From, how United cut Chelsea’s lead to four to Olympique Lyon tumultuous time with fans…. 5 things we learned this weekend.

Mourinho still has his rascality

Manchester United probably provided the Blues their sweetest victory this season ; that 4 – 0 seismic drubbing at the bridge last year. Chelsea had built on that to stay at the summit of the log while Mou’s team; unbeaten in the league since then but have struggled to put teams to the sword. On Sunday, revenge was sweet, still a massive 15 points off the log but the Special one made it clear that he still has that gritty and b****y side to his coaching skill.

Evident was sticking Herrera on to Eden Hazard – a decision which got the former sent off in the FA Cup last month – Spaniard had other things up his sleeves this time, like spearing a nifty pass to Rashford for the opener and scoring one himself. Mourinho’s decision to start Darmian, Fellaini, Lingard and Skipper, Ashley Young – largely unfancied personnel in the United squad and went ahead to get the desired results shows how brave he was.

Lyon’s trouble with fans.

What primarily comes to mind when you think about Lyon is how they dominated the Ligue 1 in the recent past. It’s a very decent club which is unctuously ran with Players like Juninho Pernambuhano, Sidney Govou, Gregory Coupet, Sylvain Wiltord or maybe more recently Alexandre Lacazette.

Ironically, they have been in the news for the absurd / wrong reasons owing to crowd trouble. On Thursday in their Europa League game against Beşiktaş was delayed for 45 minutes because both set of fans clashed – a truly horrendous and horrific scene which had to take the Club president Michel Aulas to douse the tension among the crowd. They were subsequently charged for insufficient organization, pitch invasion, blocking stairways and setting off fireworks. Barely 96 hours later, Lyon players got attacked by Bastia fans during their pre match warm up only to be persuaded to play but Bastia fans never look like stopping. The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), which governs France’s professional leagues, will meet on Thursday to decide what action to take.

It called on Bastia to issue stadium bans to the fans responsible, adding: “The LFP condemns with the greatest firmness the incidents which took place before the game and at half-time of the Bastia-Lyon game.” I hope Bastia get a heavy punishment. Football has no tolerance whatsoever for violence.

Magical Isco

I do not think any offensive player had a better game than the diminutive Spaniard this weekend. In a game where  Sergio Ramos was the only player considered an automatic first-choice for Zidane in his line-up. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro were all rested ahead of the midweek Champions League game against Bayern Munich and next week’s Clasico. Isco still managed to make his mark scoring a brace as they pipped Sporting Gijon 2 – 3 at the Molinon. Like James Rodriguez, I do not think Coach, Zinedine Zidane rates or trusts him for the big games but Isco unlike James has given the gaffer something to mull over.

Bayern needs Lewa

Ancelotti as expected made a barrage of changes to his line up when they faced Leverkusen away from home. They hugely dominated the game with Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman deputizing for Ribery and Robben but couldn’t just get their final balls right, even when they eventually do, Müller just was too rusty to make it meaningful.

In a match that All of Bayern’s outfield players except Rafinha had at least one shot and couldn’t still find the back of the net. That’s appalling to say the least and there is no better time to get Lewandowski back to the team with all his fecund natural abilities especially as they play Madrid at the Bernabeu by mid week.

Mertens, an unsung goal merchant.

Barely one month away to the end of the season and it’s only normal that the big wigs will start to lure, entice and whisk players – Neymars, Griezmanns, Dybalas etc comes to fray but not many have had a look in to Dries Mertens. Belgian has been on fire with Napoli this term scoring his 21st Serie A goal in the 3 – 0 drubbing of Udinese – 27th in all competition – 18th goal in the last 16 games. That’s just great. He clearly doesn’t have the heights but he’s got pace to run in behind defenders to do the damage. My prediction is he might move to Atlético Madrid if Griezmann moves and ultimately Diego Simeone stays at the Calderon.

This Weekend (04/11/16)

Its the weekend before another International break to give room for World Cup qualifiers across the various continents; so we football fans have to milk this weekend to its fullest. This weekend we will take trips to Germany, Italy, Spain and finally England; where we have to big clashes that may shake the existing structure in the Premier League.

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspurs

The North London derby provides us an interesting match up as Electric Arsenal take on a dogged Tottenham Hotspurs side that are the only undefeated team in the Premier League. In years past Arsenal have dominated this fixture with commanding performances showing and proving to be the preeminent team in North London; however, Spurs have somewhat closed the gap and we have had really close clashes between both sides; case in question the games between both sides last season which ended in draws and overall Spurs are undefeated in their last four games against the Gunners.

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Arsenal are undefeated in their last 15 games in all competitions especially since the opening day defeat to Liverpool which was at the Emirates, the Gunners have been playing some fabulous stuff so far and have shown an uncharacteristically strong mental resolve in games which ordinarily Arsenal have been known to crumble when the pressure is at its peak. The form of Ozil, Sanchez and the reemergence of Olivier Giroud have given the Gunners a different edge; coupled with the defensive understanding demonstrated between Mustafi and Koscielny.

So, we have a team thats scoring for fun, but may concede a few goals on one side and then a team struggling to score goals, but are able to keep it tight at the back. This gives an indication that we may be heading for a draw, but Spurs current poor form both in the Premier League and Champions League, tilts the tie in favour of the Gunners.

Prediction: Arsenal Win (Betting Punt: Under 3.5)

Chelsea v Everton

Chelsea come into this tie boasting a four game winning streak without conceding a goal, confidence is restored to the blue side of London; some balance has been achieved with the way the team is set up and some players have been reborn in the last few weeks. Everton on the other hand look like a team built to frustrate the big teams, expecting to punch above their weight, cause a stir every now and then, but disappoint when one of the lesser lights come calling.

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Idrissa Gueye has been one of Everton’s stand out players this season, sadly he will be missing out through suspension, which leaves a huge gap for the Toffees to fill; thereby taking away the intensity, interceptions and industry Everton have demonstrated thus far this season. Already the Toffees have shown they can compete with the big boys with the solid performance at the Etihad.

Chelsea are undefeated in their last 22 home meetings against Everton in all competitions, but something tells me something would change here and the Toffees may just get something from this one. Lukaku is a beast of a striker at the moment, just the way Diego Costa is and both would bully the best defences anywhere in the world. I particularly like the way Everton set up, been able to mirror their opponents formation and been ready to mix and match things. Chelsea have found an unlikely balance in their defense with Azpilicueta playing as part of the back three; although i am still of the belief that it is a disguised back three; just watch Chelsea with out the ball and see the quick adjustment from a back three to a back four.

