Crystal Palace midfielder Jordon Mutch completes Vancouver Whitecaps move

The Vancouver Whitecaps have completed the signing of Jordon Mutch from English Premier League side Crystal Palace on a one-year loan, with the option to buy. Mutch becomes Vancouver’s 10th signing of the winter and leaves Palace after failing to make an appearance this season.

The 26-year-old English midfielder has only appeared on the Eagles’ bench three times over the course of the 2017/18 campaign and will be hoping the move to Major League Soccer can help reignite his career.

The former Cardiff City and QPR man has recorded a total of 17 goals and added 26 assists in 206 club matches in all competitions over the course of his career so far. He is a box-to-box midfielder, who replaces the outgoing Tony Tchani for Vancouver.

“Jordon is a top midfielder who has played at the highest level,” Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said. “He’s played against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United and now he wants to prove himself again in a new environment.

“He likes to get forward, he’s full of energy, and he’s in the prime of his career. We’re delighted to have him here.”

Mutch will spend the entire 2018 season with the Whitecaps, with the club having the option to purchase him if his time in MLS is a success.

The Vancouver Whitecaps kick off the 2018 season this weekend, taking on Montreal Impact on Sunday evening at BC Place Stadium. It’s unlikely that Mutch will be included in the lineup, given that he lacks match practice and will not have had enough time to prepare for the game.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic action returns, North London Derby the standout fixture

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic football is back following the international break. Many fans will be delighted that there are no more interruptions until March.

The top six are all in action on Saturday, with the North London Derby kicking things off at 12:30. League leaders Man City travel to Leicester, while Chelsea are also on the road at West Brom. Liverpool and Man United return with home fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle respectively.

Just the one game on Sunday as Watford and West Ham face off in another London Derby. Week 12 is finished off on Monday evening when Brighton host Stoke.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 12 could see plenty of change at the top…

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham

Easily the biggest game of the weekend. The North London Derby usually doesn’t disappoint. Arsenal put in a poor display against Man City before the international break, losing 3-1. Arsene Wenger needs a response from his players, a loss to their bitter rivals could see them slip down to 7th. Spurs won 1-0 at Wembley against Palace last time out. A result that in years gone by they may not have been able to grind out. They look a strong force at the moment and confidence is high. Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be refreshed following his exclusion from international call ups, expect them to be at the forefront of the Spurs attack.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

The Premier League’s bottom side welcome out of form Everton to Selhurst Park. Palace fans may well have been looking forward to the international break in hope of their side having a chance to rebuild and get ready to face Everton. The Toffees really haven’t had anything to shout about. Their loss to Watford last time out meant that they have now conceded as many goals as Palace (22) this season. Both sides are desperate for a win, a scrappy score-draw could be on the cards.

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Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

Jurgen Klopp’s side have got their season on track again. They are sitting 5th in the league and that 4-1 thumping against Spurs seems a long time ago now. However, they are going to have to make sure they do not slip up this weekend. Sadio Mane is ruled out through injury once again, so the pressure for the inform Mohammed Salah to deliver has increased. Southampton have hardly set the world alight so far this season. Their home loss against Burnley before the internationals has left them loitering just four points above the relegation zone. A home win looks likely.

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Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in desperate need of a run of form. They have been unlucky in stages so far this season but it cannot be used as an excuse for their league position. The Cherries are just one point outside of the relegation zone and if results were to go against them this weekend they could be second bottom by Sunday evening. Huddersfield are still progressing well. They won 1-0 before the international break and are more than worth the place bang in the middle of the table. They will no doubt see this as a winnable fixture so expect an energetic game. Score draw.

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Leicester 1-4 Man City

Leicester City may think they were unlucky not to take all three points last time out. But it’s the same inconsistency that cost them. They are creating plenty of chances but are not clinical enough. They are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, so there is reason to be optimistic ahead of this game. Man City have looked on a completely different level to the rest of the league so far this season. Pep Guardiola’s men are already being spoken about as one of his best ever sides and there is even talk about whether they can go the season unbeaten. Goals are free flowing for the Citizens, so don’t expect anything less this weekend.

