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BBC Sport pundit is very selective with the facts in predicting Newcastle’s fate

2 months ago
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Speaking to BBC Sport, pundit Mark Lawrenson has been very selective with the facts, when predicting how Newcastle United get on this weekend.

Eddie Howe hoping to follow up the victory over Burnley with another positive result to further build up momentum and confidence, as well as potentially edge out of the relegation zone if other results also go Newcastle’s way this weekend.

The Newcastle United Head Coach confirming on Friday morning that he expects a full squad, with the exception of long-term injured Paul Dummett, to be available for selection.

In contrast, Leicester City announcing on Wednesday that seven players wouldn’t travel to Naples for their Thursday night Europa League match, as they had tested positive for Covid and / or were feeling ill.

When talking about Sunday’s match, Mark Lawrenson basing his whole prediction on finding out who has and hasn’t tested positive for Covid: ‘If, for example, Jamie Vardy, James Maddison and Harvey Barnes can play then I would still fancy Leicester. Again, I would go for a different outcome if the Foxes are without several of their best players.’

Well, if Mark Lawrenson had bothered doing any kind of proper research, he would have seen that the local (Leicester) media had on Wednesday quickly followed up the club’s announcement, by confirming these were the seven not travelling due to illness and / or positive Covid tests: Ademola Lookman, Daniel Amartey, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ayoze Perez, Filip Benkovic, Vontae Daley-Campbell and Jannik Vestergaard.

Mark Lawrenson doesn’t even mention the fact that Leicester had to travel and play a game in Naples on Thursday night and will have minimal preparation ahead of this Newcastle game. Surely a major factor that you should be considering when analysing the likely outcome of the match.

The three players that Mark Lawrenson mentions – Vardy and Maddison played the entire game against Napoli last night, whilst Barnes played all but the final 18 minutes, as Brendan Rodgers played his strongest possible team in a vain attempt to qualify from their Europa League group, despite last night’s game being so close to this Newcastle one.

Talking about the visitors, Mark Lawrenson says: ‘Newcastle will be on a high after finally getting their first win of the season last week but they rode their luck against Burnley and they still have big problems at the back.’

Nobody is denying that Newcastle have conceded too many goals this season but Eddie Howe has improved things to a degree, only one goal conceded in the last almost four hours of football, that one goal conceded coming when NUFC had to play almost the entire match against Norwich with ten men.

To not though mention Leicester’s problems at the back, is quite bizarre from Mark Lawrenson. No clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League games and indeed only three wins in their last 12 PL matches, whilst the last six games (all competitions) have seen Leicester concede at least two goals in five of their last six matches.

Mark Lawrenson predicts a 2-1 win for Leicester City but opposing that view is the BBC Sport guest making predictions this week.

That BBC Sport guest is Adam Devonshire, aka Dev, bassist with rock band Idles and a Newcastle United fan.

His analysis (see below) on Sunday’s match shows far more research  knowledge than Mark Lawrenson displays, the NUFC fan predicting a 2-1 victory for the away side. Dev (Adam Devonshire) also giving a very decent overview on the state of play generally now at Newcastle United.

Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:

“Like Tottenham, Leicester have had a number of positive Covid-19 tests in their squad.

“We might find out a bit more about who is affected nearer kick-off.

“If, for example, Jamie Vardy, James Maddison and Harvey Barnes can play then I would still fancy Leicester.

“Again, I would go for a different outcome if the Foxes are without several of their best players.

“Newcastle will be on a high after finally getting their first win of the season last week but they rode their luck against Burnley and they still have big problems at the back.

“If Leicester are anywhere near full strength, they will find a way through.

“Prediction is Leicester 2 Newcastle 1.”

Dev’s prediction:

“Leicester have slipped up quite a bit in the past few weeks and I really do think that, going forward, we are pretty strong.

“A lot of our players look completely rejuvenated – Jonjo Shelvey looks a completely different player right now, he is turning into the Pirlo-esque ball player that we always wanted.

“I just hope he avoids any more stupid red cards, because he is a really good player when he pings those passes around.

“Prediction is Leicester 1 Newcastle 2.”

Newcastle fan Dev giving an overview as well on Newcastle United and the new positive mood:

“I was really pleased when Eddie Howe got the manager’s job.

“For three or four seasons before their form dipped and the team started to break up, his Bournemouth team were so exciting to watch.

“That’s what I always want to see as a Newcastle fan – good football and a team that tries to win games.

“I love that we had the reputation of being the entertainers in the 1990s when we came close to winning the Premier League, because we played some blinding football. Yes, we are in a relegation fight now, but that doesn’t change.

“That is what I think Howe will bring, but I think he will bring results too. He’s a young, hungry coach who can help modernise the club’s infrastructure and hopefully help catch up with the rest of the Premier League with that side of things, as well as keeping us up.”

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