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Paul Merson's predictions for Manchester City vs Chelsea, Tottenham vs Arsenal and other Premier League GW22 fixtures

The Premier League returns with an intriguing set of fixtures on Gameweek 22
The Premier League returns with an intriguing set of fixtures on Gameweek 22

Gameweek 22 of the 2021-22 Premier League campaign sees two high-profile games take center stage, with Manchester City and Chelsea set to lock horns in an important game in the title race, while Arsenal prepare to cross the London divide to take on arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester United face Aston Villa for the second time in the space of a few days after beating them in the FA Cup, while Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool prepare to host a wounded Brentford side at Anfield. There's also a potential relegation six-pointer to look forward to at St. James' Park, with Newcastle United set to host Watford in what promises to be an intriguing contest.

Will Gameweek 22 produce its fair share of drama with important games set to be played at both ends of the table? Only time will tell.


Brighton vs Crystal Palace

West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

This is an interesting game and I've liked watching both of them in the Premier League this season. I've said plenty of times that Crystal Palace should be a lot further up the table - they've been desperately unlucky at times. They have some fantastic attacking players and Conor Gallagher is obviously having a brilliant season, so they will look to threaten in the final third.

I see a few goals being scored in this one so I'm going with an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Prediction: Brighton 2-2 Crystal Palace


Manchester City vs Chelsea

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea - Premier League

If Chelsea don't win, they are out of the Premier League title race. Saying that in mid-January is not a good thing for them, but it's the reality of the situation. This is a massive game, but if you look at the table, Manchester City could probably lose this one and still go on to win the title.

Pep Guardiola's side blew Chelsea away at Stamford Bridge even though the scoreline was only 1-0. That just goes to show how good Manchester City have been this season and I think they will get another victory this weekend. I fancy these two teams to meet each other in the UEFA Champions League once again, so it'll be a big psychological battle.

1. Manchester City - 53 points 2. Chelsea - 43 points 3. Liverpool - 42 points 4. West Ham - 37 points πŸ†•David Moyes' Hammers are flying. #WHUFC https://t.co/uRKchYRNgc

Chelsea had a game on Wednesday night as well and that will play its part. In terms of their attacking options, it'll be interesting to see who Thomas Tuchel decides to go with. Kai Havertz was outstanding in the first leg and played arguably his best football in a Chelsea shirt, but there's also Timo Werner, whose pace could be a huge asset. That said, if Werner plays, he'll have to come up against the pace of Kyle Walker, so they could well end up cancelling each other out!

Havertz, on the other hand, has got the brain and the intelligence to open up teams and make clever runs into the box, so this will be a big call for Tuchel.

Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea


Norwich City vs Everton

Norwich City v Arsenal - Premier League
Norwich City v Arsenal - Premier League

This is Norwich City's cup final. If they don't win this game, it's curtains for them in the Premier League this season. Both teams are all over the place at the moment, but there's more at stake for Norwich than Everton.

I watched Everton against Hull City and they weren't good at all, so I think this could emerge as a winnable game for the home side.

Prediction: Norwich City 2-1 Everton


Wolves vs Southampton

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea - Premier League

Southampton got a great result against Brentford the other day, as was the case with Wolves against Manchester United. Wolves don't score enough goals and that's the only issue for me, but if they manage to solve this issue, they'd be absolutely phenomenal.

The last time we played @SouthamptonFC.πŸ‡²πŸ‡½πŸ˜ https://t.co/Of43JtCuSN

Despite their lack of goals this season, I think they've played some brilliant football this season and should have enough to beat Southampton at home. Armando Broja is a player who has caught my eye - this kid looks really good. He's big, strong and knows where the goal is, so I'm sure Chelsea will be keeping a keen eye on his development.

Prediction: Wolves 2-1 Southampton


Newcastle United vs Watford

Newcastle United v Cambridge United: The Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Newcastle United v Cambridge United: The Emirates FA Cup Third Round

The next three weeks will determine if Newcastle United stay up this season. I know they've signed Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier - two good pros who will roll up their sleeves and fight for the team - but I worry for them. Who else could they get? You have to go for the players who want to come to Newcastle and it has to be said that there are a few who don't want to, as was the case with Lucas Digne, who moved to Aston Villa from Everton.

