Paul Merson's predictions for Newcastle vs Chelsea and other Premier League GW 16 fixtures

The Premier League is back this weekend
The Premier League is back this weekend

After an intriguing round in the EFL Cup, the Premier League returns with another set of matches one last time before the World Cup. We've seen a fair share of upsets this week, with Nottingham Forest and Brighton pulling off brilliant results against bonafide Premier League giants.

Chelsea got the hardest cup draw in the world. Manchester City have the best squad in England and it's a shock when they don't get into the final. Arsenal played a weakened team, and they have bigger fish to fry than the Carling Cup at the moment.

Let's be honest - Tottenham's result was a shocker. They played a strong team and still lost. I know they're in the top four, but things are not going well for them. Something has got to change sooner or later.

This is the last Premier League round before the World Cup, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed hoping that no one gets injured. Here are my predictions for this weekend's set of Premier League matches.

Manchester City vs Brentford

Manchester City v Fulham FC - Premier League
Manchester City v Fulham FC - Premier League

Brentford need to be careful, or they may well get dragged into the relegation zone. They're playing well but they don't seem to be winning Premier League matches. Manchester City do make mistakes, and you have to take advantage when they do.

With Manchester City, it's just a matter of how many goals they score. You could argue that you never know with these matches, but a good Fulham team still lost to a ten-man City side. Manchester City are definitely winning this and putting pressure on Arsenal.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Brentford

Liverpool vs Southampton

Liverpool v Southampton - Premier League
Liverpool v Southampton - Premier League

Liverpool pulled off a good result against Tottenham last week. They played well in the first half, but they were very poor in the second. They were just hanging on in the end. If I was a Liverpool fan, I'd be worried about that performance against a struggling Tottenham side.

Roberto Firmino hasn't made it to Brazil's squad, and it doesn't come as a shocker. He's done well this season but if you look at the past year and a half, he just hasn't done enough. With the attacking ammunition that Brazil have, I'm not too surprised, to be honest.

Southampton have appointed a new manager, and I'm not too sure about their decision. This isn't a great game to start off with. Liverpool need to get a bit of consistency and it would be great if they could finish this phase of the season with three consecutive victories. This is a massive game for them, and I think they'll win it.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

Bournemouth vs Everton

AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal FC - Premier League
AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Bournemouth thrashed Everton in their midweek game, and Everton can't afford another result like that. They suffered a bad result at home in the Premier League last week against Leicester, and they'll need to bounce back.

This is a massive game for both teams. Bournemouth were 3-1 up against Leeds and lost their way. They took a 2-0 lead against Tottenham and lost that game as well. They just can't seem to catch a break at the moment.

Bournemouth scored four goals past Everton this week - this is like asking a boxer to go fight someone who knocked him out only a few days ago. I'm going to go with a Bournemouth victory, and that would be a bad result for Frank Lampard.

Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Everton

West Ham United vs Leicester City

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City - Premier League

I'm starting to worry about West Ham now. I didn't see Crystal Palace winning an away game, but West Ham lost to them at home. They've also crashed out of the cup after a defeat against Blackburn this week.

West Ham should've pulled off a result against Manchester United, but they've now lost three of their last four games. Leicester have bounced back this season and should be able to win this Premier League game.

Prediction: West Ham United 1-2 Leicester City

Tottenham Hotspur vs Leeds United

Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham FC - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham FC - Premier League

Wow, I’m not sure about this game. Leeds attack and attack, and when the other team breaks, you wonder where it came from. There will be goals in this game because Leeds cannot defend.

Leeds play with a lot of energy, and fair play to them - they stick to their guns. They play exactly the same way whether they're winning or losing, and that seems to be their Achilles' heel. They always play gung-ho football, and they'll cause Tottenham a few problems because of their energy.

Tottenham need to have a go now. If they can play like they did in the second half against Liverpool, they can really be a proper team. They've turned it on in 45-minute spells against Marseille and Bournemouth, and they need to learn to play 90-minute football. I think it's come to a stage where Antonio Conte will ask his players to just go out and express themselves.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Leeds United

Nottingham Forest vs Crystal Palace

West Ham United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
West Ham United v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Crystal Palace have changed it up away from home. They had too many ballers in their lineup, and now they're playing two holding midfielders away from home. Palace won their first away game of the Premier League season against West Ham last week.

