Paul Merson's Premier League predictions - Week 38
Merse expects final-day wins for Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Everton, Man Utd and Arsenal
Last Updated: 08/05/14 5:49pm
Man City just need a point to win the league, but it will be interesting if Liverpool get a couple of early goals because they won't be able to stick and play out a draw. This will be different to the Aston Villa game because West Ham can hurt you from set-plays much more than Villa can.
If this game stays at 0-0, then all West Ham have got to do is get a set-play and they can score - nobody can stop Andy Carroll if he gets on a run - and they have other players in the side who are a threat.
If Man City had to win it, then this would be a different kettle of fish, but they have to draw and I can't see them failing to win the league. Remember, West Ham went up there in the Capital One Cup a few months ago and got rinsed 6-0 and won't take much confidence out of that.
I have got to go for Man City to win - but honestly, after what I've seen in the Premier League in the last month, it wouldn't surprise me if West Ham scored in the first 10 minutes and then suddenly it's game on!
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0
Liverpool v Newcastle (2.55pm, Sun, Sky Sports 2)
The last seven or eight games of the Premier League season are different to the other 30. People do things they wouldn't usually do, and managers do things they wouldn't normally do. Brendan Rodgers can't tell me he didn't get up on Tuesday morning and think 'why didn't I put Daniel Agger on at 3-0? Why was I trying to score seven or eight?'
They just had to make sure they won their last two games and they threw away a 3-0 lead to Crystal Palace. Unbelievable. If they had won on Monday, then Man City's game against Villa would have been a lot different. City didn't have to win and they had a safety net of a draw, but if they absolutely needed to win, then the clock would have felt like 'Countdown', spinning around.
Liverpool blew it. This is up there with when Newcastle blew it in 1995/96. I don't think you win the league playing attacking football all the time; you have to swallow a pill sometimes and do something different. They needed to draw with a Chelsea team that was playing defensive, so why not play defensively yourself and go from there?
A draw would have been fine for them - and then a win over Palace would have pretty much won them the league. They have to score two goals quickly on Sunday to put on the pressure and with the reins off they can go out and play their stuff. I think they will remember their mistakes for a long time, though...
PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0
Tottenham v Aston Villa (2.55pm, Sun, Sky Sports 3)
This is a weird one. Tottenham are probably sitting there thinking 'we don't want to be in the Europa League' and Tim Sherwood will be thinking 'I don't think I'll be here next season so I'll put you in the Europa League!!!' Tim will be running around the pitch clapping after the game and saying 'look what I've done' and the directors will be thinking that's their top-four chances done for next season! I think Tim has done great and despite a bad result last week he will want to finish on a high. Villa look shot after staying up and they had to work very hard against Man City on Wednesday night. Tottenham should win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1
Cardiff v Chelsea
I've got to go for Chelsea because they will want to end on a high and Jose Mourinho won't want to get beat by Cardiff on the final day. It doesn't seem like Cardiff can beat anybody at the moment and I think it will be quite a comfortable game for Chelsea. Not one of the Cardiff players would get into the Chelsea team and that's the problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-3
Fulham v Crystal Palace
It's important for Fulham to go out on a high. You want to send the fans home thinking 'we can do it next year' and you don't want people remembering a relegation and a home defeat to Crystal Palace all summer. That will leave people wondering what chance they'll have next year in the Championship. I think this will be a really entertaining game, nobody has got anything to lose and I think it could be a Desmond.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2
Hull v Everton
Everton will win this game. Hull don't get the chance to play in an FA Cup Final every week and the last thing you want to do is go out and get injured or sent off and for that reason I don't expect very much from them. I'm definitely going for Everton to get the three points and go out on a high.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-2
Norwich v Arsenal
I think Norwich are a cert to come straight back up next season. They have been down there not long ago, they have stability at the club and they will be able to afford to keep the players they've bought and forwards like Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel will score goals in the Championship. Arsenal have got the FA Cup Final next week and won't want to pick up injuries or suspensions, but I still think they will have too much for Norwich.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2
Southampton v Man Utd
Man United can get into the Europa League if they win this game - but do they really want to get into that competition? There will be plenty of players from both sides who won't want to get injured with the World Cup coming up - that would be devastating - and I think this will be quite open and full of goals. It'll be you-have-a-shot, we-have-a-shot because what's the point of keeping it tight in the last game of the season? The stadium will be packed and it surely won't be 0-0 because both teams have got plenty of attacking options on the pitch.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-3
Sunderland v Swansea
I think Sunderland will finish on a high after staying up. If Gus Poyet asks the players who wants to play on Sunday, then they will all want to - and I'm not sure he'd have got the same answer six weeks ago! I think they will win the game, but I'm glad to see Garry Monk get the full-time job at Swansea. You want to see British managers getting chances because we always moan when they're overlooked, so fair play to Swansea. I don't know the bloke, but he can only get better by being in the job and I'm pleased for him.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1
West Brom v Stoke
It's very lucky Norwich didn't sneak a win at the end of their game against Chelsea last week because that would have left West Brom (and Hull) in trouble on the final day. West Brom have just lost two away games in a row, their manager's future is in the balance and players catch on to things like that. The club needs to sit down and think about where they want to go next year because they don't want to be left in this position again. They've been lucky. I don't like going against Stoke, who must have had 600 passes against Fulham last week, and they've been outstanding. I'm going for them to get an away win because I've been so impressed with them this season.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2