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West Brom 1-3 Chelsea

West Brom are in trouble. Tony Pulis reportedly has two games to save his job. One of those is at home to the reigning champions here. The other sees the Baggies head to Wembley to take on Spurs. If the West Brom squad want to show they are behind the manager, now is the time. But they haven’t won in nine-straight league games and have slipped to 16th in the table. Chelsea impressed in their 1-0 win over Man Utd before the international break. Now Antonio Conte’s men need to kick on and keep the pressure on the three sides above them. Expect the Blues to prove too strong.

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Burnley 1-0 Swansea

Swansea have a 100% record against Burnley in their four previous Premier League meetings. But don’t expect that to continue beyond the weekend. Burnley are flying and Sean Dyche’s men are picking up plenty of plaudits for their strong start to the season. The Swans are 19th and seem to be struggling for goals and creativity. Paul Clement will find himself under serious pressure if results don’t improve, but they are unlikely to find at joy at Turf Moor on Saturday in what should be a tight game.

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Man United 2-0 Newcastle

This is a big game for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They could be 11 points behind Man City by the time they kick off on Saturday evening and they will have to get that gap back to eight, if City indeed win. They failed to score at Chelsea without properly threatening over the 90 minutes but they will have to take the game to Newcastle here. Rafa Benitez’s men will be setting up to contain the hosts and try and hit them on the break and from any set-pieces. It might not be pretty, but United should be able to get it done.

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Watford 2-2 West Ham

David Moyes starts life as West Ham manager with a tricky trip to Watford. Hornets boss Marco Silva looks like he’ll be staying put for now, and that’s a major boost for the home side considering their impressive start to the season. It’s unclear how much the speculation will have got to the Watford players but they’ll have a chance to show they are focused when the Hammers arrive on Sunday. Moyes has a tough job on his hands but he’ll set the visitors up to be solid and try and play as a unit. If they try and impress the new manager they could well come away with something positive.

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Brighton 1-1 Stoke

The fact that Brighton come into Monday night’s game three points ahead of Stoke highlights what an excellent start to the season they’ve made. Chris Hughton’s men have established themselves and have made the Amex Stadium a bit of a fortress so far. They’ve picked up eight points from a possible 12 since losing to Manchester City on the opening weekend of the campaign. They will fancy their chances here, especially with the whole nation’s eyes on them for Monday Night Football. Stoke showed signs of much-needed improvement before the break, beating Watford away before drawing 2-2 at home to Leicester. Mark Hughes has a talented squad of players but is not getting the best out of them. If they show up, they can cause anyone problems, but Brighton will be resolute and hard to break down.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – 2nd vs 3rd as Man Utd take on Spurs, while Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool expected to win

Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – The Premier League weekend kicks off with an absolutely huge clash. It’s 2nd versus 3rd as Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford. Expect plenty of goals across the ten fixtures this week, while there is the potential for upsets in must-win games for the top sides.

The three o’clock action comes thick and fast after the early kickoff. Struggling Crystal Palace face off against West Ham in the only London Derby of the weekend. Pace-setting Manchester City travel to West Brom, while Arsenal and Liverpool have home ties. Chelsea complete Saturday’s action with the late kickoff away at Bournemouth.

Sunday has a couple of interesting fixtures, Brighton welcome Southampton, before Claude Puel begins his reign as Leicester City manager at home to Everton, who have recently sacked Ronald Koeman. The weekend’s action is completed with Monday Night Football as Newcastle visit Burnley.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 10 will be an interesting one…

Manchester United 2-2 Tottenham 

Easily the biggest fixture of the weekend. Man Utd vs Spurs has provided some classic fixtures through the years. Both sides are coming into this one needing to bounce back. United’s loss at Huddersfield last weekend was a shock result and Jose Mourinho needs a reaction like his side showed in their midweek Carabao Cup clash. Spurs were emphatic last time out in the league. Their 4-1 win over Liverpool sent out a message to the rest of the league, however their dismal loss against West Ham in midweek was unforgivable and they owe it to their fans to pick up a positive result here. Expect goals as Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku go head-to-head.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 West Ham

