ that have turned up for more attractive matches.
Paul Merson points out the poor results of both teams, Newcastle losing at Watford to make it three defeats in a row, whilst Spurs lost 1-0 at West Brom, making it only four points from their last four matches.
The North London side now at serious risk of losing their Champions League place, with only three points now separating Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea, with only two places still up for grabs.
Merson goes for a 2-1 ‘home’ win but warns that Tottenham ‘can embarrass you’, if Newcastle defend like they did in the first half on Saturday, things could get VERY embarrassing.
Let us hope that Rafa Benitez can spur his players on to at least one more decent performance and exploit the nerves that Tottenham are now displaying.
Paul Merson talking to Sky Sports:
“If you look at Spurs’ fixtures, then if you had to pick two teams to play at home, it would be Newcastle and Leicester.
“But at the same time, Newcastle do not get the chance to go to Wembley too often, do they?
“And their fans may make it a bit of a party.
“You would have expected Spurs to get something at West Brom on Saturday, though.
“I think Spurs will win, Newcastle were poor at Watford on Saturday – better second half, but it is easy to play when you are 2-0 down.
“They have to be careful, though, as they have good fans and if they turn up in their thousands at Wembley, they will want them to put on a show.
“And if they do not, Spurs are the type of team that can embarrass you on their day.
“The pressure is severely on Tottenham, though, so I think they will win 2-1.
“Prediction is Tottenham 2 Newcastle 1.”
Tottenham v Newcastle v Match Betting:
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