All in all Chelsea, look good enough for a fifth straight win, but Everton could nick a point; although Gueye would be a big miss in their grand scheme to conquer Stamford Bridge.

Prediction: Chelsea to Win (Betting Punt: Both teams to score)

Napoli v Lazio:

Napoli gave a good account of themselves on their visit to the Old Lady last week and I liked the look of their front three of Callejon, Insigne and Mertens; but we all know how these things work, an ex player always finds a way to drill the final nail in his former employers coffin. Lazio have been impressive this season despite the madness caused at pre-season with the premature resignation of Marcelo Bielsa and the eventual shock appointment of Simone Inzaghi.

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Lazio currently have the best ongoing streak in Serie A which has them undefeated in their last six games and playing some decent football along the line. This is a battle between the inexperienced and coaching first timer in Inzaghi versus the experienced Maurizio Sarri; two managers with different paths to big jobs with established Serie A teams.

Napoli have a good record at home with ten wins out of their last eleven Serie A matches, so Lazio have it all to do as Napoli would be keen to bounce back from that defeat against table toppers Juventus to keep in touch with the title race.

Prediction: Draw (Betting Punt: Both teams to Score)

Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim

Bayern Munich remain undefeated in the Bundesliga, but have stuttered and looked less convincing in recent weeks. This week they come up against another team that are also undefeated in Hoffenheim, who are tutored by a young coach who’s stock is rising on a daily in European football.

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Bayern remain top of the table with a slim two-point advantage over Leipzig, despite not been in the best of form lately under Carlo Ancelotti. Hoffenheim have been impressive reaching third spot at the moment and have not lost in the league this season. Julian Nagelsmann has led Hoffenheim to probably their best start in recent seasons, with the team winning five straight matches and could prove to be a solid test for FC Hollywood, hopefully their European exertions wouldn’t affect them; we can expect Bayern to dominate possession with Hoffenheim seeking to catch them on the break.

Prediction: Bayern to win (Betting Punt: Over 2.5)

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Sevilla v Barcelona

Barcelona come into La Liga’s biggest game of the weekend on the back of two underwhelming performances; the one-nil victory last weekend in the League and the defeat in the Champions League against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Sevilla have had a good start to the season under the new guidance of Jose Sampaoli; at the start it seem like it may be a failed experiment, especially as they conceded a lot of goals as the season began, but they have been able to steady the ship and have turned on some really good performances both domestically and in Europe.

Last week’s draw must have destabilised the Andalusian club, but they bounced back emphatically in the Champions League. At the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan; Sevilla have built a fortress, you just need to look at their record at home; 19 wins from their 22 games at home speaks volumes.

Barcelona need to snap out of it, we must admit that they do miss the genius of Andreas Iniesta and two of their established back four out as well, you must start to worry for the Catalans. However, with an away record that reads 7 wins out of 8 away games and  been undefeated in the last 16 games of 17 matches against Sevilla, must be a boost for Barcelona.

Prediction: Draw (Betting Punt: Both Teams to Score)

 

This Halloween Weekend

Its that time of the year; when our people across the oceans and seas get dressed up in their very best costumes all having a good time. For we football people, we just hope we won’t have any costuming type performances by our favorite teams. I know I did quite poorly on the predictions last week, who would have thought Chelsea would blow Manchester United away, Milan would get the better of Juventus, Sampdoria would stand tall in the derby and PSG would play out a bore fest of a nil-nil draw with Marseille.

So as with everything; if at first you don’t succeed; time to put on those costumes and lets try again, here’s my preview of the big games in Russia, Germany and Italy:

Spartak Moscow v CSKA Moscow

One of the most fiercely contested derbies in Russia, although Spartak have fallen behind CSKA considerable over the last few years; as CSKA consistently compete for the title and participate in the UEFA Champions League every season; Spartak have somewhat lost there way.

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This season is a little different as Spartak are pushing Zenit close and playing some quality football along the way and are ahead of their city rivals going into the derby. With Spartak as host; CSKA have a formidable record with only one defeat from their last 17 visits to their City rivals. Obviously, Spartak’s current form and position in the league sets them as favorites, but as we have always known with derbies; the form book goes out the window.

Prediction: Draw (Betting Punt: CSKA Win/Draw)

Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04

The Ruhr derby could not have come at a better time for Schalke especially with Dortmund struggling lately. Schalke’s big summer loan imports finally seem to be finding their feet in the Bundesliga, whilst Dortmund’s great summer business has suffered a huge set back with the amount of injuries that has befallen the Black and Golds.

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Both teams were in action in the DFB Pokal, but sailed through but a greater cost to Dortmund who were forced to extra time by Union Berlin with this in mind and a current run of three winless games in the league; definitely this is crisis time for the team I like many expected to give Bayern a proper go this season. Schalke come into the derby reinvigorated, after a slow start to the campaign are on a three game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga and six in all competitions, playing some good stuff and scoring plenty of goals; their confidence is back and I think they stand a very strong chance in the derby this time.

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Dortmund’s 25 game unbeaten sequence at home is the only indices that swings things there way; I expect a high tempo, physical and intense contest between both sides with plenty scoring opportunities created.

Prediction: Draw (Betting Punt: Both Teams to Score)

Juventus v Napoli

The Bianconeri have already lost two big games this season and to both Milan clubs at that, but still occupy the top of the Serie A standings. Juventus and Gonzalo Higuian welcome their closest rivals and the striker’s former club from last season in Maurizi0 Sarri’s Napoli to the Juventus Stadium.

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All the big questions going into this clash has to do with Gonzalo Higuian coming up against his former club, will he score? Will he celebrate? All interesting if you consider that he hasn’t scored in his last four matches; Is he reserving the goals for the Azzurri? Spear a thought for Napoli though; Higuian’s replacement is out for four months with Sarri saddled with a major striking problem and may have to do with wingers in striking positions with the likes of Insigne and Mertens looking to lead the line.

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It would be a huge surprise if Napoli manage to pull off a victory at the Juventus Stadium; which they haven’t won at in their last six attempts. Juventus bounced back and confidence restored after to powerful headers from Chiellini among the goals as the Old Lady bounced back to winning ways.