They've won just one Premier League game this season and lost to Cambridge United despite fielding their strongest XI, which is just not good enough.

A draw would do no favors for Newcastle, but that's my prediction for this relegation six-pointer this week.

Watford have to come away without getting beat and I think they have the quality to do that as they are more of a threat up front than Newcastle. It's an absolute miracle that each of the bottom four have a chance of staying up - a win or two can change the landscape completely.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Watford


Burnley vs Leicester City

Newcastle United v Burnley - Premier League
Newcastle United v Burnley - Premier League

I feel for Burnley because they've had to sell Chris Wood, who was seen as someone who could score them goals to help them avoid the drop. They've sold him to another side battling relegation in Newcastle United, which is just an extraordinary situation.

Much like Newcastle United, Burnley played their best team but got beaten by Huddersfield Town. They wanted a confidence boost, but it has seemingly gotten worse after a damaging defeat in the FA Cup. Defensively, Leicester City are missing a few key players, but I fancy them to win because they'll definitely outscore Burnley.

Prediction: Burnley 1-3 Leicester City


Aston Villa vs Manchester United

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League
Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League

Manchester United are currently all over the place and I called this a long time ago. I know they've won a few games under Ralf Rangnick but their performances have been terrible, so I don't see them beating Aston Villa in the Premier League this weekend.

Villa are 14th in the table but I can't see Manchester United winning - that tells you everything you need to know. A good team always beats a bunch of individuals, and that's what Manchester United are at the moment - a bunch of individuals. Look at their last two Premier League away games - a late penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to beat Norwich City and a draw against Newcastle! As for the recently concluded FA Cup tie, Villa were much better in that game despite losing and I expect them to take Manchester United to the cleaners this time around.

I'm worried for Manchester United, I really am and it'll be unbelievable if they secure a top-four finish. There's been lots said about them, particularly about Cristiano Ronaldo, but I still think he should still start. He didn't play in the FA Cup and they weren't any better. Manchester United don't create too many chances and Ronaldo is one of the best finishers in world football, so they need him on the pitch to score goals.

As for Marcus Rashford, people seem to forget that he's still a young kid because he's played a lot of football. Inconsistency is always a problem with youngsters, so I'd give him a bit more time to prove his worth.

Prediction: Aston Villa 3-1 Manchester United


West Ham vs Leeds United

West Ham United v Norwich City - Premier League
West Ham United v Norwich City - Premier League

West Ham are in the top four again and are coming on the back of impressive victories against Leeds United in the FA Cup and Norwich City in the Premier League. More than half the season is over now and they're in the UEFA Champions League spots, so it's definitely not a fluke or a false position.

Leeds have no chance of being dragged into a relegation battle because I think they have enough quality to win a handful of games along the way, but I expect West Ham to win this one and cement fourth place.

Prediction: West Ham 3-1 Leeds United


Liverpool vs Brentford

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League
Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League

It was a bad result for Brentford against Southampton as they were well-beaten at the St. Mary's Stadium. Before that, they lost a few games here and there, but they were never on the end of a hammering, so this could well turn out to be a wake-up call for them.

Liverpool have arguably got their greatest team of all time. A 38 game run of W36 D2 L0 (Feb β€˜19-Feb β€˜20) says as much. Yet to read some of the stuff on here…

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will be unavailable for Liverpool due to their involvement in the 2022 AFCON, but they should still have miles too much for Brentford, so I expect them to win this one comfortably.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Brentford


Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal

Norwich City v Arsenal - Premier League
Norwich City v Arsenal - Premier League

This is a massive game, I've played in enough of these to know that. I think the tide has changed a little bit this season, so I fancy Arsenal to win this one. They are a better team than Tottenham at the moment and Son Heung-Min's absence is a huge problem for Antonio Conte.

"Arsenal have been handed a triple selection nightmare ahead of their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg vs Liverpool."It's news that could very well transfer over into Sunday's North London Derby against Tottenham."#LIVARSpaininthearsenal.com/2022/01/13/ars…

Spurs have a few games in hand and if they manage to win them, they could break into the top four and cause a bit of trouble for Arsenal. They had the upper hand in this fixture a couple of years ago, but going by what I've seen in recent weeks, I'd be shocked if Arsenal lost.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Arsenal

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Edited by Paul Merson
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