By Coral Barry
Chris Sutton believes Newcastle are doomed for the drop because they do not have a proven goalscorer and cannot keep a clean sheet.
Newcastle pulled off a nervy 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday to lift themselves out of the relegation zone for the first time since February, but have managed just six clean sheets in 36 Premier League games this season.
The Magpies have also struggled to find the net this campaign with no player in the squad managing to break into double figures, despite there only being two games left to play this season.
The clean sheet against Palace is just Newcastle’s second shut-out in 11 league games and Sutton believes that Sunderland will be the team to escape the drop because the Black Cats have Jermaine Defoe in their ranks.
Speaking ahead of Newcastle’s match with Palace, Sutton identified the two reasons he believed the Magpies were heading for the Championship.
“I think Newcastle and Norwich [will go down],” said Sutton speaking on BBC’s Final Score.
“Norwich have got a tough game later on [this evening] at Arsenal, who still need to get into the top four.
“Sunderland have continuity. They’ve hit form at the right time, they’re keeping clean sheets and they have a goal threat with Jermaine Defoe.”
Defoe has smashed in 14 league goals in a challenging season for Sunderland and the Englishman showed his worth again on Saturday snatching a last-minute to rescue a 1-1 draw against Stoke on Saturday.
Newcastle’s top scorer is Georginio Wijnaldum who has nine league goals and the midfielder is closely followed by Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is currently on eight goals.
However, matchwinner Andros Townsend has scored three goals in his last five league appearances.
The victory over Palace is a huge result for Newcastle and gives them a one point advantage over 18th-placed Sunderland.
The Magpies travel to Aston Villa next week, before welcoming Tottenham to St James’ Park on the final day of the season.