Manchester United will face their bitter rivals Manchester City on Saturday in an early Premier League fixture at Old Trafford. The Red Devils are in excellent form. A win will see them move one point behind Manchester City and six points behind the Arsenal leaders.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will face eight-place Brighton away from home. Liverpool will hope to bounce back from their defeat against Brentford. Wolves will host West Ham United. Everton will face Southampton at Goodison Park.
Previews the Saturday round of Premier League matches, Paul Merson said:
Manchester United vs Manchester City
“This is a big game. Manchester City have a tight schedule – they’ll have to train on Friday and play on Saturday. This is the first time that United are playing against City for a long time when they couldn’t be playing any better. Man United are playing with a lot of confidence.
“You’d usually expect Manchester City to wipe the floor with United, but now, I don’t see how Manchester United don’t score. If they start this game the way Chelsea did last week, they’ll have a chance. If they change their game up and sit back, City will break them open.
“Erling Haaland is an out-and-out striker – he didn’t touch the ball once in the first 20 minutes against Chelsea. City’s players are told to get the ball in the box for him. If he doesn’t score, it starts to become a problem. Man City used to spread their goals across the team, and it was extraordinary. Teams will catch on, and they’ll start to stay tight with Haaland.
“I think the next two games will tell you everything about Manchester United. If they get four points from their next two games, they’re in the title race. Two draws won’t be enough, however, and that just shows you how quickly things can change.
“United have a better shape about them now. Fernandes looks like a completely different player again, and Rashford has taken it on himself to be the man – he’s playing the best football of his career. Manchester United play good counter-attacking football and have the pace to really hurt City this weekend. Prediction: Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City. “
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs West Ham United
“I know this is currently a relegation battle, but I don’t see either of these teams going down because their managers are good. If West Ham sack Moyes, I think they might be in trouble.
“David Moyes is turning a corner at West Ham and he’s done well to revive his side’s fortunes. Wolves will avoid relegation as well. This could be a tight game, and I think Wolves will win it. Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 West Ham United.“
Nottingham Forest vs Leicester City
“I’m a big fan of Brendan Rodgers, but Leicester just seem to be lost. They got outplayed in the cup and got a bit of a battering. They were having a great run, but now it’s back to square one for them.
“Nottingham Forest could get a result at home this weekend. This fixture is their bread and butter. They should’ve beaten Chelsea at home, and if they play like that, they’ll get the better of Leicester this weekend. Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Leicester City. “
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool
“The one thing you can be sure about with this game is goals. Arsenal blew Brighton out of the water last week, but Brighton have won their games by 4-1 and 5-1 margins since then. They’re scoring goals for fun.
“Liverpool still have a shot at the top four, but they’re eight points behind Newcastle at the moment. We haven’t played as many games as we usually play in the Premier League because of the World Cup, and we’ll know more about their top-four chances by the end of February.
“Liverpool won’t be the same without Virgil van Dijk in the side. He’s their Rolls Royce. This is a major game for Liverpool, and I don’t see Brighton losing this game. I’m going to go with a draw, and I’m being kind to Liverpool here. Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-2 Liverpool.“
Everton vs Southampton
“This is a huge game. If Southampton lose this match, I’m not sure the manager will see this out. If you look at the games he’s lost, they’re not against the big boys. He’ll have lost seven games on the trot in the Premier League if he loses this match.
“There’s as much pressure on Frank Lampard this weekend because Everton are playing at home. We have Graham Potter under pressure as well – he’s had to play Man City twice without his full squad, and now has a local derby against a good Fulham side. He’ll be crying out for a match against Southampton at home, and Lampard’s got that.
“Everton couldn’t do anything with great managers like Ancelotti – they keep changing their manager! This is arguably Lampard’s biggest game in charge of Everton, and I’d be shocked if they didn’t win. Prediction: Everton 2-0 Southampton.”
Bournemouth vs Brentford
“Bournemouth seem to have completely and utterly lost the plot, and they’re up against it. They’ve got two big football matches coming up now and a tough schedule after that – they need to nip it in the bud. They could be relegated if they don’t get something done quickly.
“Brentford are ninth in the Premier League and 11 points off the relegation zone – why would you make so many changes against West Ham in the FA Cup? That was a great opportunity to get a cup run going, and Brentford would’ve made for excellent dark horses. I’d expect them to beat Bournemouth in the Premier League this weekend. Prediction: Bournemouth 0-3 Brentford.”