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.

MORE: Game schedule  |  Match finder

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.

Mourinho reportedly close to Man Utd contract extension

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Jose Mourinho is scheduling an extended stay at Manchester United.

[ MORE: Donovan unveiled by Leon ]

The 54-year-old has a contract through the end of next season, the dreaded third at a club for Mourinho, but reports say United is keen to keep him around through 2021.

Mourinho has not tasted a fourth season with a club despite winning league titles at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid.

The 2019-20 season at Old Trafford would be Mourinho’s fourth. According to the BBC:

Talks have progressed well and it is now just a matter of time before Mourinho commits to remain at Old Trafford beyond the expiry of his present deal in 2019.

Somehow, this feels it should be deemed another loss for Antonio Conte.

Barkley ineligible to make Chelsea debut in FA Cup replay

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Ross Barkley was expected — and himself expected — to make his Chelsea debut on Wednesday, when the Blues host Championship side Norwich City in a third-round FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge.

Alas, the 24-year-old English midfielder has been ruled ineligible due to a lesser-known and -applied rules surrounding transfers and player registration.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s 3rd-round replay roundup | Wednesday preview ]

Barkley completed his move from Everton to Chelsea, for $20 million, on Jan. 5, the day before Chelsea and Norwich drew 0-0 at Carrow Road. In order to be eligible for Wednesday’s replay, Barkley is required to have completed his transfer prior to the noon cut-off the day prior to the original tie. While the time of official approval is unknown, Barkley’s move wasn’t announced by the club until after 5 p.m. in the UK.

As such, Chelsea will attempt to set up a behind-closed-doors friendly this week, in order to provide Barkley a bit of game action as he builds fitness and sharpness ahead of a potential debut against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). Barkley hasn’t seen a single minute of first-team action this season after suffering a serious hamstring injury in the summer.

FA Cup preview: Three more PL sides face 3rd-round replays

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Three more Premier League sides, including a top-four fighter, attempt to join a dozen of their top-flight contemporaries in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday…

[ MORE: Tuesday’s 3rd-round replay roundup ]

Chelsea and Swansea City host Championship opposition in the form of Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, respectively, while Bournemouth will make the 500-mile roundtrip to take on League One side Wigan Athletic.

The Blues, who now sit fourth in the PL after their disappointing 0-0 draw with Leicester City, could manage only a scoreless draw with the Canaries at Carrow Road earlier this month. They are winless in their last four games across all competitions — all draws — including their League Cup semifinal first-leg draw with Arsenal last week; the last three of those all finished without a single goal scored. Chelsea, who are tied with Liverpool with the fourth-most FA Cups in their history (7), lost out to Arsenal in last season’s final at Wembley Stadium.

Swansea are undoubtedly the side on highest Cupset alert, as Wolves are the runaway leaders and champions-elect in the Championship (10 points clear after 27 of 46 rounds played), thus able to devote more attention to the FA Cup than the typical second-division side. With the two sides separated by just a single place in the English footballing pyramid (Swansea, 20th in the PL; Wolves, 1st in the Championship), they appear destined to swap places by the end of May.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth’s punishment for conceding a pair of early goals to a side currently 32 places below them in the pyramid, is the long, midweek trip from the south coast to the DW Stadium in the northwest of England. It was the Premier Leaguers who needed a two second-half goals, including Steve Cook‘s 90th-minute equalizer, to draw level at home in the first meeting.

Tuesday’s FA Cup replay actionFULL ROUNDUP

Leicester City 2-0 Fleetwood Town
West Ham United 1-0 (AET) Shrewsbury Town
Mansfield Town 1-4 Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Carlisle United
Reading 3-0 Stevenage

Agent: 37-year-old Ronaldinho has retired

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SAO PAULO (AP) The brother and agent of 2005 Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldinho announced Tuesday that the former Brazil and Barcelona playmaker has retired from football.

Roberto Assis made the announcement to Brazilian media on behalf of the 37-year-old midfielder, who played his last professional match in 2015 for Brazil’s Fluminense.

“Ronnie’s professional career is over. He wants to be a football ambassador, do charity, and work with his friends in music from now on,” Assis told The Associated Press.

Assis hopes to schedule some farewell matches for Ronaldinho after the World Cup in Russia, which ends July 15. The initial plan is to play games in Brazil, Europe and Asia and to also get Brazil’s national team involved, Assis said.

Last July, Ronaldinho said on the sidelines of a friendly in Chechnya that was he was “too old” to return to action.

The Brazilian’s decorated career also includes one World Cup title (2002), one Champions League victory (2006) and two Spanish league titles with Barcelona, and two FIFA world player of the year awards (2004 and 2005).

Ronaldinho started his professional career at Gremio in southern Brazil in 1998. He left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2001 and was signed by Barcelona two seasons later.

At the Camp Nou, he was the engine of a team that took Barca back to the limelight. However, after a series of club trophies, Ronaldinho’s career took a downturn. He was often accused by Brazilian and Spanish media of lacking professionalism, despite his mentoring of a then youthful Lionel Messi.

In 2008, with Messi then leading Barcelona, Ronaldinho left for AC Milan. Despite being part of a team that won Serie A in 2011, he failed to reach his previous heights as a player.

When returning home became a real option, Ronaldinho frustrated Gremio’s efforts to re-sign him and joined Flamengo instead.

Disappointing performances in Rio de Janeiro took him to Atletico Mineiro, a club that then was more often fighting against relegation than for titles.

Yet a more mature Ronaldinho took Atletico to a different level.

In his last great run, Ronaldinho carried Atletico with his superb passes and dazzling dribbles to second place in the 2012 Brazilian Championship.

A year later, he was the key to his club lifting its first Copa Libertadores, South America’s most prestigious club trophy, but his hopes of playing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil were dashed.

Ronaldinho left to play for Mexico’s Queretaro in 2014-15, but was mostly on the bench.

He played his last seven matches as a professional for Fluminense, though his performances were a far cry from his best days in Spain.

Now living in Rio, he has appeared in advertisements all over the world since leaving Fluminense.