Chris Sutton and Paul Merson agree on Newcastle United v Tottenham amid ‘alarm bells’ claim
The top four rivals will go head-to-head in a potentially pivotal clash in the race for a Champions League spot.
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The Magpies head into the game looking to preserve a proud record on their home patch after losing just one of their 14 league games at St James Park so far this season. Should they extend that record by securing a win, Eddie Howe’s men will move six points clear of fifth placed Spurs and still hold one game in hand on the North London outfit. No matter what happens, Newcastle will end the weekend in the top four as they have a significantly superior goal difference to Cristian Stellini’s side.
With an eagerly anticipated clash now just hours away, former Blackburn Rovers and Celtic striker Sutton has backed the Magpies to come out on top and move a major step closer towards ending their two-decade absence from the Champions League.
Writing in his BBC column, he said: “I know Tottenham have got Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, who is coming into form, but I am not backing them any more. It has been a strange old season for Spurs and I don’t think they will get in the Champions League places from here. They don’t deserve to.
“I feel like we are approaching the stage of the season where all that Tottenham fans will be hoping for is that Arsenal don’t win the Premier League but, for now, Spurs still have a chance of making the top four. So this is a big one. Newcastle will take the game to Tottenham, and I can see it being quite open. I also think the Magpies will bounce back from their defeat by Aston Villa, and they know they can take a big step towards the Champions League themselves if they win this one.”
Sutton’s confidence over a Magpies win is matched by fellow pundit Paul Merson - although the former Arsenal and England forward believes alarm bells will start ringing at St James Park if the visitors claim all three points from their trip to Tyneside.
Writing for Sportskeeda, Merson tipped a 2-1 win for Eddie Howe’s side and said: “This is a massive match. Both teams had absolute shockers last week. I thought Tottenham were definitely going to beat Bournemouth. Their season’s on the line, and if they lose this game, that’ll be it. If they lose to Newcastle, they’ll be lucky if they finish in fifth place.
“If Newcastle lose this game, alarm bells will start ringing - they need to raise their standards. Eddie Howe needs a big result and I think they’ll pull it off against Tottenham this week.”