This is a big game. Make no mistake about that. Some reports suggested that failure to win this one would result in the sacking of Slaven Bilic as West Ham manager. However, Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Spurs may change that. Either way, Premier League points are the priority for both. Palace have struggled but did win their last home game. Another home win here would be a major boost. However, they haven’t scored in 9 of their last 10 games, losing each. West Ham haven’t been much better, failing to win 11 of their last 12 away games. Don’t expect this to be pretty.

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West Brom 0-3 Manchester City

Tony Pulis, like every West Brom fan was devastated not to have picked up at least a point last weekend. However, they have to hold their hands up to accept losing at the hands of one of the goals of the season. West Brom are sitting in and around mid table but they won’t be looking forward to a visit from league leading Man City. Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t have it all their own way in midweek, yet they sealed their place in the next round of the Carabao Cup, despite his displeasure of the ball. Normal service resumes with a ‘normal ball’ here and we expect City to continue their early title charge.

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Watford 2-0 Stoke

They might have lost 4-2 at Chelsea last weekend but Watford are undoubtedly this season’s surprise package so far. The Hornets are enjoying their best ever start to a season in the top flight. They beat Arsenal in their most recent home fixture and should prove too strong for Stoke here. The visitors are in trouble. Last week’s home loss to Bournemouth left them down in 17th. They’ve not won away from home yet this season. Don’t expect that to change here.

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Arsenal 3-0 Swansea

Arsene Wenger & co. have reason to be in high spirits. They took apart a very sorry Everton side last weekend keeping them at pace with the top four. Following up from that a much changed side secured progression in the cup in midweek. Arsenal should be looking to take three points in what has the makings of a routine home game this weekend. Swansea are sitting 15th but are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They cannot afford to take a drumming here as we all know how important goal difference can be in the Premier League. A win to ‘nil looks likely for the hosts.

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Liverpool 2-1 Huddersfield

The fact that Liverpool come into this game just one point ahead of Huddersfield tells you all you need to know. The Reds have been inconsistent and have not solved their defensive problems. Last week’s 4-1 loss to Spurs further highlighted their vulnerabilities and they now need to bounce back. They will fancy their chances at home, but the visitors are riding high in confidence. Their 2-1 win over Man Utd was arguably the shock result of the season so far. Don’t rule out another surprise result at Anfield, although Liverpool should edge it.

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Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

Bournemouth remain in the bottom three. They picked up a much needed win last weekend away against Stoke and made it a week with plenty to cheer about having progressed in the cup. This is going to be another big test for them but they’ll be relishing a visit from Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side are coming through a rough patch with promise. Despite being a way off the top of the Premier League their squad depth stood the test of three games in a week. Last weekend’s win at home to Watford showed they have the resilience to fight back and if they go behind here, don’t expect them to let it phase them. Narrow victory for the Champions.

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Brighton 2-2 Southampton

Neither of these sides have really set the world alight yet this season. They have showed some signs of promise but inconsistency has prevented either side from making a statement. Brighton will be pleased with their start to life in the top flight. They are unbeaten in three-straight home league games and will now hope to keep that form going. The Saints picked up a first league win in four last weekend. It’s hard to tell which Southampton side will turn up. But goals could be on the cards here.

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Leicester City 1-1 Everton

The battle two sides who have recently sacked their managers. Leicester have acted promptly to replace Craig Shakespeare with Claude Puel. They picked up an impressive win away at Swansea last weekend and also reached the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup in midweek so things are on the up. Everton’s woes continue, they sacked Ronald Koeman after being demolished by Arsenal last weekend and were knocked out the cup by Chelsea on Wednesday evening. Their poor run of form has to come to an end soon, but we don’t expect them to win here. Score draw.

