May 18, 2024

Paul Merson has been talking about Newcastle United and the current situation at St James’ Park.

The former Arsenal player speaking, with now approaching the twelfth NUFC Premier League match of the season.

Eddie Howe and his players having played seventeen matches in total already, in all competitions.

Paul Merson discussing the possibilities ahead of Newcastle United playing away at Bournemouth.

Paul Merson speaking to Sportskeeda:

“Newcastle have played some tough games already this season.

“They have squared off against some top teams in the early stages of the new campaign. Their fixtures haven’t been too kind.

“Meanwhile, the likes of Arsenal, and Manchester City have had a decent mix of fixture.

“But for the Magpies, it has been a patch of really tough games followed by rather easy ones. So when they’re up against it, they are really up against it. Bournemouth are not playing well this season.

“They got pummelled by Manchester City last weekend and I don’t see them posing much threat to Newcastle this weekend.

“Prediction: Bournemouth 0 Newcastle United 3”

Well, I really hope we can rely on the judgement of Paul Merson this time.

What he says I would agree with, up to a point.

Bournemouth have been woeful this season and against Premier League opposition (including in the Carabao Cup) have played 12 matches and won only one game and lost eight.

Newcastle United against Premier League opposition have played 13 games and have won eight and lost only three.

More to the point, you have to go way back ten weeks for Newcastle’s last defeat to a Premier League club. Plus, those three early PL defeats were to Man City, Liverpool and Brighton.

As Paul Merson points out, Eddie Howe has had some tough runs of matches and these past 10 weeks have overall (all competitions) seen 13 games played, eight clean sheets, eight wins, three draws and just the two defeats, both to Borussia Dortmund. With 28 goals scored and eight conceded. This run including wins over the likes of PSG, Man City, Man U and Arsenal. It has been exhilarating and action packed, can NUFC now add yet another win before getting to this November international fortnight?

Paul Merson fails to point out the two massive factors that make this not such a straightforward win as he anticipates.

Nobody is complaining about Newcastle United having to play all these games but this most recent challenge of playing Man U away, Arsenal home and Dortmund away in a six day stretch is enough to… stretch any club.

To then do it with a quite incredible and horrendous (and growing!) list of players missing, has made the winning of two of these three most recent matches a remarkable achievement.

Reality is though that Eddie Howe goes into this Bournemouth match missing Botman, Targett, Tonali, Burn, Bruno, Isak, Anderson, Murphy, Barnes and Manquillo.

We also wait to see whether Callum Wilson will be involved, having been forced off with a ‘tight hamstring’ halfway through Tuesday’s match in Dortmund.

We also have everything crossed that there are no more nasty surprises when we see the Newcastle United team named on Saturday.

With a more or less full squad to choose from, I would be super confident of Newcastle winning against a struggling Bournemouth.

I would describe how I feel currently as ‘confident’ but I will have a far better idea of exactly just how confident I am feeling, when at 4.30pm on Saturday, we discover exactly which 11 players Eddie Howe has been able to put on the pitch.

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