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A scandal more rotten than #piegate

It was always going to take something special to oust “fat man eats pie” as the top story of the week.

Stoke City's Charlie Adam must have wondered what all the fuss was about after Sutton United reserve keeper Wayne Shaw was filmed murdering a meat pasty during the game.

Then the grubby betting backstory came to light, only for it to be outdone in distastefulness by yesterday's sacking of Claudio Ranieri.

Ranieri, lest we forget, and this is something that seems to have been overlooked by his Thai bosses, helped Leicester City win the Premier League last season.

And Leicester, for the record, are the same club that spent ten of the previous 12 seasons out of the top flight, had never won the league before and who just a decade ago were managed by Gary Megson.

Ranieri should be treasured. An Italian hasn't had that much of an impact on the game since Luciano Pavarotti belted out Nessun Dorma for Italia '90.

Instead, he was sacked nine months after lifting the title. Yes, the team have regressed (to their natural level) but to axe Ranieri is soulless and reduces football to pure business. Depressing.

The club's hierarchy should have looked a little deeper into the dressing room for the root cause. Riyad Mahrez hasn't been seen since the open-top bus tour, for example.

#piegate left a bad taste but Ranieri's treatment is rotten.

11am kick off unless stated


Chelsea v Swansea City

Paul Clement goes back to a club he knows well with a team he has revitalised. While the likes of Palace stumble around aimlessly, Clement has restored order to Swansea. A win here, though, is surely out of his team's reach.

Prediction: 2-0

Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough

Boro can't score but Palace can't perform at home. Acid test for both clubs who will each view this as a great opportunity.

Palace's last home game was a 4-0 defeat to Sunderland, don't forget.

Prediction: 1-1

Everton v Sunderland

Everton are undefeated in 14 of their past 15 home matches and it'll take more than a mid-season jolly — while club employees were being made redundant, by the way — in New York to save Sunderland here.

Prediction: 3-0

Hull City v Burnley

Hull were making encouraging noises under Marco Silva before the break and, given Burnley's away woes, this is a great chance to climb out of the bottom three.

Prediction: 2-1

West Bromwich Albion v Bournemouth

Bournemouth are winless in seven and shipping goals faster than Sutton can make pasties. WBA have an excellent home record and savouring an unfamiliar life in the top half of the table.

Prediction: 3-2

Watford v West Ham United


Interesting one this according to the stats: Watford have lost only two of their past 11 home matches in all competitions, while West Ham have won three of their past four on the road in the league. Andy Carroll has failed to get fit, which tips this in the home side's favour.

Prediction: 2-1


Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City


Spurs folded in Europe once again yesterday so this game is a much needed pick-me-up. Stoke have lost four of their past five away games. Home victory.

Prediction: 3-1


Leicester City v Liverpool


City have lost their last five in the league and Liverpool have had a nice two-week break; being put through their paces in a training camp in Spain.

It'll be interesting to see how many Leicester players suddenly put in an extra mile with Ranieri gone. A refreshed Liverpool to win, though.

Prediction: 1-2

Claudio Ranieri, who was sacked just nine months after winning the Premier League title with Leicester City (Photograph by Paulo Duarte/AP)

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Published February 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm (Updated February 24, 2017 at 2:39 pm)

A scandal more rotten than #piegate

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