Blogs & Opinion


Draw and fire

Merse gives his verdict on all the weekend's games

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 30th August 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 skysports.com to share his views on who he expects to be the winners and losers of the weekend.

Cazorla: the Spaniard could be crucial to Arsenal's chances against Liverpool, says Merse

Cazorla: the Spaniard could be crucial to Arsenal's chances against Liverpool, says Merse

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

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

I was disappointed by the fact West Ham played 4-5-1 at Swansea last weekend; a lot of newly promoted teams in recent times, Swansea included, have had a right go in away games but the Hammers were set up to try and get a draw.

The way football's going now you've got to go out and look for goals and be positive. Hopefully they will do that at home this weekend, though they will have to deal with the pressure of expectation.

Fulham will miss Moussa Dembele, who has gone to Tottenham, because he brought skill and power to their midfield, but if they can get Dimitar Berbatov in that would be a great move. On his day, the Bulgarian is as good as anybody.

Martin Jol's side haven't been great away from home in recent seasons but they were very good at Man United last week and, with a bit more luck, could easily have got a draw. They will fancy going to West Ham and getting a result - and I think they will.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1

Ford Super Sunday: Liverpool v Arsenal
1pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD

There is a lot at stake in this game; both teams have yet to win a match and if someone loses this their season will be in dire straits.

Arsenal need to get a happy medium; they have kept clean sheets against Sunderland and Stoke but they haven't made bundles and bundles of clear-cut chances.

If Santi Cazorla plays well, though, Arsenal will have every chance at Anfield, but centre-backs Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker will have to play well, too, as while Luis Suarez hasn't been great in front of goal, he will create a lot.

It will be interesting to see what role Theo Walcott plays as he has been linked with a move away from the club. It makes me laugh how a big club like Arsenal can get in this situation with players having one year left on their contract. Walcott has apparently reached a short-term compromise with Arsene Wenger but if I was making decisions there I would probably have sold him.

Liverpool played well last week and probably should have beaten Man City, but I do think Arsenal can get something because they look a bit more solid.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1

Ford Super Sunday: Southampton v Man United
3.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD & Sky 3D

Southampton will be disappointed that they lost at home to Wigan last week, especially after the way they played against Man City in their first game.

The game at the Etihad was a free swing, though, and they weren't expected to get anything, whereas against Wigan there was pressure and I don't think they coped well with that.

Southampton will be the underdogs again this weekend, though, and can play with freedom again, but I would expect them to get beaten convincingly, even though Man United' s Wayne Rooney is out with his leg injury.

Rafael was excellent for Man United at right-back against Fulham but he would have to do that against a top-six side before I am really convinced that he is Old Trafford quality. Still, there were big improvements from a player that has been a weak link in the past.

PAUL PREDICTS: 0-3

Swansea v Sunderland
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-0

Sunderland have strengthened with the signings of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson, but it will be difficult for them to get anything at Swansea with the way Michael Laudrup's side are playing; they are on fire at the moment. Sunderland got a 0-0 draw at the Emirates and might get one in this match, but I think Swansea will nick it.

Tottenham v Norwich
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0

This is a big game for Spurs; they didn't beat West Brom at home so they have to win against Norwich at White Hart Lane. Chris Hughton's side got battered by Fulham in their first game but they were quite good against QPR last week. I have to go for Tottenham, though.

West Brom v Everton
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2

If Everton keep all their players fit, they won't be far off the top four. The trouble they've got is that their first XI have to play every game and by the end of the season that can take its toll. They have started this season brilliantly and I think they'll beat West Brom on Saturday.

Wigan v Stoke
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0

Wigan have lost Victor Moses but on-loan Arsenal man Ryo Miyaichi could now play a big role, while they've got Arouna Kone up front who looks like a good player. Bar a very bad six minutes, they were very good against Chelsea and won last week against Southampton. I don't see them losing this game against Stoke.

Man City v QPR
PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0

I can see why Man City have been looking for more players during the transfer window; if you want to fight for the Premier League and Champions League you have to strengthen every season. Still, even if they don't get any more bodies in before the deadline, I dread to think what the score could be here. QPR have been really active in the transfer market but they needed to be; they were very much second best in their opening two games.

Newcastle v Aston Villa
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0

I fear for Aston Villa. The Capital One Cup win in midweek against Tranmere was alright but their two league performances have not been; if the game had carried on against Everton they could have lost six or seven. I see nothing but a Newcastle 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.

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