PST writers predict Premier League standings, do you agree?

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With the Premier League season beginning in just two days, we’ve been having a little fun over at ProSoccerTalk.

Amongst the plethora of top quality of season previews we’ve been churning out — you can find them all here at PST Preview central — we took some time to predict how the PL standings will look on May 11, 2014 after the final games of the season have been played.

The magic eight ball was working overtime as we discussed our picks. If only I could find that crystal ball…

The predictions from our six writers varied, but Chelsea and Manchester City are the clear favorites with our guys, while it’s not looking good for the newly promoted sides.  Also, we think Jozy Altidore’s Sunderland will struggle and Stoke’s strong American contingent won’t cover themselves in much glory.

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Below you can see who we think will win the league, who will qualify for the Champions League (top four) and who will be relegated to the Championship (bottom three). Bonus: Click on the teams and it will take you to their season preview.

Feel free to let us know your final PL standings in the comments below. Anyway, here’s our predictions:

ProSoccerTalk Prediction

JPW Steve Davis Richard Farley Mike Prindiville Kyle Bonn Liviu Bird
1. Chelsea
1. Chelsea
1. Man City
1. Man City
1. Chelsea
1. Chelsea
2. Man City 2. Man City 2. Chelsea 2. Chelsea 2. Man City 2. Man City
3. Arsenal 3. Man Utd 3. Man Utd 3. Man Utd 3. Man Utd 3. Man Utd
4. Man Utd 4. Arsenal 4. Tottenham 4. Tottenham 4. Arsenal 4. Everton
—————– —————– —————– —————– —————– —————–
5. Tottenham 5. Liverpool 5. Arsenal 5. Arsenal 5. Everton 5. Arsenal
6. Liverpool 6. Tottenham 6. Liverpool 6. Liverpool 6. Liverpool 6. Tottenham
7. Swansea 7. Everton 7. Swansea 7. Everton 7. Tottenham 7. Liverpool
8.Southampton 8. Newcastle 8. Everton 8. Swansea 8. Swansea 8. West Ham
9. Everton 9. West Brom 9. Newcastle 9. Southampton 9. West Ham 9. Norwich
10. Stoke 10. Swansea 10. Southampton 10. Norwich 10. Norwich 10. West Brom
11. West Brom 11. Sunderland 11. West Ham 11. West Ham 11. West Brom 11. Fulham
12. West Ham 12. West Ham 12. West Brom 12. Sunderland 12. Newcastle 12. Swansea
13. Newcastle 13.Southampton 13. Fulham 13. Aston Villa 13. Fuham 13. Stoke
14. Norwich 14. Fulham 14. Sunderland 14. Newcastle 14. Stoke 14.Southampton
15. Sunderland 15. Aston Villa 15. Aston Villa 15. West Brom 15. Aston Villa 15. Newcastle
16. Fulham 16. Stoke 16. Norwich 16. Cardiff 16. Cardiff 16. Cardiff
17. Aston Villa 17. Norwich 17. Stoke City 17. Fulham 17.Southampton 17. Aston Villa
—————– —————– —————– —————– —————– —————–
18. Hull
18. Cardiff
18. Cardiff
18. Stoke
18. Sunderland
18. Hull
19. Cardiff
19. Hull
19. Hull
19. Hull
19. Hull
19. Sunderland
20. C. Palace
20. C. Palace
20. C. Palace
20. C. Palace
20. C.Palace
20. C. Palace

Joe Prince-Wright

Champions: Chelsea

source:  Chelsea as the Premier League Champions is a reoccurring theme, so we must be correct… While the reigning champs Manchester United have only just made it into JPW’s top four. Controversial. All three promoted teams are going straight back where they came from and it will be a bad season for Fulham and Aston Villa.

Steve Davis

Champions: Chelsea

source:  Steve has gone for the three promoted teams to be relegated, and not many would argue with that prediction ahead of the 2013-14 season. He also has Chelsea winning the title and Newcastle surging up the table to finish in eighth spot. Do we agree with this?

Richard Farley

Champions: Manchester City

source:  Richard has Arsenal dropping our of the top four for the first time since Arsene Wenger took charge in 1996. Wise decision? He also predicts another good season for Swansea and Liverpool to break into the top six under Brendan Rodgers.

