October 20, 2018

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Football Weekend Preview

Football Weekend Preview

The weekend is back again and various football leagues across Europe are abuzz with fascinating matches to watch out for.

The English Premiership throws up such matches are here is a preview of some of the top ones:

Tottenham vs Cardiff City

Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to continue their ascent up the Premier League table when they welcome a winless Cardiff City side to Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Lilywhites have won back-to-back matches in the top flight to climb into fourth place, but they suffered a setback in midweek when losing to Barcelona in the Champions League.

Cardiff’s last week defeat to Burnley made it four defeats in a row in the Premier League and five in all competitions, having also been dumped out of the EFL Cup by Norwich City in August, while their winless streak stands at eight matches since the start of the season – their joint-worst run since 1964.

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Manchester United vs Newcastle United

Manchester United will be looking to recover from their worst ever Premier League start when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho’s side has picked up just 10 points from their opening seven games of the season, but take on a Newcastle team still searching for their first win of the campaign.

United have not gone five games without a victory since December 2015, and they know that they must find a return to winning ways sooner rather than later with successive matches against Chelsea, Juventus and Everton immediately after the international break.

For Newcastle, a 10th-place finish last season was a remarkable achievement, but they have been slow to get going this term and travel to Old Trafford as one of only three Premier League teams still without a win this season.

Three points already separate them from safety as a result, and with seven defeats from their nine games across all competitions so far in 2018-19, it would not be a surprise to see that gap grow this weekend.

 

Fulham vs Arsenal

Arsenal makes the short trip to west London on Sunday lunchtime to contest a derby with promoted Fulham.

The Gunners have struck a rich footballing seam following an unthinkable pair of defeats to begin their first season following the departure of legendary boss Arsene Wenger.

Fulham’s fizz has gone flat since a bright start to life back in the top flight following promotion from the Championship in May.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s side has tumbled down the ladder after going four games since their only win, a handsome 4-2 thumping of Burnley at Craven Cottage.

They come into the derby one place and three points above the EPL drop zone, with a return to winning ways becoming ever more imperative.

Xhaka celebrating a goal for Arsenal.

Southampton vs Chelsea

Chelsea goes to Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday right in the mix at the top of the early table.

The Blues have enjoyed an impressive start to their first campaign under the charge of Maurizio Sarri and remain one of three unbeaten teams at the top, alongside Manchester City and Liverpool.

Only a last-gasp equalizer from former striker Daniel Sturridge prevented Sarri’s men claiming all three points against the Reds in a high-quality fixture at Stamford Bridge last Saturday night.

The 2016 champions sit two points off the top of the EPL table in third, thanks to five straight victories to start the season.

Southampton is once again limping along in the lower reaches of the division.

The Saints haven’t won in three since a 2-0 success at Crystal Palace.

Mark Hughes’ side also comes into this one off the back of a pair of defeats, away to Liverpool and Wolves.

Only three points and two places are keeping Southampton’s heads above the choppy waters of the relegation zone.

Hazard mobbed by teammates.

 

Liverpool vs Manchester City

The Premier League leaders will do battle on Sunday, as defending champions Manchester City travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool.

Both teams are undefeated in the league so far, winning all of their matches and playing out a single draw each.

Both of these teams have been in sensational form on the domestic stage so far but showed signs of weakness in the UEFA Champions League in midweek.

The Citizens had to dig deep to get past debutants Hoffenheim, playing just their second game in the competition. Liverpool was overrun by Napoli in midfield on their way to a 1-0 loss.

The biggest question is whether both sides simply suffered a hiccup in midweek or there’s more going on here. Liverpool, in particular, may be concerned with their form given the double-header against Chelsea, where neither contest went their way.

Liverpool players.

The Spanish La Liga also host league matches and here is the preview of some of them:

Alaves vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid could temporarily climb to the top of the Liga table this weekend when they take on Alaves at Estadio de Mendizorroza on Saturday.

However, Los Blancos will go into the game in poor form and face an Alaves team that could move level on points with them if the home side prevail.

The Basque outfit is only in their third season back in the top flight, but a three-match winning streak last month – which included an impressive 5-1 triumph at Rayo Vallecano – has lifted them up to sixth in the standings after seven games.

Los Blancos come into this weekend’s match having failed to score in any of their last three games across all competitions, making for their longest drought in front of goal for 12 years.

The European champions have also only won one of their last seven away games across all competitions, losing three of those, and with their next away game after this weekend coming at the Camp Nou in El Clasico, that is a record they will be desperate to improve upon against Alaves.

 

Atletico Madrid vs Real Betis

Level on points in fourth and fifth in La Liga standings respectively, Atletico Madrid and Real Betis go head to head in what could potentially become one of the most interesting matches of La Liga this weekend.

Atletico Madrid extended their unbeaten run to six matches in a row thanks to a comfortable 3-1 triumph over Club Brugge KV in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Los Rojiblancos recovered well from their only defeat in the season thus far – at Celta Vigo earlier in September – and seem to be gaining momentum at the moment.

Real Betis are behind their weekend’s rivals Atletico Madrid on goal difference. The Andalusians have lost only one match in the new season – at the very opening of the new La Liga campaign – and are bursting with confidence on the back of a nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

 

Valencia vs Barcelona

Barcelona has failed to win any of their last three La Liga games but last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao featured a better performance than the scoreline suggests.

The Catalans hit the post on two occasions in that match whilst being generally untroubled in defence aside from one lapse in concentration which Bilbao’s De Marcos punished.

Valencia has endured a difficult start to the season. Saturday’s win over Real Sociedad was their first of the season across all competitions, although they have at least proven difficult to beat.

The Valencians have only lost one of their first seven La Liga fixtures.

 

Here is the preview of some matches in the German Bundesliga:

Borussia Dortmund vs Augsburg

Borussia Dortmund is flying high these days. They won three on the trot in all competitions netting an impressive 13-goal tally along.

The phenomenal streak started with a 7-0 thumping of recently-promoted Nurnberg. It was followed with a magnificent comeback and a 2-4 victory over Bayer Leverkusen away at BayArena.

Augsburg started the season in a slower fashion, but they grew in form over the last couple of weeks. Manuel Baum’s side picked up four points from last two rounds.

They held the defending champions Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw before capitalizing on such result with a demolishing 4-1 victory over Freiburg on the home patch last weekend.

 

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Monchengladbach

Second and fourth meets in this top-of-the-table clash. Bayern Munich has been in good form in the league this season though they drew in their Champions League match against Ajax.

During the last 24 meetings with Bayern Munich playing at home, Bayern Munich has won 16 times, there have been 5 draws while Monchengladbach has won 3 times.

The goal difference is 51-23 in favour of Bayern Munich.

 

The Italian Serie A also throws up some interesting matches involving top teams and here is the preview:

Udinese vs Juventus

A superb 3-1 victory over nearest challengers Napoli last week took Juventus six points clear at the top of Serie A.

Juventus lead the way once again with a perfect 21 points on the board, and their Serie A stranglehold looks set to continue this season as The Old Lady hunt down an eighth consecutive title.

Ronaldo returns this weekend after sitting out Juve’s comfortable 3-0 midweek success over Young Boys in the Champions League with a ban, and the Portuguese will be confident of inflicting some more damage against a Udinese side who’ve won just once in their last five Serie A outings.

Things appeared quite positive for Udinese after beating Chievo 0-2 away on matchday five, but their solid start to the season has been undone over the past fortnight with back to back 2-1 defeats against Lazio and Bologna.

Julio Velazquez’ side has dropped to 14th in the table as a result.

 

Empoli vs AS Roma

After a tremendous 3-1 derby success against bitter rivals Lazio last weekend and a midweek 5-0 romp over Viktoria Plzen in the Champion League, Roma’s early season crisis appears to be over.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s side is still well off the pace in Serie A due to their bad start to the campaign, but they’ll be confident of moving up from the 9th place this weekend when they make the trip to Tuscany to face an Empoli team who is winless in six outings.

Empoli’s return to Serie A hasn’t been a pleasant one thus far, and the Azzurri are without a victory in their last six top-flight games.

Empoli has played good football at times this season but lacks composure when it matters as they’re meagre five-goal tally suggests.

Roma is still one of the freest scoring teams in Serie A (I Giallorossi have scored 14 so far despite winning just three from seven) and it’s highly unlikely that the hosts are going to outgun the resurgent visitors this Saturday.

 

AC Milan vs Chievo

The Rossoneri has been in good form despite some hiccups this season by winning their last two matches both in the league and in the Europa League.

Chievo, on the other hand, has been atrocious losing their last three matches without any win in the last six.

 

Lazio vs Fiorentina

Third-placed Fiorentina travels to Rome to take on Lazio in this weekend’s highlight Serie A fixture.

Lazio welcomes a young, exciting Fiorentina side who have made a great start to the season, performing above expectations and sitting in third place.

Home field advantage, or a lack of it, could be crucial in this match. The Biancocelsti’s home from thus far has been average at best, sitting 10th in the home form table, whilst Fiorentina has failed to win an away game with one draw and two losses.

Lazio is fresh off a humbling defeat to bitter derby rivals Roma, losing 4-1 and highlighting their problems in defence.

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