Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Liverpool to have upper hand on United

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Would you believe there are only nine weeks left in the 2013-14 Premier League?!? Brings a tear to my eye.

But there’s no time for being sentimental with this stuff. Need to buck up. Be strong. And continue my appalling string of Premier League predictions.

Enjoy the matches!


Hull City v. Manchester City (Sat 8:45am ET on NBCSN; The KC Stadium)

Crashing out of the FA Cup to Wigan and the Champions League to Barcelona have cut down City’s (farfetched) hopes of a quadruple to a (potential) double. But to make that happen the Citizens need to win the Premier League. No easy feat, especially when you’re nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea with three matches in hand.

So expect Pellegrini’s side to be all business come Saturday morning. Deepest sympathies, Hull.

Hull City 1 Manchester City 4

Everton v. Cardiff City (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; Goodison Park)

Everton is playing for its Europa League life. Cardiff is playing for its Premier League life. The motivation favors the (red) Bluebirds but the football favors the Toffees.

Everton 3 Cardiff City 0


Fulham v. Newcastle United (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; Craven Cottage)

Last placed and four points adrift of safety, it’s make-it-or-break it time for Fulham. Fortunately none of the squad will have to worry about being head-butted by the opposition manager.

Fulham 2 Newcastle 1

Southampton v. Norwich City (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; St Mary’s Stadium)

Sneaky, Norwich City. Never easy to tell when the Canaries might strike.

Southampton 1 Norwich City 1


Stoke City v. West Ham United (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; Britannia Stadium)

Big. Bold. (Not) beautiful.

Stoke 1 West Ham 0

Sunderland v. Crystal Palace (Sat 11:00am ET on NBCSN; Stadium of Light)

Your relegation 6 pointer, served in one boiling hot mess.

Sunderland 2 Crystal Palace 1

Swansea City v. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 11:00am ET on NBCSN; Liberty Stadium)

Anelka: I quit.

West Brom: You can’t quit, you’re fired!

If Albion isn’t a sinking ship, I don’t know what is.

Swansea 2 West Brom 1

Aston Villa v. Chelsea (Sat 1:30pm ET on NBCSN; Villa Park)

Villa seem to be getting their act together: They’re healthy. They put in a good shift last week. And Benteke’s got that look in his eye.

But Chelsea are in a title-chase. ;’Nuf said.

Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 2

Manchester United v. Liverpool (Sun 9:30am ET on NBCSN; Old Trafford)

Oh, how the times have changed. For ages it’s been Liverpool chasing United but now it’s the Red Devils looking to play the role of spoiler. Ain’t gonna happen.

Manchester United 1 Liverpool 3

Tottenham Hotspur v. Arsenal (12:00pm ET on NBCSN; White Hart Lane)

Hard to give either side the edge here. Spurs are licking their wounds from the Benfica throttling they took on Thursday while Arsenal are banged up and still sulking over the poor refereeing from Champions League.

Dramacidle up in this piece.

Tottenham 0 Arsenal 1

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.