Wilfried Zaha will become a free agent in 2023, and I don't know if he'll move to a bigger team. It depends on what wages he wants. I don't think Premier League teams are going to pay a 30-year-old player three hundred grand a week. If his wages are reasonable, however, I'd go as far as to say that every club in the Premier League top six would want after his signature

Nottingham Forest have also changed the way they play. They now have three workhorses in midfield and they let the front three get on with it. Both teams have improved over the past month and could play out a draw this week.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2-2 Crystal Palace

Newcastle United vs Chelsea

Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League
Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League

This is going to be a very interesting game. Chelsea were blown away by Arsenal last week. If they lose to Newcastle now, they may well find themselves 16 points away from the top of the Premier League table.

Graham Potter did well for some time when he first came in, but he's not Brighton's manager anymore. He can't afford to lose to Arsenal at home and then say that they were the better team on the day. You can do that with Brighton but at Chelsea, the fans will ask questions.

If I asked a hundred Chelsea fans to name their best team for the game this weekend, not a single one of them would be sure. That's not the case with Arsenal, and it's a worrying sign for Chelsea. Potter can't keep changing his team. He's been there for nearly two months, and he still doesn't know what his best team is.

With Chelsea, I think the recent results have caught up with the changes at the club. If they lose this match, Liverpool would go past them, and I wouldn't be shocked if that does happen. Thomas Tuchel never lost consecutive games as Chelsea's manager in the Premier League. I can't remember the last time Chelsea lost three league games on the trot, and it could happen this weekend. I do like Graham Potter, and I hope he gets it right.

Newcastle are absolutely flying at the moment. If they win this game, they will fancy their chances in the top-four race. The name of the game is to beat lesser teams and avoid defeat against the big clubs.

Newcastle have got to be careful and they need to make sure they don't get caught up in the occasion. I think this game will end in a draw - I don't see Chelsea winning, and that's a big compliment to Newcastle.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Chelsea

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal

Arsenal FC v FC Zürich: Group A - UEFA Europa League
Arsenal FC v FC Zürich: Group A - UEFA Europa League

Arsenal are playing so well at the moment. They looked like title contenders against Chelsea. They knew what they were doing, and they were passing the ball well. That was a big game, and they passed their test quite easily.

Gabriel Jesus may not score goals, but he brings so much to the party. He makes a difference on the pitch, and he's taken Arsenal to a different level. If they lose a couple of games, however, people will be looking at him - that's just the way it works. We saw it years ago with Emile Heskey. Everybody loved playing alongside him, but they lost a few games and his performances came under the microscope.

I can't name a single player of the season for Arsenal so far - that's how good they've been. They've become a proper team. I think they've got too much for Wolves and should be able to win this game.

Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 Arsenal

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Aston Villa

Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League
Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League

Everyone wants to manage in the Premier League. We've seen top foreign managers coming in over the past couple of weeks, and I think they will help young players at Premier League clubs. Unai Emery is a good coach and I think he'll take Aston Villa in the right direction.

This is like a game at the end of the season, in a way. You've got to remember that there are a lot of players that are not going to the World Cup, and they've got no games for five weeks after this. There will be goals in this game.

Brighton are flying at the moment. They're scoring goals now, and that makes them a dangerous team. Aston Villa did pick up a win against Manchester United, but I'm backing Brighton to win this match.

Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 Aston Villa

Fulham vs Manchester United

Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League
Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League

Fulham were unlucky against Manchester City the other day. They're already halfway there in terms of getting the points they need to survive in the Premier League - they need four wins from their 24 remaining games. If they look at it like that, this game is a free hit. There's no pressure at all on Fulham, and that makes it a dangerous game for Manchester United.

Man United suffered a bit of a shock the other day against Aston Villa. I don't care who you are - you can't afford to be 2-0 down in seven minutes. It's an uphill battle after. Aston Villa started the game really well, but you cannot afford to concede head starts like that in the Premier League.

A lot depends on Aleksandar Mitrovic's fitness at the moment. The World Cup starts next week and this could be a tricky fixture for him. Manchester United have been consistent under Erik ten Hag and should be able to win this game.

Prediction: Fulham 1-2 Manchester United

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Edited by Paul Merson