Scouting for Fixtures: Feb 06 – Feb 12

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. As well as seeking out the most entertaining games, each preview weaves the clubs into a greater football narrative. Each article is a selection of hand picked upcoming matches worldwide that week, which looks set for 90 minutes of non-stop action. 

All times are GMT.

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid ( Tue 07 20:00 )

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Atleti looks – not to beat the cliche to death – like a shadow of their former self. Compared to this time last season, they’ve actually scored 4 more goals but doubled down on conceding, with 8 more than last season (twice the amount). Oh my god, 16 goals conceded in 20 games! That only makes them what, only the 6th best defence in the Europe?! That stat would look complementary for most other teams, but by the insanely high standards they set themselves, Atleti is slipping. To compound the pressure, they have one of the best attacking line-ups in the world they now have to face, again, away from home. This is the second leg of a tie already not in their favour. I feel by explaining the last leg a bit more illustrates just how big the mountain Atleti have to climb is. Suarez scored first at 6′.  So he starts just behind the halfway line with 4 Atleti players in front of him; with his first touch he bypasses Godin, the second goes past Savic (by now he’s at the edge of the box) and the third touch puts the ball past the keeper, scoring an incredible solo goal. He’s running at such an immense speed from running the half of the pitch he needs to put his arms out, acting as a parachute would for drag racing, so as to not crash into the advertising board. Amazing. The second is scored by Messi at 32′. A ball played to him from the edge of the box, what do you do? Of course, you rocket it in, curling away from the keeper (and goal) and bounce off the opposite post and nestle it into the net. 2-0, game over. Yes ok, Atleti scored 1 goal but that is beside the point. Point being, both of those goals were unstoppable. It didn’t matter if you had 11 of the best players in the world or 100 Brazilian kids in the 62-15-23 formation, those goals were fixed points in time, they were always going in. That’s the danger Atleti face, the chance that regardless of how well they play, there is a chance Suarez, Neymar or Messi could pull it out the bag at any given moment. Also, Atletico Madrid has to go for the win. Conceding 2 away goals means needing to score twice without response from Barca to ensure they go through.

Liverpool vs Tottenham ( Sat 11 17:30 )

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Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now felt like an accurate gauge of the mood.

That quote was in reference to Anfield, after beating Manchester City 1-0 on new years eve and winning 4 in a row, excited in all the possibilities 2017 had to offer. Fast forward to today, Anfield feels Kafkaesque, with Mad World by Gary Jules ringing through the speakers. The phrase wank wank wank wank* isn’t thrown about too often, but it sums up the state of things when referenced by The RedMen TV after losing 2-0 to Hull. I don’t remember a worse start to a year for Liverpool, ever. 36 days in, 10 games played, 5 losses, 4 draws, but 1 win. The 1 win was against League 2 side Plymouth in the 2nd leg of an FA cup tie and ended 0-1, but a win is a win. Even still, Liverpool has a good chance of winning. Stats wise anyway. The last 6 games, Liverpool have not lost a single one. That’s about everything I could find in favour of Liverpool. That, and the fact their playing in Anfield. So Spurs are the closest thing to overthrowing Chelsea right now, 9 points behind the league leaders despite winning 7 of their last 9 Premier League fixtures. Both defences will be tested on Saturday, as Tottenham and Liverpool are 1st and 2nd in shots per game respectively, with 17.6 and 17.1. Couple that with the stat of Tottenham averaging the lowest interceptions per game respectively (11 and 8.4), this could be a high scoring game. While Tottenham can rely on their sound defensive record (best in the league), Liverpool defenders could recontextualise recent events to cope:

*Trust me. It’s not what it seems like. The link is safe to click. Trust. Me.

