Paul Merson's Premier League predictions - Week 23

Merse expects wins for Sunderland, Aston Villa, Swansea and Newcastle

Image: Mata: Merse says he'll start - but where will he play?

Aston Villa v West Brom

Crystal Palace v Hull

This is a massive, massive game down at the bottom. Crystal Palace got knocked out of the FA Cup at the weekend, which makes me wonder why they bothered winning the first game. They will be quite disappointed with that, but I'm going for them to win this because I think this will feel like a cup final for them. Hull always set themselves up very well, but Palace will have highlighted this as a game they have got to win. There are games left, but they'll be in major trouble if they lose because it'll not only be three points lost but also a loss of confidence in losing to another team that has just come up. I predict a home win. PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0

Liverpool v Everton

I watched Everton in the FA Cup match against Stevenage and thought they were very thorough. It was a real banana skin going down to Stevenage where the pitch ain't great and it was a 5.30pm kick-off. There was a lot of pressure on Everton and they came out well on top and I was very impressed. Liverpool played a strong team at Bournemouth and got through, but they looked poor against Villa the week before. I find this a hard game to call, but I'll just lean towards Liverpool - and I think they'll end up finishing higher in the table this season. PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

Man Utd v Cardiff

Juan Mata is surely going to play in this game, but the question is where is he going to play? When you cost that much money you're certainly going to get in the team, but if Wayne Rooney is fit I wonder what his position will be? Cardiff at home is a good start and Mata's arrival will lift the crowd and the players who have been under pressure. Man United couldn't have been much worse this season, but they are only six points behind so could now turn things around and nick a top-four place. It's a nightmare situation for Cardiff though. I watched their game against Man City and I think they can cause problems, but I think Man United will win. PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1

Norwich v Newcastle

This is a big game for both clubs, but I think Newcastle will win it because they are a decent team when everybody is fit. They have got players all over the pitch who can cause problems. I like Chris Hughton but I think his old team will have too much for his current team. PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2

Southampton v Arsenal

Southampton seem to have hit a bit of a brick wall after their brilliant start to the season. They've got a few injuries in key areas and maybe that's because of the way they play. They play a closing-down game and that's tiring when you've got to do it all of the time. Dejan Lovren is out for a little while and that is a massive miss for them, so I expect Arsenal to carry on their good form. Their away record is phenomenal and I'm going for another win here. PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3

Swansea v Fulham

I keep saying Swansea don't have to worry about relegation, but I watched them against Tottenham last week and thought 'woah, you're in trouble'. They really miss Michu and I think this is a must-win game for them. Fulham are going to be in the mix anyway, but if Swansea lose this then they'll get dragged in to some major trouble. It's a joke that Fulham has so little time between games and had to rest all their players in the FA Cup against Sheffield United. It's phenomenally stupid that they have to play again so early and I'll go for a Swansea win - but I wouldn't be surprised if Fulham got a draw. PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1

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