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Burnley 1-1 Newcastle

The weekend is rounded off with an intriguing matchup. Burnley have been a better side away from home so far but will still see Monday’s game as one they should be winning. Their only home win so far this term came against Palace. For Newcastle, they’ll be looking to keep picking up points. They’ve only lost one of their last seven and look like they’re all pulling in the same direction as Rafa Benitez. It might not be the most entertaining game, but expect it to be interesting.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Expect a one-sided affair as Liverpool host Man Utd, while Man City should keep on rolling

Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Premier League action returns after the international break. Liverpool and Manchester United face off to get things going on Saturday lunchtime in what is the standout fixture of the weekend. Two games take place on Sunday, while Monday night rounds off what should be an action-packed weekend.

The remainder of the top four are in action on Saturday. Man City welcome Stoke, Spurs host Bournemouth and Chelsea travel to struggling Palace. Arsenal complete Saturday’s fixtures with a cross-London trip to Watford in the late game.

Brighton take on Everton, while Newcastle have the trip down south to Southampton in the Sunday double-header. The final fixture on Monday night sees Leicester face West Brom.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 8 marks the anticipated return of domestic football…

Liverpool 0-3 Manchester United

The latest instalment of the historic fixture. Jose Mourinho’s United have been in fantastic form this season, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have struggled defensively. Both sides have been hit with injuries of late, Liverpool will be without Sadio Mane, while Paul Pogba remains out for United. Given how free-scoring United have been and that Liverpool have just a +1 goal difference, we predict a healthy win for the Red Devils.

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Burnley 2-2 West Ham 

Burnley are high-flying in sixth place. Sean Dyche’s men picked up three points away at Everton before the international break and they will be looking to continue their great run of form here. West Ham’s struggles have been all too apparent, but they steadied the ship last time out with a 1-0 win over Swansea. This is going to be a tight one. Score draw.

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Manchester City 4-0 Stoke

Pep Guardiola would not have wanted the international break to come after his City side put in an outstanding tactical performance to win away at Chelsea. The Citizens are league leaders on goal difference and will be praying results go their way to open a gap at the top this weekend. Stoke also picked up three points heading into the international break, but this is going to be a huge ask for them. Expect goals from City.

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Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea 

Negative runs have to come to an end at some point. Crystal Palace are yet to even score a goal this season, so what better way to do it this weekend against the Champions. Chelsea are without a few key faces, N’golo Kante and  is sidelined, while Alvaro Morata also continues recovery from a hamstring injury. Antonio Conte’s squad depth will be tested but in all honesty, anything less than three points and a clean sheet will be a failure for Chelsea fans here. It couldn’t happen, could it?

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Tottenham 2-0 Bournemouth

The end to the Wembley hoodoo for Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have to pick up three points this weekend and with the goalscoring form of Harry Kane they should do. That said, Spurs cannot be too reliant on their Ballon d’Or nominee. Bournemouth are sitting second bottom and will not be looking forward to an away tie off the back of the international break. Spurs to win to nil.

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Swansea 1-1 Huddersfield 

The Premier League can be a cruel animal and Swansea are experiencing how tough things can be. They are without a league win since August and are going to need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later. Huddersfield have been giving a good account of themselves since so far this season. They’re only four points outside the top four, however as the games roll on they may quickly find out how quickly things can change. An away point will seem a better result for them than the hosts this weekend. 1-1 draw.

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Watford 2-2 Arsenal 

Arsenal’s early-season problems seem to be behind them. Contract sagas remain ongoing but on the field, the Gunners have won six of their last seven in all competitions. The only exception was that 0-0 draw at Chelsea. But Watford have impressed and the fact they come into this game just a point behind Arsenal is testament to their strong start. Marco Silva’s men lost 6-0 to Man City in their last home game and will be hoping to show more fight against one of the top sides this time around.

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Brighton 1-1 Everton

Both sides come into Sunday’s game tied on seven points from seven games. Brighton will be content with that. Everton will not. The Toffees have failed to get going, despite heavy summer investment. Ronald Koeman is under pressure and needs to get a result here. However, Brighton are tough to break down. They beat Newcastle in their last home game and will be hoping to secure at least a point here.

