‘I’m sticking’ - England legend doubles down on bonkers Newcastle United prediction

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Newcastle United were backed to win the Premier League title after thrashing Aston Villa on the opening weekend

Stuart Pearce has joked he is still backing Newcastle United to lift the Premier League title this season.

Following the opening-day win over Aston Villa, many Toon supporters might have shared his sentiment. A fully fit squad - buoyed by summer signing Sandro Tonali - put Unai Emery’s men to the sword at St James’ Park.

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A resounding 5-1 triumph propelled Newcastle to top spot after the opening weekend - but the season has failed to maintain that trajectory. In a campaign plagued by injuries, the Magpies crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage while exiting the Carabao Cup to Chelsea on penalties.

They have enjoyed memorable wins over Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and bitter rivals Sunderland - while boasting the possibility of an FA Cup run - to keep that dream alive. But sitting eighth and 12 points outside the top four some distance from where Newcastle fans hoped they would be after the opening day.

Former Toon and England defender Pearce tipped Howe’s side to win the Premier League following the rout against Villa. He told talkSPORT in August: “To be honest with you, I think they will win the league this year. I’m going to stick my neck out. I think Newcastle, with the recruitment they’ve done and how things are at Newcastle.

“I’ve been up there a couple of times last year and the place is absolutely rocking. If they keep everyone fit and have a good run of it. I think this game Saturday evening (against Manchester City) could be a good indicator about whether they have credentials.”

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The 61-year-old has now doubled down - albeit jovially - on those claims. Pearce quipped how Newcastle can mathematically still win the title.

“I’m still sticking with it until it’s mathematically impossible!” he said. “Two predictions I had last summer, Newcastle to win the league and Man City won’t win the league. Still are both up and running!"

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