Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle vs Stoke

Premier League: Newcastle vs Stoke 
Venue: St. James’ Park – Sunday, February 8 – 14:05
Match Odds: Newcastle 13/10 – Draw 11/5 – Stoke City 11/5

Newcastle take on Stoke City in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon in what looks set to be an intriguing matchup, with both sides coming into the game off the back of wins last weekend.

Newcastle United are hoping to win their first home match under new interim head coach John Carver, following their win at the KC Stadium last Saturday, crushing Hull City 3-0.

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Whilst Stoke City go into the game at St. James’ Park off the back of two wins in their last three matches in the league.

Newcastle are currently sitting in 11th place and a win this Sunday afternoon will see them rise above their opponents Stoke and go into 10th.

The Magpies registered their first win since December 28th with victory against Hull last time out and will now hope to win back-to-back league games for the first time since November.

With their lack of consistency this season it’s no surprise they are lingering around mid-table and for a club the size of Newcastle they should be a lot higher. However at home Newcastle have defeated league leaders Chelsea and last season’s runners-up Liverpool so they will expect to pick up all three points against the Potters.

Newcastle’s home record: Played 11 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 3

Stoke City had a mixed January in the Premier League with two wins, a loss and a defeat in the league but ended with two wins on the bounce, along with a win against Rochdale in the FA Cup.

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The Potters are without Bojan for the rest of the season so they will lack some creativity considering how important he has been to the side since he joined from Barcelona last summer. A win for Stoke could send them into 9th if Swansea slip up on Saturday against Sunderland at home.

Stoke City’s away record: Played 12 – Won 4 – Drawn 3 – Lost 5

If you cast your mind back to the reverse fixture at the Britannia back in September, Stoke took all three points thanks to a Peter Crouch goal in a 1-0 win.

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With both teams coming off big wins last weekend it will be hard to call the result in this one. Mark Hughes will want to erase the memory of Stoke’s 5-1 loss at St. James’ Park last season by defeating the Magpies. Expect this to be close.

Newcastle United’s last five in the Premier League: W/D/L/L/W

Stoke City’s last five in the Premier League: W/D/L/W/W

Key Stat: Jon Walters has scored four times in previous nine meetings between the sides in the Premier League.

Key Player: Jon Walters – The Republic Of Ireland striker scored a hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers last week and will be hungry for more goals as he comes into the game thriving on confidence.

Score Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Stoke City – Stoke to earn a hard fought win at St. James’s Park.

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Twitter reacts to Juan Agudelo’s MLS return with New England Revolution

Juan Agudelo‘s return to Major League Soccer with the New England Revolution has now officially been confirmed by the 2014 MLS Cup runners-up and the 22-year-old will hope to pick up where he left off in 2015.

Agudelo scored seven goals with one assist in 14 regular season appearances for the Revs following his trade from Chivas USA in May 2013, before heading across the pond to Europe in the hope of making it with Stoke City.

However, two failed work permit attempts and 12 months later, Agudelo is back in New England with the Revs. There have been a mixture of reactions to the USMNT forward’s return on Twitter with some thrilled to have him back and others quick to mention his failed European dream.

Here are the best tweets regarding Juan Agudelo’s return to MLS:

Agudelo also tweeted revealing how ecstatic he was to have resigned with the Revs and he will now join up with the team next week in Arizona.

https://twitter.com/JuanAgudelo/status/560922843550990337

What do you make of Juan Agudelo’s return to MLS with the New England Revolution?

MLSGB Premier League Predictions: Gameweek 23

The Premier League returns this weekend after last week’s FA Cup action and that means it’s time for another member of the MLSGB team to put their knowledge to the test by predicting the results of all 10 games.

Last time out Jamie Ives called six correct results with two exact scores and now Zack Walford will try and beat that record with his predictions for gameweek 23 in the Premier League.

Saturday, January 31 2015 (all kickoffs are 15:00 unless stated otherwise)

Hull City vs. Newcastle (12:45)

Hull City are looking to end their poor January with a win against Newcastle United. John Carver is now in charge of Newcastle until the end of the season but with the interim head coach failing to win any of his last four matches in all competitions, I can’t see them winning here. I expect both teams to score but the game to finish a draw.

Prediction: Hull City 1-1 Newcastle United.


Crystal Palace vs. Everton

Palace are on an absolute roll at the moment under new manager Alan Pardew. With the fightback the team showed away at Burnley and then away at Southampton last week, you wouldn’t want to bet against them winning at home to an underachieving Everton side. The Toffees are without a win in their last five matches but that includes a creditable 1-1 draw with champions Manchester City at Goodison Park. I see nothing but a Palace win though.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 3-0 Everton


Liverpool vs. West Ham

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Liverpool are coming off a midweek League Cup semi-final and they played 120 minutes against Chelsea so fatigue will play a huge part in this encounter. West Ham faced a stern FA Cup test against Bristol City last week, with Diafra Sakho the difference for the Hammers. It’s going to be a tough one but I’m going with a draw.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 West Ham


Manchester United vs. Leicester City

Manchester United have been inconsistent this month with a win away to QPR, a draw to Stoke and a loss to Southampton. Leicester are rock bottom of the league but a win at Old Trafford and results going their way could see them climb out of the relegation places. That won’t happen though.

Prediction: Manchester United 5-0 Leicester City


Stoke City vs. Queens Park Rangers

Stoke’s win at Leicester was well deserved last time out in the league with Bojan getting the only goal but with the Spaniard now out for the rest of the season I think he will be greatly missed. Queen’s Park Rangers haven’t won a single point away from home this season and I don’t think the visit to the Britannia will see them pick up their first.

Prediction: Stoke City 1-0 Queens Park Rangers


Sunderland vs. Burnley

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Burnley refuse to go down without a fight and I fully expect them to have a go at Sunderland. Sunderland were poor against Spurs last time out in the league apart from a touch of class from Seb Larsson. The Clarets could get a huge win here.

Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Burnley


West Brom vs. Tottenham

Tony Pulis has galvanised his West Brom side since the dismissal of Alan Irvine and lead them to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup last week, and they are creeping up the league table too. For Tottenham Hotspur they seem to play better away than when they are at White Hart Lane and I believe Christian Eriksen will be the difference again for Spurs.

Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Tottenham


Chelsea vs. Manchester City (17:30)

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Easily the standout fixture for this weekend and it could be the title decider. Man City can close the gap to two points with a win or Chelsea can go eight points clear at the top if they earn victory. City have the advantage having not played in midweek and will want to avenge their loss to Arsenal at home last time out in the league and need to get their title challenge back on track. Chelsea’s lack of squad rotation could go against them in this one and with Cesc Fabregas out and Diego Costa possibly suspended for the match, I can only see a draw.

Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City


Sunday, February 1st 2015

Arsenal vs. Aston Villa (13:30)

Arsenal are on a roll at the moment, scoring goals and playing with real confidence, and Aston Villa are not. It’s as simple as that. With key players returning for the Gunners I think they will cruise against Paul Lambert’s men.

Prediction: Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa


Southampton vs. Swansea City (16:00)

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Southampton have been great to watch this season. Ronald Koeman has had them playing some lovely football and achieved some huge results and thats why they are third in the league. Swansea have also achieved great things this season but have lost their key man in Wilfried Bony, who departed for Manchester City. Garry Monk felt his side were unlucky at home against the Saints earlier in the season and would love to beat his former club. I see Southampton winning this one.

Prediction: Southampton 2-0 Swansea


How do you think Gameweek 23 will shape up in the Premier League?

Juan Agudelo set to sign contract through to 2018 with New England Revolution – report

Juan Agudelo is almost home. The 22-year-old forward is close to agreeing a deal that will see him return to Major League Soccer with the New England Revolution through to 2018 – the team he left to pursue his European dream, as Goal.com revealed at the start of the week.

