Paul Merson has been looking ahead to Newcastle United’s trip to Crystal Palace.

The Arsenal fan and former Gunners player as also been reflecting on Newcastle’s defeat at home last Saturday.

Merson predicted Arsenal to win 2-1 and that was how it worked out.

That made it four lots of 2-1 defeats for Newcastle against clubs who finished top six last season.

Apart from the Manchester City loss, the other three games could have feasibly seen Newcastle coming  away with a point.

That was the case against Arsenal and Paul Merson admits that Newcastle were a ‘touch unlucky’ after being  the better team in the first half.

However, he says that you have to worry when Newcastle collapsed after going behind.

The eventual 2-1 scoreline helped hide the lack of belief and purpose that was missing from pretty much that whole second half.

That collapse coincided with Jamaal Lascelles being forced off at half-time, with local media saying the captain might not be fit enough to play on Saturday.

Last season saw Newcastle draw 1-1 at Selhurst Park and end up hanging on for a point despite NUFC having been the better team in the first half, as well as leading at the break through a Diame goal.

The previous visit was in the (last) relegation season, Cisse scoring first but then a real proper collapse saw Newcastle  go in 3-1 down at the break.

One of McClaren’s many strange decisions saw him bring on Lascelles for Perez at half-time, seemingly to try and ensure it wouldn’t be total embarrassment, only for it to be a case of too little too late with Palace winning 5-1 by the final whistle.

Newcastle were never hammered last season, apart from when Lascelles was missing, and have started this season with similar resolve.

However, with the likes of Rondon and Shelvey, plus probably Kenedy, set to start on Saturday, Rafa Benitez will no surely push more onto the front foot, potentially leaving the back door open if the team aren’t careful, particularly if Lascelles is missing.

Paul Merson predicts a 1-0 defeat for Newcastle but if Rondon can build on what he has shown so far against better teams, and hold the ball up and bring other players into the game, Rafa’s team do have a realistic chance of belatedly kicking off their season.

Paul Merson talking to Sky Sports:

“Palace were very fortunate last week at Huddersfield.

“Newcastle were a touch unlucky against Arsenal.

“They were the better team in the first half but as soon as they went behind, wow, they completely and utterly went.

“From a Newcastle perspective that worries me, I see Palace just edging this one.

“Prediction is Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0.”

  • Wor Lass

    For me, it all hinges on Zaha. If he`s in the mood then Yedlin could be taken to the cleaners. He`s quick and gives 100% but he doesn`t strike me as a natural defender. Zaha will leave him with his head spinning and I don`t think he`d get a lot of help from Ritchie – he`ll just point at the space Zaha`s running into and leave him to it. Maybe someone could man-mark him and sicken him a bit. He reacted badly to being roughed up last week and won`t have endeared himself to the referees` club with his remarks – they`ve already got him marked out as a diver. I`m not sure who could do the job, though.

    • Kenny

      Yedlin has blistering pace & that’s what he’ll rely on to counter Zaha

      • BigHairyDog

        Zaha will cut inside, giving Yedlin a massive problem, does he pass him on or stay with him. Also when Yedlin is attacking Zaha will drift out to the right for the counter.

        • Kenny

          yeah Zaha is a big problem

          • killymag

            even Merson in a drunken stupor would cause problems to the current defence

        • Ron

          Dealing with Zaha will be in Rafa’s game plan, no idea how, but he’ll have come up with something. I hope.

    • Mxpx

      Of course Zaha won’t defend leaving yedlin free to whip crosses in all day

  • Kenny

    Who’s to say Rondon & Shelvey will start,
    When Lascelles & Shelvey are missing everything seems to go down the toilet, in recent games at least 4 players haven’t put a shift in, we’ll be lucky to get any kind of result on Saturday & where’s our 1st win coming from, answers on a postcard.

  • Peaky

    All this talk is of Zaha but it’ll be so bloody typical for us to keep him quiet and let Townsend play a blinder…

    • Kenny

      I forgot about him, you’ve just spoilt my night, 🥃

      • Wor Lass

        Me an` all!

        • Kenny


  • Andrew

    I have a horrible feeling it will be 2 nil to Palace.
    Sorry to say I’m already prepared for the drop along with Cardiff & Huddersfield.
    Can’t see where the next win is if any or any more clubs worse then us 3 in this league. Everyone else seems capable of digging out a win😞. Please please please someone correct me.