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MJL456 Nov 17
The Premier League throws up a midweek football feast as clubs return from FA Cup action to play the corresponding set of Boxing Day fixtures. Sean Manaea Jersey . And Sky Sports football expert Paul Merson has cast his expert eye over the latest round of top-flight games as the battle for silverware and safety continues. Last weeks PL predictions Result Merses prediction Norwich 4-5 Liverpool 1-1 C Palace 1-3 Spurs 1-2 Leicester 3-0 Stoke 2-2 Man Utd 0-1 Soton 2-1 Sunderland 1-1 Bmouth 2-1 Watford 2-1 Newcastle 0-1 West Brom 0-0 Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham 2-2 Man City 1-1 Everton 1-2 Swansea 4-0 Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea 3-1 Read on to see what the Magic Man is predicting in Wednesdays fixtures - and how he got on on Tuesday... Watford v Chelsea (Wednesday, 7.45pm) Odion Ighalo holds off Cesc Fabregas in Boxing Day draw at Stamford Bridge Chelsea should win this one. Theyve got the players to do just that and they seem up for it now. The players may be the same but Chelsea are a different team to when Jose Mourinho was there. Since Guus Hiddink has come in the players have really upped their games. Cesc Fabregas looks like the player he used to be, as does Diego Costa. If Chelsea can keep Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo quiet they win this game. Its quite simple. I see a 2-1 Chelsea win with Costa scoring first.PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (8/1 with Sky Bet)Everton v Newcastle (Wednesday, 7.45pm) Tom Cleverleys late strike snatched Everton victory at St James Park on Boxing Day You just dont know what you are going to get with Everton. Last week I went with them to beat Swansea 4-0 and look what happened. I really thought Roberto Martinezs side would dominate Swansea, but they just didnt turn up. Theyve got star players but they just dont win football matches. It must be so frustrating to be an Everton fan. You look at the team when it comes out onto the pitch and think its a tremendous side.There are not many of those players that do not get in other teams in the Premier League. On the other hand, Newcastle have bought well this month and have played well in patches. But Everton have got too many good players and sooner or later they have to start winning football matches. Im backing Everton again, this time by a score of 3-1 with Romelu Lukaku scoring first.PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (11/1 with Sky Bet)Arsenal v Southampton (Tuesday, 7.45pm) Cuco Martina celebrates stunning opening goal against Arsenal This is a difficult game for Arsenal. Southampton have really turned a corner. They had a bit of a dodgy patch but theyve got a run going. Theyre not letting in too many goals and are very hard to beat making this one a potential banana skin for Arsenal.Having Alexis Sanchez back is a real boost for the Gunners and I also think the fact Per Mertesacker is suspended is a bonus too, because we all saw what Shane Long did to him in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day. Thats the way Southampton would have tried to play again, hitting long balls over the top of Mertesacker for Long to chase.Still, its a difficult game for the Gunners but one they will win because of the return of Sanchez. He will score the first goal for me in what will be a 3-1 home win.PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (12/1 with Sky Bet) - RESULT: 0-0Leicester v Liverpool (Tuesday, 7.45pm)Kasper Schmeichel was on Soccer AM saying Leicester are not talking about the title. For me, they should be talking about it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the club, the players and the supporters. They are where they are at the top because they are a good team and they are playing well.These opportunities dont come along that often. I won the league at Arsenal one year, didnt win the next but then won it again the year after. After that we never looked like winning it again. Thats how quickly it changes. Its a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and they are speaking about not talking about it. Its beyond me. Christian Bentekes late strike saw Liverpool inflict Leicesters second PL defeat on the season in December The next three games define them. If they win all three they will be Premier League champions. If they lose all three they will be fighting to stay in the top-four. If you are not talking about winning it surely that makes you lackadaisical and it makes you think youve got a free swing at it.Its not a free swing. We are 23 games in, not five. However, I see them winning this game. They can beat Liverpool, who I think are a bit all over the shop at the moment. Im going for a 2-1 home win and Im also backing Jamie Vardy to be first goalscorer. I just cannot see how Liverpool will cope with Vardy.PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (9/1 