Prediction: Juventus to Win (Betting Punt: Juventus Win or Draw)

This Blockbuster Weekend (21/10/16)

I do not think there will be many weekends where you have so many blockbuster games across all the big leagues in Europe all rolled up in on weekend. There’s the La Classique in France, Chelsea v Manchester United, Bayern face their boggy side, Monchenglabach in the Bundesliga; Barcelona go visiting Cesare Prandelli’s Valencia and in Italy; there’s ”The Derby della Lanterna” (The Genoa Derby) and the small matter of Milan v Juventus.

PSG v Marseille

Without a shadow of a doubt; this is the biggest game in French football; yes there is obviously a huge gap in the quality of the two sides and the fortunes of both sides over the last few years. Whilst the Parisians have continued to conquer all before them domestically, the sea-siders have struggled with their football, managers, fans and every other thing you can think about.

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Paris Saint Germain under Unai Emery are a different proposition from the last three seasons; there seems to be an air of caution at the Parc D’ Princes and they don’t seem to have that fear factor any more especially with the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Marseille come into the Classique with former Lille and Roma Manager; Rudi Garcia taking over the reins of one of France’s sleeping giants. Its imperative for Garcia to get things going quickly; he has inherited a proper poison chalice and with new owners and expectations of transfer funds, pressure will be at its highest.

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There’s a lot of optimism from the Marseille going into this clash has to concluded take over and the arrival of Rudi Garcia; Marseille will expect to be the ones to run PSG closest once they are able to strengthen their squad. Unai Emery seems to be finding some consistency now; with four straight wins in all competitions and the chances of a fifth straight are quite bright with PSG having won their last 11 games against Marseille in all competitions.

Prediction: PSG to Win

Chelsea v Manchester United

No matter what you think or feel about Jose Mourinho; he is without doubt the greatest manager in the history of Chelsea Football Club; as the saying goes ” men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t”. In the case of Jose Mourinho; the trophies and honour brought and won by Chelsea Football Club under is guidance distinguishes him from the long list of Managers Chelsea have had over the Roman Years. I expect him to receive a warm reception from the Stamford Bridge faithful, once the formalities are over, I expect a keenly contested battle between both sides that would even resonate to the stands.

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Chelsea for Manchester United are the only club with a better head to head record since the Premier League era; visiting Stamford Bridge has been one of United’s toughest test season in season out; with only one win in twelve visits to West London; it paints clearly the picture of how strongly Chelsea have held the Red Devils in the Jugular. Sunday would not be any different; Chelsea under Antonio Conte are gradually finding some form of stability of late; but I worry about the set up of their so called back three and I still feel it is a back four in disguise; it just depends on the perspective and position you seek to view it from; all its needs is one of the big hitters to come to town and dismantle the supposed defensive base Chelsea has now; it is firmly there for the taking.

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In the space of a week, Manchester United have shown two sides to their game; a gritty and hard fought performance at Anfield to a more fluid and free flowing performance in the Europa League; this is what you can expect from a Jose Mourinho side. I do not expect United to play like at Anfield at Stamford Bridge; expect a more positive, but cautious approach; Chelsea’s pace especially in wide areas remain a big threat.

Prediction: A Draw (Betting Punt: Both Teams Score)

Valencia v Barcelona

Valencia are on of the teams that almost cost the Catalans the League title last season with their win at the Nou Camp during Barca’s six game winless streak towards the final stretch of last season. This is a different Valencia Side; they have finally matched their ambition with the appointment of a proper coach and not the experiment of a Arm chair critic. Cesare Prandelli has arrived at the Mestalla and the attitude in the dressing room as changed and livened up; which resulted in a first win last weekend that has got Fans of the club buzzing.

Italian head coach Cesare Prandelli speaks during a press conference at Casa Azzurri in Krakow, Poland, 05 June 2012. The Italy national team is preparing for the Uefa Euro 2012 soccer championship. ANSA/MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI

Barcelona would obviously be in very confident mood after scoring four in mid week; taking their tally to eight in two games; injuries to Pique and Alba are major worries for the Catalans and it would be interesting to see how they line up at the Mestalla.

I still worry about Valencia from a defensive position; the pairing of Mangala and Garay still hasn’t gelled and this is not the kind of game you expect to build team chemistry. Valencia haven’t kept a clean sheet in five games; so this is an area Prandelli has to work is magic. Barcelona are undefeated in their last ten visits to the Mestalla; expect the Catalans to get a least a draw; because of defensive inadequacies of their own.

Prediction: Barcelona Win (Betting Punt: Over 2.5 goals)

Bayern Munich v Borussia Monchengladbach

All through the three year stint of Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena; this was the one team that gave him the most grief; he just couldn’t find a way to beat them. In comes Carlo Ancelotti; renowned veteran and one of the leading lights of world football; will the Gladbach nuisance be allowed to continue or would the Italian quickly put them to the sword to lay down a marker.

Back to Back draws in the Bundesliga has finally given way to a resounding victory in Europe; so expect confidence to be high now at FC Hollywood. A few changes are expected as Ancelotti continues to understand his side; maintain freshness and giving others a run out; Gladbach have a series of injury doubts coupled with a poor away record of late with only one win in 14 away games in the Bundesliga; their win away to Celtic in the Champions League should give them the desired leap.

Can Ancelotti finally silence the beast called Borussia Monchengladbach? Tough proposition; no Bayern win in their last six games against Gladbach.

Prediction: Bayern Win (Betting Punt: Over 2.5 goals)

Sampdoria v Genoa

The Derby della Lanterna or the Genoa derby, if you are not too familiar with this tie; is probably one of the most keenly contested derbies in the Calcio. Interestingly; Genoa have had the edge in the derby of late and have also had better fortunes as regards participation and finishing positions in the league. This season hasn’t been different Genoa are ahead of their city rivals and look more like the team that would have a better all round season.

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Sampdoria have received a timely boost of two consecutive draws which followed four consecutive defeats; with their suspect performances they come against the team with the sixth best defense in Europe’s top five leagues which has only conceded 5 goals in 7 games. Genoa are not just all about their defensive solidity built by the impressive Ivan Juric; who was responsible for Crotone’s promotion to Serie A; but possess a promising youngster in their ranks in Giovanni Simeone (Diego Simeone’s Son); who has scored in back to back starts with the rest of Serie A and Europe taking note.