Mike Prindiville

Champions: Manchester City

source:  Prindi has gone for plenty of big names in the top six, leaving his beloved Everton out of the mix, just. He’s also one of the few writers to not pick all three promoted sides to be relegated… Looks like Stoke’s new manager Mark Hughes is in for a rough ride.

Kyle Bonn

Champions: Chelsea

source:  Few surprise picks from Kyle, as he thinks Spurs will fall to seventh this season. Maybe that will be true without the genius of Gareth Bale… if he leaves for Madrid. While he predicts Sunderland will be relegated. More Premier League woe for Altidore?

Liviu Bird

Champions: Chelsea

source:  Pretty controversial prediction from Liviu, which is sure to upset fans of Arsenal and Spurs. He has them both finishing outside the Champions League spots and Everton finishing fourth. He also has Sunderland going down and West Ham and Norwich sneaking into the top 10.

What do you think the Premier League standings will look like? Share you prediction below in the comments.

Terry: “I couldn’t care less” about 26th-minute farewell criticism

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John Terry is a man who… well, let’s just say, does things his way.

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For instance, remember the time Chelsea won the UEFA Champions League, by beating Bayern Munich, in penalties? Remember Chelsea’s post-game celebrations, which saw Terry, who was suspended for the final at the Allianz Arena, joyously jumping around with his teammates wearing his full kit, shin guards and all?

Was it over the top and a bit silly? Sure it was, but was anyone hurt or genuinely upset by it? Of course not. On Sunday, as Terry said goodbye to the only club he’s ever known (apart from a six-game loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 2000), he toed the line between what’s acceptable and what’s outlandish. Just like in 2012, Terry caused a minor uproar, and just like in 2012 he “couldn’t care less” — quotes from the Guardian:

“I couldn’t care less, I promise you. All I care about is celebrating with my Chelsea fans. Me and them have a wonderful rapport and have done for 22 years. Nothing that people write or say can ever get in the way of that.

“If that’s the way I want to go out, that’s the way I go out because I’ve been here 22 years, I’ve won so many trophies — so if I wanted to play one minute and come off, I would have done.

“I wanted to play 26 minutes because the shirt number means a lot to me and the supporters so as long as they are happy – and I was over the moon with the reception – I promise you I could not care less.”

“It was an unbelievable send-off from the supporters to help me to celebrate 22 years at the club.

“I’m very grateful to them, and it was something I will never forget. It was so emotional after the game, I was in bits.”

There’s something to be said about the success that Chelsea have had as a club, and the way its recency leads them to feel they are perceived by the outside world. Other clubs, “bigger,” most historic clubs — Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, for example — have been winning trophies pretty regularly for decades, while 70 percent of the major trophies (14 of 20) won in the club’s history have come since Roman Abramovich bought the club 14 years ago, in 2003. Chelsea is a 112-year-old football club.

[ MORE: Pogba, Mkhitaryan fire Man United to Europa League trophy ]

Chelsea’s players and fans are so clearly away of their bought-and-paid-for status, thus everything is celebrated on the grandest scale, almost as if to legitimize their accomplishments (which stand up just fine on their own two feet) and standing within the hierarchy of English football. “Contrived” (and admittedly so) is the word that comes to mind and best describes Terry’s send-off.

No one in this space is saying there’s anything wrong with that, but everyone connected to Chelsea must realize and accept that it looks silly to supporters of the aforementioned long-time giants, and they’re going to be pointed at and laughed at every time they do it.

FA Cup: Three key battles between Arsenal, Chelsea

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The FA Cup final usually brings out terrific entertainment for the fans, and this Saturday’s finale should be no different.

When Arsenal and Chelsea take the field at Wembley Stadium, it will be the last chance this season for some of the Premier League’s stars such as Eden Hazard and Diego Costa for Chelsea and Alexis Sanchez and Mezut Ozil for Arsenal to bring glory to their club.

[ MORE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

The match features two teams heading in different directions. Chelsea, the Premier League champions are in the ascendency after a one-year hiatus out of European competition, while Arsenal finished outside the top-four places in the Premier League for the first time in 20 years under manager Arsene Wenger.

