‘I expect’ - Arsenal legend gives razor close Newcastle United vs Bournemouth prediction

Kieran Trippier (left) jostling with Bournemouth's Marcus Tavernier during the 2-0 defeat in OctoberKieran Trippier (left) jostling with Bournemouth's Marcus Tavernier during the 2-0 defeat in October
Kieran Trippier (left) jostling with Bournemouth's Marcus Tavernier during the 2-0 defeat in October | Getty Images
Newcastle United were brushed aside 2-0 by Bournemouth in November's reverse fixture

Paul Merson believes Newcastle United will edge out Bournemouth at St James’ Park this weekend.

Eddie Howe’s men are aiming for revenge on Saturday after losing 2-0 to the Cherries in November. An injury-stricken Toon outfit laboured to a dismal defeat on the south coast that day but exiting Europe and the Carabao Cup has cleared up the treatment table.

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Newcastle are unbeaten in four since suffering last-minute heartbreak to Manchester City - climbing up to seventh. A win against Bournemouth cannot lift the Magpies higher but would put pressure on those leading the pack for a European spot.

In his SportsKeeda column, former Arsenal winger Merson backed Newcastle to do exactly that. He wrote: “Newcastle got a really good result against Forest and I expect them to win once again this weekend. I can see a few goals in this one, so I'm going for a 2-1 home win.

“Getting into Europe should be the name of the game for Eddie Howe and Co. They are a bit behind the eight ball in the race for a top-four finish but they still have enough games to secure a spot in the UEFA Europa League or the Conference League. When Newcastle finished fourth last season, I thought it happened a bit too early for them.

“Had they got into one of the other two competitions, they'd have been more comfortable and might have even had a chance of going all the way. They haven't won a trophy since god knows how long and need to get their hands on silverware soon.”

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