Mark Noble, Andy Carroll

Prindi’s Premier League Picks: West Ham to upset Newcastle

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Matchweek 22 in the Premier League will soon be upon us and with it comes another sensational slate of matches to keep you glued to your flat-screen.

As I do every Thursday, here is my best effort at predicting the outcomes.

UPSET CITY

West Ham United v. Newcastle United (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Upton Park)

Expect Big Sam to be one jolly fat man this weekend when Ravel Morrison, Guy Demel, Joey O’Brien and James Collins all receive clean bills of health to play in this game. They looked strong last week when Andy Carroll returned, he should start this Saturday and don’t be surprised if the Hammers nab a season-turning win.

West Ham United 3 Newcastle United 2

West Bromwich Albion v. Everton (Mon 3:00 ET on NBCSN; The Hawthorns)

Three points from the drop and the Baggies need a win, bad. Enter Pepe Mel into the fold. The former Real Betis manager is savvier than pundits give him credit for and I expect his new squad to all be out to impress. Could be a tough one for the Toffees.

West Brom 1 Everton 1

SQUEAKY-BUM TIME

Sunderland v. Southampton (Sat 7:45 ET on NBCSN; Stadium of Light)

With all the upheaval at Southampton this week after chairman Nicola Cortese’s resignation, it’s impossible to predict how the Saints will respond. The good thing is, their manager seems intent on remaining at the club and with Pochettino remaining on board, the squad should keep its head.

Sunderland 0 Southampton 1

Crystal Palace v. Stoke City (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Selhurst Park)

Should be a sneaky good match as Palace play with fire in their bellies at home, much like Stoke do everytime they’re out for a stroll. 95% chance there’s a red card in this game.

Crystal Palace 1 Stoke City 1

Norwich City v. Hull City (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Carrow Road)

Just two points from the drop Norwich City are falling down, down, down, down. The Canaries took a major kick in the teeth earlier this week when they lost 3-0 to Fulham. If a similar result goes down Saturday – and Hull is looking quite strong these days – it might be curtains for Chris Hughton.

Norwich City 1 Hull City 2

Chelsea v. Manchester United (Sun 11:00 ET on NBCSN; Stamford Bridge)

No Rooney, no RVP, no Evra, no way United are winning this match.

Chelsea 3 Manchester United 1

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Arsenal v. Fulham (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Emirates Stadium)

Fulham will be cursing themselves for failing in their bid for Ravel Morrison but will look to build on their dominant 3-0 FA Cup replay win over Norwich on Tuesday. No easy feat against this Arsenal side.

Arsenal 3 Fulham 1

Manchester City v. Cardiff City (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Etihad Stadium)

Poor Ole Gunnar Solskjær, first he has to deal with Vincent Tan, now he has to get smoked by his old rivals.

Manchester City 4 Cardiff City 1

Liverpool v. Aston Villa (Sat 12:30 ET on NBC; Anfield)

What a dream it was to see SAS back together and firing on all cylinders last weekend. What a nightmare it will be for Brad Guzan this weekend.

Liverpool 4 Aston Villa 2

Swansea City v. Tottenham Hotspur (Sun 8:30 ET on NBCSN; Liberty Stadium)

If Spurs are to keep pace with the Top 5 they absolutely must win away games like this. And it shouldn’t be a problem because at 7W-1D-2L, Tottenham have the 2nd best road form in the league.

Swansea City 0 Tottenham 2

Reports say Wambach entering the fields of broadcasting, reporting

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA - FEBRUARY 02:  America soccer player and two-time Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach  attends the 2016 MAKERS Conference Day 2 at the Terrenea Resort on February 2, 2016 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for AOL)
Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for AOL
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She’s dipped her toes into the pool during the FIFA elections, and now USWNT soccer legend Abby Wambach may have found her second career.

The all-time leading goal scorer in international competition, Wambach will be branching into the media field.

[ UCL: Pellegrini hails road record | Ronaldo in ]

The Associated Press’ Anne M. Peterson says it’ll be as an analyst and contributor, while Sports Illustrated media mastermind Richard Deitsch expects her to dig a bit deeper into the reporting world.

Many athletes have succeeded in becoming broadcasters, but true reporting is a different animal. This will be an interesting story to follow.

Wambach’s name was in the news earlier this year when she plead guilty for a DUII charge. She retired from the playing field in December.

FA seeks eye-gouging ban for Dembele of more than 3 games

during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on May 02, 2016 in London, England.
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images
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LONDON (AP) The English Football Association wants Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele banned for more than three matches for an apparent eye-gouge on Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

The FA retrospectively charged Dembele with violent conduct on Wednesday after the incident was missed by the match officials in Monday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

The FA says “the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient.”

[ UCL: Pellegrini hails road record | Ronaldo in ]

Dembele has until Thursday to respond to the charge.

Both Tottenham and Chelsea have also been charged with three breaches of FA regulations for “failing to control their players and/or officials.”

The teams have until Monday to respond.

The draw ended second-place Tottenham’s title challenge.

How big of an upset would it be if Man City beats Real Madrid in the UCL?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 03:  The Manchester City squad warm up during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Academy Training Ground on May 3, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
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Couple questions for you this fine Wednesday:

  1. Winning at the Bernabeu is no easy task, but would it genuinely be a massive upset if Man City takes down Real Madrid today?
  2. Even putting aside that a scoring draw would do the trick, are we sure the hype is matching up with realism here?

There’s obviously the “Combined XI” test, a flawed proposition that does provide some level of comparison nonetheless. Given the absences of David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta, Real’s depth shines here.

[ MORE: Pellegrini hails road record | Ronaldo in ]

The goalkeepers are both World Cup caliber backstops, and there’s not much difference in quality — if any — between Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas and England mainstay Joe Hart.

And while Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure are very much in the ballpark — on their day — with Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, there are real gulfs in attacking and defending power between the clubs (especially with David Silva out for Man City).

Even in the final four of a major tournament like this, there’s a gap between both of these sides at both ends of the pitch. Even ignoring Cristiano Ronaldo which, come on, you’re looking at James Rodriguez, Isco (doubtful to play) and others.

The back line of Man City has taken injury hits, and Real’s back four might well carry any XI (especially while Vincent Kompany isn’t in peak condition). While Madrid’s backs run hot, they also can run wild. Sergio Ramos and Marcelo are upper echelon pieces.

There’s a significant edge in Manuel Pellegrini versus Zinedine Zidane, and tactically we can expect City to continue implementing its system well against Real Madrid’s 4-3-3. Forcing Real wide on the attack can work well, especially if Karim Benzema is unable to play and punish the interior in the air.

[ PL PLAYBACK: What does Leicester’s title say for the future? ]

We think it would genuinely be a surprise if City were to pull off a win, but no bigger a surprise than what Atletico Madrid pulled off once Antoine Griezmann hit his magnificent counter attack goal yesterday in Munich.

What say you?

FIFA prosecutors want life ban for Webb in bribery case

Sepp Blatter & Jeffrey Webb, FIFA
Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP, File
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ZURICH (AP) FIFA ethics prosecutors want a life ban imposed on former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, who has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in the United States.

The judging chamber of the FIFA ethics committee says it opened proceedings against Webb and will consider a verdict.

The ethics committee says it got a final investigation report last week from FIFA prosecutors.

[ PL PLAYBACK: What does Leicester’s title say for the future? ]

In November, Webb admitted to taking bribes worth millions of dollars linked to commercial rights for international soccer tournaments.

The former Cayman Islands banker should be sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn next month. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Webb was president of the CONCACAF soccer body when he was arrested on May 27 at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich.