A Bridge too far
Paul Merson says Arsenal must win at Stamford Bridge to stay in the title race... but it won't happen.
Last Updated: 05/02/10 3:57pm
Sky Sports brings you a mouthwatering Super Sunday this weekend - with the added spice of local pride on the line.
First up at 1pm, Birmingham and Wolves go head to head with West Midlands bragging rights - and a valuable three points - at stake.
Then from 3.30pm we bring you a clash that could go a long way to deciding this season's title race as London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal meet at Stamford Bridge.
Sky Sports expert Paul Merson gives his views ahead of both games.
Birmingham v Wolves
1pm, Sun, Sky Sports HD1 & Sky Sports 1
If Wolves defend like they did at Crystal Palace, they shouldn't bother getting on the coach on Sunday.
Wolves pretty much had their first-choice back four out and if they play like that against Birmingham they'll lose by three or four - and Birmingham are hardly a free-flowing football team.
Wolves made five changes for that FA Cup game with the regular back four and holding midfielder providing a base. The guys that came in are supposed to be Premier League players and they can have no excuses for being ripped apart by Palace.
Mick McCarthy will have learned a lot that night. At least some of those players won't be knocking on his door on a Friday afternoon to ask why they're not playing.
Hopefully that was a blip and I still think Wolves will stay up. There are worse teams in the Premier League and I think the enthusiasm in the Wolves team will keep them in the division.
As for Birmingham, they're the team of the season so far in my eyes.
This is a team that were definitely one of the relegation candidates - fourth bottom would have been a great finish for them - and here they are in the top half of the table.
They had a wonderful unbeaten run in the league which ended at Chelsea, but the last-minute equaliser against Tottenham will have given them bundles of confidence.
The advantage they've had is that they've had the same team out every week. When you're winning all the time you don't get tired and I expect their good run to carry on this weekend.
Home win - I expect Birmingham to beat Wolves. The Blues are flying and Wolves are struggling at the other end of the table. Wolves always have a go. They won't go there to defend, but the home team will come into the game with much more confidence and I expect them to win 2-1. I'd be shocked if Birmingham don't score.
MERSON'S MAGIC MAN
Christian Benitez - I'll go for Benitez because he's quick and lively. The two Wolves centre-halves won't want to deal with him when balls go up to him and I think his movement could prove to be too much for the Wolves back four.
Chelsea v Arsenal
3.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports HD1 & Sky Sports 1
Should John Terry play in this game? If his mind is right then of course he should.
I had problems in my career, but the one time you don't have a problem is when you go out onto the pitch on a Saturday or a Sunday. For those two hours everything else goes out of the window and you're free.
The boos from the away fans won't affect him one bit. I used to get stick all the time and you shouldn't let it bother you. If they start leaving you alone it shows you're having a nightmare... fans don't tend to boo bad players.
Football is all about playing in big games like this and his performance against Burnley last week showed you what he's all about as a footballer. Captains like him don't come along too often. He's up there in the same category Roy Keane, Tony Adams or Alan Shearer as a leader on the football pitch. I think he'll play.
For Arsenal this is a must-win game, a draw wouldn't be good enough.
I expect Man United to beat Portsmouth on Saturday to go six points clear of Arsenal, so a draw at Stamford Bridge would leave Arsenal six points behind both United and Chelsea.
That's a lot of points when you're chasing two teams, especially when you don't get to play either of them again. One of them might slip up, but it's very unlikely that both of them will.
I fear for Arsenal if they go behind. They ran out of ideas when they went 2-0 down against United and it was the same in the home game against Chelsea.
I remember Arsene Wenger saying that if they let in two goals they'll score four. Maybe you can do that when you're playing Bolton at home but it doesn't happen against the big boys.
There isn't much Arsene Wenger can do to change the team after last week. If Nicklas Bendtner's fit he might add a bit of strength up front, but I don't see many more changes.
This is a game Arsenal must win and I can only see one winner. Unfortunately it isn't Arsenal.
Home win - Last week's defeat to United will have taken a lot of stuffing out of the Arsenal players. It was a big result and I don't see them bouncing back here. Chelsea won't run away with it, but I can see them winning 3-1. They slipped up at Hull, but generally they have been playing very well.
MERSON'S MAGIC MAN
Frank Lampard - He's a big-game player. Arsenal will worry about him more than Chelsea will worry about Cesc Fabregas. He's got the ammunition to provide balls for Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. When Fabregas breaks free, who is going to make the most of his deliveries?