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Merse looks ahead to two big live Saturday games

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 26th February 2010 view comments

Sky Sports brings you two live matches on Saturday and both have implications at the top of the Premier League table.

From noon you can see if Chelsea can extend their lead at the top as they welcome a Manchester City side looking to bounce back from their midweek FA Cup defeat to Stoke City.

And from 5.15pm you can see the Potters themselves as they welcome third-placed Arsenal to the Britannia Stadium.

Terry: under the spotlight on Saturday

Terry: under the spotlight on Saturday

Sky Sports expert Paul Merson gives us his views ahead of both games...

Chelsea v Man City
12noon, Sat, Sky Sports HD1 & Sky Sports 1

People will talk about John Terry and Wayne Bridge in the build-up to this match, but at the end of the day this is a game of football.

Put it this way, you're not going to see them fighting each other on the half-way line. It might be a bit more awkward if it was a centre-forward against a centre-half, but Bridge and Terry will probably only come into contact at corners.

I do think all the controversy is affecting Terry. I saw him struggle against Everton, he got away with two massive mistakes against Wolves and he was all over the place against Inter. There's obviously a lot going on in his head.

Paul Merson
Quotes of the week

Chelsea v Man City

12pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD1
Stoke City v Arsenal
5.15pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD1
Watch online with Sky Player
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I do think all the controversy is affecting Terry. I saw him struggle against Everton, he got away with two massive mistakes against Wolves and he was all over the place against Inter. There's obviously a lot going on in his head.

I haven't seen Bridge lately, but I was very, very, very surprised to hear him give up on England. I know he's going through a lot of pain at the moment but time's a healer and it could all move on in two or three months. This decision means he might miss out on winning the World Cup with England.

Beyond that sideshow, this is a massive game for Manchester City. They've gone out of the FA Cup and fighting for fourth place is all they've got left now.

But they've only won one of their last 11 away games - plus the FA Cup loss at Stoke - and that's shocking form. If I'm honest, I don't think this team is that great.

Many years ago Blackburn bought the league by spending loads of money on the best players, but you can't do that now. There's a lot of strong clubs and City will need time to get a team in place. I think it will be difficult for them to get in the top four so quickly.

And I don't see them getting anything out of a much better Chelsea team who are very strong at home.

Ashley Cole and Petr Cech will be missed and I remember they blew the league a couple of years ago when Cech and Terry got injured. Chelsea's squad is bigger and stronger than anybody's, but certain individuals will make a difference. Cech is probably worth four points between now and the end of the season.

I still reckon they'll be too strong on Saturday though and City will slip a little further behind in that race for fourth.

Home win - If you've got an away record like City have then you're always going to be up against it at Stamford Bridge. They probably need to sit back, but I can't see Chelsea failing to score and I think the home team will win comfortably. I'll go for 3-0.

Didier Drogba - He's a big player and even though he didn't do a lot against Inter Milan on Wednesday night I expect him to raise his game here. He's been flying in the Premier League and should cause City lots of problems.

Stoke City v Arsenal
5.15pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD1 & Sky Sports 1

Here are 10 reasons why Arsenal can easily still win the Premier League:

1. Burnley (h)
2. Hull City (a)
3. West Ham (h)
4. Birmingham (a)
5. Wolves (h)
6. Tottenham (a)
7. Wigan (a)
8. Man City (h)
9. Blackburn (a)
10. Fulham (h)

Those are Arsenal's final 10 fixtures and that's why Arsenal can get back in the title race. Nobody else has got fixtures like that.

But it all means nothing if they don't beat Stoke on Saturday. I expect Chelsea to beat Man City so if Arsenal lose at the Britannia they'll be nine points behind. I can't see Chelsea losing three of their last 10 games so the gap will be too big.

It's such a thin line for Arsenal because away to Stoke is a very tough game. However, the big advantage for them is that Stoke played extra time on Wednesday and will have one eye on the FA Cup quarter-final next week.

Stoke have got bigger fish to fry than Arsenal. If they lose on Saturday it doesn't really matter, but if they can get a result at Chelsea next week and go closer to the FA Cup Final it would be phenomenal for them.

It wouldn't surprise me if a few important players had a rest on Saturday because Stoke have got nothing to prove any more. We all know they are capable of beating anybody and I think they have earned the right to concentrate on the FA Cup

The home team do play a bit of football, there are some skilful players like Tuncay and Ricardo Fuller in the team, but they are not going to beat Arsenal by getting it down and opening them up.

They are going to get the ball in the box quickly and it's hard for anybody to defend against that for 90 minutes. Stoke always get themselves a chance to score and some of the long throws are unplayable.