Genoa must be considered as favorites; as Sampdoria have only won two of the last eight derby matches at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris; especially with Samp’s current winless streak that’s at six matches.

Prediction: Draw (Betting Punt: Halftime Draw)

AC Milan v Juventus

The Serie A these days is a measured along the lines of Juventus and the rest; so great is the domination of the Turin Giants; that they could afford to have a less than convincing start last season, but still rally to win the Scudetto comfortably. Contrast this to the sleeping giants in Milan; Berlusconi’s Rossoneri to be precise; every day its a different news headline on the laundry list of prospective investors looking to breathe life into the red and black club; this Milan sale most enter the Guinness Book of Records as the most protracted and longest club sale negotiation in the history of Football Business.

In spite of all the issues on the financial front; AC Milan under Vincenzo Montella have climbed up the table to a very impressive third position; only behind second place on goals difference (even though its head to head results that determines finishing positions). Montella has done a very steady job and has worked well with the resources at his disposal; especially considering how young and inexperienced their back line is. Juventus have a number of injury concerns; that may lead to a shuffling of the pack,there might a surprise inclusion or two as well.

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Milan have been in good form lately; expect Carlos Bacca to make a return to boost their striking options; undefeated in their last five games with four of those games ending as wins; unfortunately Juventus are a different proposition; it would be interesting to see how they recover from their hard fought victory at Lyon in mid week. The Old Lady are undefeated in their last nine meetings with the Rossoneri; you may have to go back to when Allegri was manager at Milan for their last win against the Bianconeri.

Despite Milan’s regeneration from within; you have got to say Juventus are in a league of their own and are definitely a different kettle of fish; Juventus to take this for me despite the fact that their defense in aging, suffering from injuries and also they have already lost at the San Siro this season.

Prediction: Juventus Win (Betting Punt: Both Team to Score)

 

**Pictures courtesy goal.com, 101greatgoals.com etc

This Landmark Weekend

Here we are again after another hard week of grinding and hustling; the weekend is finally upon us, so we can kick off our shoes and relax our feet because we have got some big games coming up across the world. This weekend is a landmark weekend in many ways; in London, Arsenal’s greatest manager celebrates 20 years in charge of the Gunners; Manchester United seek to bounce back from back to back defeats in the Premier League; there are landmark clashes in Turkey and Italy whilst in Nigeria, the final push for the league title enters its penultimate weekend.

Arsenal v Chelsea 

Hate him or Love him; Arsene Wenger is arguably Arsenal Football Club’s greatest manager; this is obviously despite the jury still been out on him not conquering Europe yet; but you cannot fault the man and the impact he has had on English football as a whole. On Top Radio’s Sports Cafe on Thursday; I tagged Arsene Wenger a revolutionary; his coming to England changed the way many managers viewed the game including the Legendary Alex Ferguson; introduction of diverse training methods, a different style of man management (remember the continuous and insistent  denials in seeing a tackle or major decision as it concerned his team); introduction of specific and rigorous dietary regiments on his players; the evolution of the Gunners from the boring 1-nil to the Arsenal to a team that mixed quick, zippy and exquisite passing with a huge burst of pace and speed; Wenger’s teams were notorious for putting teams to the sword within the first twenty minutes of a game, it was always brilliant to watch.

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In the Saturday late Kick off at the Emirates; Arsene Wenger celebrates 20 years as manager at Arsenal Football Club; the French man has seen it all in football, but unfortunately for him Chelsea come visiting  not bearing gifts at all other than to be party spoilers and this is they have done before. On the occasion of Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game; a visit to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea was on the cards and we know there’s no love lost between both manager’s; decked in his new Suit and Tie; Arsene Wenger and Arsenal were on the end of a spanking.

Chelsea have dominated this fixture for many years with the only Arsenal victory that comes to mind been in the Community Shield from last season. Now this is a Chelsea team seeking an identity under Antonio Conte, looking for defensive solidity and midfield balance. The Italian manager has also transferred his never say die attitude to the team as Chelsea recorded victories with some late rallies in the first few games of the season; the team is still yet to play in the Conte mold, but you can see the progress and you can be rest assured that the players would maintain the same intensity and desire going into a game against Arsenal.

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The Gunners have only one win in their last eleven meetings with Chelsea; this inspires very little hope that the North London team can get a result against the Blues. It has been quite customary for Chelsea to dominate matches between both sides and I do not think this would be any different especially if Cesc Fabregas gets a start after a great performance in the EFL Cup in mid week. I think its high time; Antonio Conte made a decision relating to the lack of creativity in the middle of the pack from his team; Chelsea seem like a team with a lot of buzz but very little cutting edge in midfield; the introduction of Fabregas is a welcome addition and variation with Oscar my preferred fall guy.

In all of this; a keenly contested and entertaining game is expected from both sides; it would be interesting to see the adjustments both managers decide to make with Arsenal having many options of combinations in their midfield and Chelsea’s ongoing injury worries in defense.

Prediction: Looks like a draw for me; potentially a 1-1 draw.

Betting Punt: Chelsea Win/Draw

Manchester United v Leicester City

Jose Mourinho seems like a dead man walking; the feeling of de ja vu must be giving the Portuguese gaffer sleepless nights and of course the media have had a filled day with varying headlines and criticisms of his players. Jose has labelled some of them Einstein with some other Premier League managers throwing some support his way, but really it doesn’t change the fact that Jose’s United team is struggling and in need of a kick in the back side to get things going.

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Leicester City come calling as defending champions but with a mixed start to the season and an early exit from the EFL Cup puts their season in proper perspective especially with their Champions League Campaign getting off to a great start. Leicester would look to bounce back from the mid week defeat to Chelsea; expect Ismail Slimani to make a return to the starting line up after an impressive debut in a much deserved win for the Foxes. Claudio Ranieri seems to have settled on a line up especially with the huge gap left by the departure of N’Kolo Kante, which the presence of Daniel Amartey has helped to reduce the effects of his absence.

