Paul Merson's predictions for Manchester City vs Liverpool and other Premier League GW32 fixtures

Could the 2021-22 Premier League title be decided this week?
Could the 2021-22 Premier League title be decided this week?

As the Premier League returns after an eventful set of European ties, we could be set to witness something truly extraordinary this week. We have to address the elephant in the room first, with Manchester City and Liverpool set to lock horns in a game that could well turn out to be a title decider.

A handful of other games involving the top-four chasers are on the horizon, while the battle to avoid the drop could also look a lot different after the next gameweek.

Here are my predictions for the crucial gameweek 32 of the Premier League:

Newcastle United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Newcastle United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Newcastle United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

This is a big game as Wolves are right back in the top-four race after Arsenal's unexpected loss to Crystal Palace. For Newcastle United, it turned out to be a bit of a wake-up call for them against Tottenham - they got absolutely blown away.

Eddie Howe and co will comfortably maintain their Premier League status, but they still have a long way to go to make themselves a force to be reckoned with. I fancy Wolves to win this one and make the race for a top-four spot more interesting.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1-2 Wolves

Everton vs Manchester United

Manchester United v Atletico Madrid: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
Manchester United v Atletico Madrid: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League

Everton suffered a damaging defeat against Burnley and could be in the bottom three by Saturday evening, but something tells me they're going to beat Manchester United. This is a cup final for Frank Lampard's side, and they will have to play consistently across 90 minutes to get a result, which has been a major problem for them in recent weeks.

Manchester United are just all over the place at the moment, they weren't good enough against Leicester City last weekend. There's a lot of talk that they're better off without Cristiano Ronaldo, but I'm afraid I have to disagree with that idea. He's not going to win them the Premier League - I said this when he joined the club - but they are certainly a better team with him. I have a feeling they might look to let him go this summer - we'll have to wait and see how that situation develops under their new manager.

Everton's next few games are absolutely atrocious and I think they'll probably get relegated if they lose this one, as Burnley's run-in looks a lot simpler on paper. After this game, they have Leicester twice, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal to play till the end of the campaign along with other teams. You can call me mad, but I can see the Toffees getting all three points here.

Prediction: Everton 2-1 Manchester United

Watford vs Leeds United

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leeds United - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leeds United - Premier League

Watford have got to win this one to boost their survival hopes and if they do, they could bring Leeds United straight back into the dogfight. I thought they were safe, but looking at the Premier League table, they could be in trouble if they lose this one.

I think this game will have a lot of goals in it, so I'm going for a 2-2 draw. It's impossible to predict the three teams that will get relegated, because at this stage of the season, it changes every week! What I will say is that Watford's run-in is considerably easier than Everton's, so they'll fancy their chances of catching the Toffees between now and the end of the season.

Prediction: Watford 2-2 Leeds United

Southampton vs Chelsea

Burnley v Chelsea - Premier League
Burnley v Chelsea - Premier League

What a week it's been for Chelsea, they are in serious disarray after losses against Brentford and Real Madrid across two competitions. Southampton are a half-decent team and will always have a go regardless of who they face, so I think they can compile Chelsea's misery this weekend.

The Blues will have one eye on the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, and I don't think that tie is over yet. The first goal matters and the fact that the away goal rule has been scrapped will work to Chelsea's advantage. If they score first in Spain, it's game on.

At the moment Chelsea are safe in third place, but if they drop points once again and Arsenal beat Brighton, it could turn out to be a problem for them. Spurs also have a decent run coming up, so you never know.

Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Chelsea

Arsenal vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Aston Villa v Arsenal - Premier League
Aston Villa v Arsenal - Premier League

I expect Arsenal to jump straight back on the horse and win this game after dropping three valuable points against Crystal Palace. Brighton should have beaten Norwich City last time around, but they failed to score and looked underwhelming for large parts of the game.

Nuno Tavares struggled against Palace but you have to understand that it's hard for someone to come straight into these kinds of games and get going immediately. I felt a bit sorry for the bloke because he wasn't playing for a bit and all of a sudden, he got thrust into the action. I think he'll be alright in the weeks ahead and should keep his spot in the team in Kieran Tierney's absence.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Brighton

Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur

Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

This game could turn out to be Spurs' banana skin in their pursuit of a top four spot as Aston Villa will definitely give them a game. Unlike last week, Arsenal can win their game and put pressure on their cross-town rivals, so Spurs will be up against it if the Gunners pick up three points against Brighton.

If Antonio Conte and co win this, though, I would start worrying for Arsenal and their top-four hopes. I get the feeling that this could end all square, so I'm going for a 1-1 draw.

Harry Kane has been one of the best players in world football this calendar year - the bloke is a different class. He's an all-round package, I don't know anyone else who can play like him. If he's up for it, then there's only one way this game will pan out.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Leicester City vs Crystal Palace

Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

Leicester City play PSV Eindhoven in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa Conference League tonight and based on how that game goes, they could look to rest a few players for their Premier League clash against Palace. They are a different team with Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana back and got a deserved point against Manchester United last weekend.

Much like Leicester, Palace could also rest a few key players ahead of their FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. They were outstanding against Arsenal and will be amongst the goals again, but I expect this game to finish all square.

Prediction: Leicester City 2-2 Crystal Palace

Norwich City vs Burnley

Crystal Palace v Burnley - Premier League
Crystal Palace v Burnley - Premier League

Burnley have to win this game to boost their survival hopes. They produced a great comeback against Everton to get all three points, but if they don't beat 20th-placed Norwich City, all their hard work will go to waste.

I still think there's a result left in Norwich for some reason, so I'm predicting a 2-2 draw here.

Prediction: Norwich City 2-2 Burnley

Brentford vs West Ham United

West Ham United v Sevilla FC: Round of 16 Leg Two - UEFA Europa League
West Ham United v Sevilla FC: Round of 16 Leg Two - UEFA Europa League

Like Leicester City, West Ham also have an important Europa League game against Lyon to negotiate before facing Brentford in the Premier League. The Hammers are a fantastic side without a doubt, but they don't have the strongest squad, which could affect them when games are coming thick and fast.

Brentford at home is a tough game and with Christian Eriksen seemingly returning to his best, I can see the Bees getting a point from this one.

Prediction: Brentford 1-1 West Ham United

Manchester City vs Liverpool

Liverpool v Manchester City - Premier League
Liverpool v Manchester City - Premier League

I watched Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League the other day and I can't remember Atletico Madrid touching the ball too many times. That said, the away side got two excellent chances on the break and I thought to myself that if it was Liverpool, they'd have scored.

Given how much they dominated, City still left the door open at the back a little bit and Liverpool could look to exploit that. Both teams will want to win this one and neither of these two managers will look to play for a draw, so I can see a few goals being scored.

Coming to the team news, I think Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz will start up front for Liverpool. It's harsh on Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino has been known to knit it together for Jurgen Klopp, but Diaz has settled quicker than snow and is on fire.

As for Manchester City, I don't quite like the fact that they deploy a false 9 - their lack of a center forward has been a problem for them despite how good they are. Raheem Sterling played up front against Atleti and I felt he looked a bit lost, so you never quite know who'll start this game. One thing is for certain - Manchester City have a lot of options and they could make six changes to their side and you still wouldn't notice!

I think this game will end 2-2, meaning the two sides will carry on just as they did for the rest of the Premier League season. If it ends all square, it's a massive advantage for Manchester City, as their fate will rest in their own hands. If the Cityzens draw the game and still end up losing the title, I'd be shocked.

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Edited by Paul Merson
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