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

Leave a comment

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

STREAM: CONCACAF tripleheader concludes with USMNT

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
Leave a comment

CONCACAF’s bottom three sides in the Hex standings look to make the table incredibly tight as World Cup qualifying finds three-straight matches on the docket beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.

Honduras vs. Costa Rica

Los Catrachos were creamed 6-0 by the U.S. on Friday, and return home hoping a wounded Costa Rica remains vulnerable. Honduras is dead last on goal differential, but three points would be huge and put them level with Los Ticos. Costa Rica won its first two matches before falling to Mexico on Friday.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico

El Tri has two wins and a draw from their first three Hex matches, and will be without Rafa Marquez on Tuesday. A win guarantees Mexico the top spot heading into the next round of matches in June. The Soca Warriors surprised some with their 1-0 win over visiting Panama on Tuesday. Mexico is a different class.

Panama vs. USMNT

Despite its miserable start, the U.S. can find itself as high as second with a win and help from Honduras. The injuries remain plenty for the Yanks, who are without Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, Sebastian Lletget, and John Brooks. Panama has allowed just a single goal through three Hex matches, but also has only managed one.

AFC and Oceania wrap: Iran, New Zealand take next steps

Photo by Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With CONMEBOL and CONCACAF serving as the main course later Tuesday, the morning and afternoon saw big World Cup qualifiers on the other side of the world.

[ MORE: Three keys for USA v Panama ] 

Asian qualifying

Iran is on the verge of qualification for Russia 2018 after Persepolis star Mehdi Taremi bagged his ninth international goal in a 1-0 home win over China.

Iran leads Group A by four points, but second-place South Korea and third-place Uzbekistan kept pace with 1-0 home wins of their own. Hong Jeong-ho scored in South Korea’s win over Syria, while Odil Ahmendov’s 65th minute free kick was enough to push Uzbekistan past Qatar.

The goalkeeping was… less than ideal.

Over in Group B, shutouts were the name of the game for high-powered hosts as well.

Japan stayed atop the group with a 4-0 win over Thailand, as a trio of players with Premier League experience — Maya Yoshida, Shinji Kagawa, and Shinji Okazaki — joined Gent’s Yuya Kubo on the scoreboard.

Saudi Arabia is level with Japan on points thanks to Yahya Al-Shehri’s post-halftime goal in a 1-0 win over Iraq, while Australia saw off United Arab Emirates thanks to goals from Burton Albion’s Jackson Irvine and Ingolstadt’s Mathew Leckie.

That leaves Australia three points behind Saudi Arabia and Japan in the race for two of three automatic spots. The Socceroos hosts the Green Falcons in June before an August trip to Saitama in a pair of matches which will decide who goes directly to Russia and who has to win a pair of playoffs: One against the Group A’s third-place team and another against CONCACAF’s fourth place side.

Oceania qualifying

New Zealand took the next step in collecting Oceania’s berth in the intercontinental playoff with a 2-0 win over Fiji in Wellington. PEC Zwolle winger Ryan Thomas bagged a brace for the All Whites.

New Zealand will next face either Tahiti, Solomon Islands, or Papua New Guinea over two legs in late August and early September for the right to battle the fifth place CONMEBOL team for a World Cup berth. That could be Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, or even Colombia.

Tahiti hosts Papua New Guinea at 1 a.m. EDT Wednesday, and will be the odds-on favorite to face New Zealand with a win.

After further tests, Lletget to miss 4-6 months

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

So much for initial reports.

Less than 24 hours after the LA Galaxy announced that Sebastian Lletget had come through his injury on USMNT duty with no structural damage, a specialist found something worse.

Lletget has a Lisfranc injury and requires surgery, meaning the Galaxy and the U.S. will be without the midfielder for four to six months.

[ MORE: Spurs eager for U.S. return ]

Lletget, 24, spent a half-decade with West Ham but couldn’t break into the squad before returning to the U.S. last summer. He became a mainstay for the Galaxy, earning a call-up to the national team.

He scored his first USMNT goal on Friday to open the World Cup qualifier against Honduras, but was injured after a hard sliding tackle from Ever Alvarado.

Galaxy has depth beyond Lletget and Jermaine Jones, with Rafael Garcia, Joao Pedro, and Baggio Husidic able to fill a similar role, but this one stings for the Galaxy. Get well, Sebastian.

Scouting report: Everton target Orlando’s Cyle Larin

Leave a comment

Reports have been suggesting the Orlando City’s star striker Cyle Larin is attracting some serious interest from Premier League side Everton.

[ LIVE: Stream every PL game live ]

Larin, 21, has started the MLS season off in red-hot form and the report suggests the Toffees have bid $4 million for his talents. They’ll likely have to up that offer for the Canadian national team star.

What is Larin all about?

With Romelu Lukaku seeming to be heading towards the exit door this summer as his contract saga rumbles on, it’s not outlandish to state that Larin has a very similar style to the prolific Belgian international. Of course, he has yet to test himself in the PL and Lukaku’s boots would be a big pair to fill if Larin did arrive at Goodison Park as some kind of replacement in the coming months, yet when you watch Larin play there are so many similarities between the pair.

Ronald Koeman is always eager to give youth a chance and with Tom Davies, Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all getting regular minutes this season, so Larin would get chances to impress if he ended up on Merseyside.

Here are some key stats Toffees fans will want to know too:

  • 17 – Number of goals Larin scored in his debut MLS season, the most-ever by a Rookie
  • Larin has scored all three of Orlando’s goals so far in the 2017 MLS season
  • He has scored 39 goals in 68 appearances for Orlando since arriving in 2015
  • For Canada, he has five goals in 19 appearances after making his debut as a teenager
  • Larin became the first-ever Canadian to be selected as the first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft when he joined Orlando in 2015

Click play on the video above to see Larin’s best moments so far in MLS, as he continues his impressive development.