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Net loss

Merse gives his verdict on this weekend's games

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 28th December 2012 view comments

The Premier League teams are back in action this weekend for their final run out of 2012.

Soccer Saturday expert Paul Merson will be a keen observer and ahead of the clashes, he gave skysports.com his take on where the games could be won and lost.

Read below for his views on the Sky Live games between Sunderland and Tottenham, Everton and Chelsea and QPR and Liverpool as well as the rest of the top flight fixtures.

Pardew: Could see his Newcastle side lose another thriller this weekend

Pardew: Could see his Newcastle side lose another thriller this weekend

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Sunderland v Tottenham
12.30pm, Saturday, Sky Sports 2 HD

Tottenham dominated Aston Villa for most of the game on Boxing Day. However, Villa did have opportunities and I actually thought they had the better chances when the game was at 0-0.

It sounds strange to say because Tottenham had something like 15 corners to none in the first half but it was one of those games.

Christian Benteke should have scored to put Villa ahead but, as it was, Tottenham made their dominance tell in the second half and Gareth Bale scored a great hat-trick. He's a top, top draw player, no doubt about it.

Sunderland also had a good win on Boxing Day, though. They beat Manchester City 1-0, just like they did last season, and this will be a hard game for Tottenham.

Sunderland have turned the corner, from being in the relegation battle and after some really good results they've moved clear of the bottom three. After the win over City their fans will be right up for this one.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1

Everton v Chelsea
1.30pm, Sunday, Sky Sports 1 HD

This is a game Chelsea will have to win if they want to challenge for the title. Man United play on Saturday and they could be 14 points ahead of Chelsea by the time they kick-off at Goodison Park.

Unfortunately for Chelsea, the only place I can think that's harder to go than Stoke is Everton! It will be very entertaining because Chelsea have to win.

Rafa Benitez has got Chelsea playing well but Everton are playing well, too. I don't see a lot between these teams at the moment - and if the suspended Marouane Fellaini was playing I might even have lent towards the home side.

But with him out I reckon it'll be a draw - and that shows how far Everton have come under David Moyes this season.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1

QPR v Liverpool
3.30pm, Sunday, Sky Sports 1 HD

I don't know how long we're going to be saying 'QPR have to win this game' - but they really do.

They had two bad results over Christmas after beating Fulham and need to get players in during the transfer window in January. But it's hard to bring players in when you're bottom of the league.

However, I was also disappointed in Liverpool at Stoke the other day. They were really poor. Stoke were pressing them high up the pitch but Liverpool were still trying to roll it out from the back and it was suicidal in the end.

That's the way to beat Liverpool - pressing them, closing them down and putting them under pressure - and I think Harry Redknapp will know that.

QPR are desperate for three points - and I've got a feeling they'll get them this weekend.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

Aston Villa v Wigan
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1

This is the biggest game of the weekend. Villa have completely and utterly looked shot in the past few games, conceding 12 in their last two. If the Tottenham game went on for another ten minutes that could have been 6-0 or 7-0. I dread to think what would happen if they let in the first one on Saturday. They've got an inexperienced team and that's the problem - you can't get by with young kids running around, this is the Premier League; you need more than that. Wigan are a bit weird, though, because they're not playing really bad. You think they're doing ok and then you look at the league table. They give everyone a game - they could have beaten Man City - and I think this is a tough game for Villa.

Fulham v Swansea
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

Fulham are having a bit of nightmare at the moment. They need to win this one. They're relying on Berbatov and need him to perform this weekend. Swansea went to Reading and drew 0-0 and you never see Swansea draw 0-0! They got a 1-1 draw against Man United and that probably took its toll when they went to Reading. However, I think Fulham will just have a bit too much for them in this one.

Man Utd v West Brom
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1

West Brom have had a few really good results recently and won two on the trot over Christmas. They'd been on a bit of a bad run so needed that. Man United at the moment are saying 'you get three, we'll get four; you get four, we'll get five'. I don't know how long you can keep doing that for but Javier Hernandez's last minute winner against Newcastle has given them a big cushion at the top. West Brom will have a go - and they're quick up front - but I think Robin Van Persie is head and shoulders above everybody in the Premier League at the moment.

Norwich v Man City
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-2

I don't know what's wrong with Man City. With all the firepower they've got, they scored a last second goal against Reading and didn't score against Sunderland. That surprises me. I don't see how that can happen. One of their best performances last year was this game when Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero ripped them apart. I've got to go with Man City this weekend because they have to win. If they don't win this the title race is all over.

Reading v West Ham
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

West Ham have got a massive advantage from not playing on Boxing Day but Reading have to win. They're off the bottom but they need Wigan to win at Villa to keep a few teams down there. It's a big weekend for them - and I've got a feeling Reading will get the three points they need.

Stoke v Southampton
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0

Stoke were outstanding against Liverpool. They're the fittest team in the league by a million miles. They work so hard for eachother. They thoroughly deserved to beat Liverpool and looking at this one I never go against Stoke at home. I think this is a banker for them. This is a difficult time for the teams like Southampton down towards the bottom. You either get out of it now or sucked in. Southampton would rather than go anywhere else than Stoke this weekend.

Arsenal v Newcastle
PAUL PREDICTS: 4-2

Newcastle, fair play to them, took the game to Man United and had a real go. If they do that against Arsenal I think they've got every chance. But Arsenal didn't have a game on Boxing Day and that's a big advantage. Arsenal are very quick on the break, they've got fresher legs and I think they'll counter Newcastle and win a good match.

Stay up to date with all the Saturday scores by tuning in to Soccer Saturday, from 12pm on Sky Sports News HD.

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