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Jose Mourinho is rumoured to be considering sending its side out without club captain Wayne Rooney after intense pressure and criticism from the media and United fans alike. You can expect a number of changes to the Red Devils going into this vital and pivotal game as I cannot remember Manchester United losing three straight league games. The likes of Carrick and Herrera are expected to keep their shirts in the starting eleven after strong performances in midweek. Manchester United haven’t lost to Leicester City at Old Trafford since 1998 and have lost only once to the Foxes in their last fourteen meetings; seems easier said than done for a United victory. For victory to be guaranteed; the United set up has to be better, more balance, quicker passing and some ruthlessness upfront.

Prediction: Tough call, but I think Manchester United should Win

Betting Punt: Manchester United win

Besiktas v Galatasaray

With last season’s triumph as Turkey’s top club and the breaking of the duopoly that exist between Fenerbache and Galatasaray; Besiktas have somewhat taken off from where they left off last season aiming to retain their title with a squad that seems much stronger than any composition in the entire Super League.

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With a chance to go top of the table available for both clubs; it is expected that both teams will go all guns blazing, it is expected that Besiktas would have the upper hand in this one with players like Eren Derdiyok and Cenk Tosun expected to shine and light up the match.

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The Home team would look to milk the support from the home crowd who turn the stadium to a colourful and noisy; the visitors for me have been disappointing for me in their play, but with this been their toughest battles, a victory would give the Gold and Red a huge boost of confidence.

 

Prediction: Close game expected; but Besiktas should shade this one

Betting Punt: Besiktas Win/Draw

Fiorentina v AC Milan

AC Milan won back to back games for the first time since February, 2016; the signs are ominous for a potential revival at the Rossinerri; Carlos Bacca is scoring goals, Donnaruma is shutting teams out and showing maturity far beyond his age, but they come up against a resilient Fiorentina side that ground out a late winner against Roma and fought back twice against Udinese; they don’t know how to lie down.

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Milan have won both of their last two matches in games that last season they would have dropped points to the likes of Sampdoria and Lazio. Vincenzo Montella is gradually putting a compact team together, hopefully when the necessary and expected January investments come in they would be on the right track, It is imperative he has funds to spend in January to potentially rid the instability at the club at this point.

Like every top flight Serie A game, you can be rest assured that it would be a balanced game between two teams who have found form in recent weeks and looking to build on it; victory for either side provides a solid platform to boost morale and ambition for either side.

Prediction: With the current form of both teams, its difficult to separate both sides. 

Betting Punt: Draw

FC Ifeanyi Ubah v Enyimba

Its the Penultimate weekend to probably the most competitive run in to the title in recent memory, with as many as four teams still in with a chance of been crowned champions of the Nigerian Professional Football League. Rangers International, Rivers United, Wikki Tourist and FC Ifeanyi Ubah are still in contention for the league title and are separated by just four points with two games to go.

Ifeanyi-ubah

FC Ifeanyi Ubah go into their last home game of the season with defending champions Enyimba visiting in what is an Oriental derby that would either move FCIU closer to the title, a continental slot or as an also ran. With the investments made in the team by controversial billionaire businessman; nothing short of a CAF Confederation Cup slot will be accepted as a minimum reward for a long and hard season filled with different types of issues for the team and their owner.

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Enyimba have been quite disappointing this season and I wont be surprised if there are wholesale changes at the team in the off season; a poor showing in the CAF Champions League did very little to boost their reputation; however as we have always known of Enyimba, they are always in contention and still have the Federation cup to fight for; interestingly the final may be between both teams going head to head this weekend.

Enyimba have won only two of their last seven matches; which eventually put paid to the title aspirations they were having; this poor also reflects in their last four games, where they are winless in four; dropping points to teams in the relegation positions like MFM and Ikorodu United.

Ifeanyi Ubah have lost two of their last six and these have been away from home; so their home comforts remain true and they would seek to use this to their full advantage to ensure that they push the battle for the title to the final day.

Prediction: Close game expected; I believe FC Ifeanyi Ubah will win this

Betting Punt: FC Ifeanyi Ubah Win/Draw

Halftimeng Serie A Team of Week Two

In the second week of Serie A, Champions Juventus continue from where they left off last season; Napoli were quite electric against an interesting Milan side, Roma were held just like Inter and all these points to the kind of season we may have in general.

With all that said and done, here is my Serie A team of the week in  3-4-2-1 formation:

 

 

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INTER MILAN:THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

In Adeyemi Adesanya’s preview to the Serie A season, he spoke about it not been a Calcio season without one turmoil or the other at the Milan clubs. The Nerazurri have just gone through another transfer of the ownership baton with Erik Thoir getting rid of the ancestoral headache that has plagued Milan’s second club by selling a majority stake in the club to the Chinese group, Suning Group for 270 Million Euros.

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The days of Inter Milan winning titles left, right and center seem 20 million light years away. Since winning the treble in 2010 under Jose Mourinho, Inter have become a shadow of themselves and even the return of Roberto Mancini could not revive the Nerazzuri. Issues relating to transfer policy, poor pre season preparations, differences in opinion; eventually led to the departure of Roberto Mancini which surprisingly opened the door for the arrival of Frank de Boer, who had been linked with moves to rivals AC Milan and English side, Everton during the summer. He has taken over the hot seat and his Inter reign has not started on a good note with no wins in two matches against teams (Chievo and Palermo) they were expected to defeat comfortably.

Frank De Boer

Now, with their new manager struggling to find his feet at the San Siro and employing a set of tactics/playing style that have not been used at the club since the reign of Stramaccioni and Gasperini which have unsettled the side especially as there was no bedding period which the pre season would have offered. The Nerazzuri have gone into the market to solve problems in attack and midfield by making a club record signing of 45 million Euros for Portuguese midfielder, Joao Mario from Sporting Lisbon and Gabriel Barbosa from Brazilian side, Santos.

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The burning question is: “what can Joao Mario bring to Inter Milan?”Joao Mario is a versatile player who can play in a variety of positions across the midfield, He is a hard worker, difficult to get off the ball, takes fiery shots, is good with crosses, can deliver a range of passes, has beautiful control, has accurate ball distribution and his decision making is quite good. While the qualities listed above make Joao Mario look like a super player, it is important to note that Joao Mario is not without his flaws; he can make you think of him as a grade D player, due to the decisions he makes and the fact that he doesn’t score a lot of goals when he gets into positions to do so. However.if he lives up to the hype and to his full potential, Inter would benefit greatly from his purchase.

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As Inter prepare for a new chapter of their history under Frank de Boer with the likes of Ever Banega, Joao Mario and Gabriel Barbosa, the journey to recovery has started; however, it would not be a quick, smooth and painless journey; wins are imperative and in quick succession too, to lift the mood in the stadium and around the fans.

Domestic Consolidation seeking European Dominance

Another Serie A season is upon us, it would not be a typical Calcio season without turmoil in Milan; the city rivals have continued from where they stopped last season from controversy to another, even though said controversy is supposed to steer the once great Milan clubs in the right direction.

Frank De Boer

Whilst Inter Milan have gone on with the transfer of ownership of the Nerazzurri to its new Chinese owners with consummate ease and professional precision; their cross town rivals AC Milan, just like last year have had to deal with various issues ranging from a sit tight mentality, nickle and dimming, poor or over bloated valuation and what I would term a lack of ”balls” from the so called Chinese ”government” backed investor. This has definitely affected the real business on the pitch which involves preparing the squad for the challenges ahead and adding some quality to the playing personnel. Interestingly, both Milan clubs enter the new season with new managers; Vincenzo Montella (who I greatly admire for his personal style and team philosophy) takes the reins at AC Milan, while Frank De Boer replaces Roberto Mancini at Inter Milan after a fall out with the owners on transfer targets and a string of poor pre season results.

Now as the city of Milan gets accustomed to the changes in management and ownership structure; the guys in Turin have gone in to put themselves in front of the queue as overwhelming favorites for a potential sixth straight Scudetto with the transfer business conducted  so far by the Old Lady of Turin. Juventus under Max Allegri are shaping up quite nicely, consolidating on the home front by weakening their closest title rivals with the signings of Pjanic from Roma and Higuain from Napoli whilst focusing on conquering Europe for the first time since 1996. Allegri since last season has been working with surgical precision in making and molding this team in his image; even though it all seems hunky dory; a lot will depend on how the Bianconeri cope with the midfield departures World record Fee, Paul Pogba and Roberto Pereyra both lost to Premier League sides, Manchester United and Watford respectively. These two were key parts of the Juventus midfield; all be it that Pogba is the one everyone is wondering how well life without him would be for the Old Lady.

Now, if there is a manager that can cope with player departures of any kind its Max Allegri, he lost half his squad at Milan after a title winning season, has had to cope with Pirlo and Vidal leaving Juve in the same window and still ensuring that they are competitive on all fronts with their efforts crowned with a domestic double. A lot has been said about how grossly over weight Gonzalo Higuain looked on his return from his Summer holiday, I believe he would be eased in gradually as Dybala and Mandzukic would shoulder the goal scoring burden whilst expecting the midfield to potentially chip in its fair quota, noting that the Old Lady lost Alvaro Morata to his former club Real Madrid as part of his buy back deal. I cannot look beyond Juventus retaining the Scudetto, as they have covered the basics,had probably the best transfer window of all the big clubs in Europe, strengthening in key areas; Juventus would take some stopping.

Having been weaken considerably, Napoli and Roma have it all to do to wrestle the title from the hands of Juventus even without a ball been kicked yet. Roma’s transfer business has been a bit baffling to say the least, yes defensively they have major injuries; but the signings of Thomas Vermaelen, Juan Jesus and Fazio from Barcelona, Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspurs respectively doesn’t really inspire any kind of confidence in me and this was showcased as Roma battled to a lucky away draw at Porto in the Champions League qualifiers. I like the fact that Spaletti has stuck to the ideals in his forward line which involves a lot of pace and off the ball running, complementing the lanky and calm presence of Edin Dzeko and Francesco Totti with the permanent signings of Mohammed Salah and Stefan El Shaarawy (does Spalletti know something about Egyptian born players that we don’t know?).

Napoli continue to hold on to Kalidou Koulibaly, but in reality for how long can they push away the advances from the likes of Chelsea. It is understood that Sarri is looking to bring in the highly rated Torino defender Maksimovic as a potential replacement, coupled with the likely departure of Raul Albiol; who is rumoured to be keen on a return to Spain, hence the San Paolo club would have to contend with departures at the back as well as the departure of  36 goals hero, Gonzalo Higuian. The signing of Arkadiusz Milik is welcomed, but translating Ere Divisie prowess to Serie A dominance is a different kettle of fish; the spot light would be firmly on him through out the season. Hence, both teams that finished second and third respectively last season have it all to do to maintain the same level of momentum that would enable them challenge Juventus; it is a tough call.

With all due respect to the others such as Lazio, Fiorentina, Udinese, Genoa and Sampdoria; their sights would firmly be on ensuring qualification for the Europa league, now its a tough call as three of the teams stated above would be vying for those same slots; Fiorentina seem like the ones that may keep their heads above water in the fight for Europe as Lazio haven’t been helped by the madness associated with the engagement of Marcelo Bielsa. The appointment was supposed to be a huge statement of intent for the Capital club, but in the end has back fired terribly; hindering their entire pre season preparations.

The newly promoted sides as always will have it all to do to stay in the top flight; Crotone, Pescara and Cagliari come into Serie A full of confidence, but the gulf in class always shows eventually. However, I expect Cagliari to just survive relegation and potentially drag either of Empoli and Palermo down to Serie B.

Arrivederci!!!

Another Block buster Weekend on the Cards

The title races in all the top leagues in Europe rev up another gear as some of the top clubs can smell blood and can see the finish line; some have to worry more about survival and maintaining their top flight status. This week its all about the title races in Spain and Italy, as huge derby clashes that would have a major impact on the eventual destination of the title in these countries.

In England, its a case of old rivalries seeking to end or put a dent into title aspirations or top four aspirations of your fellow adversary;we cannot say the same for the title races in Germany and France, where the race seems to be as one directional as it has been for many years.

Manchester United v Arsenal 

Mounting injury list, European commitments with varying outcomes; one with its best chance at winning the League for the first time in twelve years and the other looking more and more likely to move farther away from the coveted top four places.

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This is the story of Manchester United and Arsenal this season; the Gunners are within two points of league leaders, Leicester whilst Manchester United are six points off fourth place in fifth with West Ham and Southampton closing in; it doesn’t make good reading for Louis Van Gaal. Van Gaal must really consider life as been quite unfair right now as with each passing day and game, one of his top first team player succumbs to injury especially in the warm up.