Osasuna vs Real Madrid ( Sat 11 19:45 )

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If we’re sticking to the music analogy, Minas Morgul is definitely playing through the El Sadar (Osasuna home) stadium speakers as you catch glimpse of the Real Madrid side marching in the distance*. Ironically, Osasuna means health but if you were to personify the club, they would have osteoporosis. I’m definitely being too mean, but when you have the 2nd worst defence in the league, the worst home record in La Liga (haven’t even won a home game yet, after 11 games) and only won 1 league game all season, the home side look out of their league, literally and figuratively. It’s commendable how they climbed the third tier, nicknamed the well, in Christian Bale Dark Knight fashion. But when Phill Ball describes the off-the-pitch issues on sport360 as:

they are under investigation for match-fixing during last season’s unsuccessful attempt to avoid relegation, have an ex-president and ex-director recently released from prison on bail, and financial problems popping up like poisonous mushrooms

sympathy is hard to come by. Then the realisation that Real Madrid is playing begins to contextualise why I picked this game. I am all for competitive unpredictable football, but there is a certain joy that comes with watching a side completely rip apart their opposition (again, sorry Osasuna fans). Los Blancos are top of the table with 2 games in hand, with 51 goals all season, ranked #4 in goals per game. Recent history between the two sides also points to a high scoring game, averaging 3.8 goals per game. Good luck.

*If you don’t get that reference, as a ginger wizard once said, she needs to sort out her priorities*2.

*If you didn’t get that one either, you’re beyond help.

Feel like I missed out any matches or want to give any feedback? Comment Below!


Sources:

WhoScored

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/dec/31/liverpool-manchester-city-premier-league-match-report

http://sport360.com/article/football/la-liga/205995/phil-ball-christmas-pickle-or-plight-for-la-liga-clubs-as-we-take-stock-at-the-winter-break/

https://scoutingforfixtures.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-most-entertaining-football-teams-statistically-ranked/

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Scouting For Fixtures: Dec 19 – Dec 25

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. They come out every Sunday and hand picks upcoming matches worldwide that week, which looks set for 90 minutes of non-stop action.

All times are GMT.

Everton vs Liverpool ( Mon 19 20:00 )

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‘When I’ve got nothing better to do, I look down the league table to see how Everton are getting along.’ – Bill Shankly. While I couldn’t date the quote it’s safe to assume it was during his managerial career, so at latest it was in the late 70’s. 40 years on and that sentiment holds pretty accurate bar the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons, to the dismay of Everton fans everywhere. It’s even worse when it comes to Merseyside derby results as the Toffees last won in 2010. While Liverpool was recently on the wrong end of a spectacular 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth, the Toffees take the cake when it comes to abysmal form: WLDLDL. At this point, I’m really struggling to find reasons Everton are going to win. The home advantage I suppose, but it hasn’t done them any favours in recent years. To defend Everton for a minute, they dominated the Merseyside derby back in the day*. The Merseyside derby has the status of being the most played and oldest top-flight fixture, accumulating a rich history and the best draw ever. Regardless of the final score, the Merseyside derby is always worth the watch.

*Specifically referencing the late 1800’s till early 1910’s, just before WWI.

Bayern Munich vs RasenBallsport Leipzig ( Wed 21 19:00 )

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If I told you last season that by December Hoffenheim would be unbeaten and in a champions league spot, Wolfsburg will be one point off relegation and RB Leipzig are going to be table toppers for the majority of the season, you would 1. Ask me why I’m spouting Bundesliga facts completely unprompted, then 2. Tell me I was crazy. Yet, that is the current state of Bundesliga. Leipzig finally lost a game after 13 matches to Ingolstadt of all teams and are now level on points with Bayern Munich. The home side is on track after their hiccup against Dortmund, most recently smashing Wolfsburg 5-0 with a collection of long range goals. As well as the home advantage, Bayern has recovered the majority of their injured players, only Coman out till the end of the year. Leipzig plays aggressively counterattacking, with the most goals scored from counter attacks (7) in the league and shoot the greatest percentage of shots within the box. No better way to end the year with the two best teams in the league looking to retain the 1st place.

Monaco vs Caen ( Wed 21 19:50 )

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4-0, 5-0, 1-1, 4-0, 3-0, 6-0. Monaco’s recent results encapsulate why you should watch this game. In terms of goals, no one is close. Monaco is currently at 53 in 17 games (3.12 per game) and the only teams near are Feyenoord with 44 (2.75 per game) and Real Madrid with 40 (2.67). I mean who doesn’t like goals? On top of that Caen’s form (or lack thereof) makes it even more likely to end up high scoring. As I type, Caen has the third-worst defence in the league with 30 goals conceded so far while trying to climb out of the relegation zone. Just sit back and watch the goals roll in*.

