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Scrap mettle

Merse gives his verdict on all the weekend's games

Southampton - Paul Merson Posted 7th March 2013 view comments

As ever, you can follow all the Premier League action this weekend on Sky Sports.

We asked Soccer Saturday expert Paul Merson to look at the fixtures and give us his verdict on where the games will be won and lost.

Every week he'll be here on skysports.com to share his views on who he expects to be the winners and losers of the weekend.

Suarez and Bale: Merson would choose neither as Player of the Season

Suarez and Bale: Merson would choose neither as Player of the Season

So read on for his shouts and don't forget to let us know your views via the comments box...

Ford Super Sunday: Liverpool v Tottenham
3pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD & Sky 3D

Tottenham did a great job against Arsenal last week, but after all that hard work they need at least a draw at Liverpool.

If they lose, and Arsenal win their game in hand, then we're back to where we were. If you look at the fixtures, then after the away game at Swansea I'd say Arsenal have got a lovely run-in and I expect them to win seven more games.

Some people are getting carried away by saying Tottenham can finish second, but if Arsenal are chasing anybody, it's Tottenham. I know they are having a great run, but they haven't had a blip this season and all it will take is a couple of defeats and a draw to let Arsenal back in.

The Europa League will help Arsenal immensely as well. Tottenham will be playing on Thursdays and Sundays and that could take its toll. I don't think it will be a big issue this week, though; Tottenham have had two great results against Arsenal and Inter Milan and you don't feel tired when you're winning.

Liverpool's still a tough place to go, though, and I fancy them to win this game. They can beat anybody on their day and the players are getting used to the way Brendan Rodgers wants them to play.

He's bought well and he's let go of the reins on Steven Gerrard, too. He was asking him to play tippy-tappy football earlier in the season and that's not his game.

Plus, they've got Luis Suarez and a lot of people are talking about him and Gareth Bale ahead of this match. They're both great players who tick a million boxes and I really couldn't choose who I'd rather have in my team; they're both as good as each other.

But if I was picking my Player of the Season I wouldn't choose either of them. It would be Robin van Persie for me because he has won the league for Man United and has made the difference for them after last year.

I can't work out why people are saying Bale should get the award. He's maybe helped Tottenham to get in the Champions League. The problem with the PFA Player of the Year Award is that people were asked to vote two weeks ago - and whoever is playing well at that time wins. He's got 11 goals in his last nine games, but he only got seven in his first 20 games for Spurs this year!

But he is a great player. Like Suarez, he can do something out of the ordinary. They can score goals when the team is playing terribly and that's a big advantage. Arsenal, for example, haven't got that.

But overall, I don't think Tottenham are as good as people say they are and at the end of a long week I think Liverpool will win this at home.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

Norwich v Southampton
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

If Norwich win this game then I think that's another year in the Premier League secured and I think they will do that. I say that because Southampton have been playing a game where they've been closing people down and after you lose a couple of games - as they have - then all that becomes a bit of a chore. I fear Southampton's players are being asked to do something they're not used to and it might take its toll.

QPR v Sunderland
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0

I say it every week, but this another game that QPR HAVE to win. It was a huge win for them at Southampton last week and they've got no better hope of giving themselves a lifeline than by winning this. They were chasing three teams, but they could pull Southampton and Sunderland into the mix in back-to-back games and that could make a big difference. Sunderland aren't great travellers and I'm backing QPR. If they don't win this they will struggle to stay up, though.

Reading v Aston Villa
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3

For me, Aston Villa always do well when they're playing teams who'd expect to beat them. They looked decent against Arsenal and Man City, but they flatter to deceive at times. However, I fancy them to win this game because Reading have hit a brick wall. They had a poor result against Wigan last week - you can't be getting roasted at home to Wigan - and the confidence will be rock bottom. The fans will be a bag of nerves after that reality check.

West Brom v Swansea
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2

Swansea surprised me last week. They followed up their Capital One Cup win with a great victory at Newcastle (which will be a worry for Arsenal who go to the Liberty Stadium in their next away game). Personally, I think this will be an open game and the two sides will go out and play total football. I'll go for a draw, but if I had to go with someone I would pick West Brom because of the speed and strength of Romelu Lukaku.

Newcastle v Stoke
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0

Newcastle probably need one more win to be certain of staying up, but I watched their Europa League game on Thursday and I thought they were very comfortable and Alan Pardew got his tactics spot on. Stoke have been bad travellers this season and won't have Robert Huth in their ranks, so I'm going for a home win.

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