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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

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 ‘19-Feb ‘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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