Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Chelsea and City to stumble

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A week off from the Premier League was far too long.

But don’t despair, the world’s greatest league is back this weekend and there are some dandy fixtures on the slate.

So as always I sat down, crunched the numbers and figured out exactly how every match will turn out. Sort of.

UPSET CITY

Hull City v. Chelsea (Sat 7:45am ET on NBCSN; KC Stadium)

When these two sides last met it was the first match of the season and Chelsea were sensational . . . for the first half. Then they took their foot off the gas and nearly got tiger-balmed. Well, not quite. But Hull have been mighty impressive at home and wouldn’t it be so Chelsea to drop points as soon as everyone thinks they’re clicking?

Paint me orange and call me Roary.

Hull City 2 Chelsea 2

Southampton v. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; St Mary’s Stadium)

Remember in the beginning of the season when Southampton were Top 4 and all the Premier League newbys were adopting the Saints as their team? Ahhhh, good times.

But I’m not gonna beat up Southampton too much – I think they’re still a quality club with a lot of talent. West Brom, however . . . West Brom is weird. Real weird.

Southampton 1 West Bromwich Albion 2

Newcastle United v. Manchester City (Sun 9:05 ET on NBCSN; St James’ Park)

Newcastle are a frisky bunch of dudes. Cabaye, Santon, Tiote, Sissoko, Gouffran. These guys all have that edge —  a bit of half-punk that makes them think it might just be possible to beat City.

But then you factor in that Tim Krul is out injured and a victory gets to be pretty far fetched. A draw, however, is entirely possible.

Newcastle 2 Manchester City 2

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Cardiff City v. West Ham United (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Cardiff City Stadium)

Gotta admit, I’m a big fan of the Ole Gunnar hire. Who knew Vincent Tan had it in him? (Sanity, that is.)

Solskjaer led his side to an impressive 2-1 FA Cup win at Newcastle United on Saturday and has already signed the glorious Norweigian playmaker Magnus Wolff Eikrem. Fear the Wolff.

Cardiff City 2 West Ham United 0

Everton v. Norwich City (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Goodison Park)

Bobby Martinez has concerns over Barkley, Distin, Jagielka and Baines. Evertonians have concerns over losing to crap teams. No offense, Norwich. But you know . . . you’re kinda crap.

Everton 3 Norwich 2

Stoke City v. Liverpool (Sun 11:10 ET on NBCSN; Britannia Stadium)

Injuries to Agger, Sakho, Enrique, Flanagan present some problems for Liverpool but who do they need to contain? Big daddy Crouch? Yeah, I think they’ll be ok.

Stoke 0 Liverpool 2

Aston Villa v. Arsenal (Mon 3:00 ET on NBSN; Villa Park)

Tasty little Monday evening fixture here and if Aston Villa could at least pretend like playing at home gave them even a slight advantage they might be able to compete. But they don’t and they won’t.

Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 4

SQUEAKY BUM TIME

Fulham v. Sunderland (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Craven Cottage)

Dempsey + Altidore + 6 point relegation battle = American soccer fans dream. Fire up that Live Extra!!!

Fulham 1  Sunderland 0

Tottenham Hotspur v. Crystal Palace (Sat 10:00 ET on NBCSN; White Hart Lane)

Half of Tottenham’s team is injured but c’mon man! I refuse to believe they’re going to lose a derby match at home to Palace. No way, no how.

Tottenham 1 Palace 0

Manchester United v. Swansea City (Sat 12:30 ET on NBC; Old Trafford)

‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’

After losing 2-1 to Swansea at Old Trafford last weekend, that has to be United’s mentality going into Saturday’s match. No Rooney. No Van Persie. No problem (well, sort of).

Manchester United 2 Swansea City 1

USSF says nominations submitted for 8 president candidates

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File
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CHICAGO (AP) The U.S. Soccer Federation says it received the required three letters of nomination for eight candidates in its presidential election, one fewer than the total of people who announced their intention to run.

The USSF is conducting background checks on the candidates whose nominations were received by Tuesday night’s deadline. The governing body said the check is to ascertain that a candidate has “no conviction or no contest plea to a felony or crime of moral turpitude” and it will announce the candidate slate after completing the process.

[ MORE: Atlanta acquires Nagbe ]

Sunil Gulati, the USSF president since 2006, decided after the Americans failed to qualify for the World Cup that he will not seek a fourth four-year term.

The nine people who announced they are running include former men’s national team players Paul Caligiuri, Eric Wynalda and Kyle Martino; U.S. women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo; Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter; USSF vice president Carlos Cordeiro; Boston lawyer Steve Gans; New York lawyer Michael Winograd; and Paul LaPointe, Northeast Conference manager of the United Premier Soccer League.

The election will be held in February.

Madrid rallies to beat Al Jazira, reach Club World Cup final (video)

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Gareth Bale scored an 81st-minute winner as Real Madrid came from behind to beat Emirates club Al Jazira 2-1 on Wednesday and reach the Club World Cup final.

Madrid will try to win its third world title in four seasons when its faces South American champion Gremio on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League Weds. roundup ]

The match had two goals disallowed by video review, one for each team.

Madrid struggled early and allowed the local league winners to open the scoring with a goal by Brazilian forward Romarinho just before halftime.

But Cristiano Ronaldo equalized early in the second half and Bale netted the winner less than a minute after entering the match as a substitute for Karim Benzema.

Paul Clement admits helplessness at facing Man City

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Swansea City manager Paul Clement may have the enduring quote of the season so far when it comes to facing the behemoth that is Manchester City.

