BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson predicts Newcastle United v Stoke City

Mark Lawrenson believes Stoke City will lose 2-1 to Newcastle United today.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he believes Newcastle United will beat Stoke City 2-1 at St. James' Park today.

The Magpies went in to last weekend's game against Sunderland having beaten Norwich City 6-2, but were hammered 3-0 by their North East rivals in a devastating afternoon for manager Steve McClaren.

Now, Newcastle desperately need a response this afternoon as they take on Stoke City, with McClaren needing to give fans something to shout about again.

They take on a Stoke City side who had won three games in a row under Mark Hughes, but last weekend's 2-0 home defeat to Watford has set the Potters back again.

With both teams coming off the back of a defeat, they will need strong responses this afternoon - and Mark Lawrenson has had his say on the game.

In his BBC Sport prediction column, pundit Lawrenson has stated that Newcastle were unlucky to lose 3-0 at Sunderland last weekend, citing that the Magpies were the better team before Fabricio Coloccini was handed a straight red card in the first half.

Lawrenson also believes that Stoke will improve from last weekend having lost 2-0, but still predicts that Newcastle will win 2-1.

"Newcastle's 3-0 derby defeat by Sunderland looks awful if you did not see the game - they were the better side until they conceded a penalty and had Fabricio Coloccini sent off," said Lawrenson. "Before that, there were a few signs they were starting to get it together. The Magpies had much better balance in defence and attack and I think that will continue on Saturday."

"While Newcastle had the week off, Stoke boss Mark Hughes picked a strong team on Tuesday for his side's Capital One Cup tie with Chelsea -which they won on penalties - and having to play extra-time will not have helped the Potters. Stoke's home defeat by Watford last weekend was a strange slip-up and I don't think they will be as bad as that again, but I am still backing Newcastle," he added.

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