Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Trouble lurking for United and Tottenham

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Only eight weeks of Premier League left so it’s time to get your predictions game Trump-tight. Here, I do my best to steer you in all the right directions… and fail miserably.

UPSET CITY

West Ham United v. Manchester United (Sat 1:00pm ET on NBCSN; Upton Park)

What a relief for David Moyes, the players and the fans that United pulled out that 3-0 victory over Olympiacos in midweek! Perfectly sets up the devastation and #MoyesOut tweets we’ll see when West Ham beat them on Saturday!

West Ham 1 Manchester United 0

Newcastle United v. Crystal Palace (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; St James’ Park)

As Alan Pardew serves the second of his three match stadium ban can’t you just see the Newcastle manager on the couch, in his pajamas, throwing cookies at the television in disgust?

Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 1

Tottenham Hotspur v. Southampton (Sun 9:00am ET on NBCSN; White Hart Lane)

It’s been a tough go of it lately for Tim Sherwood – getting hammered by Chelsea, chucking his blazer in anger during the loss to Arsenal, whining about Jorge Jesus’ hand gestures in the loss to Benfica… It’s hard time something good came his way.

But I don’t see it happening here. In fact, I see Spurs, beat up and depleted from Thursday night Europa League, getting done dirty in their own pad by those tricky Saints.

Tottenham 1 Southampton 2

SQUEAKY BUM TIME

Chelsea v. Arsenal (Sat 8:45am ET on NBCSN; Stamford Bridge)

Ohhhh you beautyyyyy!!! What a way to start the morning! A little coffee, maybe an apple fritter and one massive title-race matchup!

Two major points to consider in this one: 1) It’s Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th competitive match as manager of Arsenal, and 2) Jose Mourinho has never lost against Wenger as an opposition manager.

So where does that leave us? Well, normally with a draw. But with the key injuries Arsenal is currently carrying (Ozil, Wilshere, Walcott, Ramsey), with a Chelsea victory.

Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0

Hull City v. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; The KC Stadium)

For as much praise as Hull City has earned this season and as much flak as West Brom have been handed — it’s mind-boggling to think that the Baggies could leapfrog the Tigers in the table with a win on Saturday.

Not that it’ll happen.

Hull City 2 West Brom 2

Norwich City v. Sunderland (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; Carrow Road)

Vito Mannone, fastest pizza-hands in all of England. Coincidentally, also a very good goal-keeper.

Norwich City 0 Sunderland 1

Aston Villa v. Stoke City (Sun 11:30am ET on NBCSN; Villa Park)

Villa is a tough side to figure out. Equally capable of beating giants as they are succumbing to minnows, Stoke City presents an interesting, even-keeled matchup for Paul Lambert’s side.

Do I even have to write it?

Aston Villa 1 Stoke City 1

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Manchester City v. Fulham (Sat 10:45am ET on NBCSN; Etihad Stadium)

Goal porn.

Manchester City 7 Fulham 0

Cardiff City v. Liverpool (Sat 10:45am ET on Live Extra; Cardiff City Stadium)

Cardiff fans, I have good news and bad news.

The good news: The Bluebirds have won their last five home league games against Liverpool.

The bad news: The last of those victories came in August 1959.

Cardiff City 1 Liverpool 4

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

Everton doesn’t lose to Swansea City. Simple as that. It’s been 19 occasions without the Swans winning and there’s nothing to suggest this weekend will be any different.

It’s not cocky if you back it up.

Everton 3 Swansea City 1

Report: Arsenal interested in Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel

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According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal is monitoring the progress of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The rumor does make sense. With Petr Cech at 34 years old and having a poor season in front of net and backup David Ospina failing to challenge him for the starting job, the Gunners are looking elsewhere to bring in a potential future starter.

Schmeichel has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League the past two seasons. Last season he led the Foxes to the Premier League title, organizing a stunningly good defensive line of patchwork players. This season, the defense has largely regressed and let Schmeichel down, but he has still performed well and has the metrics to remain one of the league’s top shot-stoppers.

The Danish keeper is 30 years old himself, but that puts him in his prime for a goalkeeper. He has been with Leicester City since 2011, and he will tick 250 appearances for the club with his next match. Schmeichel was rumored to be a member of the secret player delegation that worked hard to see Claudio Ranieri pushed out of the club, a sentiment which he and the other players have strongly denied.

