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Paul Merson superficial relationship with reality when discussing Newcastle United issues

1 month ago
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You ‘sometimes’ have the feeling that when Paul Merson is asked to do a job as a pundit, he might not spend a lot of time researching, before he gives us his ‘expert’ analysis.

With Newcastle United in particular, you often think that he thinks, like a lot of people, you can write what you like about the Geordies because so long as it is negative, no neutrals will care.

Of course, with Newcastle United second bottom of the table and only one win so far, it is currently VERY easy for anybody to believe the superficially true negatives that somebody like Paul Merson will put forward.

Merson declares that United got ‘absolutely slaughtered’ by Leicester on Sunday, you would almost think he’d just looked at the scoreline…

Nobody would claim Newcastle played well BUT actual reality was that NUFC had more shots, more possession and more corners than Leicester. Reality was that Leicester were going nowhere and like Newcastle had managed only one effort on target as half-time approached, only for James Maddison to outrageously cheat to win a penalty that somehow the officials allowed to stand. In the second half, the home side scored a very good second goal to kill the game and then as Eddie Howe chased the game in the vain hope of getting something, two late goals as Leicester took advantage with Newcastle pushing forward.

Leicester only had five shots on target, including the shameful penalty, to get their four goals. A few moments of quality from the home side after the break but slaughtered? Newcastle had 35 touches in the opposition penalty area compared to 15 for Leicester. On the day the home side found a cutting edge at key moments but not a slaughtering.

To be fair, as Newcastle fans we have seen plenty of them down the years, so we recognise a proper slaughtering when we see one. The scoreline often doesn’t reflect when you get properly taken apart in a game.

Paul Merson sees nothing but a hammering for Newcastle tonight, predicting 4-0 to Liverpool. He may well be right because they certainly have a cutting edge. It is not a given though and we have seen signs that Eddie Howe has brought significant improvement already, though luck and key moments certainly haven’t gone in his favour much so far. Before Maddison cheated to get that penalty goal, Newcastle had only conceded one goal in their last 4+ hours of football.

As for Liverpool, their last two Premier League games have been struggles to 1-0 wins. A winner deep into injury time at Wolves, then a disputed penalty midway through the second-half at home to Villa.

A massive challenge of course for Newcastle but last season Liverpool failed to win either game and only scored one goal, a 0-0 at St James Park and 1-1 at Anfield. Indeed, our overall recent record against Liverpool shows Newcastle (home and away) have avoided defeat in nine of the last seventeen matches between the two clubs. Newcastle with three wins, six draws and eight defeats.

It also makes me laugh when lazy pundits, such as Paul Merson, group certain matches together.

Merson declaring: ‘After Liverpool, Newcastle play the two Manchester clubs back-to-back in the Premier League, oh gosh that is a horrible run of fixtures.’

This is the updated Premier League table on Thursday morning:

premier league table 16 december 2021

You can’t deny having Liverpool and Man City one after the other is the worst of the worst, by far the two best teams in the league. They have scored 45 and 40 goals respectively, have goal differences of +33 and +31, phenomenal.

As for Manchester United, they have a GD of +2 having scored 26 and conceded 24 (Burnley have only conceded 21), are very lucky to be even as high as sixth. At the weekend they were very lucky to win at Norwich thanks to a dodgy penalty (bit of a theme for certain ‘top’ teams…), to group Man Utd with the top two. Indeed, both of them have strolled past Man Utd at Old Trafford, Liverpool winning 5-0 and Man City ‘only’ 2-0.

Absolutely anything we get off either Liverpool and Man City would be a massive bonus but when Newcastle face Man Utd at home on 27 December, I would be disappointed if we didn’t get at least a draw.

The last five games against them at SJP have seen Newcastle win two and draw one of them. As things stand, they aren’t a brilliant team, just one of the others that NUFC have so far struggled to beat this season.

When it comes to the grouping of matches, Paul Merson hasn’t done it on this occasion but plenty others have, in adding the Everton match onto these next three fixtures.

No game is a certain win for Newcastle as things stand BUT facing an Everton side who currently have only won once in the PL since September, losing seven and drawing one, isn’t cause for giving up before the match kicks off.

This is a tough position for Newcastle United after the mess Ashley and Bruce have left us in BUT it isn’t impossible.

What will be will be in these next two games and then Newcastle move into a series of games where points are possible in any / all of them (Man Utd, Everton, Southampton, Watford, Leeds, Everton…).

The fight is only just beginning and January recruits just around the corner.

Paul Merson talking to Sportskeeda:

“Newcastle United need to get this game out of the way.

“They got absolutely slaughtered by Leicester City the other day and obviously wouldn’t want something like that to happen against Liverpool.

“This is a horrible game for them and I can’t see anything other than a Liverpool win, so I think the home side will prevail 4-0.

“After Liverpool, Newcastle play the two Manchester clubs back-to-back in the Premier League, oh gosh that is a horrible run of fixtures for Eddie Howe and co.

“They are in major trouble and just need to make sure they hang in there and not get their confidence shot. Judging based on their fixtures, they aren’t going to get a single Premier League point from their next three games, so they’ll need the teams around them to go on bad runs and do them a favour.

“Prediction: Liverpool 4-0 Newcastle United”

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