By Derek Smithson

Paul Merson has predicted Newcastle United to draw when they host Stoke on Saturday.

The Magpies welcome Stoke to St James’ Park for a Premier League clash and will be looking to continue their decent form.

Rafael Benitez’s side have won their last two consecutive games over Swansea and West Ham to help them up to 10th in the league table.

The North East club were 1-0 victors away to Swansea in their last match as Jamaal Lascelles scored the decisive goal.

Meanwhile, Stoke managed to earn an impressive 2-2 draw against Manchester United in their last match and are an established team in the top flight.

Sky Sports pundit Merson has been unable to separate the two teams and has tipped a 1-1 scoreline.

“Both teams had good results last weekend and I can’t separate them at the moment,” Merson wrote in his column for Sky Sports. “Stoke have found their feet and Newcastle have had a couple of good results.

“Newcastle put in a good performance at Swansea and if they get another win then it’s happy days at the club. It’s a funny old game.”

Newcastle are looking to prove themselves following their promotion to the Premier League and have made a mixed start to the new campaign with two wins and two losses.

They will know their home form is going to be vital to keep them out of a relegation battle and will want to make St James’ Park a fortress, something Stoke have done at the bet365 Stadium.

In other Newcastle United news, their defender has been ruled out against Stoke.

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