Merson tips Foxes, backs United & Reds

Date published: Thursday 30th April 2015 4:49

Leicester v Newcastle

I’m quite surprised Leicester didn’t rest some of their players for the visit of Chelsea, but I think they’ll beat Newcastle.

The momentum was slightly halted against the champions elect, and a couple more injuries won’t help, but they played well enough to take something positive and carry on from there.

I just can’t see where Newcastle are going to win another game. Everybody says they have enough points, but if Leicester can win four in a row from nowhere, anything can happen. If Leicester win, Newcastle will be sucked in. It could all change still.


Aston Villa v Everton

Villa would have been looking at this game five weeks ago they will have said, “we’ll win this” because of the way Everton were playing, but they’ve turned a corner.

They’ve won five of their last six in the Premier League, although their away form is still unconvincing.

This is a hard game for Villa and an even harder one to predict. I think it will be an open game, but I can’t see Everton losing after their win over Manchester United.


Liverpool v QPR

Liverpool are struggling of late – the mid-season surge counts for very little now – but I think they’ll win this. QPR needed to win against West Ham last week, and that will have hurt, especially having missed a penalty.

The season is over for Liverpool, and QPR will have to come out and win the game – there is no use in them drawing – so it will be an entertaining football match. But the hosts will have too much for them if Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling find some space in behind.


Sunderland v Southampton

I watched Sunderland last week, and they’re having a right go. They did well at Stoke, but the games are running out.

Sunderland have to win before they play Arsenal and Chelsea in the last two games of the season, and the pressure is really on them here. This is potentially the biggest game of the lot.

But they open the game up, and not to their advantage… this will play into Southampton’s hands.


Swansea v Stoke City

There’s not a lot between these two sides. I watched Stoke last week and their boring tag has completely transformed over a couple years, they play really good football and have done really well.

Mark Hughes could lead them to their record points haul in the Premier League with just four more points, set by himself last season. That tells you all you need to know about the direction they are going under the Welshman.

Swansea have been majorly inconsistent, but I expect them to be around this area next season too. The outlook is bright for both sides.


West Ham v Burnley

Burnley just don’t seem to score goals – that’s seven out of eight games they’ve failed to score, and you just can’t do that. Danny Ings has scored over a third of their league goals, and that says it all.

West Ham have to win a game sooner or later, and it should be this weekend. If Matty Taylor had scored that penalty against Leicester last week, and QPR had scored their penalty, they’re both above Leicester. That’s how tight it is at the moment.


Man Utd v West Brom

Manchester United have got to bounce back here. I didn’t see too much between them and Everton last week but it ended 3-0, that will have hurt Louis van Gaal after being on a roll in recent weeks.

West Brom aren’t quite the side Tony Pulis wants them to be at the moment. They started off well but have become inconsistent. If you look at it, the football is a bit too open for Pulis’ liking, and he won’t like that.

We should see a proper Pulis side this season, but the transformation won’t start at Old Trafford.


Chelsea v Palace

I think this will be Chelsea’s title party, but it won’t be easy. Palace are decent away from home – they’ve won seven of their eight travels under Alan Pardew – and their style of play suits it.

But I can’t go against Chelsea. They are worthy winners and have been outstanding this season, using a fantastic core of a side and creating a winning mentality. That’s Jose Mourinho, and all this ‘boring’ talk is just pathetic.

It’s hard to retain the title the following year; Arsenal need a couple players, as we say every year, Man City are going to buy because of the bad season they’ve had, Manchester United are going to buy too. It won’t be easy.


Spurs v Man City

Both sides will go out and have a go for this one, making for an entertaining game.

I think the season has cost Manuel Pellegrini his job. If you’re Manchester City, not winning the league, not winning any silverware with a team like that, you’re in trouble.

Mauricio Pochettino, on the other hand, has done OK at Spurs so far. He fell across the team slightly, but has brought Kane in regularly, and introduced Ryan Mason into midfield.

But they need a few players, a few more of his own players to make them into the team he wants.


Hull City v Arsenal

This has all the makings for an entertaining game – both are on a roll. Hull had to work very, very hard for the two wins on the trot against Crystal Palace and Liverpool, and they did brilliantly to get the results, but it could have taken its toll. It will have caught up with them. Arsenal will be fresh and will have too much for them.

Can Arsenal have a better go next season? They do this every year, but hopefully they will. The last 10 games they’ve been really good, but there hasn’t been any major pressure on them. The pressure starts again in August.


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