BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has given his Premier League predictions for this weekend’s matches. He has Newcastle losing to Manchester United by a score of 2-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Here is some of his reasoning behind this prediction:
Newcastle are the team that everyone in the bottom three thinks they can catch – realistically they are the only other team who could still be dragged into the relegation places.
The Magpies are not playing well, and that gives the sides below them hope that if they keep going they can catch them.
I don’t see anything happening at Old Trafford to change that.
Manchester United have had a few problems at home in breaking down teams who go there just to defend but I think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will find a way through.
At the other end, I’m not convinced by Harry Maguire or Victor Lindelof as being a center-half pairing good enough to win the title – Maguire lacks a turn of pace while Lindelof is decent but not strong enough.
You know you can get at them but, without the injured Callum Wilson, the Magpies won’t carry much of a threat.
Yikes, that is a brutal assessment from Lawrenson that the battle to avoid the drop is down to a four-team race, with Newcastle being the only one the bottom three can realistically catch.
I’m not sure I fully agree with that but it’s nonetheless a sobering declaration from someone who has backed Steve Bruce at times this season. He’s also not bought into the notion that Newcastle have played well recently, despite our improved performances against Everton and Southampton.
Lawro’s belief that Newcastle don’t carry much of a threat without Callum Wilson was borne out at Chelsea earlier this week. While the opposition was better, the Magpies were a shell of their recent selves without Wilson at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea cruised to a 2-0 win with Newcastle increasing their levels in the second half after a tepid start to the match. Lawrenson is predicting the same scoreline despite calling into question the quality of Manchester United’s center-back partnership.
Manchester United were held in check at West Brom over the weekend and only managed a 1-1 draw. They are taking on Real Sociedad in the Europa League and are righting the ship up 2-0 at the time of writing. But it is a quick turnaround for them to Sunday.
Hopefully, Newcastle will come out out of the gate with much more intent than at Chelsea. The lads need to put in a performance and keep it tight at the back to have any chance on Sunday.
By the time kick-off comes around, Lawrenson’s proclamation that it is a four-team race for survival could look prescient depending on how some of the teams around us perform on Saturday, though Brighton and Crystal Palace don’t play until Monday.