Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Palace and Everton to upset the odds

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Picking Premier League matches is hard work and frankly, I’m crap at it.

But I love the banter and figure at the very least I can provide you with some fodder to tear me up with in the comments.

So let’s get it on.

UPSET SPECIALS

Crystal Palace v. West Ham United (Tue 3:00pm ET on NBCSN and Live Extra; Selhurst Park)

Tony Pulis’ first match as manager didn’t come off as he would’ve hoped but the Eagles did manage to keep things close at Norwich City and but for a fantastic goal-line clearance by Martin Olsson, they could’ve shared the points.

On Tuesday, they return home to the friendly confines of Selhurst Park to take on a West Ham side that thumped Fulham 3-0 last weekend.

I have a funny feeling about this one. Palace pulls it off, gets their third win of the season.

Crystal Palace 2 West Ham United 1

Manchester United v. Everton (Wed 2:45pm ET on NBCSN; Old Trafford)

Can’t you just see the Eyebrowless Wonder gazing around with a look of complete bewilderment during the post-match interview?

It’s gonna be amazing! We’re literally going to see the wrinkles popping out of his forehead. I mean, how awkward is it to explain how, as Manchester United, you lost to little old Everton, the club you managed for 11 years?

So weird. So awesome.

Tell the boss you’re feeling a touch of the flu. Don’t miss this match.

Manchester United 2 Everton 3

SQUEAKY BUM TIME

Southampton v. Aston Villa (Wed 2:45pm ET on Live Extra; St Mary’s Stadium)

Tough run of games for Southampton.

No place for them to get back on track than St. Mary’s. Raucous, that place.

Southampton 2 Aston Villa 1

Stoke City v. Cardiff City (Wed 2:45pm ET on Live Extra; Britannia Stadium)

The pundits lauded Everton for their play in the 4-0 win over Stoke last weekend but in truth, the Potters were horrible. With their two best outfield players, Marko Arnautovic and Robert Huth, remaining sidelined with injury against Cardiff, I don’t see things improving for Mark Hughes’ side.

Stoke City 1 Cardiff City  2

Swansea City v. Newcastle United (Wed 2:45pm ET on Live Extra; Liberty Stadium)

Swansea City remain a beat-up side with Michu, Wilfried Bony and Angel Rangel all ruled out with injury. It’s a situation that Newcastle, healthy and enjoying their footy, will take full advantage of.

Swansea City 1 Newcastle 2

Fulham v. Tottenham Hotspur (Wed 3:00pm ET on Live Extra; Craven Cottage)

Two teams in sad states, both looking for a lift in the form of a victory.

Locked in the relegation zone, Fulham arguably need it more and it will be interesting to see how the Cottagers perform under new boss, Rene Meulensteen.

Spurs have managerial issues of their own as all eyes will be on Andre Villas-Boas following the tirade he unleashed on reporters following the 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Will the Tottenham players rise up and perform for their under-fire boss? I think so. But it won’t be easy.

Fulham 1 Tottenham 2

West Bromwich Albion v. Manchester City (Wed 3:00pm ET on Live Extra; The Hawthorns)

If you’ve been paying attention to this season then you’re looking at this match with intrigue. The road has been cruel for Manchester City this season, where they have lost four of six contests.

Will this be the away match City finally shows up to?

They’d better because The Hawthorns can be a mighty tough place to play when it gets rocking. And on Wednesday, expect that to be exactly the case. Still, I think City turn the tides.

West Brom 1 Manchester City 2

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Arsenal v. Hull City (Wed 2:45pm ET on Live Extra; Emirates Stadium)

Can Hull City pull on their big-boy drawers and beat a top club for the second time in three days?

Not a chance. Ain’t happening because even though we’re five months out, Arsenal smell the title. And in that whiff they know they can’t drop points to clubs they should beat.

That four point lead is so, so precious.