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Southampton 1-1 Newcastle

Southampton have really struggled to get going so far. They are short of goals and have lost three-straight home games in all competitions. They need to avoid defeat here but come up against a resolute Newcastle side. The Magpies seem to be growing in confidence. They battled well to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool before the international break and could add to their points tally with another strong showing here.

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Leicester 2-1 West Brom

Leicester come into the weekend outside the relegation zone on goal difference only. They could be in the bottom three by Monday night, depending on results and need to win this game. They have only won one league game all season so far but have enough quality to get three points here. West Brom are winless in five league outings themselves. The fact they are on the road here further limits their chances, so the Foxes should just edge it.

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Eden Hazard joins former teammates to become part-owners of San Diego NASL team

Eden Hazard has joined forces with fellow professionals Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow to invest in a new NASL expansion side in San Diego, in what is an intriguing move for soccer fans across the globe.

The quartet of stars are funding the formation of the new team alongside local investors in San Diego, although a full team name has yet to be confirmed.

Hazard played 115 games alongside Cabaye and 70 alongside Sow while at Lille, before playing 35 times alongside Demba Ba at Chelsea following his move to the Premier League in 2012.

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San Diego will become the 10th team in the NASL when they enter play in Spring 2018, alongside a fellow expansion team in Orange County.

San Diego is expected to welcome a professional soccer team back to the area with open arms. There are an estimated 3.3 million people in the area and more than 50,000 youth players.

Chelsea star Hazard is one of the world’s most talented and widely recognised stars. He said San Diego’s passion for soccer is one of the key reasons behind the investment.

“San Diego is a beautiful place and the love and passion the people have for soccer made this an easy choice for us. My friends and I are honored to turn this dream into a reality and we can’t wait to get started and win some games.”

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Hazard’s former Chelsea teammate Demba Ba – who currently plays for Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua but is on loan at Besiktas – is planning for success in the NASL and beyond.

“Success is our goal – with the club, with the community, with everything that we do,” Ba said. “One of our goals is to sign players who have a strong passion for the game, who are competitive and love to win.

“I look forward to competing against our fellow California clubs and the rest of the NASL, as well as MLS clubs in the U.S. Open Cup. It is going to be up to us to be the best.”

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The expansion club will play their home matches at the University of San Diego until their own soccer-specific stadium is built, with sites currently being considered in North County.

The news comes just a couple of months after Didier Drogba became football’s first player-owner with USL side Phoenix Rising and there is a sense that an increasing number of the games biggest stars may be looking to invest in US Soccer.

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini is the co-owner of NASL side Miami FC, who are coached by Alessandro Nesta. While David Beckham’s own Miami project recently received a boost in its pursuit of an MLS Expansion Team, following the acquisition of the land needed to build a 25,000-seater stadium.

Premier League Predictions: Chelsea and Spurs resume title race before huge Manchester derby

There are five Premier League fixtures in midweek as ten teams are playing catch up after the weekend’s FA Cup action. Chelsea return to Premier League action against Southampton on Tuesday evening, while Tottenham travel to the in-form Crystal Palace the following day. Wednesday night also sees Arsenal take on Leicester and Sunderland visit Middlesbrough as the bottom two sides fight for a glimmer of survival hope at the bottom of the table.

The Manchester Derby takes place on Thursday night in a huge game in the race for a spot in the top four, so read on for all of our Gameweek 35 predictions…

Chelsea 2-0 Southampton

Chelsea seem to have got over their dip in form with their weekend FA Cup semifinal victory over Tottenham. The Blues now have a real shot at the double but there is still work for them to do in the league. Playing a day earlier than Spurs may not be what Antonio Conte wanted but he will be delighted if his side open up a seven point gap again and apply even more pressure to their rivals. Southampton were on the receiving end of a 3-0 loss to Man City last time out and this tie is one they know will be difficult. Chelsea know what they need to do and should pick up another three points at home on Tuesday evening.

