Julian Speroni

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@Originalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the fifth weekend of Premier League football. Last weekend we got five out of ten predictions correct and one correct score. Will we do better this week? 

Saturday

QPR vs Stoke (12:45)
Both these sides have made very poor starts to the campaign. QPR have the worst goal difference in the league and have lost three of their opening four matches. Stoke, on the other hand, have had what on paper looked like a relatively easy start and only a shock win over Manchester City has saved them from being glued to the bottom of the table. They will be desperate to get a win against one of the sides around them but a draw seems more likely here.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Stoke

Aston Villa vs Arsenal (15:00)
Villa have been one of the best sides in the league to date and put in a magnificently gritty performance to earn a victory at Anfield last weekend. Arsenal, meanwhile, have made an indifferent start to the campaign and were battered by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday. However, they still remain undefeated in the league. There are serious concerns over Arsenal’s defence but they are always a threat going forward and should bounce back against Paul Lambert’s side.
Prediction: Villa 1-2 Arsenal

Burnley vs Sunderland (15:00)
Burnley were agonisingly close to sealing their first league victory of the season against Crystal Palace and saw a late penalty wonderfully saved by Julian Speroni. They are proving to be no pushovers though and can take heart from their start. Sunderland have started decently enough and have earned draws against Spurs and Manchester United but they look a little toothless in attack. A low scoring draw seems the most likely outcome in this one.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Sunderland

Newcastle vs Hull (15:00)
Newcastle have won the award for worst performance of the season so far with their dismal showing against Southampton and Alan Pardew is under huge pressure to get a result here. Hull have made an okay start to the season and will fancy their chances of picking up at least a point here. Pardew will probably need a win to keep his job but it’s hard to see them getting it.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Hull

Swansea vs Southampton (15:00)
This could be one of the games of the weekend as two sides who have played some excellent football go head to head. Swansea’s winning streak was brought to an end by Chelsea last weekend whilst Southampton mauled Alan Pardew’s hapless Newcastle side. Both these sides were tipped to struggle this season due to their manager’s lack of experience in the league and, in Southampton’s case, a mass exodus of their playing staff. However, both sides and managers deserve immense praise for their start and this is a tough game to call. It should be a game full of goals and a great one for the neutral.
Prediction: Swansea 2-2 Southampton

West Ham vs Liverpool (17:30)
West Ham have had a decent start to the season and fought back well to draw against Hull on Monday night. Liverpool, on the other hand, dropped points against Villa at the weekend when trying to rotate their squad. They were very easy to defend against in the absence of Sterling and Sturridge. Fortunately for Liverpool, West Ham aren’t as solid as Villa are at the moment and an away win is on the cards.
Prediction: West Ham 1-3 Liverpool

Sunday

Leicester vs Manchester United (13:30)
What a start to the season Leicester have made. They have been a brilliant addition to the league and have secured some fantastic results. Leonardo Ulloa is proving to be a superb buy and will cause this weak Manchester United defence a lot of problems. United, however, managed a good result and performance themselves last weekend, albeit against a very poor QPR side, but there are still questions to be answered at the back. Leicester won’t be afraid here and can continue their brilliant campaign.
Prediction: Leicester 2-2 Manchester United

Spurs vs West Brom (13:30)
Spurs threw away three points against Sunderland last weekend and were guilty of not taking several great chances in the second half. They did play well though and Pochettino can be encouraged, on the whole, by his sides performances. At the other end of the scale, The Baggies look like a very average side and they will struggle to score against this Spurs team. Don’t be surprised to see Alan Irvine’s team rooted to the bottom of the league after this weekend.
Prediction: Spurs 3-0 West Brom

Everton vs Crystal Palace (16:00)
The Toffees finally got off the mark with an away win at West Brom and that should kick start Roberto Martinez and his side’s season. Palace are still finding their feet under Neil Warnock and were very grateful to Julian Speroni and his penalty save to avoid defeat last weekend. This should be a fairly routine win for Everton.
Prediction: Everton 2-0 Crystal Palace

Man City vs Chelsea (16:00)
This is a clash between the two sides most people believe will win the league this season. City have made a fairly poor start by their lofty standards and are without a win in their last three matches after defeat in Munich. Chelsea, on the other hand, have been magnificent in the league but a midweek home draw with Schalke demonstrated their reliance on Diego Costa. Mourinho ended City’s fantastic run at home last season but he would be happy with a draw to maintain the early five-point gap.
Prediction: Man City 1-1 Chelsea

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Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace

There is only a month to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Crystal Palace.

Palace were promoted to the Premier League at the beginning of last season and most people thought they were doomed before they’d even kicked a ball. Ian Holloway, the man who won them promotion, left the club in October having decided he wasn’t up to the task of keeping them afloat. The Eagles took their time over naming his successor and at the end of November decided that Tony Pulis was the man to tackle the improbable task of survival. Pulis had never been relegated in his managerial and wasn’t about to start now as he guided Crystal Palace to an 11th place finish. Many called this a minor miracle and some even went as far as to claim that they should rename the club “Crystal Pulis”. Pulis will be keen to preserve his immaculate CV and establish Palace as a Premier League club.

The Manager
As mentioned above, many at Selhurst Park see Tony Pulis as a miracle worker. In fact, he is just a very experienced and tactically orientated manager who makes sure his sides are extremely well drilled. He turned Stoke into a mid-table Premier League club and his brief will undoubtedly be to do the same at Palace. He worked wonders last season but has he now got a plan to keep Palace at this level for the foreseeable future?

Tony Pulis has never been relegated as a manager

Tony Pulis has never been relegated as a manager

Biggest Signing
Crystal Palace’s only signing of the summer thus far is young goalkeeper Chris Kettings. With Julian Speroni and Wayne Hennessey both ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s unlikely he will make much of a splash this season. Bigger news for Palace was tying Marouane Chamakh down on a new two-year deal.

Marouane Chamakh has signed a new two-year deal

Marouane Chamakh has signed a new two-year deal

Who is tipped to join them?
The media haven’t really caused much of a frenzy concerning Crystal Palace’s transfer activity but if reports are to be believed they are in the market for a new striker. Cedric Bakambu had been linked and they have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Cardiff striker Fraizer Campbell. Palace are also believed to have agreed a deal for Tottenham’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is out of favour at White Hart Lane, and they are keen to add Jack Cork to their midfield as well.

Gylfi Sigurdsson would be an excellent signing for Crystal Palace

Gylfi Sigurdsson would be an excellent signing for Crystal Palace

Who should they sign?
Pulis seems to be predominantly focusing on adding a new striker to his ranks but I think he will also chase at least one more defender to add some quality to his backline. Steven Caulker would be a good option for Pulis to explore as Cardiff have just been relegated so he should be available at a cut-price fee. They face stiff competition from QPR to land him. If that fails then Brede Hangeland would be another option available on the cheap due to Fulham’s relegation.

Steven Caulker could be on Tony Pulis' radar

Steven Caulker could be on Tony Pulis’ radar

Key Player
Mile Jedinak. The Australian epitomises the work ethic that Pulis desires of his players and is a strong character in the middle of the park. Jedinak won player of the year for Palace the season before last and their captain is an extremely important figure in the side.

Jedinak will be of great importance at the heart of the Palace midfield

Jedinak will be of great importance at the heart of the Palace midfield

Prediction
Pulis has once again demonstrated his ability to keep a side in the league and I can see no reason why he can’t do it again with Palace. He will have had a full preseason with them so they will be better prepared and he should add some recruits to put his own stamp on the team. Palace fans will be optimistic for the upcoming season and we think they will match their achievements last season. Expect Palace to finish 11th.