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Merson: Derby could fizzle out

Paul Merson fears the Merseyside derby might just fizzle out on Saturday and thinks Southampton's trip to Arsenal will be "a journey too far".

Last Updated: 22/11/13 at 12:52 Post Comment

Paul Merson: Says Merseyside derby could fizzle out

Paul Merson: Says Merseyside derby could fizzle out

Sky Sports pundit Merson looks at the weekend's big games and thinks Saturday's Merseyside derby is in danger of being a damp squib if there isn't an early goal, while he predicts wins for Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Everton v Liverpool (Sat, 12.45pm)

I was up in Liverpool last week with a few Everton fans and they were saying they'd take a draw in this derby. I found that worrying because you'd expect them to be a bit more confident at home. I like Everton, but they haven't been great lately and they really struggled against Crystal Palace. They should have lost really and in the end it was a point gained rather than two lost. They aren't scoring a lot of goals, but I wonder if Liverpool's strikers might be a bit below par as well. Luis Suarez is coming back from a long journey and Daniel Sturridge looks to be carrying a little niggle. If there isn't an early goal this could fizzle out.

MERSON PREDICTS: 1-1

Arsenal v Southampton

I don't see anything but an Arsenal win - and even Matt Le Tissier will probably agree with me on that one. If people think Southampton are going to go to The Emirates and beat the form team in the league then they should be favourites to win the Premier League! They have been doing well this season, but have been punching above their weight and this is a journey too far. Southampton will try to squeeze Arsenal, but Arsene Wenger has got players who are comfortable and quick on the ball and can pass it around them. It was 6-1 last year and while it won't be that many this time I can't see anything but a home win.

MERSON PREDICTS: 3-0

West Ham v Chelsea (5pm, Sat, Sky Sports 1)

Chelsea have had a couple of bad results against Newcastle and West Brom, which you can put down to complacency, but they are still there or thereabouts in the title race. I expect them to get back to winning ways in this game because I can't see how West Ham are going to hurt them. They put all their eggs in one basket with Andy Carroll and then he got injured, which has been a big blow. Carlton Cole hasn't played football for a long time and he'll be marked by four international footballers on Saturday, which will make it even more difficult. The worrying thing for Sam Allardyce is that they've been playing fairly well and yet are right down the bottom, but they should be ok in the long run. I can't see them getting anything from this game though.

MERSON PREDICTS: 0-2

Cardiff v Man Utd (3.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1)

Cardiff are playing Manchester United at the right time. Everybody has just come back from the international break and there are questions over the fitness of Danny Welbeck, Michael Carrick, Jonny Evans and a few others. And remember, Manchester United will have one eye on a Champions League game they need to win against Bayer Leverkusen in midweek, so this is a good time to play them.

I don't think David Moyes can afford to rest any of his players. I reckon Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea will all win this weekend and if Manchester United drop points then they will slip further back in the title race and all the good work they did by beating Arsenal two weeks ago will go out the window. This will be a difficult game for them, but I think they will win it. The Cardiff City Stadium isn't the hardest place to go - I saw Tottenham go there the other week and they could have scored 100 - and Cardiff haven't looked good in some games, especially away from home. It all depends how long they can hold out.

MERSON PREDICTS: 0-2

Man City v Tottenham (12.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1)

Even though Tottenham lost to Newcastle, I think they could take a lot of positives from the game. They looked like scoring a lot of goals in the second half and they attacked with more pace and fluency than they have all season. It's the best I've seen them and they only lost because Tim Krul had an outstanding game. However, they'd have expected nine points from their last three home games and they walked away with three - which was a dodgy penalty against Hull. Overall their build-up play has been too slow this season and Andre Villas-Boas seems to set his teams up to avoid defeat, rather than going out to win.

Manchester City are a real force at home and the way they move the ball is something to behold. With no Vincent Kompany in the team then Tottenham have a chance to expose them, but it all depends on how much of the ball they get. I just think City will dominate them in that department. This is a big game and one which Tottenham need to try to make sure they don't lose - but I think they will.

MERSON PREDICTS: 3-1

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