Newcastle United hosts Brentford in gameweek 5 of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign this evening. It’s a game which is anticipated by many as Newcastle looks to turn around their luck against a team who has started the season unbeaten.
Granted, today’s opponents haven’t exactly had a flying start to the season as they have dropped six points, but with a record of three draws and a win, they are yet to lose this season. Paul Merson fears that Newcastle MUST overcome this.
Paul Merson says things will get ugly if Newcastle don’t beat Brentford
That’s right, in an interview with Sportskeeda, the former Arsenal player turned pundit Paul Merson has dubbed this fixture as a “must win” for Eddie Howe. He has expressed that if Newcastle want to return to the Champions League next season, then they have to avoid dropping points in this fixture.
Ultimately, Merse did predict Newcastle to win this game by a comfortable scoreline of 3-1, but he did provide the counter-narrative that if his prediction were to be wrong, then it would be a “measly” return for the Magpies. To put this into perspective, here are the three potential point tallies after five games for Newcastle:
- Win today – 6 points
- Draw today – 4 points
- Lose today – 3 points
Nobody is denying that Newcastle must win this game today. Not only must they win, but they SHOULD win. Given the comparison between the two clubs, Newcastle’s is far better in terms of quality, and that isn’t to undermine today’s opponents.
But, as pointed out by Olly Hawkins of NUFC Blog, even a draw today would leave Eddie Howe with scope to match his point tally in gameweek 6 to that of last season. Last year, the Magpies only racked up seven points from their opening six fixtures.
Of course, it’s important to address the quality of competition in the top four will be much higher this season. Liverpool and Spurs have both started the season excellently, so they’ll be pushing the Magpies much harder than they did last season to creep into the Champions League.
What’s your score prediction for today’s match against Brentford?