with Sky Bet) - RESULT: 2-0Norwich v Tottenham (Tuesday, 7.45pm) Spurs will be looking for a repeat of their 3-0 victory over the Canaries I dont see anything other than a Tottenham win. They are absolutely flying at the moment. If you take a look at Norwich and their result the other week against a Liverpool side, who are not finding it easy to score goals and they let in five against them. Ive watched a lot this season and they create a lot of chances but just cannot put the ball in the net.Thats why the result against Liverpool was a real hammer blow for them. The one day they score four they let in five. Then you dont have a game for a while and thats even worse because you have a long time to stew over it. I just think Tottenham, who will miss Jan Vertonghen, are on fire. They have too much fire power and Im backing Spurs to win 3-1 with Harry Kane to grab the first goal.PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (14/1 with Sky Bet) - RESULT: 0-3Sunderland v Man City (Tuesday, 7.45pm) Yaya Toure starred in Man Citys victory over Sunderland I remember when Sunderland beat Man City 1-0 back in 2012 when Ji Dong-won went round Joe Hart to score the winner in injury time. However, it could have been 100-0 to City. It was one of the most one-sided games Ive seen but Sunderland popped up with the winner. Sam Allardyce is in a bit of a tricky position at the moment. Hes got four incredibly hard games coming up against some of the top teams in the league.Sunderland have to pick up a couple of points here or there and sweat on a few other teams down there dropping points, otherwise they could be well adrift by the end of this month. Anything is a bonus for Sunderland against City, whose away form has not been great in recent times. However, with Sergio Aguero, who I am backing for the first goal, rested at the weekend I will have to side with City in a 3-1 win.PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (10/1 with Sky Bet) - RESULT: 0-1West Ham v Aston Villa (Tuesday, 7.45pm) Aston Villas Jordan Ayew scores his sides first goal from the penatly spot against West Ham West Ham are a very good football team. Aston Villa were on a good run but after getting hammered by Man City 4-0, and now theyve got to travel to Upton Park, I think they are in trouble. With the likes of Dimitri Payet and Enner Valencia in their ranks West Ham are a top team and Id be shocked if Villa got anything from this game. I cant see anything but a home 3-0 win with Valencia the man to open the scoring.PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (14/1 with Sky Bet) - RESULT: 2-0Crystal Palace v Bournemouth (Tuesday, 8pm) Adam Smith challenges Pape Souare (R) and Jason Puncheon of Crystal Palace Crystal Palace had an excellent result at the weekend and I can see them going all the way in the FA Cup. If they can have a bit of luck they can have a real good crack at lifting the trophy this year. I think they can beat Bournemouth. Eddie Howes side played well the other week at Sunderland and should have won the game. They didnt and thats a real worry for me.Crystal Palace will be a lot more ruthless and I can see the home side winning 3-2. Emmanuel Adebayor has come in but he hasnt had any football. I would be surprised to see him involved so Im going for Wilfried Zaha to score the first goal.PAUL PREDICTS: 3-2 (40/1 with Sky Bet) - RESULT: 1-2Manchester United v Stoke (Tuesday, 8pm) Stoke heaped the pressure on United with a 2-0 Boxing Day win at the Britannia Derby played into Manchester Uniteds hands on Friday. The Championship side sat back and played the name rather than playing against the players at the club currently, who are not doing so well. Derby showed United far too much respect.When you play United you have to have a real go at them but Stoke have hit a brick wall all of a sudden. Going out of the Capital One Cup and then the FA Cup has been a real blow for them. Now they go to Old Trafford thinking their season is virtually over.Stoke have played some great stuff this year and have had a great season but in the blink of an eye they are out of everything. Im really not sure why, but I have a feel United will win this one. Its been a bad week at Stoke and I think it continues for them at Old Trafford. Im going for 2-1 United with Wayne Rooney scoring first.PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet) - RESULT: 3-0West Brom v Swansea (Tuesday, 8pm) Ki Sung-Yueng of Swansea City scores against West Bromwich Albion I always think West Brom will be okay because of Tony Pulis. Hes too good at what he does for them to go down. Im not saying the players are too good, Pulis is too good. West Brom very rarely lose games when they cant afford to lose. Against Aston Villa the other week they were poor, but they did not lose. They got a point and those points add up in terms of a relegation battle.On the other hand, Swansea have turned