Newcastle United supporters have been in high spirits in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side narrowly beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday, thus moving the North East giants up to seventh place in the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with the basement club having drawn their last two matches against Liverpool and Southampton, but would have seen the visit of Roy Hodgson’s Palace as an opportunity to record a fourth league victory of the campaign. And they did just that thanks to a late header from midfielder Mikel Merino, who celebrated signing a permanent deal with the club earlier that week with the goal that sent the Magpies up to seventh place in the table, and to within two points of the top four.
Thus, several of our resident Newcastle fans have been lining up at the bar to toast their team’s success, and they are likely to be even more encouraged and perhaps surprised given that pundit Paul Merson has released his weekly predictions (via Sky Sports), and actually tipped the Magpies to win.
The former midfielder is perhaps best-known for his 12-year stint at Arsenal between 1985 and 1997, with whom he made over 350 appearances and helped to win two First Division titles as well as the domestic cup double in 1993.
The 49-year-old also played his trade at Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, and Walsall, among others, but has post-retirement become a regular pundit for Sky Sports, and in his weekly predictions this time round he has predicted Benitez’s men to secure a narrow 2-1 win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
He said: ‘I haven’t gone for Newcastle to win once this season but that changes today!
‘Burnley’s home form has been a little shaky and Newcastle are on a roll. They did well against Southampton and the Palace win was big for them.’
These comments are sure to surprise our resident Magpies supporters, with their side seemingly beginning to get the credit they deserve for a wonderful start to the season.
But whether Merson is right to back them this week remains to be seen.
Landlord’s verdict: Newcastle United have made a fantastic start to the Premier League season, picking up four wins and losing just three times in their opening nine matches.
Yet that form seemed to get lost on Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who up until this week had not backed the Magpies to win at all this term.
But the former Arsenal midfielder reckons that Rafa Benitez’s men will go to Burnley and win on Monday night, a prediction which is likely to surprise several Newcastle fans around the country, many of whom are under no allusions as to how tough a task it will be to beat the Clarets.
In fact, Merson’s decision to back Newcastle, despite not having done so during their fine start, could be a serious cause for concern for some Magpies supporters.
Newcastle fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!