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Southampton

SouthamptonSouthampton
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace
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Prem Forecaster: United won't finish top four, City faces must-win vs. CFC

Manchester United faces an uphill climb to finish in the top four and secure a Champions League spot.
Manchester United faces an uphill climb to finish in the top four and secure a Champions League spot.

Welcome to the second edition of Insider's Premier League Forecaster, an end-of-season table projection fueled by ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI), a regression-based algorithm designed to predict soccer matches. SPI simulates the remainder of the season 10,000 times, using the odds of each projected match, with the end result presented in the table below.

If you missed the inaugural version two weeks ago, click here for a primer and the previous table. (Note: The previous table forecast was incorrect due to a projection error. Chelsea, not Manchester City, should have been the projected favorite to win the league leading up to matches Jan. 10.)

With a lull in Premier League action last week due to FA Cup and Capital One Cup matches, in this edition we break down table risers and fallers over the past few weeks and preview what promises to be one of the most important matches of the season: Chelsea versus Manchester City on Saturday.

Here's a look at the latest forecast for all 20 Prem teams, along with breakdowns of the title, Champions League and relegation battles.  

Latest table projection

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 By Michael Cox

Swansea and Southampton: Model clubs of the Premier League

The ESPN FC crew debate whom they believe is the best defender in the English Premier League, and settle on Chelsea as the best defensive unit in the league with John Terry at the helm.

This weekend the Premier League is preparing for a showdown between the division's best two clubs, as Manchester City travel to Chelsea for Saturday's late kickoff. It's a meeting between the top two, and while not realistically a true title decider, it's probably the biggest game of the season.

It's difficult, however, for the majority of other clubs to learn lessons from the Premier League's two title contenders. While Chelsea and Manchester City have performed well over the past half-decade...

 By PA Sport

Nathaniel Clyne content to wait until April to address Southampton contract

Marouane Chamakh inspired Crystal Palace's progress to the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-2 win over Southampton.

Nathaniel Clyne said he is in no rush to sign the contract extension offered to him by Southampton.

Since arriving from Crystal Palace in 2012, the 23-year-old has improved markedly and subsequently broken into the England national team set-up.

Such performances have led to understandable interest from a number of clubs, with Manchester United strongly reported to be one of the vultures circling over St Mary's.

Ronald Koeman is relaxed about Clyne's future, although suggested last week that he would

Louis van Gaal plans transfer swoop for Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne

ESPN FC's Tommy Smyth and Alexis Nunes talk Manchester United transfer rumors, namely Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne and whether or not the defender is a realistic target for the Red Devils.
The winter window is now open, and that means the LIVE transfer blog swings back into action. Find out the latest news, gossip and deals here.

TOP STORY: United closing on Clyne but waiting on Laporte?

Having decided one young Southampton full-back isn't quite enough, Louis van Gaal is intent on adding another to his ranks in the shape of Nathaniel Clyne.

Sources told ESPN FC last week that the 23-year-old right-back is a target for Manchester United, and the Daily Star reported an Old Trafford...

 By Chris Rann

Southampton's FA Cup exit may result in January activity

Marouane Chamakh inspired Crystal Palace's progress to the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-2 win over Southampton.

Saturday proved to be a pretty disappointing day all around for Saints, as they crashed out of the FA Cup to a resurgent Crystal Palace side.

With Chelsea, Manchester City and Spurs all going out and Manchester United and Liverpool forced to replays, the fifth-round draw is going to look devoid of FA Cup pedigree, and that would have represented a great opportunity for a club like Southampton to go all the way. Typically, they couldn't take advantage of it.

In fact, they were well beaten and...