So I expect Arsene Wenger to pick a few of his bigger players to compete with Stoke. Nicklas Bendtner and Abou Diaby are good physical players and I expect them to start, but ultimately Arsenal need to play to their own strengths.

That means getting the ball down and playing through Stoke - and I think that should be enough for the three points.

Away win - Arsenal have to win this game and I personally think they will. Stoke will have half an eye on the Chelsea game, so I see Arsenal winning 3-1 and getting back in the title race. But if they lose it's goodnight...

Cesc Fabregas - Arsenal need to put a few bigger lads in there, but if they're going to win they have to get it down and play through Stoke. There's nobody better at doing that than Fabregas and I think he'll be the main man.

Comments (36)

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Paul Davies (Arsenal fan) says...

merse are you some kind of psycic???????? brilliant reading of the future.... come on you gunners

Posted 08:04 2nd March 2010

Johnny Chocolates (Manchester United fan) says...

Mick F (arsenal fan) that is comedy gold from you my friend!! hahahaha arsenal are not on the same level as man utd or chelsea at all!thats why you've won nothing in 5 yrs! antonio valencia, best winger in the prem by a mile, and that "pensioner" giggs still better than anyone at arsenal

Posted 10:27 1st March 2010

Nathan Towers (Sunderland fan) says...

sunderland to win the title :P

Posted 10:18 1st March 2010

Waseem Ideis (Manchester United fan) says...

Arsenal have problems every season beating the "weaker" teams. They have done better this season against them however, i think arsenal will drop 12-13 points out of the 30. so on that note i think arsenal can not win the Premier League.. N im not sayin this because im a MAN U fan... we have done it 3 timez in a row, im happy

Posted 09:53 1st March 2010

Red Devil (Manchester United fan) says...

Ha Ha Chelsea 2 - 4 Manc what a schooling given to chelsea old agers. Out classed UTD for the title

Posted 15:25 27th February 2010

Matt Gardiner (Chelsea fan) says...

Being a chelsea fan i think there formation is rubbish and boring anelka is suppose to be a striker and he recieves the ball deeper than Obi Mikel and does nothing with the ball except lose and dont get it back because he LAZY and also why the hell aint we bought a new keeper, hilario would not be a first team keeper for ANY off the premiership clubs so why have we got him.

Posted 14:50 27th February 2010

Bish Venom (Liverpool fan) says...

Wayne Bridge missing out on a world cup winner's medal...I find that amusing

Posted 13:36 27th February 2010

Ben Mathews (Manchester United fan) says...

On paper Arsenal's fixtures look easy. Sadly the Premier League has shown this time around the difference between theoretical and practical football. Arsenal need to win all those games if they are to challenge for the title. The away games at Hull City, Birmingham and Tottenham could be shockers! There are at least 10 weeks before we can get a clear picture of who might nick it. In the next 10 weeks injuries could have a say in some teams at the top.

Posted 11:57 27th February 2010

Mick F (Arsenal fan) says...

Tommy Nolan your talking about Cesc Fabregas cheating???Hello??This is coming from a Man U fan??Ha!!Wayne Rooney is FAMOUS for diving...and as for that creep Cristiano Ronaldo?The guy was THE GREATEST DIVER TO EVER PLAY IN THE PREMIERSHIP!!Look,say what you like but the fact is United are rubbish without Rooney,where are the goals gonna come frm when he gets injured??Berbatov?Or any of the pensioners in midfield??Dont! make me laugh any harder!United can only dream of playing football like the Arsenal and Chelsea can...when we buy a proven goal scorer United will be trailing behind,if they're not alreday gone into administration FROM THE 750 BILLION QUID DEBT they're in..Ha Haaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted 11:28 27th February 2010

Kieron Kidwell (Chelsea fan) says...

(Fred Ndong) How can you say your a Chelsea fan when you say you were not gonna watch it if Adebayor did not play??? Come on - this is the most eagerly awaited game for a long time... the rivalry now that they have their "millions" is big, with the added spice of Terry/Bridge to go with it! Let the football do the talking and not their private lives. Chelsea will win, but i think it will be a tough game. Tevez is on fire - but can City fend off The Drog?? Suspect at the back i slightly agree with and in some games ive seen they do look shaky! But 13 clean sheets (Highest) speaks for itself so they cant be that bad! Come on the Chelsea - 2-0... Drogba brace.

Posted 10:20 27th February 2010

Fin A (Manchester United fan) says...

i think chelsea will be on the ropes after losing to mourinho's inter,ok they havent lost back to back games in a bit but man city will cause an upset.alot of pressure on mancini so i think he will urge his players to get a result,city can put on a show against the top teams.arsenal-stoke as much as id love to see stoke get a win i dont think it will happen against arsenal they will break stoke down eventually and get a get a rsult

Posted 10:01 27th February 2010

Homzie D (Manchester United fan) says...

