Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Upset in cards for Aston Villa over Manchester United

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Only six weeks of Premier League left so it’s time to get your predictions Trump-tight.

Here, I do my best to steer you in the right direction… and fail with gusto.

UPSET CITY

Manchester United v. Aston Villa (Sat 8:45am ET on NBCSN; Old Trafford)

All eyes on Old Trafford today when United supporters are planning to fly over a banner reading “Wrong One – Moyes Out”. If that doesn’t make things pop off, losing to Villa certainly should.

Expect. Fireworks.

Manchester United 1 Aston Villa 2

Sunderland v. West Ham United (Mon 3:00pm ET on NBCSN; Stadium of Light)

Channeling Jozy Altidore for this to be his breakout match on the way to saving the Black Cats from relegation and launching the USMNT into a deep World Cup run.

Hey, a man can dream, can’t he?

Sunderland 2 West Ham 1

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Crystal Palace v. Chelsea (Sat 11:00am ET on NBCSN; Selhurst Park)

Target practice for Chelsea.

Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 4

Southampton v. Newcastle United (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; St Mary’s)

My sleeper pick for match of the week, these sides have nothing better to do than launch all out attacks on each other. Expect the sexy style of Southampton to win out.

Southampton 3 Newcastle 2

Arsenal v. Manchester City (Sat 1:30pm ET on NBC; Emirates Stadium)

Life’s not fair, Arsenal fans, but just remember it could be worse. At least you’re not United supporters.

Arsenal 1 Manchester City 4

Fulham v. Everton (Sun 8:30 ET on NBCSN; Craven Cottage)

Ssshhh. The Toffees are coming for 4th.

Fulham 0 Everton 3

Liverpool v. Tottenham Hotspur (Sun 11:00am ET on NBCSN; Anfield)

Murmurings of Liverpool’s title aspirations will become full blown shouts when they dump out Tim Sherwood’s band of bunglers.

Liverpool 4 Tottenham 1

SQUEAKY BUM TIME

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

Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.

Oh won’t you please take me doooownto Stoke City.

Make that a chant, Potters supporters, and I will forever love thee.

Stoke City 2 Hull City 1

Swansea City v. Norwich City (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; Liberty Stadium)

“Don’t know about you guys but I’ve been waiting all season for that Swansea/Norwich match.”

Such words have never been uttered until  I came into work at 5am this morning and my EVS operator looked me dead in the eye and said it. Guess that’s what happens when your favorite player in the world is Robert Snodgrass.

Decent player, Snodgrass. Face only a mother could love.

Swansea City 3 Norwich City 2

West Bromwich Albion v. Cardiff City (Sat 11:00am ET on Live Extra; The Hawthorns)

Boing, Boing. Ride strong the Albion!

West Brom 1 Cardiff City 0

French league terminates goal-line technology contract

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PARIS (AP) The French football league has terminated the contract with its goal-line technology provider after a series of glitches.

The LFP had already suspended the use of GoalControl, the German system that was deployed at the 2014 World Cup.

According to L’Equipe newspaper, the league will launch a tender in February to find a new provider of the technology that determines whether the ball crossed the line.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

In recent months, the French league had repeatedly expressed its discontent with GoalControl.

Goal-line technology entered soccer after a goal was wrongly disallowed at the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA is already focused on fast-tracking the next phase of technology – video assistant referees – for the World Cup in June.

Goal-line technology and VAR were provided by Hawk-Eye at the Confederations Cup last year.

Bristol City’s Johnson: “They certainly have heard of us now”

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The Premier League world may see Bristol City next season, but it seems its manager has the personality to arrive on the top flight whether or not his Robins earn promotion this season.

Johnson, 36, earned plenty of plaudits after leading his Championship club to the League Cup semifinals, famously defeated Manchester United in the quarters.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Before that, Bristol beat Premier League sides Crystal Palace, Stoke City, and Watford. The Robins beat third tier Plymouth Argyle 5-0 in the first round.

Johnson was beaming after the Robins took Man City to the edge, closing to within a goal of extra time before Kevin De Bruyne‘s stoppage time number ended the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

“Absolutely I’m proud. It’s not just tonight but over the course of the season, particularly the cup run. It was a fantastic occasion, I’m sorry we couldn’t get the win but we played against the best side that I have ever seen live. They have so many good individuals.

“We kept going and it’s taken two injury-time goals to beat us. They certainly have [heard of us] now…everybody knows what we’re about. It’s been great.”

Bristol City is in the Championship’s fifth place, bidding for its first top flight campaign since 1980. Johnson should be a hot prospect to earn a shot in the Premier League should the Robins not make the jump.

League Cup semifinal preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea has won 4-of-7 League Cup matches vs. Arsenal
  • Arsenal leads all-time series 74W-58D-62L
  • Clubs have drawn four times this season

Hardware hopes are on the line when Chelsea hits the Emirates Stadium for a League Cup semifinal second leg with Arsenal on Wednesday.

The sides drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge, giving Chelsea the advantage of knowing a scoring draw would do the trick and set up a date with Manchester City at Wembley on Feb. 25, though Arsenal has home field advantage in pursuit of a win.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Henrikh Mkhitaryan may debut for Arsenal, though the club released an interesting note on Tuesday: He’ll wear No. 7 in most competitions, but will have to use a different number in the Europa League because Alexis Sanchez wore it to start the tournament.

Chelsea’s Antonio Conte won’t have Alvaro Morata (back) and Cesc Fabregas for the match, though Andreas Christensen will be available for selection.

The clubs are no strangers to each other in big non-PL spots, squaring off in this season’s Community Shield (Arsenal won in penalty kicks) and last season’s FA Cup Final (Arsenal won).

Nothing has separated the sides on the field aside from those penalty kicks at Wembley Stadium, as Arsenal and Chelsea have drawn 1-1, 0-0, 2-2, and 0-0 since August.

What they’re saying

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Henrikh Mkhitaryan“He can play in different positions, but personally I see him first in a wide position, but I’m thinking about him a possibility to play through the middle. You are certain in our job of nothing, that’s absolutely sure. But you believe and I believe he has the qualities to do well, is a team player and our game is based on team attitude and movement and I think he can absorb the quantity of movement in our team.”

Chelsea’s Conte on the lineup: “Every game is different, you change the quality of your opponent and you must be intelligent enough to understand if you should continue with the same players or make some changes.”

Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona after 8 seasons

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano is leaving the club after eight seasons.

Barcelona says there will be a farewell ceremony on Wednesday with Mascherano, club president Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the squad.

[ MORE: Man City to buy $86m CB ]

The 33-year-old Argentina international will say goodbye to the fans before Thursday’s game against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey. He is reportedly going to play in China.

Mascherano, who also played as a defensive midfielder, arrived in Barcelona in 2010 from Liverpool and helped the Catalan club win 18 titles. He has made 334 appearances with Barcelona, but recently hadn’t been playing much.

The club earlier this month signed Colombia international Yerry Mina to boost its defense.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga