Published on by Darren8196 18 Comments
When two of the best teams in the league (including the defending chamipons) lose in the first two matches of the season, you know it's not going to be a great week for predicting.
This week we are back to normal with four games from European leagues, so hopefully a good score will be back on the cards.
So, let's get into the games.
Manchester United v Liverpool
One of the biggest derbies in world football is played this weekend, but we'll get to that game next. First, we have the small matter of United against Liverpool.
United seem to find a way to grind out results despite playing horrendously. Their last two games have seen them come from 1-0 and 2-0 down to grab a victory on both occasions. They will be hoping that they can stop that run of conceding soon, with this being the first of three must-win games in a row -- a tough league game v Liverpool on Saturday, the second leg of their Champions League tie against Sevilla on Tuesday and then the FA Cup quarter final against Brighton, in what may be their only chance at silverware this season.
Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Porto in their Champions League first leg meant that they were able to play a weakened team for their home leg, so will be well rested for this game. They seem to have dropped their reputation of having a leaky defence, with four clean sheets and just three goals conceded in their last six games, and with an average of three goals scored per game, they finally look like a team that is able to compete for silverware, at a stage when the only competition they are still competing in are the league and Champions League. And with their front three all in incredible form, they are a tough side to face.
United seem to be relying on their home form to keep them in second place, having only lost to Man City at home this season. And with four clean sheets from their last five home matches, they have certainly turned Old Trafford into a fearsome place to play. Liverpool suffered an embarrassing 1-0 loss away to Swansea a few weeks ago, but three clean sheets and convincing wins since have put them in good form to take on their north-east city rivals.
This is a tough one to predict, with the last four games all having ended in a draw. I feel that that run may come to an end, with Liverpool edging out United in an exciting game, as they take advantage of the hosts leaky defence.
Game played: Saturday 10th, 12:45 p.m. (GMT) / 7:45 a.m. (EST)
My prediction: Liverpool win
Rangers v Celtic
As a Scot, I feel like this game is one I should know most about, but it has become much tougher to predict in the past month or so, especially compared to the last few seasons.
Celtic have a six point advantage with a game in hand over their bitter rivals, but their form recently has been poor by their standards, having dropped points to Kilmarnock and St Johnstone in their last league games. Their away form has also been questionable for a while, with four wins and four losses in their last ten away games.
Rangers have found form at the right point in the season, and have won 12 of their last 14 games, losing only to Hibs and drawing away to Celtic in the previous Old Firm. With the recent addition of Jason Cummings on loan from Nottingham Forest, they have added an abundance of goals, with 21 goals in their last five games alone. With seven clean sheets in those 14 games, they have also improved their defence compared to earlier in the season.
Rangers have failed to beat Celtic since they were demoted, or the new club was formed - depending on which side of the derby you are on. However, this could be the first time that they blue side of Glasgow comes out on top, with better form and home advantage making the tie much more even than any of the games in the past four years. I feel like they will be successful in stopping Celtic from taking the three points, and I may be going out on a limb, but I think that Rangers may actually pick up all three points.
Game played: Sunday 11th, 12:00 p.m. (GMT) / 7:00 a.m. (EST)
My prediction: Rangers win
Inter Milan v Napoli
Fifth host first in Serie A in a game that both teams will be desperate to win.
Inter Milan’s stuttering form at the start of the new year hasn't fully come to an end. With two wins and a loss following on from five draws, they have been able to hold on to the teams currently chasing the last Champions League qualification spots. Their two wins at home has meant that they have still only dropped 11 points at home this season.
Napoli suffered a tough defeat to Roma last weekend, so will be desperate to get back to winning ways to try and keep the pressure up on Juventus, who sit one point behind them with a game in hand. The visitors are in fine away form, and are unbeaten in the league this season, currently have win their last six league games. Having been knocked out of the Europa League by RB Leipzig, Napoli’s main focus will be on the league title.
Napoli edge things in recent years, with four wins to Inter’s two in the past eight meetings, and two wins and one draw in the past three meetings. I am leaning towards an away win in this match due to Napoli's excellent form and their motivation to make amends for last week's loss, while Inter still seem unable to string together a row of gold performances.
Game played: Sunday 11th, 7:45 p.m. (GMT) / 2:45 p.m. (EST)
My prediction: Napoli win
Sevilla v Valencia
Fourth and fifth face off in Spain, with both teams fighting for different European competitions next season.
Sevilla are currently fifth, and four points ahead of a small pack of teams just behind them, who are waiting to capitalise on any points that they may drop. Sevilla have been on a good run of form which has seen them get five wins and a draw and a loss in their last seven games, with those poor results being a 5-2 home loss to Atletico Madrid and a 0-0 draw with Manchester United in the Champions League.
Valencia find themselves just one point behind Real Madrid in fourth. Based on the last five games of all teams in La Liga, they are in the best form in the league with three wins and two draws. However their away for is still fairly questionable, having lost four of their last six away games and only beating bottom side Malaga.
In past encounters the home side more often than not prevails, and you have to go back to 2012 to find the last time that either team won while playing away from home. I feel like this game will follow that trend, with Sevilla coming out on top.
Game played: Saturday 10th, 3:15 p.m. (GMT) / 10:15 a.m. (EST)
My prediction: Sevilla win
Four very tough games to predict, and the rewards you get out of it are worthwhile. As it is the week of the Old Firm derby, Rangers and Celtic take centre stage with the rewards. Your choice this week is between an 85 Alfredo Morelos and an 85 Scott Sinclair. If neither of those players take your fancy, or you fail to get all four results correct, then you can pick up some coins instead, with 1 token giving you 125k coins and four tokens giving you 950k.
Good luck and happy predicting!