Over the years, the battles between Arsenal and Manchester United have gone on to decide titles, dent title ambitions or at least just be a feisty affair; for sometime United have dominated this tie; but Arsenal are gunning to do a double over United this season and if their performance in the game earlier in the season at the Emirates is anything to go bye; you would have to say Arsenal are overwhelming favourites as they seek to clinch their first win at Old Trafford in ten years.

Manchester United would definitely parade its strangest and youngest line up  for a very long time as the team is expected to consist of a number of youngsters from the Under 21s and the academy. The young lads are likely to be consumed by the occassion, but a great performance in their dress rehearsal in the Europa League would have improved their morale; however Arsenal are not FC Midtjylland, hence the likes of Memphis Depay and Marcus Rashford won’t have as much of a field day as they enjoyed the freedom of the Old Trafford turf on Thursday. The gulf in class of both teams to be paraded on Sunday is evidently clear with the Gunners having a team loaded with world class talent; however Arsenal’s goal drought is a major source of worry for the team and its fans.

My Verdict: Arsenal to get their first win in ten years at Old Trafford

My Betting Punt: Both teams to score @1.92

Juventus v Inter Milan

Roberto Donadoni and his Bologna side put paid to making this a truly epic encounter as Juventus would have been seeking to equal Inter’s remarkable record of 17 consecutive wins in Serie A; what better way to write your name in history than against descendants of holders of such an illustrious record. Despite this Juventus remain top of Serie A despite an horrendous start to the season and an unbeaten sequence of 15 wins and one draw which has set the cat among the  pigeons. The Old Lady are a difficult proposition to knock off their perch once they attain top spot especially as their so called title rivals continue to falter, dropping points at the slightest chance.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - AUGUST 08:  Paulo Dybala of Juventus FC in celebrates a goal during the Italian Super Cup final football match between Juventus and Lazio at Shanghai Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Inter Milan started the season brightly, going on with their business silently with a series of one-nil victories and other slim wins to sit at the top of the scudetto race, but as the pressure has been increased from the bottom so has Inter found it hard to be consistent with only two wins from their last six games. Juventus’s Champions League commitments with their exhaustive clash against Bayern may lead to an adjustment in the side to freshen things up as the Old lady expects the likes of Chiellini and Alex Sandro to return to the side with a likely start for Hernanes against his former employers.

Juventus have won their last nine home games in the Serie A and seven clean sheets in their last seven Serie A matches.

On Monday, there’s a small matter of Fiorentina v Napoli; both teams have dropped out of the Europa League and Napoli are winless in four and can see their title challenge slipping away if they do not arrest the decline now.

My Verdict: Juventus to win and extend their lead to four points

My Betting Punt: Juventus win @1.60

Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich

What a difference a year makes; last season the Volkswagen club were Bayern’s closest rivals for the title; even demolishing the Bavarians emphatically 4-1 after the winter break. Now there’s a 28 point gap between both teams and Bayern top the league and Wolfsburg are chasing Europa League qualification in eight place.

Bayern’s injury list especially in defense is a major source of worry coupled with the way they blew a two goal lead at the Juventus Stadium in the Champions League which I largely ascribe to Pep Guardiola’s arrogant tactics (read here) on the night. Wolfsburg have found their way back into reckoning with four points from a possible six points; at home in the Volkswagen Arena, they are strong with only one defeat in their last 33 games at home.

Bayern Munich as always hold all the big records in Germany and dominate all the head to heads; in relation to this tie; the Bavarians have won 11 of their last 13 games against Wolfsburg and Bayern have won 20 of their last 23 matches in the Bundesliga, looking to extend their lead at the top to 11 points with Dortmund not playing till Sunday.

My Verdict: Bayern Munich to win and extend their lead to Eleven points

My Betting Punt: Bayern Munich win @1.45

Spain’s Double Header

There will be daggers and swords drawn in Spain this weekend as Saturday may witness the end of the title challenge for one of the teams from the Capital as well as the first real test for Real Madrid’s new manager Zinedine Zidane; whilst Barcelona aim to continue their stellar form as they seek to get revenge over one of the few sides to defeat them this season as their unbeaten streak tally hits the mid thirties.

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Between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid; there’s a huge need for someone to seize the initiative to close a 8 and 9 points deficit respectively with a win. The earlier clash at the Vincente Calderon ended in a goalless stalemate and both teams would not want to be interested in a share of the spoils. Real had the luxury of resting in mid week; as Atletico just returned from the mid week stalemate in Eindhoven in the Champions League.

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Sevilla’s loss  in a competition that they have come to call their own was shocking; but then with a good first leg;it was expected for the team to relax a little bit. Against Barcelona, Sevilla are a dangerous opponent; not having the best of seasons, but , they have crawled their way back in contention for the Champions League places. Barcelona are electric now as was the display against Arsenal in mid week, expect a game where both sides come out to play.

My Verdict: Barcelona to win

My Betting Punt: Over 2.5 goals expected @1.25

My Verdict: Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid will end in a draw

My Betting Punt: A Draw goes at  @3.60

Olympic Lyon v Paris Saint Germain

There is a Thirty Four point gap between both teams; but then a year ago Lyon were a point ahead of PSG, with a very young side who played some really good football last season. This season, Lyon have struggled with injuries an loss of form this season; hence the door was shown to Herbert  Fournier as the team continued to lose ground on the big teams.

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PSG are undefeated in their last Thirty-Six matches in all competitions and are not even looking any close to been defeated and are heading for Nantes record  of Thirty-two games without defeat in Ligue 1. Paris Saint-Germain had the entire week off from competitive football for the first time in so far this year, which is a welcome development as the games start coming thick and fast now.

PSG have defeated Lyon this season earlier and have won four straight meetings against OL and nothing points to the fact that Lyon can get anything from this one.

My Verdict: PSG to win

My Betting Punt: PSG win @1.80

Capital One Cup Final

The first trophy of the season will be handed over at Wembly station as Liverpool and Manchester City go head to head. Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp aim to win the first trophy of the German’s reign at Anfield; whilst Manuel Pellegrini aims to make good his final few months at the Etihad club; winning the trophy would be a good way of celebrating his eventual departure.

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This season,Liverpool have put their mark on Manchester City with a performance for the ages earlier in the season at the Etihad; so the Citizens will go in a little wary and cautious especially coming off a mixed emotions type of week. Liverpool are traditionally the domineering feature of the League cup as they have won it more than any other club and would be aiming to enhance their established success in the competition.

