Paul Merson's predictions for Arsenal vs Aston Villa, Liverpool vs Crystal Palace and other Premier League GW32 fixtures

Arsenal vs Aston Villa is the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend
Arsenal vs Aston Villa is the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend

Things are going to change every week in the Premier League title race between now and the end of the season, but it has to be said that Liverpool's 2-2 draw against Manchester United last weekend was a bad result for them. The United faithful don't really go away in games of such magnitude, giving their players a big boost.

Every game between now and the end of the season is a cup final and the stakes couldn't be any bigger. On that note, here are my predictions for the upcoming Premier League weekend.

Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur

Ange Postecoglou
Ange Postecoglou

Newcastle United got a great result against Fulham but I can't recall them playing particularly well. Tottenham, on the other hand, were outstanding against Nottingham Forest, with Micky van de Ven showing his class at the back with another eye-catching display.

At St. James' Park, I fancy Newcastle, so I'm going for a 2-1 home win. Tottenham need the points and have a bit of a nightmare run coming up, but I doubt they lose to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. There is a result for them in that run somewhere, so I think they'll be safe and finish above Aston Villa in the Premier League top four.

Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham

Brentford vs Sheffield United

Thomas Frank
Thomas Frank

Brentford were like the Harlem Globetrotters against Manchester United and managed to nick a draw, while they were absolutely atrocious against Brighton. Last week against Aston Villa, they got blown away but somehow managed to claw back into the game and make it 3-3. They are so hard to predict but I expect them to turn up in this game.

It won't be a walkover as Sheffield have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, but I think the home side will win to settle their nerves a little bit in terms of the relegation battle.

Prediction: Brentford 2-1 Sheffield United

Manchester City vs Luton Town

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

Man City could win and go top of the league and I think they will. A few weeks ago, they looked like they could be out of the title race, but they are back now with the easiest fixtures!

They have a big game against Madrid in midweek but at the same time, they might have to score a few goals now in this one as it could well come down to goal difference. I'm going for a 3-0 win - I don't think they'll go too mad. They will be knackered from the first leg and with one eye on the second leg, we might see some rotation.

I doubt Erling Haaland gets benched for Julian Alvarez. His record is phenomenal and he's a mindblowing goalscorer. Alvarez is a great player and he doesn't necessarily have to play up front, so he can still get a run of games. When Haaland doesn't score, he keeps defenders busy with his runs and that opens up space for others, so he's still a valuable asset to the team.

To say Man City are favorites for the Premier League title is a dangerous thing as it's not in their hands with seven games to go!

Prediction: Man City 3-0 Luton

Nottingham Forest vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Gary O'Neil
Gary O'Neil

If Chris Wood scored against Spurs from three yards out, that could have been a different game. Forest were outstanding against Fulham in the first half, but this is a big game for them and a must-win football match.

Wolves are on a bit of a dodgy patch at the moment, but I think this game will 2-2, which would be a huge point for Forest. They have a few injured players back and the decision to play Rayan Ait-Nouri as a midfielder has been a masterstroke - he's been absolutely outstanding in his new role!

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2-2 Wolves

Burnley vs Brighton

Roberto De Zerbi
Roberto De Zerbi

I don't know what's happened with Brighton. People have been waxing lyrical about them for 12 months but Arsenal blew them away.

Burnley have done well but they shoot themselves in the foot, that's why they are where they are. You can't be conceding cheap goals like they did last week and I have to say that they endured a nightmare result against Everton. I have a feeling these two sides will cancel each other out in an entertaining 2-2 draw, but it's too little too late for Burnley as I think they will still get relegated.

As for Roberto de Zerbi, I think teams have caught on with the way Brighton play. I'd have been surprised if he got the Liverpool job, they need someone who is winning football matches week in and week out at the top level. If Liverpool drop points, there will be headlines in the newspapers.

Ruben Amorim on the other hand - I can see that. What he's doing with Sporting is outstanding, he's working under severe pressure and delivering. I don't think that's the case with De Zerbi. He's still a good manager but I don't think he's ready for a massive club yet.

Prediction: Burnley 2-2 Brighton

Bournemouth vs Manchester United

Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag

Manchester United are playing for a spot in the UEFA Europa League, they are out of the running for the Champions League. Bournemouth won't get relegated but they aren't really playing for anything and are in no man's land at the moment.

As for the away side, I just can't see where they are going. They are 11 points behind Aston Villa and they did the double over Unai Emery's side - it's a madness! I can't for the life of me understand how this is carrying on at a club of Manchester United's stature. If this was a film, you'd turn the film off!

They only got a point against Liverpool because the Reds missed way too many chances. Until Bruno Fernandes scored his worldie, they were on the ropes. Nothing changes for them - they lose a few games, get a decent result and return to square one. It's a dangerous, vicious cycle. They need to acknowledge that this is not good enough.

Prediction: Bournemouth 2-2 Manchester United

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

Palace will cause Liverpool a handful of problems and Jean-Philippe Mateta is a handful up front, but I expect the Reds to win at Anfield and move to the summit, at least until Arsenal play.

Much like Man City, Liverpool will be patient in games and grind it out to get a result. We've seen them fall behind several times this season, but they've just kept going and got results in their favor more often than not. Palace will make it hard because they have players who can do stuff on the ball, but I'm predicting a 3-1 Liverpool win.

Caiohmin Kelleher has done amazingly well this season, but Alisson Becker's injury return is a huge boost for Jurgen Klopp ahead of his last few games as Liverpool boss. Trent Alexander-Arnold is also back so Conor Bradley might need to make way for him in the coming games, but one player whose return will be invaluable to the German manager is Diogo Jota.

I think he's Liverpool's best finisher ahead of Mohamed Salah and if he had played, Klopp and Co would have emerged victorious against Manchester United.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace

West Ham United vs Fulham

David Moyes
David Moyes

West Ham have lost just twice in their last nine games across all competitions, which is enough proof that they've turned a corner. They've had difficult games in recent weeks but have shown up when it mattered, making them a tough nut to crack.

The outcome of this game depends on what happens in the Europa League against Bayer Leverkusen, so that will be worth keeping an eye on. Fulham are so unpredictable, so I'm going for a 2-1 West Ham win. If all my predictions are right this weekend, West Ham could leapfrog Manchester United in the Premier League points table, which would be an unbelievable achievement.

Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Fulham

Arsenal vs Aston Villa

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta

I watched Aston Villa against Brentford and if they play like that against Arsenal - turn the lights off. I have to go with the home side here as they have been unbelievable especially since the turn of the year and their record at the Emirates Stadium makes for impressive reading.

Villa haven't won a trophy since 1996, so they will be keen on winning the Conference League.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Aston Villa

Chelsea vs Everton

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino

Everton will go to Stamford Bridge and look to keep it tight, but I just can't see them hurting Chelsea. Against Burnley, they got all three points, but the goal they scored was from a fortunate break, to say the least. Their cup final is next week when they face Nottingham Forest at home - that game could well define their season.

Everton have some nice fixtures and should be able to avoid the drop despite their points deduction. Sean Dyche deserves a lot of credit if he keeps them in the Premier League amid all the uncertainty around the club.

Chelsea have been well below par this season, but I think they should get the job done at home.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Everton

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