Merson's predictions: City to beat United, while spoils shared in Tyne-Wear derby
Last Updated: 19/03/16 5:59pm
Sky Sports' Paul Merson is back to look ahead to another round of Premier League fixtures, as Newcastle host Sunderland and Manchester City take on Manchester United live on Super Sunday.
It's a crucial derby day with Newcastle just one point behind rivals Sunderland as both sides look to escape the drop, while United are four points behind City in the race for the Champions League places.
Meanwhile, Leicester continue their bid for a first top-flight title in their history with a trip to Crystal Palace as Tottenham host Bournemouth and Arsenal travel to Everton.
Merse correctly predicted three of the five Premier League outcomes last weekend, and also called two FA Cup ties correctly, including a perfect score thanks to Manchester United's 1-1 draw with West Ham.
Merson's last predictions
|Norwich 0-0 Man City||0-3|
|Bournemouth 3-2 Swansea||2-1|
|Stoke 1-2 Southampton||2-1|
|Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham||0-3|
|Leicester 1-0 Newcastle||3-1|
|Everton 2-0 Chelsea||2-1|
|Arsenal 1-2 Watford||2-0|
|Man Utd 1-1 West Ham||1-1|
|Reading 0-2 Crystal Palace||1-1|
Read on to see who Merse is backing this week...
Manchester City have to win this game! It's all becoming very tight in the race for the top four and Manuel Pellegrini's men are really struggling at the moment. The injuries to Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi are a big blow, however, I see home advantage being key in this game. Manchester United also have injury problems and a tough game against Liverpool won't help their chances. I see City just edging this one 2-1.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (Sky Bet's odds: 15/2)
It's a big game anyway but now, with one of these two sides definitely going down, it's a massive, massive game. If Rafael Benitez hadn't moved to St James' Park I would have made Sunderland a certainty. Now, it's a very difficult game to call. I watched Newcastle on Monday night and they looked a completely different side. Watching them against Bournemouth and then against Leicester, the difference was startling. The organisation was better but also, the players seemed to give a lot more. I really did fancy Sunderland for this but Newcastle have shown glimpses of promise already under Benitez. I can't split the two sides; it's a 1-1 draw for me.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (Sky Bet's odds: 5/1)
I can't see Aston Villa getting anything out of this game. It's just a matter of time before they are relegated and Swansea will move them a step closer to the Championship with victory at the Liberty.
In the process, Swansea should confirm their top-flight status by taking all three points against the bottom side.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (Sky Bet's odds: 11/2)
You just never know what Everton side are going to turn up! One minute they are brilliant and then the next they're not. It was a great result in the FA Cup against Chelsea and reaching the semi-final is a major boost for Roberto Martinez, however, before that result they haven't been great at home. On the other hand, I thought Arsenal did well against Barcelona and they will be hoping to translate that form to the league. A draw is no good to either side here but I don't think there's much between the sides. I'm going for a 1-1 draw.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (Sky Bet's odds: 11/2)
Chelsea will be desperately trying to stop Slaven Bilic's side reaching the Champions League when the two sides meet at Stamford Bridge. West Ham are right in the hunt for European qualification but to get a result at Chelsea they will have to play from the first whistle. In recent weeks they've only come alive when they've been behind. They came back from 2-0 down against Norwich and they did the same at Everton, before going on to seal all points. They can't afford to give Chelsea a head start. Again, there's not a lot between these two sides and I'm going for another 1-1 draw.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (Sky Bet's odds: 11/2)
I'm backing Palace here. I think Alan Pardew's side will beat Leicester.
The Foxes did not look like a team at the top of the league on Monday night. I know they ground it out but if they play like that for the rest of the season they won't win the league. People will say it's good sign that they won playing below par, but they will drop points if they continue to perform like that in the remaining eight games. They've punched well above their weight all season but I can just see Palace beating them thanks to a 2-1 scoreline.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (Sky Bet's odds: 10/1)
Beating Arsenal to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup was a massive result for the club. But what do they do now? Do they rest some of their players in the league with a date at Wembley just around the corner?
Meanwhile, Stoke appear to be getting better away from home which is extremely unusual for them. With all that in mind I'm picking an away win by two goals to one.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (Sky Bet's odds: 10/1)
Norwich picked up a good point against Manchester City last week and I'm sure Alex Neil would take a point again at West Brom. However, the hosts are unbeaten in eight matches at home in all competitions.
In contrast, Norwich are on a run of six straight defeats on the road in the Premier League and I can see that extending to seven at The Hawthorns.
Tony Pulis' side just know how to get the job done and for that reason I'm backing a 1-0 home win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-0 (Sky Bet's odds: 5/1)
Southampton have had some superb results in recent weeks. Their form has completely turned around. Liverpool will have put a lot of effort into their Europa league clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday. It will certainly take a lot out of them so I'm predicting a 2-1 Southampton win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (Sky Bet's odds: 9/1)
Bournemouth are safe now. I always find the teams that are safe are a dangerous proposition because they go out and express themselves. However, if the result goes the way I expect between Crystal Palace and Leicester then Tottenham will have a chance to go just two points behind the league leaders. In my opinion they would not let that chance slip so I'm backing them for a 2-1 victory at White Hart Lane. However, Mauricio Pochettino's side will have to be wary. Bournemouth will give Spurs a very tricky game.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (Sky Bet's odds: 7/1)
PLAY SUPER 6!
There's another £250,000 jackpot up for grabs in the latest round of the Soccer Saturday Super 6 game. All you have to do is predict the scores of the six selected matches. It's free to play so get your entries in before 1500 GMT on Saturday for the chance to win.