Matchday 24 is here and it is a weekend of derbies in London, Liverpool, and Madrid! We also take a look at PSG-Lyon as well as an old classic in Italy of Juventus vs AC Milan. Before that, though, let’s take a quick look back at last weekend.
Recap of scores from Matchday 23:
Liverpool vs West Ham: Sturridge is back in full force, scoring with two lethal touches to seal the win for Liverpool.
West Brom vs Spurs: Eriksen with yet another freekick and Harry Kane with more goals. Ready for Arsenal next!
Chelsea vs Man City: 1-1. Relatively quiet affair without Costa, Fabregas, and Yaya. Gap at the top is still five points.
Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Comfortable win for Arsenal. Five different scorers. Villa horrendous.
Manchester United vs Leicester: United still cant keep a clean sheet but win 3-1. Falcao scores! Kind of.
Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Dortmund: 0-0 draw, Dortmund need to pick up points or else…
AS Monaco v Lyon: Yet another clean sheet for Monaco, and the Ligue 1 race is extremely close.
Real Madrid v Real Sociedad: No miracle for Moyes’ men this time despite the early goal, as Madrid romp to a 4-1 win.
Matchday 24: We start in the EPL with Tottenham v Arsenal. Both teams are hot coming into this one based on their recent fixtures. The old adage is that form goes out the window, but confidence will persevere, here. This game will be feisty. Aston Villa v Chelsea is next, and Villa’s inability to score will surely see them on the losing side in this one. Manchester City v Hull City makes me wonder…will Hull City be able to perform as well as Burnley did during the post Christmas fixtures? Man City need to close the gap at the top and the season is heading into “squeaky bum time”. I think anything Hull come up with will be surpassed by the Citizens. Everton v Liverpool will undoubtedly be a battle for the ages. Everton have everything to prove, and Liverpool are in form coming into this one. They have also been given a lift by the return of Sturridge, who can turn a game on its head by himself. Everton will need to put the pieces together to get anything from this one. West Ham v Manchester United is next. United have maintained a good run of results, if not performances, but West Ham have slipped a little of late. Perhaps missing Andy Carrol may be a blessing in disguise if they can revert back to the slicker passing displayed earlier in the season. Expect the unexpected.
Over on the continent, Lyon v PSG is the big one from Ligue 1, in one of the closer title races in Europe at the moment. Lyon are without Lacazette, Zlatan is without his mind. In La Liga, Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid is a massive game, and we can expect a rough and tumble affair with a lot of fouls and a lot of fights. Hard to choose a winner but a cracker for the neutrals. Juventus v AC Milan used to be one of the most anticipated games to look forward to but today a lot of the sting has been lost. Juventus are clear favourites and AC Milan are a shadow of their former selves. Think you can predict any of these games? Have a go yourself!
Summary of Matchday 23
Predictions tally for our Pundits:
Predictions tally for our Contributors:
Tight race at the top with Bernie only 3 points ahead of Rishay. Mohaned is in third place and Rahim in fourth after yet another week with the most points. Alex and Zee tied with 9 points and Nahel had 7 to round up the race. Daniyal approaches the 150 mark himself.
Matchday 24 Predictions:
Games of the Week:
Bernie: Everton v Liverpool: As far as intense affairs go, not many games in the Premier League come close to the Merseyside derby. This season we’ve already seen a magical game ended by a last-minute Phil Jagielka goal of the season contender. This match may just be better than that one. Everton have been in poor form of late despite a win in their last game. Liverpool are the in-form team in the Premier League, climbing up the table after a poor start. With Daniel Sturridge returning, the Reds will be full of confidence, but the Toffees should have have regained a bit of confidence too after beating Crystal Palace. This is where prediction gurus are made, ladies and gentlemen! Predicting the unpredictable is what wins you Cosh trophies. I believe both teams will cancel each other out. 1-1 draw.
Alexander: Tottenham v Arsenal: This will, I think, be one of the most interesting North London derbies for years. Both sides are seen as “in form” and only two points separates them in the table. Their seasons have somewhat mirrored each other. Both started off shakily, the managers not really knowing their best 11s, trying to get their players used to new systems, conceding too many goals. Both largely rectified these problems toward the end of 2014. Arsenal dropped Szczesny, Spurs dropped Kaboul. Meanwhile, both teams also saw a star rise to prominence and drag them forward. For Arsenal, Alexis has been a shot to the veins that Maradona (or Anthony Keidis) would be proud of. For Spurs, Harry Kane’s goalscoring has been a timely revelation at a time when Adebayor and Soldado look like they may end up on Craigslist. I think both sides will score, here, but I also expect Koscielny and Coquelin to be well equipped to deal with the Kane/Eriksen tandem threat. A Spurs back line with an erratic Danny Rose and a slow Fazio, however, should be exposed by the pace Arsenal have at their disposal. Walcott may not be on top form, but he is always good for a goal or two against Tottenham. 1-2 to Arsenal.
Mohaned: Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: I enjoy all and any of the major La Liga clashes which have Atletico Madrid in them. I almost enjoy an Atletico – Madrid or Atletico – Barca game more than El Clasico. This one will be revenge seeking for Real after their elimination from the Copa del Rey at the hands of their city rivals. That said, they’ll be without three of their influencial players, Modric, who has been absent for a while now, Ramos, and James with a broken foot. Luckily for them, Cristiano is back in the side after having completed his suspension. Diego Simeone will want to continue his excellent record against Real and close the gap at the top of the Liga table. We have a huge Madrid derby on our hands, and I cant wait! 2-2 draw for me.
Rishay: West Ham v Manchester United: Odd fixture this one, with both teams seemingly having something to prove despite their respective standings. West Ham have overachieved so far this season and have been deserving of their praise. They are a cohesive unit which can put any team in front of them under the cosh on their day. Man United have seemingly found out how to score again in recent weeks but keeping that record up against this West Ham team will require a disciplined performance. Which team with LVG put out this week? Something to look forward to for people who like surprises. Tune into this one and I’m sure something unexpected will happen. 1-2 Manchester United.
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