[ RECAP – City hammer Swansea ]

The suffering Swans have had their share of poor performances this season — Clement later said January transfer spending “is a must” if the club wants to stay up — but he’s throwing his hands up in the air when it comes to Wednesday’s loss at the Liberty Stadium.

The man sounds exasperated, and sorry for his team. From the BBC:

“At times it was horrible to be on the sideline watching that, seeing my side trying but suffering for long periods. They’re not the games that will decide our season but it was hard to watch at times because they were so dominant. For me, one of the best sides I’ve ever come across. So many good athletes, so many intelligent footballers and it’s really hard to pin them down. We actually had some attempts on their goal so I’m disappointed we didn’t get on the score sheet but they were a far superior side to us. We’ve got to put it aside that game. We’ve got Everton away (next) and we’ve got to try and pick something up there.”

All that’s left is for Clement to pick up a clarinet, awkwardly blow into it, then point at Pep Guardiola and say, “He’s good.”

Free message board points to the first one to name the reference.

Premier League roundup: Reds, Gunners stumble

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The Top Four looks set for tumult on a weekly basis, and this week’s seen clubs move in-and-out at the lash of a whip.

[ MORE: Atlanta acquires Nagbe ]

Tottenham’s back in. Leicester City would like to come closer.

Burnley’s out. Liverpool and Arsenal, too.

First place might be out of the question, with unbeatable looking Man City 11 points clear of the pack. But nearly everything else is in play.

Manchester United 1-0 Bournemouth — RECAP

United didn’t have it’s A-game, but that was okay thanks to fine defensive play from star backstop David De Gea and some gutsy tackles from Phil Jones. The goal came when Juan Mata‘s cross was nodded home by Romelu Lukaku in the 25th minute, and United rode that marker for all it was worth to stay three points ahead of third place Chelsea.

Swansea City 0-4 Manchester City — RECAP

How good is Man City? Pep Guardiola‘s bunch have now won a Premier League record 15-straight in a single season, and have scored 52 goals while conceding just 11. Markers 49-52 came from David Silva (two), Kevin De Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero. Tottenham is next.

Liverpool 0-0 West Bromwich Albion — RECAP

A ball bounded off Ahmed Hegazi’s body, and off Dominic Solanke‘s body and forearm to give Liverpool its presumed breakthrough, but the call was intentional handball. The Reds had myriad chances to score before that, but instead hand a point to the visiting Baggies.

Newcastle United 0-1 Everton — RECAP

Mikel Merino and Matt Ritchie both hit goal posts as Sam Allardyce‘s Everton rode its luck and a Karl Darlow spillage to a 1-0 win. Wayne Rooney poked home the rebound, and the Toffees’ relegation worries are officially a thing of the past. Newcastle? Not so much, but money’s a-coming to Rafa Benitez at St. James’ Park.

West Ham United 0-0 Arsenal — RECAP

The chances were there for dominant Arsenal, but the winning goal did not materialize at the London Stadium. Marko Arnautovic did everything but score when West Ham did manage the ball, and Javier Hernandez rattled the cage late, but David Moyes men had to settle for a well-earned point.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion — RECAP

Spurs are back in the Top Four thanks to a long Serge Aurier cross that fooled Mat Ryan and a Heung-Min Son deflection of a Christian Eriksen offering. Brighton’s just three points away from the drop zone with the loss.

Southampton 1-4 Leicester City — RECAP

Claude Puel‘s Foxes are flying, scoring goals for fun and encroaching on the Top Four after a horrible start to the Premier League season. Shinji Okazaki bagged his first Premier League brace, while Andy King and Riyad Mahrez also scored for Leicester, who is within five points of fourth and next faces Crystal Palace. Southampton’s goal came from Maya Yoshida.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Manchester City 17 16 1 0 52 11 41 7-1-0 9-0-0 49
 Manchester United 17 12 2 3 37 11 26 8-0-1 4-2-2 38
 Chelsea 17 11 2 4 31 14 17 5-1-2 6-1-2 35
 Tottenham Hotspur 17 9 4 4 30 14 16 5-3-1 4-1-3 31
 Liverpool 17 8 7 2 34 20 14 4-5-0 4-2-2 31
 Burnley 17 9 4 4 16 12 4 5-2-2 4-2-2 31
 Arsenal 17 9 3 5 30 20 10 7-0-1 2-3-4 30
 Leicester City 17 7 5 5 27 23 4 4-1-3 3-4-2 26
 Watford 17 6 4 7 26 29 -3 2-3-3 4-1-4 22
 Everton 17 6 4 7 21 29 -8 5-0-3 1-4-4 22
 Southampton 17 4 6 7 17 23 -6 3-3-4 1-3-3 18
 Huddersfield Town 17 5 3 9 12 29 -17 4-2-3 1-1-6 18
 Brighton & Hove Albion 17 4 5 8 14 23 -9 2-4-2 2-1-6 17
 Bournemouth 17 4 4 9 15 20 -5 2-2-4 2-2-5 16
 Stoke City 17 4 4 9 19 36 -17 3-2-3 1-2-6 16
 Newcastle United 17 4 3 10 16 26 -10 3-1-5 1-2-5 15
 West Bromwich Albion 17 2 8 7 12 22 -10 1-5-2 1-3-5 14

 Crystal Palace 17 3 5 9 12 28 -16 3-3-3 0-2-6 14
 West Ham United 17 3 5 9 14 32 -18 3-2-3 0-3-6 14
 Swansea City 17 3 3 11 9 22 -13 2-1-6 1-2-5 12