Paul Merson's predictions for Manchester United vs Brighton and other Premier League GW5 fixtures 

Manchester United vs Brighton is the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend
Manchester United vs Brighton is the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend

The Premier League is back after what felt like one of the longest international breaks in history! The 2023-24 campaign may just be four gameweeks old, but we've already seen a fair share of action and unexpected results, while a handful of new signings have laid down the marker for what's to come.

Dominik Szoboszlai has been the pick of the bunch, for me. I hadn't seen much of the lad while he was at RB Leipzig but I have to say I've been so impressed by him, he hasn't had a bad game yet! He scored a worldie the other day and does a bit of everything, he's going to be phenomenal for Liverpool in the coming years.

In terms of this weekend's Premier League action, Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion is the most exciting game on paper, but there are a handful of other intriguing contests that could go either way.

On that note, here are my Premier League gameweek five predictions.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Liverpool

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A Saturday morning game after an international break is always a hard one to call as most players - at least from the so-called top six sides - go away to represent their countries. It acts as a bit of a leveler and is a huge advantage, so Liverpool will have to be wary of that.

It's particularly hard for South Americans like Alexis Mac Allister and Luis Diaz, but the Reds might be able to get away with rotating a few players. Mac Allister will probably start, but Liverpool can afford to bench Diaz as the likes of Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota - who both scored for their countries in the international break - are waiting patiently on the wings.

Jurgen Klopp and co have begun the 2023-24 campaign in good form but will have to carry on if they want to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title. Wolves, on the other hand, have had a tough start to the season, so I can't see them getting a result here. They don't score too many goals, so even if Liverpool concede, they won't find it difficult to outscore the home side.

Prediction: Wolves 1-2 Liverpool

Fulham vs Luton Town

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I watched Luton the other day and thought they'd win enough games at home to stay up. However, the longer I watched them against West Ham, I began to have my doubts. They are caught in between and need to play to their strengths. They are not good enough to pass the ball around and bypass teams, so they might have to adopt a more direct approach and play the ball up towards a target man to break teams down.

Fulham have had some bad luck so far, particularly against Manchester City. Nathan Ake's goal should not have stood, I have no idea how the referee or VAR didn't disallow that as Erling Haaland was clearly obstructing play. However, they have shown flashes of their brilliance, so I'd be shocked if they didn't put Luton Town away at home.

Prediction: Fulham 2-0 Luton Town

Tottenham Hotspur vs Sheffield United

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Tottenham have come along really well under Ange Postecoglou and I expect them to win this one quite comfortably. I like the way they're playing, but their first big test of the season comes next weekend when they face arch-rivals Arsenal. Spurs need to win this one though and I think they'll do so with ease.

Son Heung-min played through the center and scored a hattrick in his previous Premier League encounter, but Sheffield United are a physical team, so big Ange might look to play Richarlison up front to add something different to his attack.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Luton Town

West Ham United vs Manchester City

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Both teams are flying at the moment, but I still look at this one and think 'How will Manchester City not win?' because the standard they've set over the years in the Premier League is just outstanding. That said, this game suits West Ham, as they have a lot of counter-attacking threat. As they showed against Chelsea, they have the ammunition to hurt you, with Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen showing their class in front of goal.

This won't be an easy game, but I fancy Manchester City to get all three points to continue their perfect start to the new campaign. As for the Premier League title, I think only Arsenal and Liverpool have a chance of competing with the Cityzens. Newcastle have already dropped too many points and could even run the risk of missing out on a place in the top four if their early season struggles continue.

Prediction: West Ham United 1-2 Manchester City

Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion

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This game could turn out to be a bit of a nightmare for Manchester United as Brighton are a hard team to play against. Erik ten Hag has a few issues to address and it'll be interesting to see who starts up front at Old Trafford this weekend after Antony's recent suspension.

There have been reports that Facundo Pellistri is in line for a start, but I think Marcus Rashford will be joined by Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund up front. I like Garnacho and he's likely to start, but he's better off coming on as a substitute as I feel he's more effective while running at tired legs.

Speculation surrounding Jadon Sancho's future has dominated the headlines in recent weeks after a public back-and-forth involving Ten Hag. There have been reports that his Old Trafford career is as good as over, but I don't think that'll be the case.

A lot can change between now and the January transfer window and with Manchester United desperately short of options in attack, Sancho could claw his way back into the manager's plans if he sticks to his guns and works diligently,

Prediction: Manchester United 2-2 Brighton

Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace

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Aston Villa usually beat all the bottom-half teams and get spanked by the others - they are so hard to predict! That said, I think they could be a proper handful this season as we've already seen and I expect them to have a good run in the UEFA Europa Conference League.

Unai Emery's high line has proved to be a problem for the Villans so far as they've conceded eight goals against Liverpool and Newcastle United. Their brand of football is exciting to watch, but against the boys boys, I don't think it'll work out.

If they are careful with their defensive line - and I think they will be - I expect them to get all three points at home.

Prediction: Aston Villa 3-1 Crystal Palace

Newcastle United vs Brentford

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This game has suddenly become a must-win for Newcastle United if they want to better or match what they achieved last season - look how quickly things can change in football! If they fail to win this one, securing a place in the top four could become an issue as they'd have gathered just three or four points from five games, which is a measly return for a club with lofty ambitions.

Brentford are a threat and have a lot of quality up front, but the Magpies are a tough nut to crack at home and should win this one.

Prediction: Newcastle United 3-1 Brentford

Bournemouth vs Chelsea

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I watched Chelsea two weeks ago against Nottingham Forest when they lost 1-0 - they could still be playing now and wouldn't score! However, away from home, they could prove to be tricky customers as they have a lot of pace in attack.

Raheem Sterling has started the season strongly and despite scoring just once in the Premier League, Nicolas Jackson has shown flashes of his brilliance and could cause major problems for opposition teams once he's finished adapting to his new surroundings.

If the Blues don't win, the alarm bells will start winning as they'd have just one win from five Premier League encounters. They're playing just once a week and have spent so much money in the transfer market, so Mauricio Pochettino and co can't have any excuses if they don't start winning games soon.

Prediction: Bournemouth 0-2 Chelsea

Everton vs Arsenal

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Everton strangely turn up in these big games so I wouldn't be surprised if this one ends all square. One day, they're going to start putting all their chances away and that will be the day they click.

That said, Arsenal undoubtedly go into this game as overwhelming favorites and will be under pressure to get all three points if Manchester City win their game. This game is far from a foregone conclusion, but I fancy Arsenal to step up to the plate and pick up all three points.

Arsenal have had their fair share of problems in recent weeks, but Gabriel Jesus' return to full fitness is a massive boost. With UEFA Champions League football on the horizon, they'll need timely contributions from everyone in the squad to compete on all fronts.

Prediction: Everton 0-2 Arsenal

Nottingham Forest vs Burnley

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These are the games you highlight if you're Burnley - they need to get something out of this. That said, Nottingham Forest look good and have bought really well in the transfer market, so I'll be shocked if they get dragged into a relegation dogfight this season.

Steve Cooper's side have a brilliant opportunity to make it three wins from five Premier League games and I fancy them to do so in a hard-fought game.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Burnley

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Edited by Paul Merson
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