It didn’t work out as Agudelo would have liked when he crossed the Atlantic to join Stoke City in January last year and the Potters had two work permit applications rejected for the USMNT striker.

He joined FC Utrecht on loan after joining Stoke in the hope that it would improve his chances of gaining a work permit, but that never happened and Agudelo has been without a club since May last year as a result.

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The former New York Red Bulls and Chivas USA man has turned down offers from Bundesliga clubs Werder Bremen, and more recently 1860 Munich, and is now in discussions with the Revs over what is expected to be a four-year contract.

At 22, Agudelo still has his whole career ahead of him and MLS is in much better shape just a year on from when he left, as are the New England Revolution.

Several USMNT stars have returned to MLS while global stars Steven Gerrard, Kaka, David Villa, Frank Lampard and Sebastian Giovinco will all join the league in 2015.

The Revs came so close to winning their first ever MLS Cup title in 2014 after being narrowly beaten by the LA Galaxy, but the return of Agudelo will undoubtedly strengthen the side.

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Lee Nguyen was the hero last year, while Jermaine Jones’s arrival added so much solidity to the team, and having Agudelo up top will ensure the Revs remain a force to be reckoned with this year.

He is a player with bundles of talent, and confidence too as he showed in 2013 with a phenomenal backheel lob against the Chicago Fire.

Juan Agudelo backheel lob for New England Revolution (via MLS on YouTube):

Charlie Davis was the first-choice striker last season but he only managed three goals in 18 regular season appearances last term.

His form in the playoffs was much better as he netted four goals with one assist in five appearances, but the return of Agudelo is one that the Revs needed to bolster their attacking options.

Is a return to New England a good move for Juan Agudelo?

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Rochdale vs. Stoke City

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round

Venue: Spotland Stadium – Monday, January 26 – 20:00

Match odds: Rochdale 4/1 – Draw 14/5 – Stoke 4/6

Stoke City make a short trip to Rochdale in the FA Cup on Monday night in what promises to be an absolute cracker as Rochdale look to add to what has already been a weekend of shocks in the competition.

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The League One side are chasing promotion and sit in fifth place in the third tier of English football going into the game, and have won their last three in all competitions, including a 1-0 win against Nottingham Forest in the last round of the FA Cup.

Rochdale’s home record in all competitions: Played 18 – Won 7 – Drawn 3 – Lost 8

Stoke are 39 places higher than Rochdale in English football and sit in tenth place in the Premier League. The Potters come into the game in good form having won four of their last six and saw off Wrexham in the third round earlier this month.

Both sides will face strong lineups, with Mark Hughes likely to give Jack Butland and Steve Sidwell a chance to impress. Ryan Shawcross and Jon Walters are doubtful but could make the trip.

Predicted lineups for Rochdale vs. Stoke (via Lineupbuilder.com)

Predicted lineups for Rochdale vs. Stoke (via Lineupbuilder.com)

Stoke have only lost one of their last four away games and that was at Arsenal so they will be confident of progressing to the next round, but will have to take the game seriously to ensure they don’t join the list of Premier League clubs who fell to lower opposition this weekend.

Stoke’s away record in all competitions: Played 13 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 5

This will be the 10th meeting between the two sides, and the first in the FA Cup. Stoke have won five of the previous nine meetings with Rochdale winning two and there have been two draws.

The most recent meeting was in the League Cup eight years ago as Rochdale knocked the Potters out of the competition in the first round on penalties, after drawing 2-2 in extra-time.

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Rochdale fans will be hoping for success this time around too and will take confidence from the performances of the Cambridge United, Bradford City, Middlesbrough, Bolton and Blackburn as they all held or beat top half Premier League sides this weekend.

Rochdale’s last five in all competitions: L/L/W/W/W

Stoke City’s last five in all competitions: W/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: Rochdale have only beaten a top flight team in the cup once from 13 attempts (Coventry in 1971)

Key Player: Bojan Krkic – The Stoke playmaker has been excellent since joining in the summer. He’s scored four goals and picked up one assist in 17 games. He will be a key factor is he plays.

