Paul Merson has predicted Newcastle to start the season with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa, but admitted that we will ‘find it difficult’ to emulate last season’s success given the added European fixtures.
The Sky Sports pundit has tipped our opening match at St James’ Park to be ‘one hell of a game’ between two sides who will have to find a balance between domestic and European fixtures in 2023/24.
With just two defeats at home last season, the former Arsenal man believes our home form will be crucial once again this season and key to our top-four hopes. Merson also feels we’ve ‘brought in some very good players’ in Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento.
Speaking to Sportskeeda ahead of today’s game, here’s what Merson had to say:
‘This is a big match. Aston Villa could pull off a few upsets this season and finished very well last season. Newcastle pulled off a top-four finish and have brought in some very good players.
‘Unai Emery is good at his European fixtures, and Aston Villa have not won a trophy in a long time. They might find it difficult to find a balance between their European games and their Premier League form. Newcastle finished in the top four last season and might find it difficult to achieve the same result this season.
‘Newcastle are very good at home – the games they lost at St. James’ Park last season were close. If both these teams are anything like they were in pre-season, this will be one hell of a game. Newcastle have the home advantage and I’m backing them to win this weekend.’
Prediction: Newcastle United 2-1 Aston Villa
Source link : https://www.nufcblog.co.uk/2023/08/12/paul-merson-predicts-newcastle-vs-aston-villa-comments-on-signings-top-4-and-sjp-clash/
Author : Andrew Reynolds
Publish date : 2023-08-12 06:27:00
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