Still, with an improbable Premier League title in hand and an appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals now on the cards, there probably isn’t much else for him at Leicester City. It’s possible Schmeichel could look to bank on his past performances and secure a move to a bigger club this summer.

Should Arsene Wenger stay with Arsenal past this season, a possibility that looks more and more likely, he could look to move on from Cech despite signing the former Chelsea goalkeeper just two summers ago.

Diego Costa injured, but will stay with Spain squad for friendly

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Chelsea striker Diego Costa pulled up in Spain training on Sunday, and with the Blues in first in the Premier League and Costa in great form, there were obvious concerns.

With Costa struggling with leg and ankle injuries, the RFEF informed Chelsea that there was an issue, and Costa was pulled from training and sent for tests. X-Rays at the local hospital in Madrid were negative, and he’s rejoined the squad.

According to the RFEF, doctors will continue to monitor the 28-year-old and he will continue with the national team for the rest of the international break. With a World Cup qualification win over Israel already in the books and just a friendly against France to go on Tuesday, it’s odd that Spain would risk Costa moving forward, but they will continue to keep him around.

Costa has scored 18 goals this season to lead the Blues, and he scored in the win over Israel. Spain takes on France in Saint-Denis on Tuesday, with both teams leading their World Cup qualification groups. Spain has a goal-differential lead on Italy with both teams miles above the rest of the Group G, and France is ahead of Sweden by three points in Group A, with the Netherlands back in fourth.

Foul or flop? Player “headbutts” referee, is sent off

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Well, there must be something in the water down in Brasilia, because things got a little weird this evening.

Flamengo drew with Vasco da Gama 2-2, but that was just the start.

In the 54th minute, with Vasco da Gama leading 1-0 at Estadio Nacional Mané Garrincha, 36-year-old Luis Fabiano was sent off for “headbutting” the referee. Headbutting is in quotes because looking at the video, it certainly appears there was little to no contact, and the referee flops.

Yes, the referee flopped. Take a look:

To be fair, Fabiano was already on a yellow, so getting in the referee’s face even without the headbutt/pelvic thrust would likely still have seen him sent to an early shower.

So the former Porto and Sevilla man was sent off, and Vasco da Gama was down to 10 men. Immediately after the red card, Flamengo took advantage, powering in a pair of goals via Willian Arao and Orlando Berrio to take the lead 2-1. But Vasco wouldn’t quit, and they earned a penalty five minutes into stoppage time, which Nene buried for the 2-2 draw.

To top things off, a player named Yago Pikachu scored the opener for Vasco da Gama, which was followed by a delay in the game seven minutes later after a power surge in the stadium. Go figure.

Lletget diagnosed with foot sprain, escaping further damage

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Word has arrived from the LA Galaxy camp that will see USMNT fans feel relieved as Sebastian Lletget has escaped the news many feared.

The young attacker was impressive in the first 18 minutes of the United States’ 6-0 win over Honduras, but was injured minutes after scoring the opening goal and could not continue. Replays showed that Lletget got his foot caught underneath a defender in the process of a hard challenge on the right wing.

There was concern that Lletget would be out for a significant amount of time, but the Galaxy announced that after testing over the weekend, Lletget did not suffer any structural damage and was diagnosed with a left foot sprain.

[ MORE: USMNT adds Paul Arreola to roster, drops Lletget, Brooks, Morris ]

Lletget will visit a specialist on Monday to determine a plan for recovery, and it’s possible that he will still have to miss some time in the near future. The Galaxy visit Vancouver on Saturday, and his status for that match has to be considered up in the air. They then host Montreal on April 7.

While Lletget obviously misses out on the next USMNT game at Panama on Tuesday having already been dumped from the roster, he will most definitely be available for the June games against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, and will likely be an option for Bruce Arena given the manager’s history with Lletget at Los Angeles.

The United States have been struck with a collection of injuries that all occurred just before the international break, hampering the squad significantly. Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, and Fabian Johnson all went down in the days before reporting for international duty, and the team lost Lletget and John Brooks in the Honduras win. Lletget’s departure could see Alejandro Bedoya into the starting lineup on Tuesday, with the Union midfielder having replaced Lletget in the Honduras match. Also in contention is Jermaine Jones, who could come in after his suspension and push Darlington Nagbe onto the wing.