Rochdale vs Stoke Prediction: Rochdale 1–2 Stoke City – The Potters to edge what should be a thrilling game.

MLSGB FA Cup Fourth Round Predictions

This weekend sees a break from league action for those sides that are still in the FA Cup and we take a look at the fourth round fixtures to see how each team will fair.

Ben Ashton takes a stab at the possible outcomes of the action this weekend.

Here’s this week’s FA Cup fourth round predictions:

Friday 23 January 2015

Cambridge United vs Manchester United (19:55)

Manchester United faced a possible upset in the third round away at Yeovil Town but they came through that test comfortably in the end and I expect them to do so once again against a modest Cambridge.

Prediction: 0-2


Saturday 24 January 2015 (All kick-offs are 15:00 unless otherwise stated)

Blackburn Rovers vs Swansea City (12:45)

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Both sides have stuttered recently in the Championship and Premier League respectively and are both without a win in four which is why it’s likely to end all square.

Prediction: 1-1 (Swansea City to win the replay 2-0)


Birmingham City vs West Bromwich Albion

Birmingham have picked things up recently after a torrid start to the season which saw them record just two wins from the opening 15 games. But any side managed by Tony Pulis will be tough to beat and the Baggies should edge this Midlands derby.

Prediction: 1-2


Cardiff City vs Reading

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Neither of these sides can have much to brag about this season as they both sit in the bottom half of the Championship. A cup run could potentially light up an otherwise dull campaign for one of them. Narrow home win.

Prediction: 2-1


Chelsea vs Bradford City

If Chelsea fail to get past Bradford at home in the fourth round, it would go down as one of the FA Cup’s all-time greatest upsets. But it’s not going to happen and Chelsea will cruise into the fifth round.

Prediction: 4-0


Derby County vs Chesterfield

Derby’s priority this season will be gaining promotion to the Premier League and they’re doing a fairly good job of achieving that so far. Chesterfield themselves are in a battle for promotion too and this game presents the opportunity of a mini-upset but Derby should just have enough.

Prediction 1-0


Manchester City vs Middlesbrough

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City will be crushed after last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the league but they need to bounce back quickly. And what better opportunity than against a Championship side whose priorities are trying to gain promotion.

Prediction: 2-0


Preston North End vs Sheffield United

Preston are going well in League One despite going four without a win. They should have a slight advantage in the sense that Sheffield United had to play a League Cup game against Tottenham in midweek so they may be suffering from that. The Blades’ cup form has been excellent in recent times though and that should be enough to bring the game back to Bramall Lane.

Prediction: 1-1 (Sheffield United to win the replay 1-0)


Southampton vs Crystal Palace

If this game was due to be played six weeks ago, you’d expect a comfortable Southampton win, but Palace look revitalised under new manager Alan Pardew which will make for a tight game. However, the Saints should just edge it and Palace will be subjected to their first defeat under the new boss.

Prediction: 2-1


Sunderland vs Fulham

This is a game that Sunderland could probably do without given the fact they need to concentrate on Premier League survival. Fulham look to be safe in the Championship and a cup run would be a welcome bonus. But the advantage of being at home and having Jermain Defoe at their disposal should see Sunderland through.

Prediction: 2-0


Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City

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Tottenham have been playing well recently, despite a blip at Selhurst Park when they lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace. Leicester have also picked up a few points of late to give themselves a chance of escaping relegation, and that will be their number one objective this season. Spurs should go through without too many problems.

Prediction: 2-0


Liverpool vs Bolton Wanderers (17:30)

Brendan Rodgers has quietly but effectively set about turning Liverpool’s season around. The Reds could do with a good send-off for skipper Steven Gerrard who will be joining LA Galaxy in the summer, so they will be desperate to do well in the FA Cup. Bolton have also turned it around under Neil Lennon but getting a result at Anfield will be too much to ask.

