Paul Merson believes Cristiano Ronaldo “isn’t the player he once was”, but still backs him to score at least one in a resounding 3-0 win over Newcastle United this weekend.
The Sky Sports pundit expects us to ‘sit back and absorb pressure’, but feels that could play into the hosts’ hands as they swing balls into the box for Ronaldo – a player who showed his aerial prowess over the international break with two superb headers against the Republic of Ireland.
Merson stated last week that CR7 was not the answer for Ole, believing Harry Kane would’ve been a better signing – a claim that didn’t go down well on the Red half of Manchester, it seems.
Here’s what he’s had to say in his latest column for Sportskeeda, saying he’d be ‘worried’ if Ronaldo can’t find a way past Steve Bruce’s NUFC:
‘I’d expect Cristiano Ronaldo to score in his return to the Premier League,’
‘I have all these keyboard warriors having a go at me at the moment – I never said he isn’t going to score goals.
‘The Newcastle game is a great way to get Ronaldo started at the club. Newcastle are going to sit back and absorb pressure and Manchester United will be able to put balls into the box for Cristiano Ronaldo.
‘It’s going to be one-way traffic for most of the game, and I’d expect Ronaldo to score against Newcastle.
Ronaldo isn’t the player he once was, but if I was a Manchester United fan, I’d actually be worried if he doesn’t score against Newcastle on Saturday.
‘It will be quite interesting to watch Manchester United adapt to having Ronaldo in their ranks. United should be able to blow Newcastle away this weekend.
‘I hope Ronaldo scores a hat-trick on Saturday – it won’t be easy, but I wouldn’t put it past him. Manchester United 3-0 Newcastle United.’
Considering we’ve conceded eight goals in our opening three games this season, Ronaldo won’t get a better chance to get straight back on the goal trail.
I’d love to say we’ll spoil the party with a surprise result, but with key man Callum Wilson set to be missing, even the most optimistic of Toon fans will be struggling ahead of this one!
Let’s hope myself and Merson are proved wrong.