Former Arsenal star and current Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has issued a warning to both Tottenham and Newcastle United in his prediction for the clash between the two clubs on Wednesday night.
Both sides head into the mid-week tie off the back of defeats, with Spurs having been shocked by West Brom at the Hawthorns and the Magpies suffering their third successive defeat with a 2-1 loss at Watford.
With Mauricio Pochettino’s side fighting for a top four spot, Chelsea’s resurgence putting it at risk, and Rafael Benitez’s men seeking a top ten finish, there is more than pride at stake at Wembley, and Merson gave both teams a warning ahead of the showdown.
Writing in his column on Sky Sports’ website, he said: “Newcastle do not get the chance to go to Wembley too often, do they? And their fans may make it a bit of a party.
“I think Spurs will win, Newcastle were poor at Watford on Saturday – better second half, but it is easy to play when you are 2-0 down.
“They have to be careful, though, as they have good fans and if they turn up in their thousands at Wembley, they will want them to put on a show.
“And if they do not, Spurs are the type of team that can embarrass you on their day. The pressure is severely on Tottenham, though, so I think they will win 2-1.”
After the game, Spurs play host to Leicester City on the final day of the season, while Newcastle will welcome Chelsea to St James’ Park.
Football Insider verdict
These sides met on the opening day of the season and had it not been for a moment of stupidity from Jonjo Shelvey, as well as two serious injuries for Newcastle in the opening half an hour, they might have cancelled each other out, for neither looked dominant. However Spurs are obviously a cut above Newcastle and will be firm favourites to bounce back from defeat against West Brom and keep their top four hopes in their own hands. The loss to the Baggies was a massive disappointment and if the players are not fired up to try and right their wrongs then Mauricio Pochettino needs to have a serious word. As for Newcastle, they already look on holiday and Rafael Benitez will not be happy with the way his side has performed in recent weeks. Are Spurs in for a shock? Only time will tell – but Merson’s warnings to both sides need to be heeded.
In other Tottenham news, the club have been placed among Europe’s elite with a stunning £42.1million transfer claim.