Prediction: 3-0


Sunday 25 January 2015

Bristol City vs West Ham United (14:00)

Sam Allardyce hasn’t always prioritised the FA Cup, so it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches this game. Bristol City are flying high in League One and will fancy themselves to get at the Hammers. This should be an entertaining game.

Prediction: 1-1 (West Ham United to win the replay 2-0)


Aston Villa vs Bournemouth

Villa Park will be the most likely destination for a cup upset this weekend. But in truth, it wouldn’t be all that surprising. Bournemouth have been scintillating this season in the Championship, while Aston Villa have been very much the opposite in the Premier League. I fancy the Cherries to win this.

Prediction: 0-2 


Brighton & Hove Albion vs Arsenal

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Defensive stability isn’t something we normally associate with Arsenal in recent years, but with three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions they’re starting to look solid at the back, which is the main reason I don’t see Brighton getting anything from this game. Arsenal’s attacking threat isn’t bad either.

Prediction: 0-2


Monday 26 January 2015 (20:00)

Rochdale vs Stoke City

This fixture has all the makings of a classic FA Cup tie. On paper, it looks as though Stoke will comfortably sweep Rochdale aside, but I get the feeling it won’t be as easy as that. The magic of the cup should be there for all to see in this one.

Prediction: 2-2 (Stoke City to win the replay 3-1)


Who will make the fifth round of the FA Cup?

MLSGB Premier League Predictions – Gameweek 22

As the transfer window has started to spark up for a few sides, we take a look at this weekends round of fixtures and how each team will fair.

Lewis Addley called four correct results with one correct score in the last edition and this week Jamie Ives will put his brain to the test in trying to predict the results in a crucial weekend of football.

Here’s this week’s Premier League predictions:

Saturday 17th January 2015 (All kick-offs are 15:00 unless otherwise stated)

Aston Villa vs Liverpool

Liverpool have finally gained some momentum in their season with an unbeaten run of five. Aston Villa have a run of their own however, as Paul Lambert’s men are without a win in six. We expect an away win here.

Prediction: 0-2


Burnley vs Crystal Palace

Alan Pardew has kicked off his tenure at Selhurst Park with two wins in two after victories against Dover and Tottenham. He will be wanting to continue this when Palace travel to Turf Moor this weekend. Burnley will not make it easy however, as they haven’t lost in their last three.

Prediction: 1-1


Leicester City vs Stoke City

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Stoke have been the example of inconsistency this season and will be hoping to bounce back from the defeat at the Emirates last weekend, and also to avenge the 1-0 loss they suffered at the hands of their opponents in the reverse fixture. Leicester haven’t lost since Boxing Day.

Prediction: 1-0


Queens Park Rangers vs Manchester United

Without a win in four, QPR will need a solid performance to even earn a point against a United side that will still be licking their wounds from the Southampton game. Can’t see anything but an away win.

Prediction: 1-3


Swansea City vs Chelsea

Without Wilfried Bony, Swansea lack an end product and a presence up front. Chelsea, on the other hand, look primed and ready for a title race. Swansea will be as hard to beat as usual, but I think a draw is the best they can hope for.

Prediction: 1-2


Tottenham Hotspur vs Sunderland

Spurs come off the back of an embarrassing defeat to Crystal Palace last time out and Sunderland have lost three of their last four in the league. Both teams will be hoping to pick up the points here but I think Spurs will be too strong.

Prediction 2-1


Newcastle United vs Southampton (17:30)

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The Saturday evening game sees the seasons surprise package Southampton travel to St. James’ Park. Southampton come off the back of beating United at Old Trafford and so will be full of confidence. Newcastle have recently lost their manager. Hard to see anything but an away win.

Prediction: 0-1


Sunday 18 January 2015

West Ham United vs Hull City (13:30)

West Ham have been brilliant this season and Andy Carroll has given them a huge boost mid-season. Hull have struggled to produce the performances that saw them reach an FA Cup final last season. West Ham look too good to beat at the moment. Home win.