Arsenal 4 Hull City 1

Liverpool v. Norwich City (Wed 2:45pm ET on Live Extra; Anfield)

The last three times these sides played Liverpool has pasted Norwich 3-0, 5-2 and 5-2.

So no, I don’t care how crappy Liverpool looked on Sunday (and it was high-level crappy, my friend), they’re not losing on Wednesday.

Liverpool 5 Norwich City 1

Sunderland v. Chelsea (Wed 2:45pm ET on Live Extra; Stadium of Light)

Poor Gus Poyet. The man just can’t catch a break.

Sunderland 0 Chelsea 3

Premier League Preview: Everton v. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea sit 4th, with 29 points
  • Everton sit 18th, with 11 points
  • Last meeting: Everton 2-0 Chelsea

Everton’s start to the 2019-20 Premier League season has been beyond woeful (4W-2D-9L in 15 games) for any club, let alone one that had dreams of breaking into the top-six this season, resulting in manager Marco Silva losing his job on Thursday. Now, fewer than 48 hours later, the Toffees have to pick themselves back up and face a top-four side for the third straight game when Chelsea visit Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Having lost three straight PL games, including defeats to second-place Leicester City and leaders Liverpool this week alone, the next few weeks will go a long way toward seeing Everton leave the relegation zone in the rearview mirror or sink deeper and deeper into the muck of a season-long relegation battle. A piece of potentially positive news for Everton ahead of Saturday’s game: they are currently three games unbeaten against Chelsea (1W-2D-0L).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

As for the Blues, this could turn out to be a decisive week in their season. After losing to West Ham United last weekend, Frank Lampard‘s side bounced back with a win over Aston Villa on Wednesday. Then came the best news of all on Friday: Chelsea’s transfer ban has been cut in half and they will be able to sign players in January, meaning their young, thin squad can be bolstered as the look to solidify their Champions League place for next season.

With a floundering side like Everton next up on the fixtures list, the chance to move further clear of the Champions League chasing pack is perfectly ripe. Tammy Abraham (hip) returned for the game against Villa and scored the opening goal to take is season’s tally to 11 (second, behind Jamie Vardy). The 22-year-old has benefited more than anyone from what turned out to be Chelsea’s one-window transfer ban, doing more than enough to secure his place for the second half of the season, no matter what business they do in January.

Injuries/suspensions

Everton: OUT – Andre Gomes (ankle), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee)

Chelsea: OUT – Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rudiger (groin)


Projected lineups

Everton: Pickford — Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne — Schneiderlin, Davies, Sigurdsson — Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Chelsea: Kepa — James, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta — Kante, Kovacic, Willian, Mount, Pulisic — Abraham


What they’re saying

Interim Everton boss Duncan Ferguson: “I’m a coach at the moment so I don’t think that is something I am considering at this time. It is my dream to be Everton manager but I am also realistic. Who wouldn’t want to be manager of Everton? There will be many top managers who want this job.”

Frank Lampard, on the new-manager bounce: “[Marco] Silva tried everything for the club and I’m sure that he will go on to manage well elsewhere. They might have an extra energy tomorrow as they rally.”


Prediction

Chelsea have far too much balance between defense and attack to hand Everton the glaring opportunities they will need to beat a genuine top-four side. That said, there’s far too much talent in that squad to continue to get beaten every time out, and perhaps seeing someone else take the blame will lift the burden off them and allow them to perform. Everton 2-2 Chelsea.

Serie A: Leaders Inter Milan open door for Juve by drawing Roma

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MILAN (AP) Italian league leader Inter Milan was held by Roma to 0-0 on Friday, giving second-placed Juventus a chance to return to the top.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

The home draw left Inter only two points ahead of Juventus, which can regain the lead when it visits third-placed Lazio on Saturday.The result also wasn’t good for Roma, which moved from fifth to fourth place in the standings but remained nine points off the lead after 15 matches.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez had one of the game’s best chances when he got past a defender and entered the area in the 68th minute, but his shot was blocked at the last minute. He called for a handball by the defender but the referee let play continue.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Inter was coming off five straight wins in the league, with its last setback in all competitions last month against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Its last league loss was against Juventus in October, nine matches ago.

