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Paul Merson keeps options open on Newcastle United – Getting a little confused…

1 month ago
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Paul Merson has been talking about Newcastle United once again.

Turning his ‘expert’ eye to Sunday afternoon at St James Park.

Leicester City the visitors to Tyneside.

Ahead of Newcastle’s last game against Wolves, Paul Merson declared ‘Eddie Howe and co will comfortably maintain their Premier League status, but they still have a long way to go to make themselves a force to be reckoned with. I fancy Wolves to win this one and make the race for a top-four spot more interesting.’

To be fair to Paul Merson, I don’t think any of the other ‘experts’ gave Newcastle United a chance of beating Wolves last weekend either.

I think it just sums up how lazy and predictable they all are, yes Newcastle had lost three in a row BUT all those (Everton, Chelsea, Tottenham) defeats were away from home and apart from the second half at Spurs, NUFC hadn’t really done a lot wrong. Deserved to beat Chelsea, should have won the Everton match in the first half and then a nothing second half before the scouse mackems scored with their one goal threat of the game deep in added time, whilst at Spurs a very disciplined first half display saw Newcastle drawing 1-1 and it could and should have been 1-0 up at the break if not for a momentary defensive lapse giving Tottenham the way in.

Paul Merson makes a lot of his ‘prediction’ on Sunday revolving around Leicester, depending on how they got on against PSV in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, whilst getting a little bit confused about who exactly beat Wolves ‘the other day’…

Paul Merson speaking to Sportskeeda:

“This fixture largely depends on how Leicester City get on in their Europa League match.

“They might rest a few players over the weekend.

“Leicester are still a big football club and picked up a massive win against Wolves the other day.

“Both teams have a shot at winning this game.

“Newcastle and Leicester play an open game, and both sides have a go when they get the chance.

“The way both teams are playing, a draw may well be the most probable result this weekend.

Prediction: Newcastle United 2-2 Leicester City.”

Personally, I think how Leicester got on against PSV on Thursday is a bit of red herring. Nothing changes the fact that basically the Foxes have nothing left to play for in the Premier League this season, they are safe from relegation in ninth but nine points off eighth place, never mind any idea of getting towards the European places.

If they had gone out of Europe on Thursday then I think on Sunday they would have been very deflated, instead they will be buzzing at the thought of a European semi-final coming up and simply see the Premier League as a distraction, with Brendan Rodgers ensuring he looks after his key players, making a lot of changes to his first choice eleven and not playing anybody who has even the slightest knock.

You can never say any Premier League result is a certainty and Newcastle United are nowhere near being seen as a certainty in any match quite yet, BUT I still think there is every chance of a win in this game against Leicester.

Paul Merson totally missing the key factors and stats, if he indeed ever bothered doing any research.

The fact he thinks it was Leicester and not Newcastle United who beat Wolves, isn’t a great start.

The stats show that Leicester have a really poor away record and only Everton, Watford and Norwich have picked up fewer away points. The only away win for the Foxes since October was a 2-0 at Turf Moor against Burnley, the only two other away wins this season being at Brentford and Norwich.

In contrast, Eddie Howe has Newcastle United flying at home, four wins in a row at St James Park, whilst Man City are the only PL club to come to SJP and beat Howe’s NUFC team.

Not taking anything for granted and Leicester do have some decent players (if Brendan Rodgers plays them…) but so much is in Newcastle’s favour.

A great chance for a first win over Leicester at St James Park since 2014 and effectively moving safe from relegation, able to start looking up the table and even possibly a small bizarre top half finish possibility, which would be astonishing considering what Eddie Howe inherited from Bruce and Ashley.

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