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Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Big Clubs set to cruise

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Wow, we’re back. That was quick, wasn’t it?

As we kiss Matchweek 25 on the cheek and welcome big #26 into our lives, here’s a quick picks piece wherein I redeem my title as worse predictor of Premier League matches in the history of the entire world.

Enjoy.

UPSET CITY

West Ham United v. Norwich City (Tue 2:45 ET; Upton Park)

15th place against 16th place with both clubs just two points free of the relegation zone? We’ve got ourselves a 6 pointer, ladies and gentlemen!

Delia Smith is a saint!

West Ham 1 Norwich City 2

Cardiff City v. Aston Villa (Tue 2:45 ET; Cardiff City Stadium)

That South Wales derby went down like smack to the bare bottom for Cardiff City. Tough to say how the Bluebirds will react to it, what with all the new faces and all.

I, for one, expect big things from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Cardiff City 1 Aston Villa 1

SQUEAKY BUM TIME

Hull City v. Southampton (Tue 2:45 ET; The KC Stadium)

Hull had a rough go of it for awhile there but generally have that feel of a club no one wants to face. Fortunately for Southampton, the Saints are quite good under those circumstances.

Hull City 1 Southampton 2

West Bromwich Albion v. Chelsea (Tue 3:00 ET; The Hawthorns)

The Albion are weird. Likely to do something like hold Chelsea to 1-1 until five minutes left in the match and then, well, you know…

Freakin’ Hazard, man.

West Brom 1 Chelsea 2

Arsenal v. Manchester United (Wed 2:45 ET; Emirates Stadium)

Everyone’s talking about Arsenal’s difficult stretch over the next week – United on Wednesday, Liverpool on Sunday and Bayern Munich next Wednesday.

Someone remind me why United is being included under the “difficult” label?

Quick reminder, they’re crap.

Sounds harsh but it’s true. Five losses already in 2014? Soon to be six.

Arsenal 3 Manchester United 2

Stoke City v. Swansea City (Wed 2:45 ET; Britannia Stadium)

Has anybody besides me actually watched Stoke lately?

Yeah, they still default into their infamous dirty style from time to time but for the most part, they’re actually pretty good.

More effective than Swansea, that’s for sure.

Stoke City 2 Swansea City 1

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Everton v. Crystal Palace (Wed 2:45 ET; Goodison Park)

Is Everton the Arsenal of the early 2000s?

Sure feels like it to me. Dominating games in possession and now, whenever they lose or drop points, players and manager alike seem content with having “controlled the game.”

Huh?!

Sorry, fellas, but to everyone aside from Arsene Wenger, “controlling the game” doesn’t mean squat.

Everton need to go ahead and comprehensively beat a lesser club and then we can discuss those European aspirations that are fast turning to pie in the sky.

Everton 3 Crystal Palace 0

Manchester City v. Sunderland (Wed 2:45 ET; Etihad Stadium)

Who brain farts harder than Wes Brown?

I mean, three minutes into the match and you slide tackle someone from behind when he’s clear through on net?!

Sorry but that’s such a donkey move — especially for a 34-year old player who had already seen red twice this season before last weekend.

Not that Wes is going to make a difference in this one. City at the Etihad. ‘Nuff said.

Manchester City 5 Sunderland 1

Newcastle United v. Tottenham Hotspur (Wed 2:45 ET; St James’ Park)

Normally I’d have Newcastle giving Spurs a tough one here but losing Cabaye (and Joe Kinnear, jk) has ruined the Magpies.

Newcastle 0 Tottenham 2

Fulham v. Liverpool (Wed 3:00 ET; Craven Cottage)

Sooo now that Liverpool are title contenders, I guess that makes this a must-win?

Kidding.

But as I wrote earlier in my piece on Brendan Rodgers, if the Reds are to have any chance at the title, they can’t mess things up against crap competition.

Fulham 1 Liverpool 4

Napoli fans wear Koulibaly masks to support defender after racial abuse

NAPLES, ITALY - FEBRUARY 07:  Fans of Napoli  during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Carpi FC at Stadio San Paolo on February 7, 2016 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
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Napoli fans showed their support for Kalidou Koulibaly on Sunday after the Senegalese center-back was the subject of racial abuse in a match against Lazio last week.

[ MORE: La Liga & Serie A roundup ]

The Lazio match was temporarily stopped in the second half as Lazio supporters hurled racial insults at Koulibaly.

At Napoli’s match against Carpi on Sunday, fans wore Koulibaly masks and painted signs in his honor to show their support for the 24-year-old defender.

A statement from Napoli’s supporters’ group read: “Everyone in Naples is offended by what happened to our young star. Because of this, we want to show our full support to Koulibaly.”