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Crystal Palace 1-2 Tottenham

This is a huge game for Spurs, who know they need to take three points from Selhurst Park regardless of Chelsea’s result against Southampton 24 hours earlier. Mauricio Pochettino’s side must put Saturday’s FA Cup disappointment behind them if they are to topple a Crystal Palace side that has won six of their last eight league games, including Sunday’s 2-1 win at Anfield. However, Sam Allardyce has warned that he might need to rest players with such a quick turnaround for this game and that could see Spurs just edge it to keep the title race alive.

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Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City

Arsenal’s season has been a difficult one for the fans to take but their progression into the final of the FA Cup at the weekend has lifted some of the tension. Arsene Wenger’s side are seven points outside the top four but could potentially force their way back into contention if they get on a run and win their games in hand. Leicester have been hit by an injury blow ahead of this tie as Morgan and Slimani are out but their squad should be fresher than Arsenal’s for Wednesday’s game. The Gunners should be heading into this one expecting nothing less than three points, but their inconsistency has been there for all to see this season.

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Middlesbrough 2-3 Sunderland

This could have been an absolutely pivotal game in the race for survival but the truth is that both sides look destined for the drop. Sunderland have six games to try and close a gap of 12 points if they are to survive. They haven’t won in eight and will surely be relegated, regardless of their result on Teesside. Boro have the joint-worst home record in the division this season, along with Sunderland, but know they have to win this match to have any kind of hope remaining themselves. A draw doesn’t suit either side but Sunderland look the more likely to take three points, just based on the experience in the side.

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Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United

This is a huge Manchester Derby. The two clubs are battling for a place in the top four and United can overtake their city rivals with a win. Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge has been an uncomfortable one and is surely now going to be a trophyless one too after they crashed out to Arsenal in the semifinal on Sunday. Realistically City have to finish in the top four for this season to not be labelled a huge disaster, but with potentially five clubs battling for two remaining spaces their task is far from easy. Expect a cagey affair lacking that killer instinct both these clubs have missed this season. A draw would be an awful result for either side, but it seems a likely outcome.

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Premier League Predictions: Tough away trips for Arsenal and Chelsea, huge six pointer at the Etihad

Seven Premier League matches take place on Saturday including tough away trips for Arsenal, who kick things off at West Brom at lunchtime and then league leaders Chelsea travel to Stoke, which is always a tricky fixture. Sunday sees the standout game of the weekend as Liverpool lock horns with Manchester City at the Etihad in a tie which could have a huge impact in the race for the Champions League places come the end of the campaign.

Before that on Sunday, Mauricio Pochettino welcomes his former employers to White Hart Lane as Tottenham face Southampton and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will be expecting to take all three points when they visit Middlesbrough. Read on for all our Gameweek 29 predictions…

West Brom 1-3 Arsenal

This is going to be a tough one for Arsene Wenger’s side but they are helped by West Brom’s position in the table. Tony Pulis knows his side are safe for another Premier League season and they have little left to play for. However, the Baggies cannot afford to play like they’re already on their summer holidays and risk finishing the season on a poor run. Arsenal haven’t been setting the world alight and West Brom will fancy their chances of getting at the Gunners. Wenger will expect three points, but they’ll have to work for them.

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Crystal Palace 2-0 Watford

Palace have won three of their last five games and have finally climbed out of the bottom three as Sam Allardyce’s magic is starting to get through to his players. The Eagles will have marked this fixture as a very winnable one and will be expected to take three more vital points from a Watford side that haven’t won in three. The Hornets have lost seven of their last nine away games in the Premier League and are unlikely to take anything from a hungry Palace team this weekend.

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Sunderland 1-2 Burnley

Sunderland look like a side who are already preparing for life in the Championship. There are only so many occasions a team can fight off the drop and with just 19 points, six away from safety it, looks like their Premier League time is nearly up. Burnley are sitting fairly comfortably in mid table but they cannot afford to lose games like this for the risk of being dragged into the relegation scrap. Although they’re in 12th they’re just seven points above the bottom three. Sean Dyche’s men to pip Sunderland to the post.

