Former Arsenal playmaker Paul Merson makes predictions for Crystal Palace vs Manchester City, Manchester United vs Southampton, West Ham United vs Aston Villa, Fulham vs Arsenal, and Newcastle United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sportkeeda.
What is Paul Merson’s Prediction?
Previewing the games on Sportkeeda, he said:
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City
“Manchester City are getting dragged into the thick of things by Arsenal. Crystal Palace are slowly slipping towards the drop zone. You don’t expect them to beat Manchester City and that’s another game without a win and that could have huge ramifications in their quest to survive relegation.
“I find them struggling. I’m starting to worry for Palace. They have ballers in that team. They’ve got a lot of dribblers but they haven’t got finishers. Only five points separate Palace from Everton, who are currently 18th in the table.
“Manchester City have some difficult fixtures coming up. As far as the title race is concerned, I think it’ll come down to which team gets to play their fixtures first. Manchester City have a massive advantage here getting to play before Arsenal this weekend as they get the opportunity to put the pressure on the Gunners. Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City.”
Manchester United vs Southampton
“If Manchester United could find the perfect game to bounce back after their 7-0 humbling last week, this is it. Manchester United will need to put on a show for their fans.
“I know Bruno Fernandes has come under a lot of criticism for his remonstrations on the pitch during that 7-0 loss. At first, I thought it was terrible for him to react in that manner. But then I pondered over it and I don’t feel that critical about it anymore.
“Everybody takes losing differently. Some people are good losers. Some people are bad losers. If he was laughing and joking after that loss, we’d all be going mad now. Some of the things he did weren’t right. He lost his head. But Bruno worked hard to get that captaincy. He shouldn’t have it stripped off of him because of that.
“On that day, I thought differently about it. But I feel more empathetic now. You shouldn’t punish him alone for a 7-0 loss as he wasn’t the only player on the pitch.
“As for Antony, he will take time. It will take him at least a season to truly come to his own. You’ve seen Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez take time. I look at Antony and I see a player there. I don’t think he will flop at Manchester United. Prediction: Manchester United 4-0 Southampton.”
West Ham United vs Aston Villa
“This is going to be a great contest. West Ham United beat Nottingham Forest 4-0 a couple of weeks ago. I think that result helped the Hammers paper over the cracks. In that game, all four of their goals came after the 70th minute. They then went and got beaten 4-0 by Brighton & Hove Albion.
“This is a massive game for David Moyes and Co. West Ham need to keep Moyes in charge. This is a hard game to call. I’d call this a pundit’s nightmare. Either team could win the game 2-1 and you wouldn’t be shocked.
“I’m going to go with West Ham due to their home advantage. But in no way would I be shocked if Villa won the game. Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Aston Villa.”
Fulham vs Arsenal
“Arsenal are probably going to be just two points clear of Manchester City by the time they start this game. The Gunners need to keep their lead over City intact until the two sides meet next (27 April) or at least until Arsenal play Liverpool (9 April) away from home.
“They have to win this game. Fulham have done great but they’ll miss Joao Palhinha dearly. Fulham are not playing Arsenal off the pitch in this one. Both teams play expansive football and if the better players rise to the occasion, Arsenal should be able to get the win here. Prediction: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal.”
Newcastle United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
“This is a huge game for Newcastle United. They’ve lost three on the trot and are winless in their last five. Newcastle United are struggling at the moment and are just two points ahead of Fulham and three points ahead of Brighton.
“If Brighton, Brentford and Fulham finish over them, all the good work they’ve done would have gone to waste. It’s alright if you keep winning even if you’re not scoring too many goals. But if the results aren’t going your way and you’re not scoring goals, then that becomes a major problem.
“They need to win this one. If they win this game, they are back in the top-four race. The problem for Eddie Howe right now is that they just don’t have a reliable goalscorer. Callum Wilson has gone off the boil.
Wolves have been difficult to beat under Julen Lopetegui and they no longer get hammered. They’ve done an unbelievable job in landing Lopetegui. He is a top-tier manager. Wolves are a good team and they shouldn’t be where they are in the table.
“They have good players and they are a difficult team to beat. It’s not going to be an easy game for Newcastle United but I still expect them to get the win here. Prediction: Newcastle United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers.”