Paul Merson’s Premier League predictions for Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea | Soccer

Ex-Arsenal star Paul Merson

The former Arsenal star has predicted the results of the first round of the game (Image: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson has made his predictions for the opening games of the 2022/23 Premier League season.

The season begins with a Friday night meeting between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park – the stadium where the Gunners lost 3-0 last season.

Mikel Arteta’s side were in fine form last season and Gunners legend Merson is backing his former side to start the new season with a win.

“I know Arsenal didn’t start well in the Premier League last year but they had several COVID cases in their squad at the time,” Merson said Sportkeeda. “I don’t see how Crystal Palace will stop Arsenal from scoring goals this weekend. Palace is a difficult team to visit under lights, but this is a summer night.

“Mikel Arteta will probably go with his proven team. Ben White played in midfield in pre-season but I think he will play alongside Gabriel in defence. Over the course of last year’s season, the two have done very well for the team.

“Arteta’s best forward line right now should have Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. There’s also Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah – they have a lot of options now. The most important thing for them was that Gabriel Jesus settled in and he’s all the rage.

“Arsenal must now make a statement. This is a big game for them because they have to lay a foundation. If they lose here, people will assume they’re flaky and still the same old arsenal. If they want to finish in the top four this season, they have to win this game.

Merson’s prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal start the season against Crystal Palace

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal start the season against Crystal Palace (Image: Getty Images)

Last season’s runners-up Liverpool play newly promoted Fulham on Saturday after beating Manchester City in the Community Shield last weekend.

Merson believes the Reds’ £85m summer signing should start the game at Craven Cottage and predicts a routine win for the away side.

“I couldn’t think of a worse way for Fulham to start the Premier League season,” added Merson. “They played so many games by attacking teams in the championship. Now they have to get eleven men behind the ball and that will be a problem.

“I would start Darwin Nunez in this game. I’m only saying that because this isn’t a game against any of the big six and you know Liverpool are going to dominate. Nunez has to play in games where you know he’s going to score and this is a great game for him to make his Premier League debut.

“It’s always difficult to play against promoted players at the beginning of the season – they’re excited and full of energy. You’d much rather play them in January. However, Liverpool are a superb side and should easily win this game.

Merson’s prediction: Fulham 0-2 Liverpool

Darwin Nunez is Liverpool’s big summer signing (Image: Getty Images)

Speaking of Chelsea’s clash against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, Merson believes Thomas Tuchel’s side will pick up a win.

“Both Premier League teams struggled in the pre-season,” Merson continued. “Everton is a difficult place to visit but they’ve been really poor over the last month.

‘Chelsea should play Kai Havertz through the middle – he brings it together for them. I don’t think he will score more than 20 goals for them. Chelsea will need to rely heavily on Mason Mount and his midfield to score and they are not known for that. Raheem Sterling has scored goals for Manchester City but playing for Chelsea is a different kettle of fish.

“I don’t know where Chelsea’s goals are coming from and that’s my problem with them. With Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen they are weaker than in the previous season. Koulibaly has experience behind him, but he’s played in Italy – their football isn’t as fast and electric as Premier League football.

“Everton will make it difficult for them and Tuchel needs to carve out a result here. Chelsea weren’t great last season but I think they have a little too much for Everton this weekend.

Merson’s prediction: Everton 1-2 Chelsea

Merson’s predictions

Crystal Palace 1-3 arsenal

Fulham 0-2 Liverpool

Bournemouth 0-2 AstonVilla

Newcastle United 2-0 Nottingham Forest

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Southampton

Leeds United 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Everton 1-2 Chelsea

Leicester City 2-1 Brentford

Manchester United 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

West Ham United 1-1 Manchester City

Manchester United meet Brighton at Old Trafford but much of the narrative revolves around Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese has informed the club that he wants to leave him next summer but that didn’t materialize.

Game-wise, however, Merson believes Erik ten Hag will win in his first competitive game as United boss.

“Erik ten Hag is in a catch-22 situation with Cristiano Ronaldo,” Merson said.

“He would probably want Ronaldo to go ahead with his plan but he doesn’t have a replacement in the squad. It’s a huge slap in the manager’s face – we’re talking Manchester United and you’d think they’d have a proper centre-forward by now. If he stays I would play Ronaldo ahead of Martial any day of the week in the Premier League.

“In defence, I think Manchester United should play three at the back. Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof – I don’t think any of them are good enough to play in a back four.

“I think Brighton will go to Old Trafford and take the game to the hosts this week. They will keep the ball and try to frustrate Manchester United. I will support United to win this game because they have a new manager but I wouldn’t be surprised if they drop points here.

Merson’s prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

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