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Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 27th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got four out of ten predictions right and three correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

West Ham vs Crystal Palace (12:45)
The Hammers performed well against Spurs but threw the match away in spectacular fashion and their season is in danger of meandering into mediocrity. Palace’s charge up the table has also slowed somewhat in recent weeks but they should avoid relegation and that would be a good achievement for The Eagles. Alan Pardew will probably set his stall up to get a draw and I think they’ll get it.
Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Crystal Palace

Burnley vs Swansea (15:00)
The Clarets returned from Stamford Bridge with a miraculous point and renewed hope of survival. Swansea also earned a shock win over Man United and perhaps their season will not begin to drift as expected. Having said that, this is a very important match for Burnley and the atmosphere at Turf Moor should galvanize their team to earn a vital three points.
Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Swansea

Man United vs Sunderland (15:00)
United stuttered once again and wasted an opportunity to create breathing space between them and their top-four rivals, which leaves them susceptible to dropping out of the Champions League spots if they slip up again. Sunderland couldn’t beat relegation rivals West Brom at home and are struggling to find the back of the net. While United are not at their best, Sunderland are offering little resistance and Louis van Gaal will have no excuse if they fail to win.
Prediction: Man United 2-0 Sunderland

Newcastle vs Aston Villa (15:00)
If I could predict that both these teams would lose then I would. Newcastle’s performance was utterly appalling as they slumped to a 5-0 defeat at the Etihad and Villa’s captain Ron Vlaar gave away the most ludicrous of penalties deep into stoppage time to deny Tim Sherwood his first point for the club and to keep them firmly rooted at the bottom of the table. Sherwood has claimed that Villa need to win six of their remaining matches, having won five all season, and if you look at their fixtures you suspect that if they’re to meet that target then they will have to win here. If Newcastle play as badly as they did last week then the Villans will have a chance but there should be some sort of a response from John Carver’s men and a draw seems the most likely result.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Aston Villa

Stoke vs Hull (15:00)
Stoke nicked a late win at Villa Park and look set for a top-ten finish. Hull, meanwhile, have clawed their way away from the relegation zone with wins against rivals Villa and QPR and are now four points clear of the drop in 15th. They may not be safe just yet but they have shown more mettle than the other sides around them and that will give them a big boost going into the end of season run-in. Stoke are a tough team to get the better of, however, and will keep Hull nervously looking over their shoulders.
Prediction: Stoke 1-0 Hull

West Brom vs Southampton (15:00)
Tony Pulis set his side up perfectly to take a point back to the Midlands from the Stadium of Light and will continue to make sure his side are hard to beat. Southampton may have lost to their top-four rivals but they were unfortunate not to get a penalty early on in the match and were by no means embarrassed. With only one point between them and fourth, it’s important for Ronald Koeman’s men to keep their challenge up and I think they’ll win here.
Prediction: West Brom 0-1 Southampton

Sunday

Liverpool vs Man City (12:00)
Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday night after extra time and it will be interesting to see if playing a further 30 minutes will damage their chances against a City side who can close the gap at the top of the table to just two points. Manuel Pellegrini’s team thumped Newcastle but lost at home to Barcelona in the Champions League and are in great danger of failing to win a trophy this season. There is a lot riding on this game and both sides will be desperate to send a message to their top-four and title rivals respectively but City are the stronger side and can apply real pressure on Chelsea.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Man City

Arsenal vs Everton (14:05)
The Gunners’ result against Monaco on Wednesday was one of the most shocking results in Arsene Wenger’s tenure and their Champions League hopes now dangle by a thread. Everton had no such problem as they cruised into the last 16 of the Europa League and their season now revolves around winning that competition. Despite Arsenal’s poor display against Monaco, they have the quality to beat Everton and tighten the grip on a top-four spot.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Everton

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Premier League Preview: Newcastle United

There are only 4 weeks 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 Newcastle United.

Newcastle are a side with problems behind the scenes and the Geordie faithful have made it clear that they want owner Mike Ashley to sell the club. A 10th place finish may appear good on the face of it but Newcastle were flying high in the first half of the season before winning only 5 matches in the second half. They even only managed 1 draw so managed to lose 13 out of 19 matches, which is a terrible record. Pardew will be desperate for Newcastle to rediscover their best form and return to the top half of the table.

The Manager
Alan Pardew has been in charge of Newcastle since December 2010 and is the second longest-serving manager in the League. Pardew’s spell in charge of the Magpies has not been short of controversy. He has pushed an official, been involved in a verbal spat with Manuel Pellegrini and most recently head-butted David Meyler.

Alan Pardew has been at the centre of plenty of controversy in his time at St James' Park

Alan Pardew has been at the centre of plenty of controversy in his time at St James’ Park

Biggest Signing
Pardew has been quick to draft in reinforcements this summer in order to replace creative influence Yohan Cabaye, who departed for PSG in January, and top goal scorer Loic Remy whose loan spell has ended. Newcastle have brought in six new faces. The biggest signing of those is Remy Cabella who they have been pursuing from Montpellier the last few transfer windows. They were finally successful this time around and have paid a reported £12 million to land the attacking-midfielder. Jack Colback has been pinched from bitter rivals Sunderland on a free transfer, much to the fury of the Black Cats. Right-back Daryl Janmaat has been drafted in to replace Mathieu Debuchy who has moved to Arsenal, midfielder Siem De Jong has been signed from Ajax and strikers Emmanuel Riviere and Ayoze Perez have moved to Tyneside from Monaco and Tenerife respectively.

Remy Cabella is an exciting signing

Remy Cabella is an exciting signing

Who is tipped to join them?
The Magpies have been heavily linked with a move for Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon and are reported to be interested in Burnley striker Danny Ings. Andy Carroll has also been tipped to return to his home club from West Ham in a £12 million deal.

Will Andy Carroll return to Newcastle?

Will Andy Carroll return to Newcastle?

Who should they sign?
Newcastle have generally moved pretty well in the transfer window and I’ll be surprised if there are too many more faces through the door. It seems they are still keen on bringing in at least one more striker as Loic Remy is set to move to Liverpool. Carroll would be a good signing, if he can remain fit, and would probably be keen on a return to his hometown.

Remy is expected to snub Newcastle in favour of Liverpool

Remy is expected to snub Newcastle in favour of Liverpool

Key Player
Fabricio Coloccini. Newcastle are in desperate need for their leaders on the pitch to steer them away from their terrible run of form at the end of last season. Coloccini is a big figure in the dressing room, an imposing character on the pitch and will be key to turning Newcastle’s fortunes around.

Coloccini is a big presence in the Newcastle dressing room

Coloccini is a big presence in the Newcastle dressing room

Prediction
This is a side that definitely won’t go down but they look a little lost without leading lights Cabaye and Remy in the picture. It remains to be seen how quickly they return to the form they are capable of and I think they will struggle to finish in the top half again this season. They should avoid a relegation battle, though. Expect Newcastle to finish 12th.