*I hope I haven’t jinxed it.

Dinamo Bucharesti vs Steaua Bucharesti ( Thu 22 18:30 )

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Most league teams are funded by investors. Most teams. These two teams were funded by governments, Romania’s to be exact. With the backing of the government, you can have almost any player you want within reason. So that’s exactly what happened, George Hagi being the most famous Romanian footballer was taken from Sportul Studențesc by force without compensation by Steaua. To add a bit of context, all of this took place in Communist Romania in the 1940’s where referees were assumed to be corrupt, match fixing was the norm and governments weren’t as friendly. Under those circumstances, it just so happened the only two government run teams* were untouchable, amassing a collective 91 trophies in 68 years. In 1989 when the Romanian revolution lead overthrowing the communist government and executing grade-A twat dictator and Steaua owner Nicolae Ceaușescu on Christmas day (Merry Christmas everyone). Since then the Bucharest derby (also known as the Eternal derby) has remained just as heated. If I were to describe it, it’s a somehow-9-seconds-after-kick-off-you’ve-already-conceded-a-penalty-well-played type derby. You know.

*Dinamo was run by the secret service while Steaua was run by the army.

Other Mentions: 

Inter vs Lazio ( Wed 21 19:45 )

Fiorentina vs Napoli ( Thu 22 19:45 ) 

Juventus vs AC Milan ( Fri 23 16:30 )

Feel like I missed out any matches or want to give any feedback? Comment Below!

Scouting for Fixtures: Sept 26- Oct 2

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. They come out every Sunday and hand picks upcoming matches worldwide that week, which looks set for 90 minutes of non-stop action.

All times are GMT.

Leicester vs FC Porto ( Tue 27 19:45 )

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Courtesy of AFP

 

Well, this is weird. Even though it’s been a good 4 months since the Foxes won the Premier League, when the words Leicester and Champions League appear in the same sentence, one of them looks out of place. The feng shui is ruined if you will. And that’s a compliment; the amount of progress made by one team in one year is unprecedented and refreshing. Now they top their group and welcome FC Porto to the King Power on Tuesday. Porto’s first game ended 1-1. A draw which must have felt like a defeat, considering they were against 10 men Copenhagen at home. Copenhagen managed a mere two shots on goal, plus they were on the backfoot with only 43% possession. Porto needs to bring a different game plan to the King Power or Leicester will surely add another 3 points to their name.

Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid ( Tue 27 19:45 )

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Courtesy of AFP

 

This is the match to look forward too. Both teams are undoubtedly fun to watch play their brand of football. Dortmund still pioneers gegenpressing and do it better than any other team on the planet. Despite losing Hummels, Mkhitaryan and Gundogan, BVB has done well to sign Gotze back, the french talent Ossosuna Dembele and left back Guerreiro who was exceptional in their first UCL game with a goal, assist and a clean sheet. Real Madrid, on the other hand, is a team that I would make on FIFA 16, just trying to fit every attacking player on the pitch, into something resembling a functional starting XI. Zidane has added some stability with Casemiro playing CDM and they’ve also won the trophy 11 times; so clearly they’re doing something right. When we think Dortmund vs Real Madrid, the 4-1 is what we all remember. Regardless of the scoreline on Tuesday, it’s going to be a good game.

Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich ( Wed 28 19:45 )

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Courtesy of Bongarts

 

These types of fixtures have a semblance to those high profile games that on paper should be a ‘cracker’ but ends up being two teams trying their hardest not to concede and never (in the drunk, passionate, slightly slurred speech of a man hamstrung by his heavy dutch accent) think: ‘Yes! We go for it!’. But, go on, give it a chance. Atleti, while admired for their defensive prowess, aren’t usually described as entertaining.  However, this season they’ve shifted into gear and maintain the second highest shots per game in La Liga (18.8), outdoing even Barcelona. Antonie Griezmann is integral to the side, contributing to 40% of the sides goals and will be the target for the Bayern defenders. Simeone’s men have their work cut out as Bayern are the team to beat. After smashing FC Rostov 6-0 without breaking a sweat, Atletico has to deal with Lewandowski, Ribery, Costa, Alcantara, Muller, Renato Sanchez, Robben (maybe), Vid-. You get it. It’s likely the game will be tight as these two battle out for top spot, fingers crossed we can get more than last years 1-0.

Borussia M. Gladbach vs Barcelona ( Wed 28 19:45 )

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Courtesy of Getty Images

 

The running theme of this week’s games seems to be La Liga vs Bundesliga, now an underperforming Borussia M. Gladbach side faces Barcelona. The german side is in a tough group: Barcelona, Man City whom they lost to 4-0 and Celtic. Barcelona as we all expected, cruised through their first match, beating Celtic. What wasn’t expected was 7 goals with no response from the away side. Barcelona to win looks obvious. The only stat that inclines otherwise is that Gladbach has won all their home games, which is 2, out of a total 4 games this season. This looks like a cut and paste win for Barcelona, but maybe Gladbach can pull it out the bag.

Valencia vs Atletico Madrid ( Sun 02 11:00 )

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Courtesy of Getty Images

 

Atletico Madrid will go to Valencia 3 days after their encounter against Bayern Munich in the Champions league. The away side started with 2 disappointing draws against lesser opposition but since then look like a team possessed. A 4-0 win against Celta Vigo, 5-0 against Sporting Gijon, then holding Barcelona to a 1-1 draw which hasn’t been done by Atleti since 2014. Valencia to looks like a team possessed (by the ghost of Gary Neville), losing 4 matches in a row, subsequently sacking their manager Pako Ayesteran. This comes after another blow to their team over the summer seeing integral players like Mustafi, Andre Gomes and Pablo Alcacer leave. One notable stat from this fixture in the past is that a red card has been shown in 5 of the last 6 games. Looks like Atletico are going to thump the struggling home side, but the recovery from the UCL game could play a part in a potential upset.

Tottenham vs Manchester City ( Sun 02 14:15 )

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Courtesy of Getty Images

 

After 5 games, the table is starting to take shape. Manchester City is currently first and their five-game winning streak has incited some bookies to drop the odds of going unbeaten all season from 200/1 to 40/1. Bear in mind the odds (which no one took according to Ladbrokes) for Arsenal to go unbeaten in their 2003-04 season was 500/1, later reduced to 50/1 only towards the end of the season. The citizens have the firepower up front, scoring 14 goals already, but Tottenham has the most shots per game (19). Harry Kane’s injury is still inconclusive as to whether he is fit to start against Man City. Dembele, Dier and Rose are also recovering from injury and despite the holes left in the squad, Spurs are steady at a 3rd place after 5 games.

Scouting for Fixtures: Sept 5 -Sept 11

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. They come out every Sunday and hand picks upcoming matches worldwide that week, which looks set for 90 minutes of non-stop action.

All times are GMT.

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International fixtures:

Brazil vs Colombia ( Wed 07 01:45 )

The Brazilian team comes into the fixture with Olympic gold medals; beating Germany in the finals, a step in their recovery from the 7-1 battering two years ago. Colombia remains a solid side with star men Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Bacca and Ospina. The relentless rivalry and inability to take defeat usually end with a few fights and fair few cards. When these two played in the Copa America the match ended with both Neymar and Bacca receiving red cards. Go back to 2014 and you’ll remember Rodriguez was fouled 6 times and Neymar’s injury against Colombia ended his tournament. That game ended up with the most fouls in the WC (54). With 2 games left, Colombia has 13 points at 3rd place, Brazil is perilously low at 5th with 12 points. The top 4 qualify for the world cup and 5th place goes into intercontinental playoffs. The top 6 are separated by only 2 points and the next two games are make or break.

South American WC Preliminary Qualifiers Table 

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Schalke 04 vs Bayern München ( Fri 09 19:30 )

RasenBallsport Leipzig vs Borussia Dortmund ( Sat 10 17:30 )

After game week one FC Bayern is 1st, Lewandowski scored another trick, and Carlo Ancelotti ended his first home game with a  6-0 win against Werder Bremen. So business as usual. Schalke too had Deja Vu with another mediocre performance despite the manager change, losing to Frankfurt, who were 10 men down for the last 10 minutes. Kingsley Coman is now available after recovering from his ankle injury. Even if he doesn’t start, it looks like Bayern could net a couple past Schalke if they don’t get their act together quick.

