Merson's predictions: Liverpool to hold Man Utd, wins for Man City and Chelsea
Last Updated: 12/09/15 4:37pm
The international break is over and Paul Merson is back with his tips ahead of another action-packed weekend in the Premier League.
The transfer window has closed and new arrivals are settling in at their new clubs. But just how will the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Anthony Martial take to life in the Premier League?
After his record-breaking achievement on international duty, can Wayne Rooney transfer his goalscoring exploits into the top flight?
The Magic Man casts his expert eye over the weekend's action...
Everton v Chelsea - Saturday, 12:45pm
This is a game Chelsea cannot afford to lose. It will be a very hard game considering they're eight points behind City already. The early kick-off after the international break means Jose Mourinho doesn't have long to work with his players and I feel they have been dealt a dodgy hand here in a game they have to win.
Romelu Lukaku, Phil Jagielka and John Stones did not feature heavily for their countries during the break, whereas Chelsea have players who played a lot more. That could work in Everton's favour. Saying that, Chelsea have got to win so I have to go with them.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (Sky Bet odds 15/2)
Arsenal v Stoke - Saturday, 3pm
Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam will be missing this game through suspension, having been sent off last week, so I've got to go for a home win. Arsenal are very lucky to have Stoke at home in their first game after the transfer market closed, considering they didn't buy a striker.
They would be in serious trouble if they were to get beaten here, but Stoke haven't really got going yet. The Potters are a bit too open for me, they miss Steven N'Zonzi if I'm being honest. This is a different team from the Stoke of old, with a lot of footballers, and I don't think they will be able to stop Arsenal in an open game.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (Sky Bet odds 9/2)
Crystal Palace v Man City - Saturday, 3pm
This should be a very good game. If Man City win this and Chelsea fail to win, their lead could be 10 or 11 points by Saturday evening. I'd fancy Palace a lot more if they were playing at the Etihad. The positive for Palace is that City will have a go so it will be like an away game for them. That could play into Palace's hands but I think City will just have too much class. They are playing so well at the moment - they do look unstoppable.
I can't see anything but a Man City win. They paid a lot of money for Kevin De Bruyne and I would start him on Saturday. If they don't play him here, he could go six or seven games without getting a game. If they don't put him in against Palace and they win, and they go on a run, he might not get a game so their best bet would be to put him as soon as possible.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (Sky Bet odds 7/1)
Norwich v Bournemouth - Saturday, 3pm
I'm covering this game on Soccer Saturday and I'm looking forward to it, it should be a good game. The only thing with Norwich is that they make enough chances in matches but they aren't scoring goals. Both teams will head into this game thinking 'if we're going to stay up then we have to win'. That will make for an open and entertaining game. Norwich make a lot of chances and Bournemouth aren't great at the back so I'm going for a Desmond.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2 (Sky Bet odds 12/1)
Watford v Swansea - Saturday, 3pm
I was disappointed with Watford last week. When you go to the Etihad you're probably going to lose so it's a free swing, just go and have a go. The shape of the team looks wrong and they just don't look like scoring and I feel sorry for Troy Deeney. He's worked his socks off to get to here, scoring 20-odd goals for the last three seasons, but in the Premier League he's isolated up front. He played on the right wing at City and didn't get over the halfway line in the first half. Unbelievable!
They need to change their shape otherwise it could be a difficult season for Watford. They did brilliantly in their first game against Everton and that tells you everything you need to know. They attacked and should have won that game, since then they haven't and they haven't scored.
Swansea, meanwhile, have made a great start to the season, although they flattered to deceive away to Sunderland two weeks ago. But they followed that up with victory over Manchester United. They are a good team and I expect them to win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-2 (Sky Bet odds 11/1)
West Brom v Southampton - Saturday, 3pm
This is a big game for West Brom. I think they are going to be near the bottom this season with everything that is happening at the club. Salomon Rondon played and scored for Venezuela this week but by the time he gets back, which could be as late as Friday, he might not be sharp.
Saido Berahino looks as though he won't play so that leaves Rickie Lambert to lead the line. This is a tough game I don't see West Brom winning. If I'm being honest, I'm leaning towards Southampton after their good result last time out. But I think they could get a draw as long as they score the first goal.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (Sky Bet odds 9/2)
Man Utd v Liverpool - Saturday Night Football, 5:30pm, Sky Sports 1 HD
There isn't much between these two teams. Both suffered defeats before the international break, with United losing at Swansea and Liverpool getting slaughtered at home to West Ham. This is a big game for both managers, Brendan Rodgers can't afford to lose it whereas Louis van Gaal has to win.
If this game goes anything like it did last season, and David de Gea doesn't play for United, then Liverpool win this game without a doubt. There is no way Liverpool can have as many chances as they did back then and not win the game.
That is why De Gea has to play. If not, you're chopping your nose off to spite your face and United will struggle to come anywhere this season. Let's be honest, United wouldn't have come fourth last year without him. He has to play for me, he's the best goalkeeper at the club by a million miles.
To the game, I think it will be another entertaining Desmond. Both teams will have a go, Liverpool will cause problems and they will be better away from home. After their result at home to West Ham, though, people will think I've gone mad tipping Liverpool to score two. But this is a big football match, I know it is, the fans know it is. Just how big it turns out to be we will find out.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2 (Sky Bet odds 14/1)
Sunderland v Tottenham - Super Sunday, 1:30pm, Sky Sports 1 HD
Both Sunderland and Tottenham need to get going. Spurs are looking to at least have a go at trying to get into the top four this season. Harry Kane is a top player, I really like him and he'll cause Sunderland all sorts of problems. His two goals for England will help his confidence, although I thought he'd played well in the opening four games of the season.
If I'm being honest, he might not get 30 goals again, people need to understand that, but if he gets 15 goals and keeps showing the potential he has then he will turn out to be a top-drawer player in the long run. That's coming from a former Arsenal player! I'm a big fan of his. I'm going to go with Spurs here mainly because of Kane, I don't see how Sunderland are going to be able to live with him.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (Sky Bet odds 15/2)
Leicester v Aston Villa - Super Sunday, 4pm, Sky Sports 1 HD
This is another big game. At the start of the season, if you looked at who the top Midlands club would be you'd have probably said Villa, but Leicester have started so well. It hasn't been a fluke. They had a great result at Bournemouth - who entered the game on the back of their great win at West Ham - and they come away with a decent point.
I'm going to go for another draw here. My Villa head is making me go for the draw but, if it were my football head, I would say Leicester. Saying that, if Villa don't score first, I can't see them coming back.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (Sky Bet odds 11/2)
West Ham v Newcastle - Monday Night Football, 8pm, Sky Sports 1 HD
If this game was at St James' Park I would say West Ham straight away, but at Upton Park I'm not sure. They've played against two teams who you would expect to finish in the bottom half of the table at home and lost convincingly to both of them, and then gone and played two teams you'd expect to finish in the top five and won away.
This is a really weird game this one, Newcastle are heading in the right direction under Steve McClaren, even if the results haven't been great. I fancy West Ham here slightly, but it's going to be a difficult game.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (Sky Bet odds 8/1)