Charlie Nicholas is backing Newcastle to come away from Turf Moor with a point today – but believes Steve Bruce’s side will still get embroiled in a relegation scrap.
The Sky Sports pundit has been full of praise for this NUFC side in recent weeks, but appears to have changed his tune slightly after the “big blow” that is Saint-Maximin’s latest hamstring injury.
He’s set to face “4-6 weeks” on the sidelines during our busiest spell of the season, so today will be the first of many tests to see how we’ll cope without him.
Here’s what Nicholas has had to say about both sides ahead of today’s game:
“It is a very tough fixture. I suggested that Steve Bruce was ahead of Rafael Benitez with the job he has been doing, which people argued by saying Rafa did a great job. I never said he didn’t, but Bruce has been getting these guys going. Allan Saint-Maximin’s injury will be a big blow and they are still going to be in a relegation scrap in my opinion.
“Bruce knows how to set these teams up, he knows how to tighten defensively, but he had to keep Miguel Almiron inthe team – he gives something to the team.
“Burnley are so inconsistent and are liable to make mistakes at the back. They rely too much on Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. They are a very good pair but there will be one day where one is cold and the other has the stress and strain. They did well for a while but you need goals from wide areas or midfield to complement this too.
I can’t separate them and Newcastle will get something again.”
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Newcastle
He’s right about Burnley – they’ve been surprisingly inconsistent this season.
They’ve made light work of several ‘beatable’ sides this season, winning a fair few games to nil at Turf Moor, but on their off days they fall apart, losing 3-0 vs Sheffield United and conceding 13 across three games against Chelsea, Spurs and Man City.
They’ll be determined to get back on track today, so we’ll have to hope our injury riddled side can stand up to the physical test and come away with another solid result.