Roma was seeking its third straight league win. It had won five of its last six matches since last month.

Inter visits Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Man United

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  • Man City (3rd) trail Liverpool by 11 points
  • Man United (6th) eight points out of 4th
  • Last meeting: Man United 0-2 Man City

For the first time in recent memory, Manchester City and Manchester United each find themselves failing to meet expectations — by their own respective standards, at least — as they prepare to meet at the Etihad Stadium in the 179th Manchester derby on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Man City, the two-time defending Premier League champions, are looking increasingly unlikely to retain their crown for a third straight season but look a surefire bet to finish in the top-four, which is a place for which Man United would bite your hand off as they currently trail leaders Liverpool by more points (22) than they have points of their own (21).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

The struggles for United have been all about consistency as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side hasn’t won back-to-back games all season. The Red Devils haven’t won two in a row in the PL since March. On the bright side, United turned in one of their complete performances of the season on Wednesday, spoiling Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford and beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Marcus Rashford scored both goals and Solskjaer couldn’t rave enough about his 22-year-old forward after the game. From start to finish, United were the better team and looked in majority control, which isn’t something they’ve been able to say often in 2019.

As for City, they’ve simply been “not good enough” without ever actually being “bad” this season, given Liverpool’s scintillating form (14W-1D-0L thus far). Realistically, City likely need to pick up all 69 remaining points this season, and even then they might still come up short.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – Sergio Aguero (thigh), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee)

Man United: OUT – Anthony Martial (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Paul Pogba (ankle), Nemanja Matic (groin), Diogo Dalot (groin)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Angeliño — Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva — Bernardo, Jesus, Sterling

Man United: De Gea — Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young — Fred, McTominay, James, Mata, Lingard — Rashford


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on the derby: “It’s Man United. I respect what they’ve done for English football, European, and world football. United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them. We play against a good team, try to follow the performances we’ve put in and try to win the game. You know my opinion on the title race.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on his derby memories: “It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself. Of course, Man City are a better team now than when I was playing. … Confidence is a strange thing in football; you can get performances and results like Wednesday night and it boosts it so much. And I know our boys will be up for it. 24 hours less recovery time [than City] shouldn’t matter, you go on adrenaline.”


Prediction

The win over Tottenham was impressive, no doubt about it, but City remain a challenge of an entirely different class, no matter what their points total says. If the title is well and truly gone for Guardiola’s side, then retaining superiority in Manchester will have to suffice. City 3-1 United.

Klinsmann gets first point as Hertha Berlin manager

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Jurgen Klinsmann claimed his first point since returning to coaching as his Hertha Berlin team let slip a two-goal lead to draw with Frankfurt 2-2 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Hertha was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute when Sebastian Rode hammered the ball in from a corner for Frankfurt to deny the Berlin team the win.

Hertha is in the relegation playoff spot in 16th and winless in its last six league games, while Frankfurt is 10th.

Dodi Lukebakio gave Hertha the lead with a shot through Frederik Ronnow’s legs. That goal was assisted by Marko Grujic, who later made it 2-0 with a header from a free kick.

However, Frankfurt almost immediately replied with a header of its own from Martin Hinteregger, the Austrian defender with five Bundesliga goals.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Frankfurt’s fans expressed their disapproval of the video assistant referee after it ruled out two goals for the hosts. There was a rare disallowed own goal when Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft palmed a cross into his own net but was found to have been pushed while jumping.

Klinsmann took over Hertha last week on a temporary deal until the end of the season, after Ante Covic was fired with the team under threat of relegation. Klinsmann hadn’t coached since being fired in 2016 by the United States, and last worked at a club in 2009 at Bayern Munich.