Yannick Bolasie

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 30th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got six out of ten predictions right and no correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Man City vs West Brom (12:45)
City’s season went from bad to worse after being humbled at the Nou Camp and it was only a miraculous performance from Joe Hart that saved them from a humiliating scoreline. The Baggies, meanwhile, returned to winning ways against Stoke and will be sure to be well organised and keep City chances at a minimum. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have already endured a terrible week and he will most probably lose his job at the end of the season given their inevitable lack of trophies but they should be able to sneak a win here.
Prediction: Man City 1-0 West Brom

Aston Villa vs Swansea (15:00)
Villa’s season has been transformed with back-to-back league victories and Tim Sherwood’s feel-good factor is driving them on at the moment. The Swans have also been performing well and were unlucky to lose to Liverpool last time out. The Villans will be desperate to win this one as they have a really tough run of fixtures coming up but Swansea are no pushovers and should be able to get a point at Villa Park.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Swansea

Newcastle vs Arsenal (15:00)
The Magpies put in a very poor display against Everton last weekend and now face an in-form Arsenal. The Gunners are odds-on to finish at least third and impressed in Monaco in midweek, despite being knocked out of the Champions League overall. It’s hard to see anything other than a walkover for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-3 Arsenal

Southampton vs Burnley (15:00)
The Saints kept their Champions League hopes alive with a hard-earned draw against Chelsea but remain outsiders for a top-four finish. Burnley enjoyed a terrific result over Man City and have given themselves a real chance of escaping relegation. They are only one point behind Sunderland and they will hope that their momentum from last weekend’s win can see them through. Southampton should just about nick this game, though.
Prediction: Southampton 1-0 Burnley

Stoke vs Palace (15:00)
This is a contest between two teams whose soul aim now will be to finish as high in the league as possible. Stoke will be confident of finishing as ‘the best of the rest’ away from those competing for European qualification via the league. Palace have drastically improved under Alan Pardew and are an exciting team going forward with the likes of Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha. I think this will be quite an entertaining game and it’s hard to split them so I’ll lump for a score draw.
Prediction: Stoke 2-2 Palace

Spurs vs Leicester (15:00)
Tottenham suffered a real setback in their pursuit of the Champions League last weekend but with Man United and Liverpool facing each other on Sunday it is vital that they win against bottom side Leicester. The Foxes did pick up a point against Hull last time out but realistically needed to win that match to have a chance of survival and I think they could be on the receiving end of a heavy defeat here.
Prediction: Spurs 4-0 Leicester

West Ham vs Sunderland (17:30)
This match sees two sides in very poor form facing off against each other and a Premier League debut for new Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat. The Hammers have gone off the boil in the past few weeks and haven’t won in the league since January. Sunderland finally sacked Gus Poyet after a dreadful run of results and they will hope that their new appointment will give them a boost. This could go either way but Sunderland will be desperate not to lose and I think they will leave Upton Park with a point.
Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Sunderland

Sunday

Liverpool vs Man United (13:30)

This is undoubtedly the biggest match of the weekend and this could ultimately decide who finishes fourth. Liverpool have been in sensational form in 2015 and United were written off by many before last weekend’s hammering of Spurs but now the tie has an intriguing balance to it. It’s very difficult to predict which team will win it but I think both teams will come out guns blazing and try to win the match but as it goes on may be happy to settle for a point, which will keep the battle for fourth finely poised.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Man United

Hull vs Chelsea (16:00)
Hull aren’t quite safe yet but it would be a big shock to see them going down considering the quality of some of the sides below them. Not as big a shock, however, as if Chelsea did not win the league. Man City seem to have given up the fight and Jose Mourinho’s side are waltzing comfortably to league success. It’s hard to see anything other than an easy Chelsea win.
Prediction: Hull 0-2 Chelsea

QPR vs Everton (16:00)
This is a huge match for The R’s. Everton have been generally poor in the league this season and were thrashed in Kiev on Thursday night as they crashed out of Europe so QPR couldn’t have picked a better time to play them. Everton’s players are all likely to be tired after their long trip and Chris Ramsey needs to make sure his players make this as physical as possible to capitalise on their drained resources. I have a feeling that they will get the win and put real pressure on the teams above them.
Prediction: QPR 2-1 Everton

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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.