Newly promoted Leipzig face Dortmund in their first ever Bundesliga home game. Borussia Dortmund has had a very busy transfer window, with Gotze, Dembele, Batra and many more players. The newly promoted side expects to be more than ready with Leipzig captain Dominik Kaiser anticipating ‘We’ll be in great shape and will look to be compact and aggressive against BVB, just as we were at Hoffenheim.’ 

Premier League:2016-17-premier-league-sleeve-patch-2

Manchester United vs Manchester City ( Sat 10 12:30 )

Liverpool vs Leicester ( Sat 10 17:30 )

Both teams will be without key players ahead of the Manchester derby. The red devils are without their South American players as they’ll be helping their sides qualify for the world cup. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is also doubtful after his thigh injury against the Cech Republic. Man City have their own issues; Aguero will serve his 3 match ban after elbowing Winston Ried in the face, Kompany will miss due to his never-ending thigh injury. Despite the blow to the squads, it’s still Mourinho vs Guardiola, the two best managers in the world with the two richest clubs in the Premier League.

Liverpool and Leicester both come into the game with a draw, loss and a win to their name. Both teams thrive on their aggressive counter attack and that could stretch the game out.

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Juventus vs Sassuolo ( Sat 10 17:00 )

AC Milan vs Udinese ( Sun 11 19:00 )

Pescara vs Inter ( Sun 11 19:45 )

Current champions Juve play a shaky Sassuolo side after their 2-1 win against Pescara was reversed to 0-3, after the illegal signing Antonio Ragusa substituted on after 64 minutes. Sassuolo looks unsure of themselves against newly promoted Pescara and if it wasn’t for their exceptional keeper Consigli, it could’ve ended 2-2 easily. Juve has the firepower to finish the game if they get in front of goal as much as Pescara did.

AC Milan matches this season averaged 5.5 goals per game, that goes to 3 for Udinese. Both teams look devoid of defence with Roma comfortably net 4 times against Udinese and Milan have conceded 6 times in 2 games. So two leaky defences against two good attacking sides suggest another high scoring game.

Newly promoted Pescara have surprised everyone by drawing with Napoli and then holding their own against Sassuolo. Surprises everywhere as Inter too shocked everyone after losing to Chievo, then drawing with Palermo, both mid/low table sides. So will Pescara continue this underdog story and will Inter continue to underperform?

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Ligue 1:

Lyon vs Bordeaux ( Sat 10 14:00 )

Lyon comes into the game with two confident wins and then get smashed 4-2 by newly-promoted Dijon FCO of all teams. Bordeaux also has two wins, accompanied by a shock 4-1 shock defeat to Toulouse who finished 17th last season. This game is as much as about which team can hold their nerve as well as the quality of player.

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Sevilla vs Las Palmas ( Sat 10 17:15 ) 

Barcelona vs Alaves ( Sat 10 19:30 )

New boys, Las Palmas are reminiscent of Leicester city as they end are top of the table. Their style of play is heavily counter-attacking, most of the time sitting in their own half until they spring into attack much like a Leicester or Liverpool press. Despite having the least amount of time in the opposition third (21% or 18.9 minutes per match) of any team in the league, their clinical shot conversion rate of 43% explains how they can score 9 goals in 2 games. Sevilla has shown what they’re capable of in their 6-4 win against Espanol. Las Palmas’ only evident weakness is defending set pieces. They’ve conceded 2/3 of goals from corners, Sevilla has scored 1/3 of all their goals from set pieces. It will be the underdogs biggest test yet.

Another newly promoted club Alaves will play champions Barcelona. While Alaves haven’t made headlines like Las Palmas, they are yet to lose and held their own against Atletico Madrid, drawing 1-1. Their defences will face the ultimate test with Neymar, Suarez and potentially Messi, though his injury against Uruguay could rule him out. With or without Messi, Alaves could easily lose by a heavy margin. 

