Paul Merson makes 'massive' trophy claim ahead of Newcastle United v West Ham United

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Two former Premier League favourites have given their take on Newcastle United's home game with West Ham United.

Former Arsenal and England star Paul Merson believes Newcastle United and West Ham United can land a major blow in their bid for a place in Europe when the two sides meet at St James Park on Saturday lunchtime.

Both clubs have experienced continental competition this season as the Magpies exited the Champions League at the group stage after going head-to-head with the might of AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund. Saturday's visitors still have European glory on their minds after making their way through to the last eight of the Europa League and they will be hoping to add UEFA's secondary cup competition to their Europa Conference League win last season.

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First and foremost, the focus is on Saturday's St James Park meeting and David Moyes' sit head into the game sat four points and three places above Newcastle. Merson stressed both clubs find themselves in a similar state ahead of the game and believes it is the Magpies that will further their bid for Europe with a win in front of their own fans.

He told Sportskeeda: “Newcastle and West Ham have got to start somewhere when it comes to winning trophies. If that requires them to fight for a European spot, they need to work towards it and focus on getting the right results, especially in games like these. With the (financial) fair play rules now in place, teams are realising that they can’t rely on a massive cash injection to propel them to glory. We thought getting all that money would help Newcastle United turn things around massively, and that isn’t how it has panned out. Newcastle are languishing in tenth place in the Premier League table and need to start picking up points. They have had loads of injuries, but that’s the case with most other teams. Newcastle may not find this game comfortable, but I do expect them to win.”

Merson's former Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp also made reference to a 'really difficult spell' experienced by the Magpies as he assessed Saturday's game. The veteran boss suggested West Hm may have one eye on their midweek clash with London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and their upcoming Europa League quarter-final with Bayer Leverkusen as he predicted the points would be shared at St James Park.

He told BetVictor: "Newcastle have had a really difficult spell, but I think the international break came at the right time for the side. It’s given Eddie a bit of time to work on a few things and give this side a little bit of a break. West Ham have drawn two in a row but are still chasing a top six finish. It’s going to be a huge few weeks for the club though, with a clash against Spurs during the week and that Europa League tie with Leverkusen on the horizon. I don’t think we’ll see a whole lot between these sides. At the start of the season, I would have thought these two would be neck and neck, I’m going for a draw."

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