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More blues for Reds

Merse gives his verdict on all the weekend's games

Features - Paul Merson Posted 13th September 2012 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 to share his views on who he expects to be the winners and losers of the weekend.

Villas-Boas: could it be another tough day for new Spurs chief?

Villas-Boas: could it be another tough day for new Spurs chief?

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

Ford Football Special: Norwich v West Ham
12.30pm, Sat, Sky Sports 2 HD

Fair play to Norwich for bouncing back after a terrible opening to the season.

They got slaughtered at Fulham, but they've done well since then and could have beaten both Tottenham and QPR. I've seen enough from them to think they might be okay this season; I was very impressed against QPR when they were the much better team.

If they can play like that in all of their home games they won't go too far wrong. Robert Snodgrass, Anthony Pilkington and Simeon Jackson all looked lively, but it was a very good team performance all round.

They'll now look at this game as a chance to get their first win. They won't want to go four games without a victory and I think they should beat a West Ham team that looked very patchy in their last away game.

They set up 4-5-1 at Swansea, they didn't really look to win the match and they ended up losing 3-0. In contrast, they flew out of the blocks against Fulham at home and were 2-0 up in no time.

They need to sort out their approach on the road or else it'll put a lot of pressure on their home games. The loss of Andy Carroll is a big blow because his height would have been very useful at Carrow Road, which isn't the biggest of pitches.

Based on Norwich's last home game and West Ham's last away game I think I have to go for a home win here.


Ford Super Sunday: Reading v Tottenham
3.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD & Sky 3D

If you're a Tottenham fan you'd be very worried about their form, especially at home.

The away game at Newcastle on the opening day was hard, but they'd expect to beat West Brom and Norwich - and six points from three games wouldn't be a bad start. In the end, they didn't deserve to win any of those games.

Andre Villas-Boas set up with two defensive midfield players against Norwich and I don't think that really sends out the right message at home.

The new players need to settle in quickly because the fans are already on the manager's back. They need to win a game soon before the pressure gets too great.

For me, they haven't got enough up front. They've only got two recognised centre-forwards in Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor and I don't think that's enough. Clint Dempsey's a very good player but I don't see him scoring 20 goals for them this season.

And the goalkeeper situation is also strange. They've brought in Hugo Lloris and I'm sure they were planning to start him in this game. They probably expected to beat Norwich 3-0 and Brad Friedel wouldn't touch the ball.

As it turned out, Friedel played a blinder and they can't drop him now. If he keeps playing like that then Lloris won't get a game until Christmas! It's very rare to buy a goalie and make him wait like that.

Reading haven't played a Premier League game since August 22 and they should be fresh. They won't have had as many players on international duty as Tottenham either.

If I had to pick a winner I would say Tottenham would have too much, but I think Reading will ride their luck and get a draw.


Ford Monday Night Football: Everton v Newcastle
7pm, Mon, Sky Sports 1 HD & Sky 3D

Everton have had a great start to the season and they will be more than happy with how things are going.

They beat Man United, they outclassed Aston Villa, they won 5-0 in the League Cup and were comfortable for an hour against West Brom. Then Darron Gibson got injured and they had a bad 30 minutes, but overall they have been excellent. When all their players are fit they are a very good team.

I think Everton have done especially well because they've actually had a hard start to the season and I'd say the same about Newcastle, who've already played Tottenham and Chelsea.

I like it when they play both Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, who can hurt anybody, and I hope they both start at Everton. I always like it when a side is willing to go away and take teams on.

They're a very good counter-attacking side but if they sit back too much then Everton will come at them with wave after wave of pressure. They need to show plenty going forward.

However, it doesn't matter where Everton are in the league. Going to Goodison Park is always a difficult football match, but even more so when they're in good form.

So I'm putting Everton down as favourites. If they play anywhere near as well as they did in their last home league game against Man United they should win.


Arsenal v Southampton

Southampton have done well so far. I like the way they had a go against Man United and Man City, it's a good idea, but while both games were very entertaining for the neutral, I saw Blackpool go down playing that way. They should cause Arsenal problems and I think they'll be the first team to score against them. I see them scoring and creating chances, but I dread to think the problems Arsenal will cause at the other end.

Aston Villa v Swansea

We might only be four games in, but this game could define Aston Villa's season. If they lose this one I think they'll be in a relegation battle for the rest of the season. Swansea have started great, but Villa fans will turn up thinking they need a win - and it wouldn't surprise me if they do. The players need to stay patient when Swansea start passing the ball and they mustn't close down in silly positions or else Swansea will pick them off like they did against West Ham and QPR. However, I don't think there's much between the teams.

Fulham v West Brom

I thought Steve Clarke might struggle to make the step up from coach to manager, but at the moment West Brom look Ashford & Simpson (solid as a rock...). They've had a hard start against in-form Everton, Liverpool and Spurs and they've been outstanding. They're very well organised and I'm going to go for a draw here because Fulham are decent at home. I must admit I was surprised to see them lose so badly to West Ham!

Man Utd v Wigan

I'm doing this game on Soccer Saturday and I don't see it as a foregone conclusion. Man United aren't playing great at the moment; they lost to Everton then beat Fulham 3-2 and won in the last minute against Southampton. They need to start winning games 1-0 and 2-0 again because you don't see many teams win the league by winning 3-2 every week! I expect them to beat Wigan, but it won't be a walk in the park.

QPR v Chelsea

I've seen QPR a few times and they're really struggling. In this league you need to settle in quickly or else, before you know it, you can't get out of the bottom six. Chelsea were shocking themselves in the Super Cup Final, but I expect them to improve in this one. I know they lost at Loftus Road last year, but it was only 1-0 and they had two players sent off! They have better players and should win the game.

Stoke v Man City

Stoke don't have a great record over the last 15 league games, stretching into last season, but I'm not worried about them. I don't see them as relegation material, but I don't see teams being as worried as they used to be about going there. They need to change that quickly and if they go back to the way they can play at home they can cause a major upset here. Tuesday's game with Real Madrid will be in the mind of the Man City players and as long as Stoke don't try and play pretty football, they should get a result. I'll pick a draw, but if I had to pick a winner I would probably go for Stoke.

Sunderland v Liverpool

I watched Arsenal at Anfield two weeks ago and that's as bad as I've seen from a Liverpool team. Even in the days of Henry, Pires and Bergkamp I don't think Arsenal have ever been so comfortable at the home of Liverpool. My fear for Liverpool is that if Luis Suarez gets injured they could be a bottom-half team and I'd have to say that Sunderland are the favourites here. They left their signings late, but I like Steven Fletcher and I think Adam Johnson will be a better player at Sunderland than he was at Man City. He knows he'll play every week and being a massive fish in a small pond will suit him. I'm going for a home win.

Follow Saturday's football on Soccer Saturday from 12noon on Sky Sports News HD and then see extended highlights on Football First from 8.25pm on Sky Sports HD2.

Comments (2)

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Matthew Bullman (Liverpool fan) says...

Merse as it spot on for his predictions this weekend. As a Liverpool fan, we are goal-shy and if Carroll wanted to leave earlier, we could have cashed in and bought a couple of forwards. No passion, no direction and come January, more players leaving the team. I do think Sunderland will win as they are tough to beat at home.

Posted 12:14 14th September 2012

Ayamga Samuel (Chelsea fan) says...

chelsea wii win by 2 goals to 0.torres wii score one follow by hazard.

Posted 10:04 14th September 2012

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