In addition, there’s plenty of other storylines to watch on the field, from whether it’s Costa, Sanchez and Ozil’s potential last matches with their respective teams to how Arsenal will deal without two of its three regular centerbacks they’ve used this season.

Here’s a look at three key battles on the field ahead of the FA Cup final:


Arsenal’s centerbacks vs. Diego Costa

Diego Costa may be a thorn in Chelsea’s side off the field when it comes to the constant speculation of a move away from Stamford Bridge, but on the field this season he’s been brilliant. Costa scored 20 goals in the Premier League and another goal in FA Cup action, and he contributes off the ball as well, drawing the defense in towards him while opening up space for teammates including Hazard and Willian.

Heading into Saturday, it’s unclear who on Arsenal will be tasked with marking Costa. Laurent Koscielny was issued a straight red card in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Everton and will miss the FA Cup final due to suspension while fellow centerback Gabriel left the field on a stretcher after suffering a knee injury. In addition, Shkodran Mustafi is still recovering from a concussion and is a doubt for Saturday.

That leaves Wenger with just Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding as healthy centerbacks, which could force Wenger to revert back to his usual four-man backline from the more recent three-man backline that’s been used.

Regardless of who Arsenal put out there, expect Costa to be at his best, attempting to physically dominate his opponent and get under their skin.


Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kante vs. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal are at their best when they play through the middle of the field before finding runners out wide, setting up crossing attempts into the middle or perhaps another chance to play through the lines in the center of the field.

Standing in Arsenal’s playmaking duo of Mezut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez’s way are Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante. Kante, as Riyad Mahrez saw last year, does so much of the dirty work defensively that he allows his teammates including Matic and Hazard to bomb forward and either create or finish goal-scoring opportunities.

Kante will have his hands full dealing with Ozil and Sanchez in midfield, and Matic may need to sit a bit deeper to cut off the passing lanes, potentially taking him out of Chelsea’s counter attack.


Eden Hazard vs. Hector Bellerin

For all the speed that Hazard possesses on the ball, there’s at least one player on Arsenal who can keep stride pace-for-pace.

With Hazard likely lining up on the left wing, Arsenal’s right wing back Hector Bellerin will likely face Hazard up one-on-one at both ends of the field, setting up a fun encounter. With Bellerin’s speed and ability to track back, he may be open to a few 40-yard springs into space down the right wing, knowing that Hazard probably won’t be in hot pursuit.

But if Bellerin doesn’t end up with the ball and there’s an Arsenal turnover, Hazard on his own or against a centerback on the left wing could be a nightmare for Arsenal to deal with.

Man United, Man City come together to support terror victims

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The Manchester derby is known as one of the world’s fiercest rivalries, but in the wake of a devastating terrorist attack this week, both sides are joining together to support the city of Manchester and victims of the attack.

Manchester United and Manchester City announced Thursday they pledged together nearly $1.3 million into the We Love Manchester community fund. The fund was set up to assist the families of the 22 people who died and 64 people who were injured in the attack.

“The barbarism of Monday evening’s attack has shocked everyone,” Manchester United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement. “Our clubs are right at the heart of our local communities in Manchester and it is right that we present a unified response to this tragedy. The money will help of course but the work of the two clubs and their respective foundation and community scheme can build on the fantastic spirit that Mancunians have shown in the immediate aftermath.”

Folks who want to donate to the fund can visit http://www.redcross.org.uk/manchester or http://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/redcross/ManchesterEmergencyFund.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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Liverpool, Leicester City headline Premier League Asia Trophy

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The Premier League is coming this summer to Hong Kong.

The territory in Southeast China will host the 2017 Premier League Asia Trophy, featuring Liverpool, Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace. The tournament will take place from July 19-22, with all games taking place at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium.

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“We are very excited to be returning to Hong Kong this summer for the Premier League Asia Trophy,” Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said in a statement. “We know from previous visits that fans in Hong Kong, and across the region, are passionate supporters of our clubs.”

This summer’s edition of the biennial tournament is the first to feature four Premier League teams. In the past, an Asian All-Star XI or a local club would be the fourth team to take part. By bringing a fourth team over, the Premier League is increasing the opportunity for Premier League fans to have a chance to see more of the league’s stars up close and in person.

For Liverpool, it will be the start of a busy season that will include UEFA Champions League action for the first time since 2015.