Sources:

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminaries/southamerica/index.html

https://www.whoscored.com/

http://www.bundesliga.com/en/news/Bundesliga/blmd2v-rb-leipzig-captain-dominik-kaiser-targets-borussia-dortmund-upset-bundesliga-matchday-2.jsp

http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/borussia-dortmund/alletransfers/verein/16

Pick of the Week: Jan 11 – Jan 17

Pick of the week is a weekly blog for people that love the beautiful game. It comes out every Sunday and hand picks upcoming matches, worldwide that week which look set up for 90 minutes of non-stop action.

Because there are an increased number of matches this week with double game weeks in multiple leagues and Cup matches to follow, be sure to check out the other mentions at the end of the article because there are a lot of good’ns this week.

  1. Liverpool vs Arsenal 

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Look forward to this mid-week fixture as the defenceless Liverpool face arguably the best team in the league right now. It’s easy to see how injuries have ravaged Liverpool’s backline with 3 hamstring injuries and a disappointing result against Exeter and Wenger will look to take full advantage here. Arsenal are playing great football right now and have a great counter attack of in-form attack of Giroud, Walcott, Özil and Campbell. Klopp’s high pressing game could favour Wenger but the only thing holding me back from saying Arsenal are clear favourites here are their inconsistency in results despite good form.

 

 

 

2.  Villarreal vs Athletic Club

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The same fixture making an appearance 2 weeks in a row? Last weeks 3-2 thriller just proves my point. Nothing much to say about these teams I haven’t stated last week but with Bilbao scoring 3 in the away leg; Expect the same atmosphere but even more tense with both teams going all out to win to progress to the next round of the cup.

 

 

 

3. Twente vs Heracles

Dutch Eredivisie - "FC Twente v Heracles Almelo"

The Derby of Twente was a match I was lucky enough to watch live 2 years ago at De Grolsch Veste; fully packed, very tense with endless chants and shouts. It was a surreal experience and I would recommend anyone to go if they get the chance. The matches are end to end and while Twente are facing relegation, form is never part of the equation as both teams leave their heart on the field.

 

 

 

4.   Liverpool vs Manchester United

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Arguably the match of the week, this is simply a must watch, no two ways about it, this derby is as good as it gets, and better. With mounting pressure building on the dutch-man on with unflattering performances in recent weeks and Jurgen Klopp with mounting injuries, this is always high intensity and never fails to produce entertainment. With both teams having issues, this really could go either way.

 

 

 

5.   AC Milan vs Fiorentina 

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Fiorentina are playing beautiful football right now with Kalinic, Illic and Alonso connecting well, they look unstoppable. AC Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic is under intense scrutiny and looks more likely every match to be the 4th manager sacked in 2 years at the Rossoneri. With Milan having goalkeeper Diego Lopez and centre back Menez out; this could be non stop one way traffic for the Rossoneri as Fiorentina continue their impressive title challenge with 3 points separating the top 4 and league leaders Inter loosing to Sassuolo, Fiorentina will go all out to secure all three points here.

 

 

Other Mentions:

Tottenham vs Leicester

Paris Saint Germain vs Lyon

Chelsea vs Everton

Espanyol vs Barcelona

Feyenoord vs PSV Eindhoven

Udinese vs Juventus

Napoli vs Sassoulo

 

 

Feel like I missed out any matches or wanna give me any feedback? Comment Below!

Pick of the Week: Jan 4 – Jan 10

 

Pick of the week is a weekly blog for people that love the beautiful game. It comes out every Sunday and hand picks upcoming matches, worldwide that week which look set up for 90 minutes of non-stop action.

  1. Genoa vs Sampdoria (Jan 5 Tuesday 19:45)

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Known as ‘Derby della Lanterna’, the crowd will definitely be up for this late match with both teams desperate for the win. Both teams come into this match with very poor form; Genoa on 4 straight losses while Sampdoria begin to improve form after 4 consecutive losses in the last 6 matches. Expect a lot of heavy tackles as Genoa matches have recorded 7 red cards in the last 6 matches! The fixture averages 7 cards per match and . Home advantage isn’t a problem for Sampdoria as they both share the same stadium. Always an intense and fiery derby, expect both teams to leave the field having given 100%.  

