Will Newcastle be effectively relegated this weekend? Paul Merson gives his verdict

Paul Merson believes Newcastle will give themselves hope with a win over Swansea.

It is a big weekend for Rafa Benitez as Newcastle United manager, still searching for his first win since being appointed.

A loss at home to Swansea City could effectively seal their fate, if not mathematically at least realistically, a notion SkySports pundit Paul Merson discusses in his weekly prediction column, especially if 17th placed Norwich City overcome Sunderland.

Sunderland and Newcastle are both battling for their lives and aiming to drag Norwich into the mire, but the Toon suffered a setback when they lost to the Canaries a fortnight ago.

Merson told SkySports that while this weekend could be a disastrous one for Newcastle, he believes they will record an important win over Swansea City, predicting a 2-1 win.

He said: "No matter what the result is in the early kick-off between Norwich and Sunderland, Newcastle have to win. A Norwich win and a Newcastle defeat will near enough see Rafael Benitez's side down.

"If you have watched Newcastle recently defensively they have been atrocious. However, I'm backing Newcastle to win. They have to put everything on the line on Saturday and for me, that will be enough."

Newcastle lost 3-0 to Southampton at the weekend, and have now lost two successive games under Rafa Benitez, gaining only one point from a possible 12 since his appointment.

A win against Swansea would give them hope and instil a bit of confidence in the players, even if results eventually go against them, with relegation looming.

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