Paul Merson admits he will be “surprised” if Newcastle United beat Everton after the Toffees’ “impressive” performance against Brentford on Saturday.
The Magpies welcome Everton to St James’ Park on Tuesday evening in what will be Frank Lampard’s first Premier League match in charge of the Merseyside club.
And former Arsenal midfielder Merson believes a Newcastle win could pull their opponents into the relegation battle.
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However, he admits a Toon victory would ‘surprise’ him and is looking forward to new signings Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli making their debuts for Everton.
Predicting a 1-1 draw, Merson wrote on SportsKeeda: “I watched Everton the other day against Brentford, and I thought they were quite impressive. They play at a high tempo under Frank Lampard.
“They’re playing against a team in the Premier League’s bottom three this week, and they will want to win this game. If Everton get beat, they get dragged into a relegation battle.
“If Newcastle lose, they’re going to think they’re still in danger despite spending all that money. Everton played quite well against Brentford, and I’d be surprised if Newcastle won this game.
“Everton did well against Brentford in the FA Cup, but I’d be shocked if Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek sat this one out.
“They spent quite a lot of money on them, and there’s no point resting your best players at this stage of the Premier League season. With Frank at the wheel now, I think Everton will be all right this season.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle have been dealt a blow in their bid for survival after it emerged that striker Callum Wilson may be missing until the final few games of the campaign.
Magpies boss Eddie Howe said: “It’s been slow progress for him since the initial injury. He was recently on crutches – I think he’s come off those crutches now and is walking normally, which is a big step.
“But you can see by that update that I’m giving you it’s quite slow, so we all wish Callum to come back as quickly as possible, but when he comes back, he’s got to be fit and ready to give his best, so we’re helping him with that, obviously, day to day.
“But I don’t think it’s going to be short-term. Hopefully he can make the last few games of the season and really help us in the key moment.”
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