Paul Merson's Premier League predictions - Week 7
Soccer Saturday pundit calls all of the weekend matches
Last Updated: 04/10/13 9:39am
These are the sort of games that win you league titles. Arsenal are playing after everybody else on Sunday afternoon and I think Man United, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham will all win. They've got to go to West Brom, who are flying after beating Man United, and this game will tell us a lot.
One thing's for sure, if Olivier Giroud gets injured they'll be struggling like mad. The midfield players have scored goals so far, but aside from Aaron Ramsey I think Chelsea's midfielders will score twice the number of goals that Arsenal's will. The likes of Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Ramires and Lampard could all score eight Premier League goals this year but I don't see Wilshere, Arteta, Flamini or maybe even Ozil (who is more of an assist man) doing that. But I do fancy them to win this. They've got so much confidence, they look good defensively and I can't see them losing.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-2
Norwich v Chelsea (12.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1)
Predicting scores is the hardest job in football. Norwich lost at home to Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago, even with Villa's best player going off injured; then they were playing away at Stoke last week, who played really well against Man City, Arsenal and West Ham. But they went there and won as comfortable as you can. Barring a penalty shout, Stoke didn't even look like scoring. How do you explain that?
Then you look at Chelsea who got beaten by Basel and fell over the line against Fulham - but in the second half against Tottenham they were outstanding. The Premier League is very hard to call, but I've got to go for Chelsea. They've got too much class. I think they have midfield players who can score goals and they're not reliant on a striker. That might cost them against a top team, but in games like this they should be fine.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-3
Sunderland v Man Utd (5pm, Sat, Sky Sports 1 HD)
Sunderland looked much better against Liverpool last Sunday than they have for much of the season. It's always the same with a new manager and Kevin Ball, who I played against a few years ago, is a good coach. He has got them going and I'm glad he's brought Lee Cattermole back because they need him. I think they'll make it a difficult game for Man United.
Manchester United are struggling. Sir Alex Ferguson used to be the master of making changes, but he'd only change two or three players tops - but David Moyes is making eight or nine. He might turn around after the West Brom defeat and say he was resting people for Shakhtar, but for me that's a bad move. I think the Premier League is as competitive as it's ever been and it's got to be about winning the league for him. If I'm being honest, they haven't got the players to rest and they can't afford to lose games. I'm going for a Man Utd win, but I wouldn't be shocked if this was a draw.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2
Cardiff v Newcastle
Cardiff got a bit of a run-around against Tottenham a couple of weeks ago, but they got a great result last week against Fulham. Meanwhile, Newcastle had a game of two halves against Everton; they were bordering on atrocious in the first half and after the break they got a lot better. When Yohan Cabaye came on they looked much more of a threat. In fact, if you were to push me I'd probably pick a Newcastle win, but my mate Dai is a Cardiff fan so I'm going to go for a draw!
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1
Fulham v Stoke
This is a big game. I've watched a lot of Stoke this season and I couldn't believe how bad they were against Norwich; they were terrible. They've played well in other games, in particular against Manchester City, but last week I couldn't believe what I was seeing. This should be a tight game and I think this will be a draw - and I don't think that would be a good result for either team.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1
Hull v Aston Villa
I watched Hull on Soccer Saturday last week and, to be fair, West Ham should have had a stonewall penalty but they are a very solid team and they defend like their manager used to. They put themselves in front of the ball and are very well organised. The only thing is, I fancy Villa to beat anyone away from home because they're a massive threat. If Christian Benteke was playing I'd say Villa would definitely win but I'll go for just a narrow away win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-1
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
This could be any football score with the way Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are playing up front. Those two would give any team nightmares, let alone Crystal Palace and I just don't see how Ian Holloway's side are going to cope with them. Palace are struggling and with two strikers on fire I'm going for a big win for the home team.
PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0
Man City v Everton
Less than two weeks ago we were drooling over how great Man City were against Man United - and since then they've let in six goals, lost twice and are under the cosh. Who would have thought that? This will be a hard game for them, but it's a harder game for Everton away from home. This should be a tight game, but I'll just go for City because if they can reach the heights of the derby they should be fine.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0
Southampton v Swansea
Southampton were comfortable winners last weekend, but if Marouane Chamakh had scored when he was clean through instead of falling over the goalie then it could have been different. As it was they scored two goals in no time in the second half. This is a weird one because Swansea are brilliant one minute and flatter to deceive at other times. They play great football but you sometimes wonder where it's going - although they ripped Palace to shreds a couple of weeks ago.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2
Tottenham v West Ham
With the way Tottenham are playing I can only go for a home win. If there hadn't been a half-time whistle last week they'd have become real title contenders in my mind. They didn't create a lorryload of chances in the first half against Chelsea, but they looked very comfortable indeed. Chelsea turned it on in the second half, but I expect Spurs to beat a West Ham team that is struggling with no Andy Carroll. Kevin Nolan loses a lot of impetus when the big striker is not in the team and I don't see them hurting Tottenham.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0