Paul Merson
Football Expert & Columnist

Title twists

Merse looks ahead to two big live Saturday games

Terry: under the spotlight on Saturday

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Sky Sports brings you two live matches on Saturday and both have implications at the top of the Premier League table.

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Chelsea v Man City

12pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD1
Stoke City v Arsenal
5.15pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD1
Watch online with Sky Player
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"I do think all the controversy is affecting Terry. I saw him struggle against Everton, he got away with two massive mistakes against Wolves and he was all over the place against Inter. There's obviously a lot going on in his head."

Paul Merson

Quotes of the week

From noon you can see if Chelsea can extend their lead at the top as they welcome a Manchester City side looking to bounce back from their midweek FA Cup defeat to Stoke City.

And from 5.15pm you can see the Potters themselves as they welcome third-placed Arsenal to the Britannia Stadium.

Sky Sports expert Paul Merson gives us his views ahead of both games...

Chelsea v Man City
12noon, Sat, Sky Sports HD1 & Sky Sports 1

People will talk about John Terry and Wayne Bridge in the build-up to this match, but at the end of the day this is a game of football.

Put it this way, you're not going to see them fighting each other on the half-way line. It might be a bit more awkward if it was a centre-forward against a centre-half, but Bridge and Terry will probably only come into contact at corners.

I do think all the controversy is affecting Terry. I saw him struggle against Everton, he got away with two massive mistakes against Wolves and he was all over the place against Inter. There's obviously a lot going on in his head.

I haven't seen Bridge lately, but I was very, very, very surprised to hear him give up on England. I know he's going through a lot of pain at the moment but time's a healer and it could all move on in two or three months. This decision means he might miss out on winning the World Cup with England.

Beyond that sideshow, this is a massive game for Manchester City. They've gone out of the FA Cup and fighting for fourth place is all they've got left now.

But they've only won one of their last 11 away games - plus the FA Cup loss at Stoke - and that's shocking form. If I'm honest, I don't think this team is that great.

Many years ago Blackburn bought the league by spending loads of money on the best players, but you can't do that now. There's a lot of strong clubs and City will need time to get a team in place. I think it will be difficult for them to get in the top four so quickly.

And I don't see them getting anything out of a much better Chelsea team who are very strong at home.

Ashley Cole and Petr Cech will be missed and I remember they blew the league a couple of years ago when Cech and Terry got injured. Chelsea's squad is bigger and stronger than anybody's, but certain individuals will make a difference. Cech is probably worth four points between now and the end of the season.

I still reckon they'll be too strong on Saturday though and City will slip a little further behind in that race for fourth.

PAUL'S PREDICTION
Home win - If you've got an away record like City have then you're always going to be up against it at Stamford Bridge. They probably need to sit back, but I can't see Chelsea failing to score and I think the home team will win comfortably. I'll go for 3-0.

MERSON'S MAGIC MAN
Didier Drogba - He's a big player and even though he didn't do a lot against Inter Milan on Wednesday night I expect him to raise his game here. He's been flying in the Premier League and should cause City lots of problems.

Stoke City v Arsenal
5.15pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD1 & Sky Sports 1

Here are 10 reasons why Arsenal can easily still win the Premier League:

1. Burnley (h)
2. Hull City (a)
3. West Ham (h)
4. Birmingham (a)
5. Wolves (h)
6. Tottenham (a)
7. Wigan (a)
8. Man City (h)
9. Blackburn (a)
10. Fulham (h)

Those are Arsenal's final 10 fixtures and that's why Arsenal can get back in the title race. Nobody else has got fixtures like that.

But it all means nothing if they don't beat Stoke on Saturday. I expect Chelsea to beat Man City so if Arsenal lose at the Britannia they'll be nine points behind. I can't see Chelsea losing three of their last 10 games so the gap will be too big.

It's such a thin line for Arsenal because away to Stoke is a very tough game. However, the big advantage for them is that Stoke played extra time on Wednesday and will have one eye on the FA Cup quarter-final next week.

Stoke have got bigger fish to fry than Arsenal. If they lose on Saturday it doesn't really matter, but if they can get a result at Chelsea next week and go closer to the FA Cup Final it would be phenomenal for them.

It wouldn't surprise me if a few important players had a rest on Saturday because Stoke have got nothing to prove any more. We all know they are capable of beating anybody and I think they have earned the right to concentrate on the FA Cup

The home team do play a bit of football, there are some skilful players like Tuncay and Ricardo Fuller in the team, but they are not going to beat Arsenal by getting it down and opening them up.

They are going to get the ball in the box quickly and it's hard for anybody to defend against that for 90 minutes. Stoke always get themselves a chance to score and some of the long throws are unplayable.

So I expect Arsene Wenger to pick a few of his bigger players to compete with Stoke. Nicklas Bendtner and Abou Diaby are good physical players and I expect them to start, but ultimately Arsenal need to play to their own strengths.

That means getting the ball down and playing through Stoke - and I think that should be enough for the three points.

PAUL'S PREDICTION
Away win - Arsenal have to win this game and I personally think they will. Stoke will have half an eye on the Chelsea game, so I see Arsenal winning 3-1 and getting back in the title race. But if they lose it's goodnight...


MERSON'S MAGIC MAN
Cesc Fabregas - Arsenal need to put a few bigger lads in there, but if they're going to win they have to get it down and play through Stoke. There's nobody better at doing that than Fabregas and I think he'll be the main man.