[ VIDEO: Van Gaal rips journalist who questions his Manchester United future ]

Lazio was fined more than $50,000 and will be forced to close certain sections of their stadium for the next two league matches because of the incident.

Afobe says he scored 15 goals a game with Harry Kane at the Arsenal academy

during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Selhurst Park on February 2, 2016 in London, England.
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Benik Afobe and Harry Kane are Premier League foes, but as kids, they were teammates.

Now Afobe is at Bournemouth and Kane at Tottenham, though both strikers played together with the Arsenal U-9 team as children.

[ RECAP: Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal ]

While Kane left Arsenal at 10 and eventually settled at crosstown rivals Tottenham, Afobe stayed under contract with the club until 2015 despite never making an appearance for the Gunners.

Afobe went on six loan spells before moving to Wolverhampton last season, then joining Bournemouth in January.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

With three goals in his first five Premier League matches for the Cherries, Afobe is no stranger to scoring, as he said he would combine with Harry Kane for 15 goals a game back in the day.

I’ve got pictures of us from Arsenal.

He was so small at the time, a bit of a late developer, but he’s always loved scoring. The scores used to be 17-15 and stuff – we just knew we’d score in every game.

But it’s weird because he used to play in goal sometimes, and wasn’t bad actually. You wouldn’t think it – remember that goal he let in for Tottenham a couple of years ago (against Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League) when he had to play in goal.

I think Mauricio Pochettino and Spurs’ supporters are happy Harry Kane chose to play striker over goalkeeper…

[ MORE: Deficiencies visible on both sides as Chelsea draw Manchester United ]

Kane has proven that he is an elite goalscorer in the Premier League, and Afobe is off to a fine start himself. With both players just 22-years-old, we’ll likely be seeing many more goals to come from the duo.

Gary Neville under pressure as Valencia without a win in nine

EIBAR, SPAIN - DECEMBER 13:  Head coach Gary Neville of Valencia CF reacts during the La Liga match between SD Eibar and Valencia CF at Ipurua Municipal Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Eibar, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
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Gary Neville was appointed manager at Valencia on December 2. He is still yet to win a La Liga match.

After falling 1-0 to Real Betis on Sunday, Neville is now winless in nine league matches at Valencia as pressure grows on the new boss.

[ MORE: La Liga & Serie A roundup ]

Some have called for Neville to step down from his position, as the club has fallen from 8th to 13th and now sit just four points clear of the drop.

However, the former Manchester United legend has said he has been judged too quickly and will work hard to turn things around.

I said before I came that I would be judged in five months. I have been judged in six weeks.

There’s no doubt that at times like this everyone needs to stay together.

Everyone suffers. It’s just not going for us at the moment. I continue to work, I continue to have belief.

Conversations with the owners are between me and the owners. We have to turn it round quickly, I understand that. It is hard to explain the defeat. It will turn.

Not only has Neville struggled in La Liga play, but he has also seen Valencia bounced from the Champions League and saw his side smashed 7-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinal.

[ MORE: Player ratings from Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United ]

Valencia’s next league match is on Saturday against Espanyol, who sit three points below Valencia and haven’t won a match since December. If Neville fails to win again, there could be some real trouble at the Mestalla.

PSG down Marseille 2-1 for ninth-straight Le Classique win

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 21:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic #10 of Paris Saint-Germain is congratulated by teamamte Maxwell #17 after Ibrahimovic scored a goal in the second half against AFC Fiorentina during the International Champions Cup at Red Bull Arena on July 21, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey.Paris Saint-Germain defeated ACF Fiorentina 4-2.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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France’s biggest rivalry has been quite one-sided, as Paris Saint-Germain defeated Marseille 2-1 on Sunday to take their ninth-straight Le Classique.

Marseille’s last win over PSG in Ligue 1 play was in November of 2011.

[ MORE: Juve win 14th straight ]

PSG got off to a dream start in Sunday’s Classique as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in the opening two minutes to give the Le Parisiens an early lead. It was Zlatan’s league-leading 21st goal of the season.

On loan from Newcastle, Remy Cabella equalized for Marseille in the 25th minute. Cabella scored on a brilliant individual effort, taking the ball from his own half on a solo run to the PSG box before firing a low shot into the bottom corner.

[ RELATED: Lewandowski’s agent confirms contract talks with Bayern Munich ]

However, PSG pushed on and claimed the win thanks to a 71st minute goal from Angel di Maria, who has been impressing in his first season in Paris. With eight goals and ten assists in Ligue 1 play, only Zlatan has been involved in more goals than di Maria.

Through 25 matches, PSG hold a ridiculous 24-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table.