Despite failing to mention Newcastle during his entire prediction for Sunday’s game, Paul Merson’s gone for us to beat Chelsea 2-1 on the final day – saying Conte’s side will be ‘focused on the FA Cup final’ despite saying this is a game they ‘have to win’.
He’s an odd one isn’t he. He’s so often had us to lose this season (we’d have probably gone down based on his predictions over the season!), yet he’s got us down to win – despite Chelsea being in considerably better form than us over the past month (unbeaten in 7).
Here’s what he’s had to say during his final set of predictions for Sky:
“It’s all about the FA Cup final now for Chelsea, isn’t it?
“They have to win, Liverpool have to lose but I don’t see it happening. Let’s be honest, they’ve messed it up. I just don’t think Chelsea will be at the races. I think they’ll be be more focused on the final.”
Chelsea will be deflated, with their draw against Huddersfield all but ending their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season, however they will be going into this one knowing only a win will do (in the hope that Liverpool lose to Brighton). While there’s still a chance, they’ll surely be going all out to win?
As far a the race for the top 10 goes, it’s a game we might have to win really. Interestingly, Merson has Palace (11th on 41 points) to beat West Brom, Bournemouth (12th on 41 points) to beat Burnley and West Ham (15th on 39 points) to beat Everton, so let’s hope we do!
If we lost on Sunday and all the aforementioned sides won, we would slip down to at least 13th. Not the end of the world given the goal was survival, but it’d see us lose out on £8m prize money.
Here’s hoping Merson’s right!