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Paul Merson – ‘Absolute miracle’ that Newcastle United still have chance of staying up

2 weeks ago
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Paul Merson has predicted that ‘the next three weeks’ will decide whether Newcastle United stay up this season.

Only two Newcastle matches in that time, home to Watford on Saturday and then seven days later away to Leeds.

However, these next three weeks also cover the remainder of the January transfer window.

Paul Merson describes the signings of Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier as ‘two good pros who will roll up their sleeves and fight for the team.’

I think that is selling the pair a bit short, considering one plays right-back for England and the other has scored 10+ goals in each of the last four seasons, 46 goals in 110 Premier League starts across those four seasons. Though three goals in 17 PL starts this season as Burnley struggle to provide the service / chances to Wood.

Paul Merson declaring: ‘Who else could they get? You have to go for the players who want to come to Newcastle and it has to be said that there are a few who don’t want to, as was the case with Lucas Digne, who moved to Aston Villa from Everton.’

I think in reality, Merson should be replacing ‘Newcastle’ in that sentence with ‘a club in the relegation zone’ because of course it is completely understandable why many players don’t want to come to a club in relegation trouble. Though of course plenty others, such as Trippier and Wood, are able to see beyond that with Newcastle United. What could be the potential next season and following that at St James Park, if avoiding the drop.

Paul Merson describes it as an ‘absolute miracle’ that Newcastle United and the other clubs in the bottom four, still have a chance of staying up.

This is how the Premier League table currently looks before the weekend fixtures:

Premier League Table 14 January 2022

Can’t disagree with Paul Merson on that one, great news for all those at the bottom that three other clubs are keeping them such close company.

Merson says that ‘a win or two can change the landscape completely’ for any of the bottom four and if Newcastle can do that against Watford and then Leeds away, it would be massive.

Paul Merson though thinks Newcastle will only scrape a draw on Saturday, mainly because he reckons Watford have ‘more threat up front’ than the home side. The last seven games have seen Watford lose all seven and concede 20 goals in the process, scoring just seven of their own. Whilst for Newcastle it is a win, two draws and four defeats in the last seven, scoring four and conceding 14. However, in that run Newcastle have had to face Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Leicester away and…Cambridge at home.

Neither side have been great but Newcastle fans have seen generally better performances under Eddie Howe, only for bad luck, rotten officiating, bad finishing and individuals with shocking errors undermining them in terms of results. With now somebody to lead the line and be the focal point of attacks AND be there when crosses come in, Newcastle could and should make it two wins from 22 games this season.

Watford are missing a fair number of key players due to injuries and the African Cup of Nations, whilst Claudio Ranieri has a real quandary in judging whether to risk a quartet of players who have only just started full training after injury.

It is a must win match tomorrow for me and I think NUFC will do it.

Paul Merson talking to Sportskeeda:

“The next three weeks will determine if Newcastle United stay up this season.

“I know they’ve signed Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier – two good pros who will roll up their sleeves and fight for the team – but I worry for them.

“Who else could they get?

“You have to go for the players who want to come to Newcastle and it has to be said that there are a few who don’t want to, as was the case with Lucas Digne, who moved to Aston Villa from Everton.

“They’ve won just one Premier League game this season and lost to Cambridge United despite fielding their strongest XI, which is just not good enough.

“A draw would do no favours for Newcastle, but that’s my prediction for this relegation six-pointer this week.

“Watford have to come away without getting beat and I think they have the quality to do that as they are more of a threat up front than Newcastle.

“It’s an absolute miracle that each of the bottom four have a chance of staying up – a win or two can change the landscape completely.

“Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Watford.”

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