Great last weekend and an even better weekend in stall for us Football fans. All across Europe, especially in Italy where goals are supposed to be a scarce commodity; Inter and Ac Milan scored 12 goals between them and a total of 16 goals in the games that involved both teams last season. It was quite refreshing having league football back on our TV screens; for these weekend we take our preview jet on trips to England, Italy, France, Germany and preview a rather awkward game from Spain’s La Liga.
Paris Saint Germain v Lyon
Expect a high scoring game at the Parc D’ Princes with PSG struggling and Lyon getting some form of their groove back with their victory over Monaco. The Parisians made light work of Los Gones last season, but may be in for a tougher test this time around. PSG are undefeated in 32 of their last 33 games home games in Ligue 1, but then have had 4 consecutive draws this season; pressure may not have gone a notch yet, but a team of their calibre and investment should not be in the position they currently are especially with the mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimovic. PSG are still without Thiago Silva through injury, but Marquinhos has shown great maturity in the early weeks of the season. Christophe Jallet makes a return to the capital with a point to prove, but then Lyon’s injury crisis lingers on.
Halftimeng Prediction: PSG to win (expect a couple of goals)
Hamburg v Bayern Munich
Rewind back a number of years, this is traditionally a big game in Germany, but then Hamburg have fallen completely from grace. Struggled last season through out and are only in the Bundesliga due to success in the relegation play off. Already, a manager (Mirko Slomka) has been fired for their poor start to the season, hence Bayern meet a team suffering psychologically and a team with one point and no goals so far this season as well as a mounting injury crisis. The only Achilles heel I see here for Bayern is their consistent change in style or formation; take nothing away from Pep’s side this looks clearly like 3 points in the bag.
Halftimeng Prediction: Bayern Munich to win comfortably
Manchester City v Chelsea
Last season, this game seemed about the midfield battle between Yaya Toure and Nemanja Matic; the battle did live up to expectations as Chelsea got the better of the citizens at the Etihad. To a number of people (this also includes me), Chelsea are clear favorites to win the league, but not if Manchester City have anything to do with it. Jose Mourinho will definitely set up his team to be solid, compact and geared towards counter attacking; so expect a tough, engaging encounter. Manchester City are currently on a run of two losses from their last three games; technically form is an issue and City need a win here in order not to have too much to the in the entire title equation.
Halftimeng Prediction: Draw here, cannot see any other kind of result
Milan v Juventus
Both Managers have been at each others throats previously and as far as i am concerned there is no love lost between the managers of both clubs. Interestingly both managers also have a point to prove; Pippo Inzaghi for all his greatness as a goalscorer for both Juventus and Milan needs to prove himself as a manager; Allegri on the other hand has a reputation that has been damaged, no thanks to his last season at Milan which was quite uneventful and quite mediocre at that and of course revenge will be on his mind.
To the game proper; Milan have started the season scoring goals and with maximum points; but then defensively especially by their showing at the Tardini against Parma, there is a worry; as Juventus are yet to concede this season and look quite solid and compact despite missing top players like Pirlo and Vidal. Juventus are on a run of 9 straight wins in Serie A; so the winning mentality is very solid; Milan’s new signings on the other hand are bedding in quite well especially Jeremy Menez and Stefan El-Sharawy is gradually looking the part along with Keisuke Honda.
Its 4-3-3 v 3-5-2; it will be an interesting tactical battle as both managers look to assert themselves in their respective positions; expect a tough gritty affair.
Halftimeng Prediction: Looks like a draw to me; expect a typical Italian tactical battle.
Elche V Eibar
The battle of the promoted teams from Liga Adelante (Spain’s second Division) go head to head in an early relegation six pointer in La Liga. Elche have been in decent form lately and need a result here to boost their aspirations of remaining in the Primera division, although they have drawn 5 of their last 6 home games; this definitely gives Eibar a chance going into this encounter. Eibar are currently placed 14th in the league with a win in their first three games but the last two games have ended in defeat; as it is expected of promoted teams; the cautious approach always takes centre stage; Elche have been able to score goals in this division (four in total so far) with the defensive side remaining the albatross of both sides.
Halftimeng Prediction: A draw looks very likely; score draw at that.
* www.whoscored.com for all statistics references