a corner. They rode their luck against Everton but fair play to them, they got the result. Im backing a 1-1 draw here. I dont see West Brom losing games to the teams in and around them. Salomon Rondon can get the first goal for the hosts.PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet) - RESULT: 1-1Think you know better than Merse? Take him on at Super 6 for the chance to win £250,000! Also See: Everton v Newcastle preview Watford v Chelsea preview Table Live on Sky Get Sky Sports Reggie Jackson Athletics Jersey . Those lessons were more than enough to overwhelm the Utah Jazz. Lou Williams scored 25 points and the Hawks continued their offensive upswing as they rolled to an easy 118-85 victory over the Jazz on Friday night, winning their third straight and for the fourth time in five games. Tanner Roark Athletics Jersey . Michell Burger, a woman who lives on an estate next to Pistorius gated community, said she and her husband were awoken by the screams in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14 last year, when Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp by shooting four times through a door in his bathroom. https:///...ersey-athletics.html . Datsyuk will miss Tuesdays game against New Jersey and could be sidelined longer, while Cleary will likely miss at least the next three games. Its been an injury-plagued season for Datsyuk, who has suited up for just 39 games. SOELDEN, Austria -- The skier best known for crushing the overall World Cup points record and celebrating her victories with a cartwheeling handspring, announced her retirement.Two-time Olympic champion Tina Maze of Slovenia said on Thursday she will quit the sport after competing in one more race, a World Cup giant slalom on home soil in Maribor on Jan. 7.I am really happy with what Ive achieved. I dont feel the need to compete at such a high level anymore, Maze said.The Slovenian started her World Cup career with a GS in Maribor, as a 15-year-old in 1999.The four-time Olympians announcement was not unexpected.A few weeks after winning two gold medals at the 2015 world championships in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado, Maze was beaten for the overall title by Anna Veith, then competing under her maiden name, Fenninger. Maze took a year off from the slopes and got her degree in elementary education.The move prompted year-long speculation about her career, but Maze always kept all options open until announcing her decision two days before the World Cup season-opener on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden on Saturday.I was always thinking about it, Maze said. I have a big motivation to compete one last time in front of my home crowd.Maribor will be her last World Cup, but Maze did not rule out defending her world downhill title in St. Moritz in February.Now I live by the day, Maze said, adding she will decide about a start in Switzerland in the weeks leading up to the championships. As the defending champion, she wouldnt have to qualify.Mazes rise to the top started in 2008 when she set up her own independent team, led by her Italian coach and boyfriend, Andrea Massi. They called it the Team to aMaze.Maze won her first of 13 medals at major championships the following year, taking GS silver at the worlds in Val dIsere, France. Ramon Laureano Jersey. She added two more silver medals at the Vancouver Olympics the next year.Finishing fourth in the 2010 overall World Cup standings, Maze improved one spot each year and finally won the big crystal globe to cap a record-breaking season in 2013.Maze won 11 races that season, took the GS and super-G titles, and broke the overall World Cup points record in a single season. She beat the previous mark of 2,000, set by Austrian great Hermann Maier in 2000, by another 414 points.The same season, Maze also became only the sixth female skier to win events in all five Alpine disciplines, with American standout Lindsey Vonn the only other active achiever.Her World Cup results faded in the following season, but Maze went back to the top when she won Slovenias first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics by sharing victory in the Sochi downhill with Dominique Gisin of Switzerland.At the moment it is not easy for me, Massi said, adding he was particularly proud of his girlfriend reaching the top of her sport without doping.Tina is the best proof to young athletes that you can become the best on normal food: Schnitzels, pasta, vegetables, and goulash soup.Known as a gritty competitor who doesnt try to hide her mood after not winning a race, Maze once said she becomes completely inaccessible when things are not going her way.That is just who I am. I certainly do not want to be rude, said Maze, who in 2012 displayed her singing talent by entering the charts in her home country.The song was fittingly named, My way is my decision. ' ' ' 
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