Paul Merson verdict on Newcastle United chances of finishing top four and more immediately…

Paul Merson verdict on Newcastle United chances of finishing top four and more immediately…

Paul Merson talks about Newcastle United.

The former Middlesbrough and Walsall player gives his verdict on what will happen at St James’ Park on Saturday.

Paul Merson also said what he thinks the position will be for Eddie Howe and his players when the Premier League season ends in May.

Merson’s verdict on the battle for the top four is that both Newcastle United and Man U will still be there after 38 games.

As part of his argument, Paul Merson says he doesn’t see Newcastle United dropping out of Champions League placement anytime soon with “games coming up”.

The first of these, of course, is Newcastle vs West Ham on Saturday at St James’ Park.

Quite confusingly (not unusual when Paul Merson makes his point…), the player-turned-expert, while speaking positively about the upcoming NUFC games, believes Saturday’s game will end goalless with Eddie Howe’s team clinching just one point .

While I don’t take any game for granted and as Paul Merson points out Bruno will be missed, I still think the overwhelming majority of neutrals will look at the facts and see this as an almost certain home win.

West Ham beat a miserable Everton at home in their last PL game, but the seven before that were six defeats and one draw.

Anything but a win in this game and the Hammers would be in the relegation zone now, not just outside.

A key reason for this is their terrible away form, seven defeats, draws at relegation strugglers Southampton and Leeds, while their only win away from home was at Villa in August when they (Villa) were everywhere.

While Newcastle United have failed to convert many of their recent chances, on balance they have won nine of their last ten home games (all competitions), the draw against Leeds being the exception. While only five PL clubs have scored more goals than NUFC in their home games.

As for West Ham, they have kept just one of their ten PL away games without conceding and that was in that August win at Villa Park almost six months ago.

Anything can happen in football but I think it’s still fair to say that everything points to a win for Newcastle against West Ham if they play anything remotely like they’ve been playing lately.

Paul Merson speaking to Sportskeeda:

“I don’t see Newcastle dropping out of the top four race with the games ahead.

“If Manchester United and Newcastle don’t struggle with their form for the rest of the season, it will be next to impossible for Chelsea and Liverpool to catch them.

“Newcastle fly with them but I think it’s going to be a tough game for them.

“Bruno Guimaraes cannot play this match and he will be a massive miss.

“Newcastle played stunning football against Southampton in the first 30 minutes but in the end they just persevered.

“Defensively, Newcastle are very good.

“West Ham haven’t been great in the Premier League but they are always a threat and don’t get knocked out.

“It’s a difficult game for both teams and I’m leaving with a draw.

“Prediction for Saturday: Newcastle United 0 West Ham United 0”

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