Paul Merson is backing us to win our first game of the season this weekend, tipping the Toon to beat Watford 2-1 on Saturday.
The Sky Sports pundit also predicts that we’d have “a lot more points on the board” had Callum Wilson stayed fit, with us missing his predatory instincts in and around the box in last Friday’s 1-1 draw with Leeds.
That said, Merson feels we are still a “proper handful” with Allan Saint-Maximin in the team, feeling this game will be a battle of two counter-attacking sides who’ll both be involved in a relegation dog fight this season – making this an earlier six-pointer in the fight for survival.
Here’s what he’s had to say when speaking to Sportskeeda:
“Watford got a good result against Norwich last week. Newcastle also impressed against Leeds and with Allan Saint-Maximin in the team, they are a proper handful.
“Both teams have pace on the counter, so whoever goes for it is pretty much playing into the other team’s hands.
“Newcastle have been wasteful in front of goal – if Callum Wilson was playing, they’d have a lot more points on the board in the Premier League this season.
“It’s still early days, but every game counts. The two sides could be involved in a relegation dog fight this season, so getting points on the board in the first six or seven games could set the tone for the rest of the campaign.
“This is definitely a big game in the Premier League and I fancy Newcastle United to come out on top away from home.“
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Newcastle
This feels like a huge game.
We’re winless, in the bottom three and facing a relegation rival who would go seven points clear of us with a victory at Vicarage Road.
The worry is we’ll be without Lascelles, Shelvey, Willock and Wilson, meaning the likes of Clark, Longstaff, Hayden and Joelinton must step up against a Watford side full of former Mags – Moussa Sissoko and Danny Rose to name a few!
Let’s hope Merson has it right and we come away with a much needed win this weekend. We need it!