Well Merse, don't you think a 3-0 Chelsea win is a bit too far off? Chelsea are very solid at home and haven't lost any game, but, I expect this to be a bit cagey and tactical game. City haven't been in the best of forms but, with City you never know what you're going to get. The team which makes the least mistakes will win the game. As a Utd fan, I hope Chelsea drop points. (Can't believe I'm saying this), but, I'm hoping for a City win. The whole of Manchester will be hoping for a CIty win! I'll go for a 1-1 draw (can't see Chelsea lose) with Carlos Tevez to score the equaliser! Stoke v Arsenal will be a battle. Stoke are a very physical team and may surprise The Gunners who aren't physical when the situation demands. However, Arsenal's class to shine through with a 3-1 away win. My Predictions - Chelsea 1 Man City 1 & Stoke 1 Arsenal 3.

Posted 08:36 27th February 2010

Craig S (Stoke City fan) says...

Chelsea will easily overcome Man C, I predict a 3-0 scoreline, watching Man C on Wed night Mancini has come in with a different way to play compared to Hughes, but the players do not understand what they need to do, just look at the drop in form of Steve Ireland. Stoke will beat Arsenal as they are percieved as a 'one trick pony' Stoke can also push the ball up front quickly or develop space, so come on Arsene bring your team ready for a beating

Posted 08:12 27th February 2010

Faisal Rahman (Arsenal fan) says...

I don't think Chelsea will will tonight. This is not the same Man City team, ... and don't forget that they have beaten Chelsea back in their yard. So, ... i think, it will be at least a draw. Chelsea does not look confident to me at all. They lost their last 2 games and Terry is just not at his best. As for Arsenal, i think odds are in favor of them. They can easily beat Stoke, only if they play well. If they lose, it will be season over for them. Any point lost for Arsenal is certainly bye bye for them.

Posted 08:10 27th February 2010

Jason Dunn (Stoke City fan) says...

I have to disagree with Paul Merson. Stokes more direct and physical approach could prove to much for Arsenal again. Stoke to nick it 2-1 and Wenger giving Stoke no praise what so-ever.

Posted 21:50 26th February 2010

Olufemi Mare (Arsenal fan) says...

Paul Merse might have predicted well for Arsenal to still be in the title race, but it is a close call. I am a true Arsenal fan but not until the so called professor( Arsene Wenger ) realises that been adarmant on buying some experience players rather than to groom the youth players, Paul Merse's prediction of Arsenal been in the title race is far from truth. As for the game against Stoke, Arsenal can only win that game if we can deal with the long throw properly at the back and Mr Professor(Wenger) not using the inexperience players in such a game. As for Chelsea V Man City, Chelsea to win but not at such margin Paul predicted perhaps 2-1 to Chelsea.

Posted 20:37 26th February 2010

Scott Cripps (Southampton fan) says...

i think wayne bridge should not shake hands with terry, a handshake is a show of respect and diplomacy clearly terry lacks both. also terry should be the one dropping out of the england team, he looks like a useless donkey in current form and i would rather have bridge in south africa

Posted 19:24 26th February 2010

Tony Ruggiero (Arsenal fan) says...

I agree with Mers I think Arsenal will win 3-1 on sat evening at Stoke. With the run in we have we can win most of the remaining games and put presure on the top 2. As for Chelsea I wonder what affect John Terry will have on the team. He looks a little bit uneasy at the moment.

Posted 19:18 26th February 2010

Jess Whitmore (Chelsea fan) says...

Personally i agree with Paul, Chelsea have the best home record in the prem and a great home record against man c, we have beaten them considerablly in the past and i can see a 3-0 this week. It wasn't long ago we put 6 past them so why not, especailly with adebayor out and tevez potentially not match fit. As for the terry/bridge fiasco i hope that is put aside and both players are shown the respect they deserve on the pitch. C'mon the chels

Posted 16:51 26th February 2010

Daniel Storey (Sheffield Wednesday fan) says...

Tommy on earth can you call fabregas a cheater!!! he gives verything in the game and gives everything for arsenal and when u have a a split second 2 react u just want the ball in the backo of the net. can you say united playeras have never done anything of the sort? Ronaldo's oscar winning dives? Ferdinands assaults on fellow defenders when the ball is nowhere near? 2 footed tackles from overpriced foreeign players like anderson? i believe you should look at your own club before you start shouting accusations. fabregas is a man in the same mould as paul scholes and steven gerrard. he will give 120% in every game he plays and does everything he can for his club. in this age of money money money, brought on by the likes of man utd, chelsea, and city, i think we should praise some1 who plays for the club not the money. dont you?

Posted 15:27 26th February 2010

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