Paul Merson's predictions for Brentford vs Arsenal and other Premier League GW8 fixtures

The Premier League returns after a week
The Premier League returns after a week's break due to Queen Elizabeth's passing

We haven't had Premier League football in over a week, but the UEFA Champions League proved to be an entertaining distraction in the meantime. Liverpool weren't great against Ajax, but they dug deep and got a massive victory thanks to a late goal from Joel Matip, while Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw against Salzburg in Graham Potter's first game in charge of the club.

As for Manchester City, it was the Erling Haaland show once again, as the Norwegian scored an outrageous late winner against former club Borussia Dortmund. He's definitely taken Pep Guardiola's team to another level, but will that be enough to win them the UEFA Champions League? Only time will tell.

The race for the top-four spots in the Premier League is also tantalizingly poised, as things stand. With Thomas Tuchel gone, it'll be interesting to see how Chelsea adapt to life under Graham Potter, as the former Brighton & Hove Albion boss looks to stamp his authority at the club and kickstart a new project.

Liverpool have been nowhere near as good as they were last Premier League season, but I still fancy them to secure a top-four finish. Judging by how the current campaign has unfolded, I think Arsenal will make it ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, but a lot could change between now and the end of the season.

Three Premier League games have been postponed, but we still have seven to play, with Arsenal and Manchester City in action, among others. On that note, here are my predictions for GW8 of the 2022-23 Premier League season.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester City

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund: Group G - UEFA Champions League
Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund: Group G - UEFA Champions League

Manchester City aren't really firing on all cylinders at the moment in the Premier League, but they should have enough in their armory to beat Wolves, who simply don't score enough goals. Haaland is the man of the moment and scored another outrageous winner against his former club Borussia Dortmund in the 2-1 victory in the UEFA Champions League.

I know Pep Guardiola likes to rotate his squad a lot, but I think he'll look to unleash Haaland once again ahead of the international break. Norway aren't going to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and that's bad news for the Premier League and the rest of Europe, as Haaland will be fully fit and rested while the others battle it out in Qatar.

In terms of Manchester City's best front three at the moment, I'd like to see the new kid Julian Alvarez play out wide, with Phil Foden and Haaland completing the rest of the attack. Based on what I've seen so far, he's a proper player and can play for any top team in the Premier League.

Jack Grealish is really struggling at the moment, but Manchester City won't be too bothered as they are still going about their business. They lost Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling this summer, but with Haaland and Alvarez, they've done really well to refresh the attack. I don't know if you can really call it an upgrade - we'll have to wait and see how it pans out in the long run.

Prediction: Wolves 0-2 Manchester City

Aston Villa vs Southampton

AFC Bournemouth v Aston Villa - Premier League
AFC Bournemouth v Aston Villa - Premier League

This is a must-win Premier League game for Aston Villa. They got an unexpected 1-1 draw against Manchester City and their game against Leicester City was called off, so this is a good chance for them to get all three points. It's always a different kind of game when you go into it expected to win, but I think Villa will get a positive result.

Philippe Coutinho probably signed for Aston Villa to get his career back on track and cement his place in the Brazil squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but he's been left out of the squad by Tite for the upcoming international break. Maybe the manager just wants to try out a few fresh faces before getting on the flight to Qatar, but Coutinho will be disappointed as he hasn't started the season well.

At the end of the day, the Premier League is a results business, but I still believe Steven Gerrard still has some time left as Aston Villa manager. You never know in football as the fans play a big role in deciding the fate of a manager, but I don't think they'll look to sack him even if they lose this one.

Prediction: Aston Villa 2-0 Southampton

Nottingham Forest vs Fulham

Fulham FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Fulham FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

Nottingham Forest have to win this game, much like what's the case for Villa. Fulham, on the other hand, have done really well this Premier League season. They've attacked teams and played on the front foot, while Aleksandar Mitrovic has continued to bang in the goals.

This will be a game full of chances and Fulham just have to make sure they don't lose. As for Forest, I think they've signed too many players and that could be a bit of a problem. They are having a proper go at staying up and I like that, while many of their players were on loan at the club last season when they got promoted. Steve Cooper is a good coach and he'll look to get a few points here and there till the World Cup.

Not many Forest players will go to the World Cup, so that could give them a proper chance to work with their manager and understand his philosophy. As I said earlier, they need to hang on until then and ensure they don't lose too many games.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2-2 Fulham

Newcastle United vs Bournemouth

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United - Premier League

Bournemouth came from 2-0 down to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2, but I don't see them beating Newcastle United away from home. Allan Saint-Maximin is a player who has enhanced his reputation this season, but he needs to keep going at it to cement his status as a proven match-winner in the Premier League.

If he adds goals and assists to his name consistently, the so-called 'big teams' will definitely be after him. That said, he's already at a massive club and the fans love him, so there's no need for him to push for a transfer at this point in time.

Prediction: Newcastle United 2-0 Bournemouth

Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City

Tottenham Hotspur Training Session And Press Conference
Tottenham Hotspur Training Session And Press Conference

Tottenham are not playing well at the moment, let's be honest. The game against Sporting in the UEFA Champions League was a bad one for them, but in my opinion, it could help them in the long run. At the start of the Premier League season, I felt results were papering over their cracks, which obviously wouldn't be the case anymore after what happened in Europe midweek.

That said, I still fancy them to bounce back and beat Leicester City this weekend. The Foxes are all over the place and it looks to me like their players aren't working for each other, which is a worrying sign for Brendan Rodgers. They have good players, but it just isn't working for them at the moment.

Son Heung-min's form has been a cause for concern, but I fancy him to return to his best. Cream always rises to the top, which is why I believe Antonio Conte needs to continue starting him every week.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leicester City

Brentford vs Arsenal

Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Arsenal will remember what happened on the opening day of the 2021-22 Premier League season - in fact, it'll be fresh in their memory. Ivan Toney scored a sensational hat-trick for Brentford against Bournemouth and will be one to watch out for, but I think Arsenal will get all three points. It will be a tough game, but the Gunners have been good this season and will look to return to winning ways after losing 3-1 to Manchester United.

Arsenal's top-four chances look a lot better this season. The problem is, they went 2-1 down against Manchester United and Mikel Arteta immediately made three substitutions, which looked like a knee-jerk reaction to me at the time. They need to believe in themselves more and in all honesty, Arsenal didn't play badly despite losing to Manchester United.

If Gabriel Jesus gets injured, they have massive problems. Eddie Nketiah is a good lad, but playing and scoring every week is a different ball game. I don't want to say too much, but Arsenal are in a good position to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and I hope they can make it count this time.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Brentford

Everton vs West Ham United

Everton FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

It might sound ridiculous, but I appreciate what Frank Lampard has done as Everton manager so far. They are getting harder to beat and he's got his team working hard, which is only a good sign. Everton got a great result against Liverpool in the Merseyside derby - they just have to hang in there and keep fighting it out to get points on the board.

Anthony Gordon was wanted by Chelsea this summer, but that was under Thomas Tuchel and Everton rejected massive amounts of money from the Blues to keep him at the club. I think he'll stay at the club this season. I refuse to believe they kept him this summer only to sell him midway through the Premier League season!

West Ham United haven't had the best start to the season and have been really hard to predict, so I think this game will end all square.

Prediction: Everton 1-1 West Ham United

Quick Links

Edited by Paul Merson