Former Premier League stars Chris Sutton and Paul Merson have both praised Newcastle United’s recent form - but disagreed over the possible outcome of Saturday evening’s home clash with Chelsea.
The Magpies head into their meeting with Graham Potter’s side looking for a fifth consecutive league win that would further enhance their chances of securing a European place this season. By contrast, the Blues arrive on Tyneside without a win in their last four Premier League fixtures and have emerged empty-handed from games against Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion over the last fortnight.
One-time Chelsea striker Sutton hit out at the recent of form of his old club and backed Newcastle to continue their fine run of form with a win.
Writing in his BBC Sport predictions column, Sutton said: “Chelsea were very disappointing against Arsenal last weekend. The Gunners looked like a side who had an identity - while the Blues didn’t appear to have a clear idea of what they would do when they came forward, or link up well at all.
Newcastle will stay in the top four whatever happens in this game, and they must be delighted with their recent results that have put them there, as well as the way they have been playing. I think we will see more of the same here. I don’t expect this to be a high-scoring game, but I am backing the Magpies to make it five league wins in a row.”
Former England forward Merson also admitted he had been impressed by the Magpies progress during the season and believes they will ‘fancy their chances in the top-four race’ if they secure a win at St James Park on Saturday. However, he also stopped short of suggesting United would come out on top.
The former Arsenal star told SportsKeeda: “Newcastle are absolutely flying at the moment. If they win this game, they will fancy their chances in the top-four race. The name of the game is to beat lesser teams and avoid defeat against the big clubs. Newcastle have got to be careful and they need to make sure they don’t get caught up in the occasion. I think this game will end in a draw - I don’t see Chelsea winning, and that’s a big compliment to Newcastle.”