Former Arsenal star and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has said that Newcastle United will have pinned Saturday’s home clash against Swansea City as a “must-win”.
The Magpies, currently sitting 13th in the Premier League table, are just two points off the relegation zone, having defeated rivals for survival Stoke City 1-0 in their last top flight clash.
Swansea meanwhile find themselves at the very foot of the table going into the match at St James’ Park, four points adrift of safety and below 19th placed West Brom on just goal difference.
Newcastle come into the game having picked up a 3-1 win over League Two table toppers Luton Town in the FA Cup last weekend, while the Swans played out a 0-0 draw with Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Speaking ahead of the game, Merson says that Swansea have shown some real character and belief in recent weeks, having picked up a 2-1 win at Watford in new manager Carlos Carvalhal’s first game in charge, while insists Newcastle have to make the most of playing at home.
Predicting a 1-0 win for the Magpies, he wrote on his blog for Sky Sports’ website: “This is another game that’s hard to call.
“Swansea were great at Watford and unfortunate at home to Spurs in the last fortnight. Newcastle have to take advantage of home games though.
“If they don’t win this they will be in big trouble, so this is a game they will have highlighted as a must-win.
“I think they will just get the job done with a cagey victory.”
Newcastle managed to take three points away from the Liberty Stadium when these two sides met back in September, Jamaal Lascelles heading home a 76th minute winner in a 1-0 victory for the Magpies.
In other Newcastle United news, the club are ready to offload one of their defenders with a top flight club circling for his signing.