We all know Paul Merson, partly thanks to his exploits as a professional footballer some years ago, but mainly, in the current setting, for his role as a pundit for the juggernaut that is Sky Sports.
As a firm fixture on Jeff Stelling’s Soccer Saturday panel, Merson has become notorious for his mispronunciation of players’ names from week to week, playing the loveable (a matter of opinion) oaf with genuine relish. Despite this well deserved reputation as something of a buffoon, it seems as though his opinions on the game are still highly prized within the Sky Sports corridors, leading to him being given a platform from which to pontificate about the likely outcome of games each weekend.
With that in mind, we come on to Merson’s prediction for today’s meeting between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park, where despite the Eagles being on a run of three straight defeats and struggling hugely to score goals of any form, he has backed us to avoid defeat.
It’s fair to admit that United themselves have struggled for form of late, drawing blanks against both Manchester City and Middlesbrough in midweek, but when taking everything into account, especially Alan Pardew’s extensive injury list, it’s baffling to imagine a neutral, even one of Merson’s standing, siding with us over Louis Van Gaal’s men.
Obviously, we would all love Merse to be right on this occasion, as we attempt to arrest what could feasibly be described as our first slump under the guidance of Alan Pardew, but the smart money, evidently not that of Paul’s, probably isn’t on Palace pulling off an upset in the autumnal south London sunshine.