Parker's Premier League Picks: Arsenal to beat Manchester United, Chelsea to win
Eurosport's resident football expert Paul Parker has made his predictions for this weekend's Premier League action. The former Manchester United and England star has picked out four big matches that he feels confident of forecasting, with his former club Manchester United predicted to lose to Arsenal.
Alex Lacazette celebrates scoring the 3rd Arsenal goal with (R) Bukayo Saka during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on January 02, 2021 in West Bromwich
Do you agree with Paul's picks for this run of Premier League games? If not, let us know on Twitter... @Eurosport_UK
Manchester City v Sheffield United - Saturday 15:00
Lightning isn't going to strike twice in the same town, and Manchester City are in too good shape to fall into the same trap that United did. They have a more experienced manager who can trust his players not to make mistakes.
They are stronger defensively and have more resilience, and this City side can match Sheffield United for strength and stamina.
Pep Guardiola's men also are able to score without centre forwards. They have the tactical sophistication to break through their opponents' defence, but they will have to work hard. In Sheffield United they face a team that works for their manager and will keep them honest.
West Brom v Fulham - Saturday 15:00
Against Brighton, Fulham looked like they were never going to score. They only had a couple of decent counterattacks, but they did manage to improve when they introduced Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The thing about Mitrovic is that he's an old-fashioned striker, like the ones we're used to from the 1980s, but he has modern technical ability, so he can make something happen.
West Brom, meanwhile, struggle at home and, when they returned from the coronavirus break, they were even having a hard time when they were promoted last year. Since then, they've been vulnerable at the back and there's been no change since the appointment of Sam Allardyce.
Perhaps the lack of fans is a problem, with no uplift from the change in mood with a new manager. I think both of them will struggle to score.
Arsenal v Man Utd - Saturday 17:30
The Sheffield United result had been in the post for a while for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United seemed a little complacent. It seemed like at 1-1 they assumed it would be destined that they would eventually win, but they let it go again with some slack defending. Defenders failed to close the ball down, and instead they just put their hands behind their backs and stood still. You might be worried about handball, but you have to defend properly and only then worry about how the rules are going to be applied.
Arsenal had a poor time in the FA Cup against Southampton, and it was a poor decision from Mikel Arteta. He should have tried harder to retain a trophy, but took the game for granted instead. He made amends a few days later with a comprehensive win against the same opponents, and their Premier League form remains excellent.
I think that Arsenal now go into the weekend’s game as the favourites over United.
It sounds crazy but one point after two games would put the pressure on Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea. He can't afford a poor result and that's why I think the home side will take all three points.
Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea embraces Mason Mount of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on January 27
Image credit: Getty Images
West Ham v Liverpool - Sunday 16:30
I think there's a belief at West Ham that they are unbeatable. They've been on a run that has taken them to fourth in the Premier League and could even end the season in the Champions League spots, which would be their best finish in years.
It was against Doncaster Rovers, admittedly, but their win in the FA Cup was instructive. David Moyes brought some reserve players into the team and they were ruthless. They had a good attitude, and could have won by more. They were frighting in attack and dominated throughout.
I wonder if West Ham are one of the sides who are getting a benefit from the coronavirus restrictions. The fans at the London Stadium have always been negative since the move from Upton Park, and without them now the atmosphere has changed. They can play with freedom now, and they are playing collectively and individually consistently.