Sunderland gaffer Sam Allardyce is so confident that Newcastle will beat a Crystal Palace side that have “been on the pop” that he would bet on the outcome if he could.
Allardyce’s Sunderland are fighting it out with Newcastle to avoid the drop, with United on Saturday at home to a Palace side the 61-year-old claims will have been celebrating this week.
Alan Pardew’s Palace booked their place in the FA Cup final with a win over Watford last weekend and Allardyce is of the belief that Newcastle will have the edge as a result.
“Newcastle will win on Saturday, I’d have a bet on that if I could,” Allardyce told a number of national newspapers. “Newcastle pose the bigger threat [than Norwich] to our survival.
“I think they’ll beat Palace and they’ve got Villa, then it depends on what Spurs do there. So I think they’ll win at least two.
“Palace are in the FA Cup final and they would all have been celebrating, they would all have been on the pop [alcohol].
“They won’t be mentally ready for it and neither will Alan [Pardew], because he’ll be thinking about the final now, not thinking about Newcastle away.
“You’re not going to stop the lads celebrating having got through to a final, particularly Crystal Palace, because it’s such a good achievement for the club, the fans, Alan and the owner, there is such euphoria around the place.
“It may well serve in reverse. He could say, ‘Off you go lads, go and play today and relax, the result doesn’t matter as much’ and they might win.
“But it could go the other way; “Ooh, I’ve had a good couple of days off and I don’t want to get injured for the final, I might just stay out of that tackle”. Who knows? I suspect it might be the latter.”
Sunderland, who go to Stoke on Saturday, are a place above the drop zone on goal difference from Norwich, with 19th-placed Newcastle a point worse off. Sunderland have four games remaining, as do Norwich, while Newcastle have three games left to play.