Merson’s former club, Aston Villa, have already been relegated to the Championship. Sunderland, Newcastle United and Norwich City are the three main candidates to join the Villans in the second tier of English football next season.
Merson believes that Newcastle and Norwich will finish in the bottom three, and expects the Black Cats to survive.
“Newcastle have started to show some fight, but they’ve got to start winning football matches to stay up,” the former England international wrote in The Daily Star. “Draws are no good.
“If they keep drawing games they will be relegated – and they don’t have a striker as reliable as Defoe to score goals.
“That’s why I think Sunderland will get out of it, and why Norwich and Newcastle will go down. Big Sam strikes again.”
Both Sunderland and Newcastle are in the Premier League relegation zone at the moment, while Norwich are in 17th place.
The Black Cats will return to action on Sunday afternoon when they take on North London outfit Arsenal at the Stadium of Light in the Premier League.
A win for Sunderland is going to enhance their chances of survival in the top flight of English football massively.