BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson is backing us to beat Brighton 2-0 this weekend and predicts that Rafa Benitez will guide us to safety this season – with him expecting to us to finish at the ‘top end’ of the bottom eight come May next year.
Given our current form (without a win in eight) and the fact we’re currently sitting second bottom, this is quite a bold prediction from Lawro – however he’s clearly backing Benitez to turn it around; starting with a win on Saturday.
A bottom half of the table finish is not exactly what Benitez would’ve pictured when he chose to come to Newcastle United, however I’m pretty sure any Newcastle fan would bite your hand off for a 12th/13th place finish the way our season has started.
Here’s what he’s had to say during his latest prediction piece for the BBC:
Brighton got a good win against West Ham last time out, but their away form remains a problem – they have not won a Premier League game on the road since 4 November 2017.
Even so, there is more pressure on Newcastle to win this than the Seagulls.
But I think Rafa Benitez will take a lot positives from his side’s performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford, even if they did not get the result they wanted in the end.
The Magpies have not picked up a single point at St James’ Park this season but I am backing them to get off the mark in this game.
Longer-term, their prospects actually look quite similar to Brighton’s, in that I am not expecting either of these teams to be relegated. They will both be in the bottom eight, but towards the top end of it.
Prediction – Newcastle 2-0 Brighton
The opening line is quite telling, revealing how Brighton have not won an away game in the Premier League since the 4th November last year.
Some may say that this stat will almost guarantee them three points on Saturday, but in all seriousness, this highlights just how much they tend to struggle away from The Amex.
Do you agree with Lawrenson? Can you see us winning on Saturday and finishing several places above the bottom three?