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Everton 3-1 Hull City

Everton’s hopes of finishing in the top six are slim, although given their run of form since the turn of the year, they won’t be giving up on anything. Seventh place will earn a Europa League spot unless Leicester win the Champions League and so Everton know they are on the right track. They have won five on the bounce at home and face a Hull team who struggle badly away from home. The Tigers earned three huge points at home to Swansea last week but have lost 11 of their 12 league games away from home and are up against it here.

Stoke City 0-2 Chelsea

The Premier League leaders have to win, it’s as simple as that. Antonio Conte’s side will be buoyed by the fact they reached the FA Cup semifinals on Monday night but this is going to be a test for them. Stoke are going to give Chelsea a run for their money and will push hard to take points from the game. Mark Hughes will be looking for his side to press the Blues and not allow them time on the ball. Given Chelsea’s form and the players at Conte’s disposal they should win, how comfortably they do is a different question.

West Ham 2-2 Leicester City

Leicester have turned their season on its head since Craig Shakespeare took control, winning back-to-back league games before advancing into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. They will be in high spirits but might be fatigued after putting so much into their game on Tuesday night. West Ham will hope to take advantage of that with a first win in five. They fell 3-2 to Bournemouth last week and have now lost back-to-back games. There should be goals here but it’s tough to pick a winner.

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Bournemouth 2-2 Swansea City

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth welcome the inform Swansea to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon. This could be one of the most important games of the weekend in terms of the fight for survival. Just two places and three points separate the clubs ahead of this one and a draw is the result those around them will be hoping for. Swansea have struggled away from home, they’ve lost their last three but Paul Clement has been improving things at the club and he will hope to have done enough to stop that rot here. Score draw.

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Middlesbrough 0-1 Manchester United

Middlesbrough start life without Aitor Karanka in very tricky fashion as they welcome Manchester United on Sunday. Boro have only scored two goals in the Premier League in 2017 and look certain to get relegated if they cannot fix their problems in front of goal. United beat Rostov 1-0 on Thursday night to advance to the Europa League quarter-finals but will be concerned by how many fixtures they have coming up in quick succession now. Mourinho might rotate his squad but the visitors should still be strong enough to get the win, even if Zlatan is suspended…

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Tottenham 3-1 Southampton

Tottenham will have to make do without talisman Harry Kane for the first of a number of games. Pochettino does have options for his replacement with Heung Min Son the likely candidate to lead the line following his FA Cup quarterfinal hat-trick last weekend. The Saints have had a relatively quiet season, they’re comfortably in 10th but should be capable of finishing in the top eight. Expect this one to be entertaining but anything than a Spurs win would be a surprise.

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Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool

This is an enormous games for both clubs at a pivotal stage of the season. Liverpool enter the weekend one point behind Man City but have played a match more, so they know they must take three points here to stay on course for a top four finish. They tend to perform to their best in these huge games and have already won at Arsenal and Chelsea this term. For City, they must bounce back from Wednesday’s crushing Champions League exit to Monaco. Pep Guardiola knows this has not been the season he expected but falling out of the top four just days after being knocked out of Europe would give them a real problem, especially if they fail in front of their own fans.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea

Venue: Selhurst Park – Saturday, December 17 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 17/4 – Draw 3/1 – Chelsea 8/13

Match Preview 

Crystal Palace welcome Chelsea to Selhurst Park on Saturday morning, with the London Derby being the first game of the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

Alan Pardew’s side come into this one off the back of their midweek defeat against United, a game full of controversy. It was a tough result for Palace to take but they have to pick themselves up and be ready for this tie.

Crystal Palace are just three points above the relegation zone and need to get on a run of form sharpish to ensure they’re not dragged into the battle to avoid the drop. A positive result here and stopping Chelsea’s winning run would do wonders for the confidence of both the players and fans.

Worryingly for Palace, they have won just one in their last ten Premier League games, picking up just five points from a possible 30.

