Paul Merson’s predictions for Tottenham vs Arsenal, Fulham vs Chelsea and other Premier League GW 20 fixtures

The Premier League is back in action with another set of matches this weekend, and we’re set to witness a number of crucial clashes in the competition. With the new year’s first set of cup ties now out of the way, teams will look to turn their attention to their league fortunes.

The next two weeks could potentially define the Premier League title race. If Arsenal fail to win their next two games, the race could become wide open. We’re getting into that nitty-gritty part of the season, and things can change very quickly.

As far as this season’s top four are concerned, I’m going with the four that are currently in there. Newcastle find themselves with a great opportunity and have good fixtures coming up. Liverpool could miss out on the top four this season, and Tottenham are very hot and cold at the moment.

Here are my predictions for this weekend’s round of Premier League matches.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal

This is the only time I miss playing football. This game never lets you down. Everyone goes on about all the other big games, but you never come away from this derby with nothing happening. It’s the most entertaining Premier League game on a consistent basis – goals galore!

Eddie Nketiah is playing very well at the moment, and I expected nothing less in his first three or four games. He needs to keep going now – that’s how the top players do it. He will score goals, and he’s got attributes that Gabriel Jesus does not have. He’s been patient and I’ll give him his due – I hope it keeps going for him.

I think Odegaard and Saka have been great. Everyone has been outstanding for Arsenal, and that’s why they are where they are. Tottenham, on the other hand, are nine on ten in one game and five in the next.

Harry Kane causes Arsenal problems, and Arsenal cause Tottenham problems. If Tottenham want to play defensively, Arsenal will run out of ideas quickly like they did against Newcastle. If Tottenham play a dangerous game, however, Arsenal could run riot. I don’t see this game as a foregone conclusion – I hope Arsenal wipe the floor with Tottenham, but I don’t think they will.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal

Fulham vs Chelsea

This is the first time in several years that Chelsea will be going into this game and it’s touch and go. I like Graham Potter but I think he’ll need to win this game. If you’re going to lose to your little neighbours down the road, it’ll be a massive shock.

I think Aubameyang’s time at Chelsea is at an end. You don’t bring someone off after bringing them on as a substitute – that’s an unwritten rule in football. I want Potter to keep his job, but as long as fans are singing Tuchel’s name, they’re not with him and it’s going to be hard.

Fulham have been outstanding this season and have played really well in the Premier League. Chelsea are still struggling along, and I think they’ll play out a draw in this game.

Prediction: Fulham 1-1 Chelsea

Manchester United vs Manchester City

This is a big game. Manchester City have a tight schedule – they’ll have to train on Friday and play on Saturday. This is the first time that United are playing against City for a long time when they couldn’t be playing any better. Man United are playing with a lot of confidence.

You’d usually expect Manchester City to wipe the floor with United, but now, I don’t see how Manchester United don’t score. If they start this game the way Chelsea did last week, they’ll have a chance. If they change their game up and sit back, City will break them open.

Erling Haaland is an out-and-out striker – he didn’t touch the ball once in the first 20 minutes against Chelsea. City’s players are told to get the ball in the box for him. If he doesn’t score, it starts to become a problem. Man City used to spread their goals across the team, and it was extraordinary. Teams will catch on, and they’ll start to stay tight with Haaland.

I think the next two games will tell you everything about Manchester United. If they get four points from their next two games, they’re in the title race. Two draws won’t be enough, however, and that just shows you how quickly things can change.

United have a better shape about them now. Fernandes looks like a completely different player again, and Rashford has taken it on himself to be the man – he’s playing the best football of his career. Manchester United play good counter-attacking football and have the pace to really hurt City this weekend.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City

Predictions

– Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 West Ham United

– Aston Villa 3-1 Leeds United

– Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace

– Nottingham Forest 1-0 Leicester City

– Brighton & Hove Albion 2-2 Liverpool

– Everton 2-0 Southampton

– Bournemouth 0-3 Brentford

– Newcastle United 2-0 Fulham

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