Paul Merson has been talking about Newcastle United and the current situation at St James’ Park.

The former Middlesbrough and Aston Villa player also discussing Manchester United and their current outlook.

Paul Merson declaring ‘What a game!’ in prospect on Sunday and impossible to disagree with him.

When it comes to the battle for Premier League top four, Paul Merson believing ‘This game could really open it up’ at the weekend.

This is how the Premier League table looks ahead of the weekend’s games:

Showing just how tight things are, the ten days or so before the March international break saw a massive change towards the top.

Newcastle United at last saw some of their bad luck disappear and the odd fine margin go in their favour, with two wins only five days apart.

Whilst for Man U it was a 7-0 hammering at Anfield and a lucky point at home to rock bottom Southampton in the Premier League, ahead of players heading off with their national side.

The bonus for both Newcastle United AND Man U, was Tottenham leading 3-1 at Southampton and conceding two late goals, including an equaliser in the third minute of added time.

As Paul Merson says, Man U could find themselves out of the top four after this round of games, in a complete change of fortunes for Erik ten Hag. Newcastle United will go third if winning on Sunday, whilst if that happens, Tottenham only need to avoid defeat at Everton on Monday night to ensure they would also go top four at the expense of Man U.

With Casemiro already not available and Christian Eriksen surely still missing as well after an ankle injury has meant no football at all since January, it is difficult not to get your hopes up even further on Marcus Rashford as well.

In Eriksen’s absence especially, Casemiro and Rashford have carried Man U, in terms of keeping them competitive for a top four spot and if they were missing on Sunday as well as Eriksen, then surely a massive bonus for Eddie Howe.

On Monday, Man U revealed in an official announcement that eight days after picking up his ankle injury against Fulham in the FA Cup, Rashford still wasn’t able to return to group training and only doing light work on his own, light work that they specifically mentioned didn’t (couldn’t?) include kicking a football.

Marcus Rashford has been by far Manchester United’s biggest goal threat this season, with 14 goals in the Premier League and 27 overall in all competitions. To put that into perspective, the next highest scorer is Bruno Fernandes with five and ten goals respectively.

No wonder Paul Merson comments ‘Manchester United aren’t playing well at the moment and they’re very reliant on Marcus Rashford and his goals. Someone else has got to chip in now.’

In their last two Premier League matches Man U have lost 7-0 to Liverpool and had a goalless draw at home to Southampton. In the ten PL games before that though, Marcus Rashford scored in nine of them.

if Newcastle United play well, like they have done in much of these last two games / wins against Wolves and Forest, then I think Eddie Howe’s side will be top three on Sunday night.

Paul Merson believes it will be a 2-1 win for United over Erik ten Hag’s side, I think he might well be proved right…

Paul Merson speaking to Sportskeeda:

“What a game!

“This game could really open it up.

“If Newcastle win this game, Man United will need to work hard to get into the top four.

“They could end up in fifth place in the Premier League table by the end of the weekend.

“Manchester United aren’t playing well at the moment and they’re very reliant on Marcus Rashford and his goals.

“Someone else has got to chip in now.

“They’ve had some results but they aren’t ripping it up.

“Newcastle are playing at home and a draw isn’t good enough for them.

“I’m going to go with Newcastle to win this game.

“Prediction: Newcastle United 2 Manchester United 1”

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