Paul Merson's predictions for Premier League GW 25 fixtures

Gillette Soccer Saturday Live with Jeff Stelling
Gillette Soccer Saturday Live with Jeff Stelling

The Premier League features another round of matches this weekend, and we’re all set to witness a few more twists to what has been an unpredictable season. This is a particularly exciting week full of six-pointers at either end of the Premier League table.

The previous set of games in midweek produced a fair share of intriguing results. Manchester United failed to get the better of Burnley in what should have been a victory for Ralf Rangnick. Liverpool and Arsenal managed to win their games, while Tottenham were stunned by an exceptional Southampton performance.

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The Premier League’s relegation battle is also heating up, with the likes of Norwich and Newcastle battling hard to avoid the drop. Watford and Burnley have slipped to the bottom of the Premier League and are running out of time this season.

With only three months left in the season, the Premier League’s teams will need to get their ducks in order to achieve what they’ve set out to achieve. Here are my predictions for this weekend’s matches.

Manchester United vs Southampton

Burnley v Manchester United - Premier League
Burnley v Manchester United - Premier League

This is a massive football match. I thought Manchester United would definitely beat Burnley. They battered them in the first half and did not need that half-time break. West Ham and Arsenal won their games – that didn’t help them either.

If Southampton play like they did against Tottenham, they’re not losing this match. But Southampton are Southampton – that’s why they are where they are in the Premier League. That probably was Southampton’s best performance in 15 years, and I don’t know if they can do it in back-to-back games.

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James Ward-Prowse is a very good player. He doesn’t get enough recognition because of where he plays. He’s the one player in English football who can sway the ball around. We haven’t got many of them, and he ticks that box.

Ronaldo will be back in the starting eleven this weekend. The manager’s not getting Cavani right – the Burnley game was the poorest I’ve ever seen him play. If Manchester United don’t get a result here, they can kiss the top four goodbye. They’re at risk of losing out on Champions League football next season, and they have to win this match.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Burnley

Watford vs Brighton & Hove Albion

West Ham United v Watford - Premier League
West Ham United v Watford - Premier League

I thought Watford did pretty well against Watford the other day. But when you play the way you play and lose 1-0, it doesn’t look good – you can’t play like this every week. They were unlucky in the end with that deflected shot, but they’ll need to win a game sooner rather than later.

Watford and Burnley are more than just one win away from getting out of trouble. When you’re more than a result away from safety, you’re in trouble. Watford need to win this football match.

Brighton are a good team to play against, in a sense. They have nothing to play for this season. I think it’ll be a cagey game, and I don’t see Watford going gung-ho this weekend. If Watford don’t win this game, I think they’ll be relegated because the fixtures coming up are not kind at all.

Prediction: Watford 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

Brentford vs Crystal Palace

Southampton v Brentford - Premier League
Southampton v Brentford - Premier League

I’ve chosen to do this game on Soccer Saturday this weekend. This is Brentford’s cup final – their most important game of the season. If they lose this match, they’re in major trouble.

Crystal Palace are a nice team to watch. But you can get a Palace that are inconsistent, and Brentford will be hoping for that. Brentford lost to Manchester United and Manchester City – those defeats are not much of a problem because they weren’t playing against teams around them in the Premier League table.

If they lose this game, their matches against Norwich and Newcastle become six-pointers. They wouldn’t want to go into those matches without a good result here. I’m not sure why, but I’m going to go with a Brentford win. There’s more at stake for Brentford than for Crystal Palace, and I hope Brentford play this game like they know what’s on the line.

Prediction: Brentford 2-1 Crystal Palace

Everton vs Leeds United

Newcastle United v Everton - Premier League
Newcastle United v Everton - Premier League

Everton were fortunate that Norwich drew their game this week. If they’d held on to win it, Everton would be in major trouble now. This is a nightmare of a game for Frank Lampard.

Leeds are a lovely team to watch, and you could see that against Aston Villa. They just never give up. This is a dangerous game for Everton. They were well beaten the other day. I didn’t like what Frank Lampard said after the game either – he said there’d be plenty more of these. That’s what he’s been brought in to stop.

Everton were poor the other night. Leeds will put pressure on Everton at Goodison Park, and they’re going to play like they always play. A 0-0 with Leeds is very rare, and this will be an open football match. Both teams are defensively all over the place, but I’m going to back Leeds to win this game.

Prediction: Everton 2-3 Leeds United

Norwich City vs Manchester City

Huddersfield Town v Manchester City - Premier League
Huddersfield Town v Manchester City - Premier League

This is a Premier League game that Norwich just have to get out of the way. That’s what tends to happen when you play Manchester City – you need to ride your luck.

I like Riyad Mahrez, and I think he’s done well at the club. Man City’s wingers all do well at different times, and they have different types. If someone doesn’t perform, another will. That’s their great strength. Sterling, Foden, Grealish, Mahrez – at least one of them is always on top of his game.

Pep Guardiola’s Man City team is a machine. It never struggles. The Premier League’s big teams often find a few opponents hard to break down, but you never have to worry about that with Man City. If they’re 2-0 down against Norwich inside the first 15 minutes, I’d still fancy a Manchester City victory here.

Prediction: Norwich City 0-3 Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Watford v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Watford v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

That was a stinking result for Tottenham the other day. They had games in hand, and they could have been a shoo-in for the Premier League top four. Now, they’ve fallen behind.

Tottenham’s performance worried me the other night – they got absolutely slaughtered. If they’d won that game, it would’ve just papered over the cracks.

Both teams have to win this game. A draw here is no good and will just help the likes of Arsenal, West Ham, and Man United. Wolves lost to Arsenal in their midweek game, and will need to play Arsenal away from home. They need a win here, but I see both teams playing out a draw this weekend.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Newcastle United vs Aston Villa

Leeds United v Newcastle United - Premier League
Leeds United v Newcastle United - Premier League

If it wasn’t for Allan Saint-Maximin, Newcastle weren’t winning their game against Everton. He was outstanding on the day, and they’re going to go on the attack here. If Newcastle win this game, they’d be taking a massive step towards getting out of trouble. I think they need to get their points now and make hay while the sun shines.

Philippe Coutinho was very good against Leeds. If you can have players like Jacob Ramsey making runs around him, Coutinho will find them. Coutinho will probably get Ramsey into the England squad.

Both teams have a go in their Premier League games, and neither team is defensively very good. We saw that with Aston Villa the other night. I think there’ll be a lot of goals in this match.

Prediction: Newcastle United 2-2 Aston Villa

Burnley vs Liverpool

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

Burnley were at their best the other day against Manchester United. They came out with intent in the second half, and they got their goal. But Liverpool are a different team, and Burnley will need to hope for a windy, rainy day like the other night to stand a chance.

I don’t think Mane will play this game, but Salah has to play. He’s absolutely world-class. Jota will also likely keep his place, and I’d probably go with Firmino against Burnley. I can’t see anything but a Liverpool victory this weekend.

Prediction: Burnley 0-3 Liverpool

Leicester City vs West Ham United

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League
Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League

This could be a massive result for West Ham. They need to do well this season, because they might lose Declan Rice in the summer.

A move to Manchester United or Chelsea could be a massive thing for Rice. Chelsea already have Jorginho, Kante, and Kovacic. United haven’t got any of those players – McTominay is a good midfielder but wouldn’t start for Chelsea. Man United need Rice more than Chelsea do, and they could break the bank for him.

Leicester are all over the place at the moment, and this is a big game for them. Last week was a shocker for them, particularly against Nottingham Forest. With Leicester struggling, you’d expect West Ham to win this game.

Prediction: Leicester City 1-2 West Ham United

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