Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Everton to undo Arsenal for first time since 2007

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With only six weeks left in this glorious Premier League season, let’s size up the match-ups and see who’s primed for glory and who’s facing misery.

UPSET CITY

Hull City v. Swansea City (Sat 10:00am ET on Live Extra; The KC Stadium)

Swansea is on the brink of assuring itself Premier League status for next year but so too are the Tigers. Done wrong twice in the last week, Stevie Bruce’s side has enough quality to come correct in this one.

Hull City 2 Swansea City 1

Aston Villa v. Fulham (Sat 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Villa Park)

Starting to enjoy this Villa side again. Benteke continues to show flashes of his former self while guys like Guzan, Delph, Agbonlahor, Weimann and Albrighton can put on some highly entertaining displays. Unfortunately, too often those come against big clubs while they fall asleep against the slop.

Fulham had some bright spots last weekend against Everton, especially in the first half. Think they nip a point here but is it too late?

Aston Villa 1 Fulham 1

Everton v. Arsenal (Sun 8:30am ET on NBCSN; Goodison Park)

The match of the week in the Premier League has Champions League undertones with Everton four points behind Arsenal and a game in hand. The Toffees will need Ross Barkley to win his race for fitness and for the Scouse Football Gods to shine down if Everton is to beat the Gunners for the first time in 13 league matches.

The time has come.

Everton 2 Arsenal 1

SQUEAKY BUM TIME

Cardiff City v. Crystal Palace (Sat 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Cardiff City Stadium)

If your relegation-infused whistle has yet to be wet, this is the match to make it happen. I guarantee goals, a raucous crowd and a highly-determinative outcome.

Cardiff City 2 Crystal Palace 3

Norwich City v. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Carrow Road)

Another relegation 6 pointer here between two sides that are currently safe but look the most likely to take the drop.

Norwich City 1 West Brom 1

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Manchester City v. Southampton (Sat 7:00am ET on NBCSN; Etihad Stadium)

Few neutrals give as much love to Southampton as I do but it’s make it or break it time for City and this match is one they can’t afford to drop. Plus, the Etihad remains a thorn in the bum of opposition.

Manchester City 3 Southampton 1

Newcastle United v. Manchester United (Sat 10:00am ET on NBCSN; St James’ Park)

Bookended by the Champions League, at first blush this match looks a sure-fire upset call. But David Moyes’ side is beginning to catch fire whereas Newcastle are bumbling into the end of the season.

Newcastle 0 Manchester United 2

Chelsea v. Stoke City (Sat 12:30pm ET on NBC; Stamford Bridge)

A shocking result from Chelsea in the loss to Palace last weekend has left the Blues’ title chances in do-or-die territory.

Chelsea 3 Stoke City 2

West Ham United v. Liverpool (Sun 11:00am ET on CNBC; Upton Park)

Sam Allardyce’s bus is freakishly big and can be quite the nuisance when parked directly in front of the opposition’s goal. It will take blood and guts to get this one done but Liverpool are flying too high to mess this up.

West Ham 0 Liverpool 1

Tottenham Hotspur v. Sunderland (Mon 3:00pm ET on NBCSN; White Hart Lane)

Exactly what Spurs need – a cakewalk.

Tottenham 4 Sunderland 1

Top Storylines for Premier League Week 6

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After a week of League Cup action domestically, the Premier League returns this weekend with a myriad of interesting matchups and storylines.

Let’s take a look at some of this week’s top story’s to follow:


Can Manchester City continue its torrid form?

Manchester City has finally found its groove under manager Pep Guardiola.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The club has won five successive games, the last three coming on the road while scoring a combined 19 goals. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are a terrific 1-2 punch while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been stars in midfield, with De Bruyne pulling the strings for Man City all season.

There’s every likelihood that Man City will continue its impressive run on Saturday. The club hosts floundering Crystal Palace, which is still adjusting to new manager Roy Hodgson.

(more…)

On This Day: The Battle of Old Trafford

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Fourteen years ago today, Arsenal headed north to Manchester for a famous matchup with Manchester United.

Taking the field at Old Trafford, Arsenal were unbeaten to start the season, having won its first four Premier League matches before drawing a week prior at home against Portsmouth. Manchester United meanwhile had four wins and one loss in that span.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

By way of Arsenal’s FA Cup title and Man United’s Premier League title the year before, the two teams met for the annual Community Shield a month earlier, and the game descended into a physical battle. Five yellow cards were shown, Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was shown a red card and defender Sol Campbell was later banned for kicking at an opponent, and Man United – backed by a young Tim Howard in goal – won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the score was tied at 1-1 after extra time.

With numerous physical encounters over the years, the September 21 encounter was shaping up to be another monumental showdown, and in terms of physicality, it didn’t disappoint.

Each team were shown four yellow cards and there was a combined 31 fouls. The match took a turn when Patrick Vieira was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card for kicking out at Man United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy after Van Nistelrooy had fouled Vieira going for a header. The decision set off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Despite being down to ten men, Arsenal held on until the final minutes, when Martin Keown was whistled for a foul in the box on Diego Forlan, giving Man United a penalty kick. But whether it was karma or lady luck, Van Nistelrooy’s penalty clanged off the crossbar and away to safety. Arsenal held on for a goalless draw, which helped boost the team’s belief in itself.

The Gunners went on to finish the 2013-2014 season undefeated, the only team to finish a Premier League season without a defeat. Man United wound up taking the FA Cup crown, settling for third place in the Premier League.

Watch some highlights from the match below.

Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Tammy Abraham denies switching national teams

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Fans of the England National Team may still have a chance to see Tammy Abraham don the Three Lions crest one day.

Abraham refuted reports from earlier Thursday that he was in the process of switching his national team to Nigeria from England. The 19-year-old Swansea City forward on-loan from Chelsea has played as high as the England Under-21 Men’s National Team but because of his Nigerian father, he’s eligible for the African nation.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Abraham confirmed that he had met with Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick after Swansea’s last game, but denied that he was looking to play for the Super Eagles.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,” Abraham said, via the BBC. “Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that Pinnick said the process was underway for Abraham to switch his international allegiance.

Abraham’s apparently decision to remain with the England set-up is good news for his club Swansea City, who will get to keep him closer to Wales on a regular basis, but Abraham may be missing a chance to play senior national team soccer at a young age.