MICHAEL Owen has tipped former club Newcastle United to repeat last season’s 10th-place finish this term.
Owen – Newcastle’s record signing – feels Alan Pardew’s side will “bounce back” from their awful end to last season.
However, he does not see them improving on their final position.
The former England, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid striker also believes Sunderland will be in for another relegation scrap, and has tipped them to finish 17th.
Owen made the predictions on website Sportslobster, and has backed Chelsea to win the Premier League title.
On Newcastle’s chances for next season, he said: “With no Europa League to contend with again this season, I can see Newcastle bouncing back from a disappointing last season.
“Alan Pardew hasn’t got the biggest of squads and there is no doubt that the extra games compromised their Premier League finishing position two seasons back.
“A host of injuries contributed to a poor second half of the season, but a 10th place finish wasn’t anything to be ashamed about.
“Having reinvested the Mathieu Debuchy money into signing half a dozen new faces, it would be no surprise if Newcastle haven’t unearthed another gem or two.”
On Sunderland, meanwhile, the BT Sport pundit added: “I could be way out with this prediction as Gus Poyet is a manager I rate, and once a wave of optimism hits the Stadium Of Light, they can be a tough team to beat.
“The board have backed their man with some big money in the close season, but it’s questionable whether their signings to date will prove great value for money.
“I’d be surprised if (Costel) Pantilimon has signed to be their No2 (goalkeeper), and if that’s the case, I fear Sunderland could concede a few too many goals for comfort.”