West Ham United’s hopes of beating Newcastle United at the London Stadium on Saturday are slim.
That’s according to pundits Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson.
West Ham go into the game off the back of a fine performance in an unfortunate 1-0 defeat at Manchester City in midweek.
The Magpies are in search of their third straight win.
The Hammers need a victory to keep their hopes of European football alive.
West Ham need Newcastle win for European bid
Manuel Pellegrini has set his sights firmly on seventh spot. That is the highest West Ham or any club outside the current top six can realistically finish this season (Sky Sports).
If one of the Manchester clubs wins the FA Cup that will be enough to qualify for the Europa League.
West Ham beat Fulham 3-1 in their last home game.
And despite the brilliant job Rafa Benitez is doing on a tight budget, the Hammers will be expecting to win.
But neither Merson or Lawrenson give Pellegrini’s side much hope.
‘I don’t see it’
Speaking in his Sky Sports column, Merson predicted a 1-1 draw.
“Newcastle have turned the corner, they’re quite entertaining with three up front. Almiron looks a proper player, really quick and lively,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“From Benitez being a manager who makes sure they don’t lose, he’s now going out with Almiron, Rondon and Perez and can have a go at teams.
“I’ll go for a draw here, I don’t see Newcastle losing this game.”
‘They are flying’
And BBC Sport pundit Lawrenson went one worse, predicting a 2-0 home defeat for West Ham.
“West Ham are looking a much better side than they were at the start of the season but Newcastle are flying at the moment, with four wins and a draw in their past six league matches,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.
“Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has gone on runs like this with Newcastle before – when he gets his team playing well and on a roll – and I can see their revival continuing on Saturday.”