Prediction: 2-0


Manchester City vs Arsenal (16:00)

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The stand out fixture of the weekend sees the champions against Arsenal. The Etihad will play host to the Gunners and with Alexis Sanchez in full flow this game should be entertaining. A repeat of the reverse fixture would be perfect. Score draw for us.

Prediction: 2-2


Monday 19 January 2015 (20:00)

Everton vs West Brom

Both teams with struggles, and Everton look like an entirely different side from the side that finished fifth last season. Tony Pulis will have his West Brom side set up strong and they will be hard to beat. A draw wouldn’t be a bad result for either. But I think Everton will turn things around.

Prediction: 2-1


How do you think gameweek 22 will shape up in the Premier League?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Stoke City

Stoke City travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal on Sunday afternoon with the Gunners seeking revenge after they fell victim to a 3-2 loss in the reverse fixture this season.

The Potters are coming off the back of a three game unbeaten run that includes an away win at Everton, a home win against West Brom and an important draw against Manchester United on New Years Day.

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Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from their below par performance last time out as they fell to Southampton in a 2-0 loss at St Mary’s, and need to win to keep tabs on the top four.

Arsenal’s home record: Played 9 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 1

Much of the focus will be on the home side in this encounter as the Gunners are expected to have German international Mesut Ozil available once again and he could potentially start on Sunday.

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Arsene Wenger’s has fielded an unbelievable twelve different combinations in defence this season. An unsettled backline being one of the reasons why Arsenal have struggled thus far.

And Mark Hughes will hope that Bojan can wreak havoc against the Arsenal defence as he did at the Britannia earlier in the season.

Stoke City’s away record: Played 10 – Won 3 – Drawn 3 – Lost 4

Stoke will be without Mame Biram Diouf however as the Senegal striker is away at the African Cup of Nations.

There is hope for this Arsenal side though, as they have won their last three at home in Premier League and enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Hull in front of their home fans last weekend in the FA Cup.

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Their recent form against their opponents hasn’t been good enough however, as they have lost the last two meetings with Stoke. Could this be a third straight win against Arsenal for Mark Hughes’s men?

Arsenal’s last five:W/D/W/W/L

Stoke City’s last five: D/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: Arsenal are undefeated in 26 of their last 27 Premier League games at the Emirates.

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – The Chile international has been a sensation since his move to the Emirates last summer and most of Arsenal’s attacking play will go through him.

Score Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 1 Stoke City

MLSGB Premier League Predictions – Gameweek 21

After a break for the FA Cup third round, the Premier League returns this weekend and that means a member of the MLSGB team has to step up and try and predict the outcomes of all ten games.

Louis East called seven correct results with one correct score in the last edition and this week Lewis Addley will try and call some tricky matchups in what should be another entertaining weekend.

Here’s this weeks Premier League predictions:

Saturday 10 January 2015 (All kick-offs are 15:00 GMT unless otherwise stated)

Sunderland vs Liverpool (12:45) 

The reverse fixture saw this game end level 0-0 at Anfield, a disappointing result as Liverpool will still believe they are fighting for a Champions League spot. The Stadium of Light has been a tough place to visit this season with Sunderland already taking points from league leaders Chelsea. We can expect a cagey affair with Sunderland looking to cause an upset again.

Prediction: 1-1

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Burnley vs Queens Park Rangers 

Both of these sides look set for the battle to avoid relegation until the end of the season now and it’s a real six pointer. Burnley have found some form of late and can take heart from battling back from 2-0 down away at Manchester City. QPR have been hit with a flooded training ground this week and that has dampened their preparations no end. QPR have lost every away game this season so far in the league, so we can expect much of the same.

Prediction: 2-1

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Chelsea vs Newcastle United 

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Mourinho needs a response from his players and fast after some poor form over the last few weeks. Having already lost the away fixture last month they will need to win this to ensure they remain top of the table. Home form has been solid from Mourinho’s men and it should be three points.

