The race for top four has been rather careless than we expected. With all four viable teams in Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, all falling short of the requirements to finish in the last two Champions League spots, after Manchester City and Liverpool.
The race could take a new shape however, with Tottenham Hotspur already nursing a huge blow from Westham United, Leicester City facing Arsenal, and Chelsea squaring off with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Tottenham are a tad off to safety, with three points gap. But neither Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United have a point to spare, and Merson believes it will be the West London blues leaving with the sad face, when both clubs go head to head at the theatre of dreams.
“I expect United to win, believe it or not,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“I think Rashford will be too much for the Chelsea defence. I watch Chelsea, if [Eden] Hazard doesn’t turn up it’s difficult, or if teams keep him quiet. You’ve seen teams do it before.
“I don’t think there’s a lot between the teams, [N’Golo] Kante being injured changes things, if he does play then they might have too much energy for United’s midfield but otherwise, Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be moving out to the left, Jorginho is never going to get you a goal and [Mateo] Kovacic – I can’t remember when he last had a shot.
“It’s just because of Rashford, no other reason, I think he’ll have too much for David Luiz and [Andreas] Christensen.”
While Paul Merson has backed Manchester United to win in the weekend, same doesn’t go for Arsenal who he believes will come short at the King power stadium against Leicester City and Jamie Vardy.
“I just don’t know with Arsenal. They go to Napoli, keep a clean sheet against the second-best team in Italy, and then let in six goals in two league games. You’re watching it and thinking what’s changed? It’s so up and down.
“Sometimes you look at it and think the manager does an unbelievable job to get them where they are, but then you look at him playing [Mesut] Ozil and [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan in midfield for Wolves away, which he did at Everton too where they never looked like winning, but the penny didn’t drop.
“I’ve got to go for Leicester though. [Jamie] Vardy will be too much for the Arsenal defence, they’ve got pace. Look at Leicester since Brendan has gone there, they find it hard to break teams down. But when teams like Arsenal come in who are going to have a go, they’re a dangerous animal. Very dangerous. Arsenal have half an eye on next Thursday as well which doesn’t help.”