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Paul Merson previews Fulham v Newcastle – Two clubs with no manager appointed for next season

6 months ago
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Paul Merson has been looking ahead to Sunday at Craven Cottage.

The Sky Sports pundit looking at Newcastle United and Fulham ahead of the 3pm kick-off.

Early April was season defining for both clubs, the Cottagers mathematically relegated and the Magpies confirmed as having reached safety ahead of schedule.

For this match, Paul Merson predicts both teams to ‘have a go’ and aim to end the season on a high.

For Fulham it would mean four wins in their last five games, whilst for Newcastle they would finish on 45 points with a victory, one more than last season.

Paul Merson instead forecasting an entertaining 2-2 draw.

However, it is the longer term prospects of the two clubs and the futures of the two managers, that is of more interest to the two fanbases.

Neither club has a manager in place for next season at the moment. Scott Parker acting as caretaker, whilst Rafa Benitez sees his three year deal end next month.

Paul Merson wants Scott Parker to get the Fulham job full-time and thinks the former NUFC player has brought belated ‘repectability’ and a ‘plan’ to Craven Cottage.

Their third manager of the season, Scott Parker started with five defeats that ensured relegation but then hit late form with three wins, ending a mini run with defeat at Wolves last weekend.

As much as the wins, Fulham’s owner may be equally convinced to give Parker the job because at last he has managed to improve the defensive side of Fulham’s game.

They are still the PL club with most goals conceded (77) but they had conceded 76 in only 33, before only one in these last four matches.

In those first 33 games, the only clean sheets for Fulham were a 1-0 home win over Huddersfield and a shocking goalless draw at St James Park in December.

In contrast, it has been another masterclass of organisation and discipline with limited resources by Rafa Benitez.

Only the top four and Wolves & Everton having left in fewer goals than Newcastle United’s 48 conceded.

Whilst the signing of Miguel Almiron has helped spark better attacking threat for NUFC, the team scoring 22 goals in the last 15 Premier League games, compared to only 16 in the opening 22 PL matches.

Retaining Rafa Benitez a no-brainer for everybody, apart from Mike Ashley.

Paul Merson talking to Sky Sports:

“I hope Scott Parker gets the Fulham job.

“They’ve shown a bit of respectability towards the end, they’ve had a plan at least, and Newcastle are a team who are hard to play against at the moment as we saw on Saturday night.

“I think both of them will have a go.

“Prediction is Fulham 2 Newcastle 2”

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