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Turning up

Merse gives his verdict on all the weekend's games

Features - Paul Merson Posted 1st February 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.

Clarke: faces Spurs with West Brom in poor form

Clarke: faces Spurs with West Brom in poor form

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

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

Christopher Samba could be the difference between QPR going down and staying up.

It's a big gamble to spend £12million and £100,000 a week on wages (what happens if they go down?), but he's a monster of a centre-half and is a threat in the other box. That's a big, big signing for Harry Redknapp.

I can't see many others being on that money in that dressing room, but if he comes in and keeps them up then fair play to Tony Fernandes for taking the gamble. With all the TV money coming in, you have to be in the Premier League next year.

I'm less convinced about Jermaine Jenas, who is a good player, but could have been very good if he'd done more with his ability and I like Andros Townsend. Harry has brought in people he knows who have played in the Premier League and I think he's done great business. I thought they had no chance of staying up and now they have a great chance.

We'll see which new players appear against Norwich, but they need to win this game. They've drawn against West Ham and Man City, but it's different when the fans are expecting a result. They seem to find it difficult when the onus is on them.

Norwich aren't too far away from staying up and if they can go to QPR and draw it will be a big result for them. They brought in Luciano Becchio on Deadline Day who is a player I like, but I'm not sure if he's a top-level footballer.

The big question here is can QPR handle the pressure of a must-win game? With Harry in charge, I think they'll win a tight game.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

Ford Super Sunday: West Brom v Tottenham
1pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD

When I read about the Peter Odemwingie saga on Friday morning I nearly fell off the toilet!

I just can't believe what he did. You can't turn up at QPR hoping a deal is going to be done! This is where his agent needs a good talking to because he can just go and sit at his desk and get on with his job, but the poor player has got to go back and train with the team-mates he was trying to leave behind.

And if he ever plays again, the fans will absolutely hammer him.

He's been disrespectful to Steve Clarke and the owners of West Brom, a club which took him out of his nightmare in Russia not very long ago. That club put him on the map, so to treat them like that isn't right.

This is a problem they didn't need because they haven't been in great form. They were always going to have a dip after their great start, but this is a ruthless league and they haven't been able to win for toffee lately. The games come around so quickly and your season can turn around in two-and-a-half weeks.

As for Tottenham, they didn't play well against Norwich on Wednesday but they still got a point. When Tottenham played badly in the days before Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas they would lose, but they seem to have a winning mentality now.

That point might be massive at the end of the season. I just make Spurs favourites for fourth place, but it will be tight against Arsenal and Everton - and Chelsea aren't assured any more.

And I think they will win this game, especially when you consider what's gone on with Odemwingie.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3

Ford Super Sunday: Man City v Liverpool
3.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD

A draw is a waste of time for both teams here and as a result we should get an unbelievable football match.

In the race for fourth I don't see Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton losing this weekend so if Liverpool don't win then the gap to the Champions League spots will get a bit too big.

I also expect Man City to be 10 points behind Man United by the time they walk onto the football pitch, so they need the three points too.

I think there's a long way to go in the title race. Man City haven't let in a goal in their six games in 2013 and they're getting much more Ashford & Simpson at the back now. If they can keep it that way they've always got the players to win games.

So if they can beat Liverpool I still think they're well in the hunt to catch Man United, even though they're at a disadvantage by playing second this weekend.

Liverpool sat back too much when they went 2-0 ahead against Arsenal. They should have gone at them and could have nicked a third, but instead they took Daniel Sturridge off and let Arsenal take control. It's a shame because they were outstanding in the first half.

And it was great to see a top-drawer player like Luis Suarez being asked to play left wing and putting in a fabulous shift. Fair play to him because he was tracking back, winning tackles - and he played probably the ball of the season to Sturridge (if it had fallen on his better foot we'd have been talking about that pass forever...)

If Man City score first it could be all over, but if Liverpool get the first goal then they can play on the break and we could be in for a very high-scoring football match.

PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1

Arsenal v Stoke
PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0

Stoke have been very disappointing defensively recently and have let in three goals in four of their last five league games - and they threw away a 2-0 lead to draw with Wigan in the other. That's not the Stoke that I know. Arsenal should win this fairly comfortably.

Everton v Aston Villa
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1

I don't know what to say about Aston Villa. Every week on Soccer Saturday I say they need a central midfielder with lots of experience to put his foot on the ball and spray passes around and what do they buy? A 22-year-old from France! Seriously? They've lost to Wigan, Southampton and Newcastle at home so there's zilcho chance of winning at Goodison Park.

Newcastle v Chelsea
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2

Chelsea need to sort themselves out. They've let in two against Brentford, Reading and Southampton and maybe the manager needs to let them off the leash. Whenever Chelsea have gone 2-0 up in the last few years you'd expect them to get four or five, but now they just sit back. Newcastle won a huge game at Aston Villa and can go out and relax more here, but you don't know what you're going to get from Chelsea. They're like a bag of Revels, but I'll go for them to win.

Reading v Sunderland
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

I've spoken to Brian McDermott a couple of times and he'll be the first to admit they were too open at the start of the season. He realised there are too many good players about in the Premier League and switched to a 4-5-1, made them harder to beat and has enjoyed more luck. They hadn't had any luck for half a season, but have had a bit (on top of their hard work) in the last few games. Sunderland are playing well, but I think Reading can win and go clear of the bottom three.

West Ham v Swansea
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1

You always get one team in the second half of the season sliding down like someone in glass slippers on a glass slope. At the moment that team is West Ham, but when you've got Sam Allardyce as your manager you will be alright. He won't let Swansea get the ball down and spray it around and they can get a draw.

Wigan v Southampton
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1

Sir Alex Ferguson said Southampton were the best team he'd faced at Old Trafford this season, but it's a bit easier when you've got nothing to lose. Can they play like that at Wigan? They're playing well enough to win this game, but Wigan are a bit hot and cold. I'll go for the draw, but if I had to pick a winner I would go for Southampton.

Fulham v Man Utd
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3

No Berbatov, no chance. If Fulham's best player doesn't play then I can only see one result. You only had to look at the FA Cup game last weekend to see how superior Man United are, especially when Wayne Rooney is in form. Sir Alex will play his best team to try and win the game and put the pressure on Man City before they start focussing on Real Madrid and the Champions League.

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