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Palace not a great fit for Allardyce

Sam Allardyce is belligerent enough not to care where he is. But, like one of his suits, he appears ill-fitted for Crystal Palace.

It's a feeling based on little more than medieval north-south stereotypes but, just as at West Ham United, London just does not seem a natural hunting ground for Big Sam. And that's before we even get on to England.

Sticking two fingers up to the capital sits better. Coming down from Bolton Wanderers or Sunderland with tactics that leave Arsène Wenger foaming at the mouth is quintessential Allardyce.

Palace, with cash, a decent squad (on paper) but with supporters who are, literally, one step away from a fist-fight with the nearest squad member, now appear a difficult job.

Not that fitting in should matter that much. Jürgen Klopp was, and still is, suited to Liverpool but he's waist deep in his biggest crisis at the club so far.

The team looks weary, lacking confidence and befuddled by their fall from title contention.

Tomorrow's game at home to a much more complete Spurs is a post-Christmas benchmark. The suspicion is that, rather than a seismic malfunction, his squad have just been found out by an intense schedule.

Klopp should still feel comfortable about where he is — I doubt Big Sam feels the same.

11am kick offs unless stated


Arsenal v Hull City


Hull have lost just one in four and are a lot more solid/dangerous in recent weeks ... just ask Liverpool.

That said, away from home, Arsenal should have too much despite two straight defeats. We've said that before, however. Prediction: 2-1

Manchester United v Watford

United are unbeaten in 15 and knocking on the top-four door. The reverse fixture was memorable, with Watford claiming a superb 3-1 win and José Mourinho using the post-match press conference to pin pretty much all the blame on Luke Shaw.

Another Watford win would be an even greater achievement but new signing M'Baye Niang appears an improvement on the misfiring Odion Ighalo, who has been shipped out to China. Prediction: 2-1

Middlesbrough v Everton

Boro's defence won't be as generous as Bournemouth's but Romelu Lukaku is on fire and Everton are becoming a leaner, more efficient machine under Ronald Koeman. Prediction: 0-2

Stoke City v Crystal Palace

If you believe Allardyce, playing away should help his poor darlings. The collapse against Sunderland was horrid and the team were hauled in at 7am the next day — no doubt for a video nasty.

Stoke are unbeaten in the past six at home and will feel confident about adding to that tally. Prediction: 2-0

Sunderland v Southampton

Saints, despite reaching Wembley, have been in miserable form and lost six out of their past seven matches.

Sunderland were boosted by their Jermain Defoe-led demolition of Palace and have a great chance to bag another crucial three points. Prediction: 1-0

West Ham United v

West Bromwich Albion

West Ham have ditched Dimitri Payet and it seems to have done the trick after three wins in four. Andy Carroll is fit and a handful once again.

West Brom, though, have won six of their past nine. Could go either way. Prediction: 2-2

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur


Huge game for both teams, with Liverpool able to take hope from an excellent record against Spurs (unbeaten in nine games). That said, the form of the two teams would point to an away win but Liverpool have had less trouble with the top teams than the so-called smaller ones. Prediction: 2-2


Burnley v Chelsea


Burnley have won their past five games at home and they are surely worth a punt. However, Chelsea have a superb record away. They are the champions elect and, while they should not steamroller Burnley, form suggests Antonio Conte will find a way. Prediction: 1-2

Swansea City v Leicester City


Enormous game, particularly for Claudio Ranieri — an FA Cup win over Derby County will mean little if they slip to another league defeat here. Time for last year's heroes to get over the longest hangover ever and start playing. Mahrez, Vardy ... we're talking to you. Paul Clement has had an immediate impact in Wales and suddenly they look better equipped to stay up. Prediction: 2-1


Bournemouth v

Manchester City


Given recent results, this fixture should strike fear into home fans' heart. Eddie Howe's team are shipping goals quicker than you can say hail Mary.

Speaking of which, my money's on Jesus to add to his tally this week. Prediction: 1-3

Not going well: Palace manager Allardyce

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Published February 10, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 09, 2017 at 11:04 pm)

Palace not a great fit for Allardyce

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