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Paul Merson gives Newcastle United the benefit of the doubt

2 weeks ago
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Paul Merson has been discussing Newcastle United and the current situation at St James’ Park.

The former Arsenal player speaking, with now approaching the twenty fourth NUFC Premier League match of the season.

Eddie Howe and his players having played thirty four matches in total already, in all competitions.

Paul Merson discussing the possibilities ahead of Newcastle United playing away at Nottingham Forest.

Paul Merson talking to Sportskeeda ahead of Newcastle United playing Forest at the City Ground :

“Both these teams need to start winning games soon.

“I heard Morgan Gibbs-White might be injured, but strangely enough, he stayed on the whole time against Bristol City, so his involvement in the game could decide the outcome.

“Newcastle are becoming a bit like Brighton in the sense that they are hard to predict.

“But I think they’ll just nick this one on their travels.

“Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1 Newcastle 2”

So, Paul Merson giving ‘hard to predict’ Newcastle United the benefit of the doubt this time.

The former Arsenal player forecasting Eddie Howe’s side to ‘nick this one on their travels’ at the City Ground, also saying ‘Both these teams need to start winning games soon.’

An interesting one because Newcastle United have actually won all of their last three away games, 3-0 at Sunderland (FA Cup), 2-0 at Fulham (FA Cup) and 3-1 at Villa (Premier League).

The last five games home and away in all competitions, have seen Eddie Howe’s side win those three matches above, draw 4-4 with Luton (who had only lost one of their last eight matches) and lose 3-2 to Man City, having led 2-1 at the 74 minutes mark and seeing world class quality from the Man City bench undo them, the winning goal well into added time. In the process, Newcastle scoring 14 goals in five games and conceding eight.

Not taking anything for granted but it is a bit of a joke really to equate Newcastle’s most recent form with that of Forest’s.

In their seven games in 2024, Nuno’s side have won no games inside 90 minutes plus added time, four of those games against lower league opposition. They did eventually win FA Cup replays against third tier Blackpool in extra time and on penalties against second tier Bristol City.

Forest were outplayed at home on Wednesday by Bristol City and as Paul Merson indicates, the Premier League side’s best player Morgan Gibbs-White appeared to pick up an injury, but Nuno kept him on until the bitter end of the 90 minutes, extra time and penalties (Gibbs-White converted one of the penalties in the shoot out). In an eight day spell, Gibbs-White playing all the minutes against Arsenal, Bournemouth and Bristol City. Nuno admitting after Wednesday night’s match, that he will have to see who is physically capable of starting against Newcastle, before he then selects his team from that group.

For me, this match is feeling like one where if Newcastle United do play well, then they will have too much for a Nottingham Forest side who are already missing Chris Wood through injuries and a number of players out at the AFCON (African Cup Of Nations), then physically having to deal with two matches on Sunday and Wednesday since Newcastle played Luton last Saturday.

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