Chris Sutton and Paul Merson agree on Newcastle United’s chances against Southampton

The Magpies will look to continue their bid to return to the Champions League on Sunday afternoon.

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Former Premier League winners Chris Sutton and Paul Merson have both suggested Newcastle United will ease to a win over struggling Southampton at St James Park on Sunday afternoon.

The game will be the fourth time the two sides have met this season, with Eddie Howe’s side looking to preserve a perfect record against the Premier League’s basement club. The Magpies were 4-1 winners at St Mary’s Stadium in the reverse league fixture in November and returned to claim a 1-0 win in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final just over two months later before securing a place at Wembley with 2-1 win on Tyneside.

The two sides head into Sunday’s game in contrasting form with United looking for an eighth win in their last nine games and their visitors without a win in their last eight games. That has led former Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea striker Sutton to suggest Howe’s men will ‘wipe the floor’ with the Saints.

He told BBC Sport: “This is the ‘Alan Shearer derby’ between two of his old clubs and there is only going to be one winner. Southampton were a disgrace on Thursday, bearing mind they were at home and needed to win the game. I thought their performance was gutless and they offered so little in attack.

Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu (right) and Newcastle United winger Miguel Almiron (left).  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu (right) and Newcastle United winger Miguel Almiron (left).  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu (right) and Newcastle United winger Miguel Almiron (left). (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“The position Saints are in, I was expecting them to play with desperation and throw everything they could at Bournemouth. Instead, they looked like a team who had already been relegated. How on earth they got a point against Arsenal last week, I really don’t know. Newcastle, meanwhile, are just absolutely flying. They have everything they need to finish the season strongly and secure a top-four finish - I think they will wipe the floor with Southampton for starters.”

Merson was unable to provide any further hope for Southampton ahead of their visit to Tyneside and he praised the progress of Newcastle as they continue to push for a place in next season’s Champions League.

In his weekly predictions column for Sportskeeda, the former Arsenal star said: “Newcastle United haven’t gone around and thrown money even though they’ve got rich owners. They brought in an excellent manager and made some excellent signings. Fair play to them, they’ve done a great job by being judicious with their resources.

“The Champions League will be a better place with them and their fans. As long as they have their eye on the ball, they will blow Southampton away. The Magpies did go through a dip in form but have now won seven out of their last eight games. Southampton don’t stand a chance against this high-flying Newcastle team.”

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