Manchester City need to win the cup and win well to boost the morale at the East-lands and potentially get their season back on track.

My Verdict: To close to call 

My Betting Punt: Over 2.5 goals expected @1.82

 

**** Make a Punt with N500 based on the above will fetch you N 37,750; not a bad weekend of games right? Good Luck all

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This Weekend (29/01/2016)

Its a cup weekend in England this time around as the big guns in the Premier League take on teams in lower divisions looking to punch above their weight and looking to cause upsets and bring down some giants of the English game. In other parts of Europe, league action continues as we have top of the table clashes in Spain and France with a not so small matter of the Milan derby as Inter Milan and AC Milan aim to keep in touch with the likes of Juventus and Napoli.

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid

The Biggest game of this weekend features Spain’s last two League champions and of course its first v second in La Liga. Atletico Madrid have a great season so far with their new signings bedding in quite well and have continued to build the team around a solid back line. Barcelona on the other hand, have blown everyone in front of them away so far this season with Luis Saurez especially looking to break the established order of Football’s elite individual awards.

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Games between both teams are always closely fought and contested; this would not be any different. Both teams had contrasting outcomes from tough Copa Del Rey fixtures with Celta Vigo putting paid to Atletico Madrid’s run in the cup, this is coming just after their disappointing goalless draw against Sevilla last weekend; the Catalans, on the other hand continue to fight on all three fronts and this league clash affords them the chance to go three points clear with a game in hand.

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This season the records of both sides have been quite impressive; with Atletico keeping nine clean sheet from their last eleven games demonstrating their defensive solidity and undefeated in 17 of their last 19 away games; this not withstanding Barcelona have won their last five games against Atletico Madrid. Barcelona have won their last five games with an unbeaten run stretching to 23 games, scoring for fun and putting teams to the sword with consummate ease. Atletico may have lost their way recently, winless in three straight games; but cannot be taken likely nor for granted, expect a keenly contested and tense affair between La Liga’s top two sides.

My Verdict: Tough to call, Barca to win but only just.

My Betting Punt: A Barcelona win comes @ 1.51

Angers v Monaco

With PSG running away with the Ligue 1 title and every other trophy domestically; there is another trophy up for grabs and it affects the European places. Angers have been the bright lights of Ligue 1 this season, but have seemingly struggled since the start of the year with three straight defeats in all competitions. Monaco have however, picked up the slacks and have made a push for the second Champions League slot,with an undefeated run of nine games which has helped elevate the principality side to second behind run away leaders PSG.

For Angers, the bulk of the success is attributed to their defensive solidity and great home record; Angers have kept seven clean sheets in their last nine league games, coupled with been undefeated in ten of their last eleven home matches. This is Angers third big game in a row, the previous two ended in big defeats, so they need to step up and bounce back from those unfortunate results.

I believe its all the speculation surrounding the manager  that has Leonardo Jardim and Monaco rediscover last year’s midas touch and with only three losses all season and an undefeated run since early November, Monaco must be the place to be right now. Players like Bernardo Silva and Joao Moutinho have been the major catalyst in the revival  of Monaco this season

My Verdict: I will back Angers on this one to get a win.

My Betting Punt: An Angers win comes @ 3.32

Saint Etienne v Paris Saint Germain

Thirty-one games without defeat in Ligue 1 tells a story of absolute domination, that is what has characterized PSG’s campaign this season, every team they have played have been put to the sword,although teams like Angers seemed to prove difficult at first, but subsequently were put in there place. With a 21 points lead at the top of the league standings, its difficult week in week out to pin point or predict where the Parisians first defeat will come from; which team is bold enough to take up the mantle of beating the Champions and power house of French Football.

Saint-Etienne are such a team; but if you ask me how they will do it, I would probably tell you to snap out of it, because I do not see it happening and their is a likelihood the Parisians go the full season undefeated. Saint Etienne are backed by a very strong and vocal crowd every other week; the manager, Christophe Galtier is ranked among the brightest in the French domestic game, he would be looking to restore his team to a period where they had to answer to all PSG threw at them, however four consecutive defeats to this weekend’s opponents;with two happening in quick succession this season; doesn’t inspire any confidence.

So with a three game unbeaten streak under their belt, Galtier’s team though not exciting would believe they have a measure of confidence to cause PSG problems, especially with the defensive injuries the Parisians currently have. Its a big ask, but if there are any teams left to cause PSG any discomfort its,  L’ASSE.

 

My Verdict: PSG to win 

My Betting Punt: A PSG win comes @ 1.50

AC Milan v Inter Milan

Once upon a time, this was one of the biggest games in world football, but then nothing last forever; but then we cannot attempt to discard to commit this tie to the rubbish dump as it continues to have historical consequences and importance. Both Milan sides had contrasting starts to the season with Inter leading the league in the early months; AC Milan on the other hand tried to find its feet under a new manager, looking to build some momentum after an interesting summer spending spree.

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Fast forward to the new year; Juventus are knocking on the top position, Napoli are currently holding forth, but seem to be gearing for a much more endearing campaign with the Milan teams still seeking to reclaim and rediscover their past consistencies and competitive edge. With eight points separating both sides, it is almost a clear indication of how much better Inter’s squad is better then AC Milan’s; but after floundering in their last three games and been unconvincing since the winter break have left Inter clutching straws to stay in touch with the leading pack. You would have to say that the Coppa Italian run of the Rossoneri has lifted spirits and the team plays with a lot more desire and conviction to finish with silverware this season.

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We can expect a drab, tight, keenly contested encounter with both teams seeking to cancel each other out; Inter are undefeated in nine of their last ten away games, so you would be forgiven if you gave the Nerazzurri a better chance at winning this installment of the Milan Derby.

My Verdict: This looks more like a draw to me

My Betting Punt: A draw comes @ 3.35

*** An investment of N500 on these tips will yield N 12,000

Selected FA Cup tips

Crystal Palace v Stoke – Both teams to score @1.95

Bolton v Leeds – Leeds win or draw @1.41

Liverpool v West Ham – Both teams to score @1.72

Arsenal v Burnley – Arsenal to win @1.40

Oxford United v Blackburn – Oxford win or draw @ 1.35

*** An investment of N500 on these FA Cup will yield N 4,500