After the drama of the Carabao Cup, Newcastle United return to Premier League action on Saturday night against West Ham United.

The Magpies booked their trip to Wembley on Tuesday, and will turn their attentions back to their bid to qualify for the Champions League.

Eddie Howe’s side come up against a side that is looking to avoid relegation, with West Ham currently 16th in the league on 18 points.

The Hammers will be looking for a win to move further away from the bottom three, while a win for Newcastle will ensure that there is no chance of us dropping out of the top four this week.

Newcastle’s players will be full of confidence after guiding the club to a first cup final since 1999, but pundit Paul Merson expects it to be a tough game for the home side at St James’ Park.

Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League
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Paul Merson thinks Newcastle and West Ham will be a draw

In his latest column for Sportskeeda, former Arsenal forward Paul Merson has given his predictions for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures. He believes Newcastle will draw 0-0 with David Moyes’ side.

“Newcastle are flying along, but I think this will be a hard game for them,” he wrote.

“Bruno Guimaraes can’t play this match, and he’s going to be a massive miss. Newcastle were playing mind-blowing football against Southampton in the first 30 minutes, but they were just hanging on in the end.

“Defensively, Newcastle are very good. West Ham haven’t been great in the Premier League, but they’re always a danger and don’t get blown away.

“This is a difficult game for both teams, and I’m going with a draw.”

Top four still in Newcastle’s hands

While Merson does not think Newcastle will put another three points on the board this weekend, he does expect the Magpies to maintain the pace in their bid to finish in the top four.

“I don’t see Newcastle dropping out of the top-four race with the fixtures they’ve got coming up,” Merson adds.

“Unless Manchester United and Newcastle struggle with their form for the rest of the season, it’ll be near-impossible for Chelsea and Liverpool to catch up with them.”

While Chelsea and Liverpool might not catch us, the big danger is Tottenham in fifth. They are the side that look closest to stopping us from returning to the Champions League.

But it remains in Newcastle’s hands. As it stands, Howe’s side are three points ahead of Spurs and have a game in hand.

The Magpies have an incredible opportunity to finish in the top four, which would be a fantastic end to an outstanding season. However, Toon fans’ main priority right now is the Carabao Cup final, and winning a trophy would gazump Champions League qualification in the eyes of a lot of supporters.

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