'Completely and utterly different' - Merson predicts Newcastle v Brighton
Former Arsenal star and current Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has said he is backing Newcastle United to pick up three points when they play host to Brighton on Saturday.
The Magpies are sitting in 15th, just a point off the relegation zone and three points behind their south coast opposition, after a terrible run of form which has seen them pick up one win in their last 11 games, nine of which have come as defeats.
Their most recent outing saw them succumb to a narrow 1-0 defeat to runaway leaders Manchester City, who themselves picked up their 18th consecutive league win, but Merson believes that Rafael Benitez’s side can make it two wins in three games on Saturday.
Predicting a 2-1 victory for the home side, he wrote on Sky Sports’ website: “Brighton have rested a couple of key players over Christmas, which I don’t have a problem with. They’ve picked their games, which you have to do.
“But I think Newcastle’s home advantage will tell here. They were negative against City for 60 minutes but it will be completely and utterly different on Saturday.
“They didn’t need the Man City game, and could have done with playing Brighton first!”
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Both Newcastle and Brighton came up to England’s top flight after securing automatic promotion last season, the Magpies pipping Chris Hughton and his men to the Championship title on the final day of the season.
However in the first clash between the two sides this season, it was Brighton who came out on top, Tomer Hemed netting the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win.
In other Newcastle United news, fans have been raging over a major first team blow suffered ahead of the clash against Brighton.