Prediction: 3-1

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Everton vs Manchester City 

Everton haven’t lived up to their expectations this season and City will be looking to kill this game early. The champions have continued to close the gap on Chelsea and will be smelling blood and looking to top the table for the first time this season. Roberto Martinez needs a reaction from his side and they must prove they have what it takes to challenge the top teams once again.

Prediction: 1-2

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Leicester City vs Aston Villa 

Both these sides have been inconsistent so far this campaign which could leave us with an entertaining tie. Leicester are unbeaten in their last couple of league games and have avoided defeat picked up four points in their last two games. They have to be favourites.

Prediction: 2-1

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Swansea vs West Ham United 

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Swansea will be without goal machine Wilfried Bony, away at the African Cup of Nations, who could have played his last game for the side amidst reports of Manchester City chasing his signature. The Swans are happily sitting ninth in the league and will be keen to push for all three points. West Ham have had a bit of a step back to reality in the past couple of weeks as their top four push has been halted. This should be a feisty affair.

Prediction: 3-2

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West Bromwich Albion vs Hull City

Just a point separates these two sides who both look set for a nervy period towards the back end of the season. Having reached the halfway mark neither side looks safe and it is surely another six pointer. Hull will need another performance like the one that saw them win 2-0 against Everton last time out while Albion need to take their goalscoring form of the cup into the game after firing seven past minnows Gateshead last weekend. Tony Pulis to get off to a fine start in the league.

Prediction: 2-1

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Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur (17:30)

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Spurs head into this game on cloud nine after their brilliant performance over Chelsea. Palace, who fear nobody at Selhurst Park, need to be at their best and must stop striking sensation Harry Kane. One thing we know for sure is he will be at the forefront as usual if Spurs are to take all three points in Alan Pardew’s first league outing as Palace boss.

Prediction: 1-3

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Sunday 11 January 2015

Arsenal vs Stoke City (13:30)

Arsene Wenger’s men need to take all three points from this tie to ensure they keep the pace in the race for the top four. They will need to keep it tight at the back compared to their dreadful start in the reverse fixture where they conceded after just one minute. They should gain revenge from that game here though.

Prediction: 2-0 

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Manchester United vs Southampton (16:00)

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This could be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. We can expect an attacking mentality from both sides. Southampton can consider themselves unlucky in the reverse fixture whereby they were killed off by some clinical finishing. Louis Van Gaal’s impact has been good so far at United and although he will be wary of the Saints, he will be expecting nothing less than three points from his side.

Prediction: 3-1 

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How do you think Gameweek 21 will shape up in the Premier League?

Philadelphia Union complete signing of Maurice Edu from Stoke – report

The Philadelphia Union have managed to secure a deal to bring Maurice Edu back to the club on a permanent basis from Stoke City after excelling in MLS last season, as Jonathan Tannenwald revealed earlier today.

Edu was arguably the Union’s best player as he played 31 times in the league, scoring three times and picking up one assist while playing at both central midfield and at the heart of the defence.

Bringing him back for the 2015 season is a major boost for the Union and the USMNT midfielder has reportedly signed a three-year contract.

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The deal is expected to be confirmed by the Philadelphia Union in the next 24 hours and a transfer fee would have been paid to Stoke as he still has six months remaining on his current contract with the Premier League club.

Philadelphia haven’t been too busy in the offseason so far and have only brought in C.J. Sapong in a trade with Sporting Kansas City so far, but the addition of Edu on a permanent basis will help fans build excitement for the new campaign.

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The 28-year-old was disappointed to miss out on Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man squad for the World Cup last summer but playing consistently well in MLS again will surely increase his chances of forcing his way back in to the US Men’s National Team.

Edu won the MLS Rookie of the Year award in his first season with Toronto back in 2007 and after shining on loan last year, he will now be able to excel in Major League Soccer for the foreseeable future.

How good a signing is Maurice Edu for the Philadelphia Union?