THIS WEEKEND: Arsenal welcomes Everton, Roma looks for a win against Fiorentina and Dortmund battles Leverkusen for 2nd spot.

ars-hul-1314-041213-ps1After a successful FIFA World Cup final draw in Brazil earlier today, we shift our attention to some games that are key to title destinations in some quarters around Europe this weekend.

We start from the Barclays Premier League where Champions Manchester United who have been far from convincing this season welcome the Magpies, Newcastle United to Old Trafford in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Manchester United went down 1-0 at home to Everton in midweek, and have now gone 3 games without a win. David Moyes’ side are now 12 points off top spot and in real danger of surrendering their title at such an early stage.They have not lost successive home Premier League games since May 2002, though, and Newcastle may be on the end of a backlash here.

mun-eve-1314-041213-ps5The Magpies’ 4 game winning streak was ended by a surprising 3-0 loss at Swansea.Newcastle have won none of their last 29 league visits to Old Trafford, losing 21.
If Van Persie does not recover from injury this will be the first time Man Utd have played a League game without both him and Wayne Rooney since the Dutchman arrived. Phil Jones returns from suspension and could be back in central midfield ahead of Marouane Fellaini. After losing so convincingly in Wales, Alan Pardew may consider changes ahead of this game, perhaps adding an extra man in midfield while Papiss Demba Cisse remains doubtful for this one.

United should respond after the midweek loss.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle United

ars-hul-1314-041213-ps3Still in England, League leaders Arsenal will play Everton on Sunday. Arsenal have won 8 of their last 12 Premier League meetings with Everton, losing none, and victory against one of the Premier League’s in form teams will send a real statement of intent to their title rivals.
Meanwhile, Everton have managed to score more than 1 goal in a league game with Arsenal in 1 of their last 21 meetings, but have netted 12 in their last 7 top flight fixtures and conceded just 4.

Manager Arsene Wenger has his fair share of injury worries heading into the fixture with Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo, Ryo Miyaichi and Mathieu Flamini sidelined.Bacary Sagna is out so Carl Jenkinson will start, while Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud are like to come back into the team at the expense Nacho Monreal, Tomas Rosicky and Nicklas Bendtner.

For Everton, securing a memorable 1-0 win at Manchester United on Wednesday has seen them extend their unbeaten Premier League run to 7 games.Darron Gibson, Arouna Koné and Leighton Baines remain manager Roberto Martínez’s only injury concerns ahead of the trip to the Emirates.

It will be a cracking game but looks like Arsenal can edge it.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Everton

image_galleryAway from England, we travel down to Italy where the team that seem to have lost its winning magic Roma will host in-form team, Fiorentina on Sunday.
Roma have drawn their last four matches in the league; three 1-1 draws and one goalless match. All of those results came against mid-table and bottom half opponents, so maybe the Giallorossi need a big game to spark them back into life.
Fiorentina won a crazy match at home against Hellas Verona, exhibiting great potential up front but also serious defensive weakness. Catching up with Inter and closing in on Roma has certainly boosted their morale.

Roma is expected to play a 4-3-3 formation with Fiorentina using the 4-3-2-1 formation. We will see good goals in this one but we might not see an outright winner.

Prediction: Roma 2-2 Fiorentina

videosgalerie_max_1875And finally in the Bundesliga, Second placed Bayer Leverkusen travels down to the Signal Iduna Park to play third placed Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Dortmund are three points behind Leverkusen in 3rd place and can overtake them with a home win. They desperately need one to try to keep pace with Bayern.
Leverkusen themselves want to secure 2nd place as well, but may have lost some confidence since their heavy defeat against Manchester United in the Champions League.

Manuel Friedrich and Sokratis will start at centre-back even as Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender compete for a spot in defensive midfield with the latter not fully fit and Marco Reus is also a doubt for this one.
Leverkusen on the other hand will have Emir Spahic and Philipp Wollscheid competing for a spot at centre-back and with Sidney Sam still injured as well, Jens Hegeler should get another chance on the right wing.

It will be a competitive game between the two but it appears that the side that wants it more will win it.

Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Sure banker of the week:

Lille will still not concede against Bordeaux.

Surprise of the Week

Any of La Liga’s top 4 to crash out of Copa Del Rey.

Game to watch

Arsenal VS Everton

Adeyemi Adesanya
Sports Business Consultant and Football Intermediary; Risk Management & Due Diligence Consultant; Freelance Football writer & Pundit on Radio & TV and Man.Utd Fan

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