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Aston Villa

Forecaster: Liverpool on top-four bubble

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 By PA Sport

Tim Sherwood hopes Stiliyan Petrov can inspire Aston Villa

Aston Villa's last-gasp victory over West Bromwich Albion saw the Villans rise out of the relegation zone.

Tim Sherwood insists Stiliyan Petrov can inspire Aston Villa's strugglers after adding the ex-captain to his backroom team.

The Villa boss believes Petrov's successful battle with leukaemia will be able to help put their relegation battle in perspective.

Petrov retired in 2013 after being diagnosed with leukaemia in March 2012, although he went into remission in August of that year.

He was involved in the build up to Villa's crucial 2-1 win over West Brom on Tuesday which ended a run of seven straight...

Prem Forecaster: LFC on top-4 bubble

Liverpool, which is unbeaten in 12 straight Premier League games, continues to steadily climb the league table.
Liverpool, which is unbeaten in 12 straight Premier League games, continues to steadily climb the league table.

In three rounds of Premier League games since Insider's previous Prem Forecaster, little has ultimately changed in the title or relegation races, though Chelsea did stumble momentarily. The Champions League race is where the true drama took place, as one team's struggles were a boon for two others.

As a reminder, the Forecaster is 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.

In this edition we examine table risers and fallers over the past few weeks; break down the title, Champions League and relegation battles; and preview an upcoming match with major Champions League qualification implications. To begin, here's our updated top-to-bottom table forecast:

Latest table projection

...

Stiliyan Petrov returns to Aston Villa as coach after leukaemia battle

Stiliyan Petrov acknowledges the Villa fans' support during their game against Chelsea
Stiliyan Petrov waved goodbye to the fans in 2013, but has now returned.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has revealed that Stiliyan Petrov will rejoin the club as a first-team coach after a three-year battle with leukaemia.

Petrov, 35, underwent his final bout of treatment just six weeks ago but will return to join Sherwood's backroom staff.

He was diagnosed with the disease 14 months ago, having been a part of the club since 2006 and, after hanging up his boots, he worked with Gordon Cowans and the second string in 2013.