Paul Merson makes bold Newcastle United v Man United prediction amid Marcus Rashford concern

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The Sky Sports pundit has given his take on Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated St James Park clash.

Paul Merson believes the outcome of Newcastle United’s home clash with top four rivals Manchester United ‘could really open up’ the race for a place in next season’s Champions League.

Just three points separate the two sides ahead of Sunday afternoon’s meeting at St James Park and the Magpies head into the game knowing their superior goal difference means they will end the evening sat in third place in the table if they claim a win.

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Erik ten Hag’s side will hope they can boost their own hopes of returning to European football’s premier club competition by replicating the Carabao Cup Final defeat they inflicted on their hosts in February as goals from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford helped them to a 2-0 Wembley win.

However, Merson has insisted the Red Devils’ over-reliance on England star Rashford, who has plundered his way to 27 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions this season, needs to be addressed if they are to secure a win on Tyneside and move on from what he believes has been a poor run of form.

Writing in his SportKeeda column, the former Arsenal forward said: “What a game. This game could really open it up. If Newcastle win this game, Man United will need to work hard to get into the top four. They could end up in fifth place in the Premier League table by the end of the weekend.

“Manchester United aren’t playing well at the moment and they’re very reliant on Marcus Rashford and his goals. Someone else has got to chip in now. They’ve had some results but they aren’t ripping it up. Newcastle are playing at home and a draw isn’t good enough for them. I’m going to go with Newcastle to win this game.”

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