Another exciting weekend is upon us and this time; we won’t just be restricting our weekend “must-see”games to the continent of Europe, read on and find out the most important game that is going to be played on another continent. It’s another cup weekend in England, FA CUP to be precise, although upsets are being expected in cup competitions but it looks like with the form of the big teams, they should safely make it through to the next round; this weekend our destinations are the Seria A, the French Ligue 1 and the African Nations Championship.
Our first port of call is the Serie A where two power houses go head to head as Lazio will be attempting to halt Juventus’ 12-match winning run. The biancocelesti have certainly improved under Edy Reja, they’re unbeaten in all competitions since the manager’s return and boasted an impressive fight back against Udinese last week, with Hernanes scoring a late winner. But with Juventus having won their last 12 in a row, you have to think some of the shine is about to come off Reja. Juventus will want to wipe the memory of their cup defeat to Roma by extending their 12-match winning streak. The visitors will want to state their control of the league, but that doesn’t mean they will throw themselves into attack and concede easy chances to Lazio. Antonio Conte will encourage early pressure on their opponents, but will combine that with periods of patience.
For Lazio, Edy Reja will be without a number of players due to injury and suspensions. The coach is expected to stick with a three-man defence to match Juventus’ formation and also to cope with his lack of left-backs while for Juventus, Giorgio Chiellini is suspended and will be replaced by either Martin Caceres or Angelo Ogbonna.
Halftimeng Predictions: Looks like a game that will be won in the midfield, Candreva, Hernanes Biglia have to up their game against Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba. An exciting game in prospect, both teams should share the spoils.
With the sad news coming out of Monaco earlier in the week concerning Radamel Falcao’s injury, the club will be hoping to continue their good run at home when they welcome Marseille while the footballing world is hoping that they will bring another world-class striker into their fold. Marseille can do arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain a favour with a win against the title challengers on Sunday.
Monaco are five points adrift of leaders and defending champions PSG heading into this game and they will be favourites to take all three points against Marseille, who succumbed to a 2-1 home defeat in the reverse fixture at the Stade Velodrome in September, but the hosts will need to wary of a team that is unbeaten in their last three league games. Monaco are undefeated in 19 of their last 21 matches in Ligue 1 while Marseille are undefeated in their last 5 away matches against Monaco in all competitions.
Halftimeng Predictions: Monaco 2-1 Marseille
At the ongoing CHAN tournament in South Africa, there will be four exciting quarter final clashes this weekend with 2011 winners, DR Congo having a big one against Ghana, Gabon who produced a late drama in their final group game will tackle Libya, Zimbabwe’s national football team, The Warriors, step into Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night as underdogs when they face a much fancied Mali team and the must-see game will see the best attacking team in the competition (Nigeria) up against the meanest defence in the tournament (Morocco).
Nigeria face a Moroccan side that is yet to lose a game from the qualifying series of the tournament and also went unbeaten with one win and two draws from their three fixtures in Group B of the CHAN. In 18 appearances between these two sides, Morocco boast of eight wins against Nigeria’s six with the draw on four occasions. Bright Esieme is to fill in for suspended Solomon Kwambe at right back for Nigeria against Morocco.
Eagles starting XI will parade; Chigozie Agbim – Bright Esieme, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Kunle Odunlami, Erhun Obanor – Ugonna Uzochukwu, Rabiu Ali, Shehu Abdullahi, Ejike Uzoenyi – Gbolahan Salami, Ifeanyi Ede.
Both teams are debutants in this tourney and it will be a game of attack by the Nigerians versus an organised Morrocan defence.
Halftimeng Predictions: Will be a feisty game but Nigeria will edge it and make it through to the last four.