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There is not much to say about Chelsea’s run of form that hasn’t already been said, however they are only six points clear at the top of the table and the Premier League throws up never ending surprise results.

Antonio Conte’s side have won their last ten games in a row but know they’re going to be in for another tough afternoon here. Chelsea will be expecting to remain tight at the back and clinical as they move forward.

Chelsea’s defensive displays have been resilient, especially in their last two one-nil wins. They have kept eight clean sheets in their run of ten wins and will be hoping to add another to that list this weekend.

Conte has strength in depth at his disposal, he has already started making more use of his squad, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas working his way back into the side, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another change in the middle for this tie.

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Team News

Crystal Palace are expecting to be without seven players for this London Derby as Papa Souare, Jonathan Benteke, Connor Wickham, Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins, Bakary Sakho and Loic Remy are all doubtful.

Chelsea’s injury list remains minimal, Kurt Zouma, John Terry and Marco van Ginkel are all still working their way back to fitness, while Oscar, Eden Hazard and John Obi Mikel are all doubts.

Key Points

Crystal Palace’s last five: L/L/W/D/L

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Emphatic – Chelsea have won their last ten Premier League games in a row. They are four games away from equalling the current record for most consecutive wins in the Premier League era.

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Spaniard is on fire. Chelsea’s run of form has been impressive but would probably not have been possible without Costa being as clinical in front of goal as he has been. Expect him to be in the thick of the action this weekend, he does however remain one booking away from suspension.

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Score Prediction

Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea – Another hard-fought game for both of these sides. Palace are expected to set up to frustrate Chelsea in this tie and it will be down to Conte’s men to break down a solid side once again.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City

Venue: Selhurst Park – Saturday, March 19 – 15:00 GMT (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 19/10 – Draw 9/4 – Leicester 7/5

Match Preview

Crystal Palace welcome high flying Leicester City to Selhurst Park on Saturday in a game which could have huge implications at both ends of the table.

Palace are sitting dangerously close to the drop zone and are in a rut of form in the Premier League. They must start to pick up points to distance themselves from the relegation battle, and fast.

They come into the game off the back of reaching the FA Cup semifinals last weekend but previously lost at home to Liverpool in the league.

This is going to be a very tough test for Palace, who will have title-chasing London rivals Tottenham willing them on this weekend.

The Eagles are the only side in the top four tiers of English football yet to win a league game in 2016. That’s something Alan Parker will want to change very quickly.

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Leicester City remain top of the Premier League. They come into this tie off the back of their 1-0 win over Newcastle last time out.

These are the sort of games which can prove to be the biggest test while chasing down the league title, as Palace have just as much to play for as the visitors.

Claudio Ranieri will be trying to keep his players as calm and composed as possible heading into this tie but the pressure is mounting on them massively now and, as the cliche goes, every game is a cup final from here on in.

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Team News

Crystal Palace have five injury concerns. Kwesi Appiah, Marouane Chamakh, James McArthur and Connor Wickham are all expected to still be out, while Mile Jedinak is a doubt.

Leicester City have just the two injury concerns heading into the tie. Matthew James is out, while Andy King is a doubt.

Key Points

Crystal Palace’s last five: D/L/L/D/L

Leicester City’s last five: L/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: Crystal Palace are yet to win in the Premier League in 2016.

Key Player: Riyad Marhez – Leicester’s key man has netted an impressive 15 goals in his 29 appearances this season and he will be key to unlocking the Palace defence here.

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Score Prediction

Crystal Palace 0-2 Leicester City – Leicester to prove too strong for a struggling Palace side in this tie and continue their march towards the title in this incredibly unpredictable Premier League season.

Podcast: Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia Union & Crystal Palace discussed

In this week’s MLSGB Podcast, Zack Walford sits down with Louis East and Lewis Addley to reflect on Week 2’s MLS action, in which Houston Dynamo and Philadelphia Union picked up impressive wins.

The team will then look at Premier League side Crystal Palace and their recent struggles, with relegation starting to look like a real possibility.

Be sure to comment below or get in touch on Twitter with your thoughts.