Pundit backs Benitez to guide Newcastle United to safety

Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier believes that Newcastle United will avoid relegation from the Premier League this season, but will struggle along the way.

The Magpies were dropped from the top flight in the 2015-16 campaign, but they earned their place back at the first time of asking.

Rafael Benitez oversaw his players earn 29 points from 46 games in the Championship and they also pipped Brighton to top spot.

The main aim will be to retain their Premier League status for the upcoming campaign, as they prepare to face the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Le Tissier believes that because of Benitez’s quality as a manager, Newcastle will stay safe, but he thinks that the forward line will struggle.

Dwight Gayle found the back of the net 23 times in 32 Championship outings last season, but Le Tissier is not expecting the forward to replicate that form in the top flight.

While previewing Newcastle’s 2017-18 campaign for Sky Sports, Le Tissier said:

“I would say, looking at the squad, in the forward department. Gayle has never really done it in the Premier League and Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic didn’t really deliver either so their weakness is scoring a lot of goals.

“Just because of Rafa, if he stays there all season, they’ll be somewhere just below mid-table.”