 

 

2. Napoli vs Torino (Jan 6 Wednesday 19:45)

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With Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain on fire this season with 16 goals and Torino conceding 20 goals; Napoli come in clear favourites here. While Torino are inconsistent form and Napoli are a threat on the counter, Torino also can match Napoli in attack with Quagliarella, Baselli and López who can cause an upset depending on what Torino turns up. This looks to have many goalscoring opportunities with Napoli potentially dominating the match.

 

 

3. Athletic Club vs Villarreal (Jan 6 Wednesday 11:00)

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Both teams are in great form coming up to this Copa del Rey match,These 2 play great football with flair young talent Iñaki Williams and solid Aduriz up front; Villarreal are solid across the board and offensively hold Bakumbu, Bruno Soldado and Suarez who are all pose Los Leones a big threat. The Bilbao team have 3 wins in the last 4 and Villarreal with an unexpected 5 consecutive wins pushing them into European contention. This fixture is very difficult to call a favourite but will be high quality with lots to look out for.

 

 

4. Everton vs Manchester City (Jan 6 Wednesday 20:00)

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Everton at home recently haven’t won in 4 matches while City come of a 4-1 win of relegation side Sunderland after their disappointing loss to Arsenal. High quality up front for both teams with Aguero, Luakau, Silva and Deulofeu set to make this a very exiting match. Both teams inconsistent, both teams impress on the attack and are poor defensively; this FA cup match can end up a high scoring match here with many of opportunities for both teams.

 

 

5. Tottenham Hotspurs vs Leicester (Jan 10 Sunday 16:00)

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Another FA Cup fixture here, with Leicester facing of against the solid all round Tottenham. With Leicester playing their best football on the counter attack ; combined with Tottenham preferred style of controlling the tempo this could favour both teams and produce a very entertaining game on our hands. on top of that, offensively, star striker Harry Kane continuos to impress, as does the Leicester men Vardy and Mahrez. While Leicester have recently shown weaknesses, offensively they still pose a massive threat to the Tottenham back line. This looks to have high quality football stamped on it.

 

 

Other Mentions:

PSG vs SC Bastia

Fiorentina vs Lazio

Sevilla vs Athletic Club

Southampton vs Crystal Palace

Everton vs Dagenham & Redbridge

 

Feel like I missed out any matches or wanna give me any feedback? Comment Below!

Pick of the Week: Dec 28 – Jan 3

Pick of the week is a weekly blog for people that love the beautiful game. It comes out every Sunday and hand picks upcoming matches, worldwide that week which look set up for 90 minutes of non-stop action.

  1. Leicester City vs Manchester CityJS52919929

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date:  Tuesday Dec 29th (19:45)

League leaders Leicester face the recovering champions  in this Tuesday night fixture. The foxes ended their unbeaten run with a 1-0 loss to Liverpool on Saturday; and the two main goal-scorers Vardy and Mahrez potentially injured,compiled with the 4-0 shock defeat to Arsenal give both teams a great incentive to snatch all 3 points. Man City however have had inconsistent form with a loss followed by a win for the last 6 games. This sets up to be a highly unpredictable match with a potential upset on the cards; with a chance for Leicester to prove they can be top 4 contenders or City to overtake Arsenal.

 

2. Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad

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Date: Wednesday Dec 30 (15:00)

After the shocking 10-2 humiliation of Rayo Vallecano, stats suggest another high scoring affair as last season this fixture averaged 5.5 goals per match. While Madrid look to thwart Sociedad, it should be noted that Los Blancos have been exceptionally poor defensively and if Sociedad can capitalise early in the match there could be a huge upset such as Villarreal two weeks ago. With an unbelievable average of 8.3 goals in the last 3 Real Madrid home games, expect another goal-fest.

 

3. Entente SSG vs Toulouse

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Date: Saturday Jan 2 (17:00)

This Coupe de France fixture could easily be overlooked but while the odds are against the joint top of fourth tier french football side, Entente SSG; they have gone on a 4 match unbeaten streak. Toulouse are an aggressive team having averaged 3 red cards in their last 6 matches and 6 in the 6 fixtures and 25 tackles per game. Entente will look to take the game to Toulouse, expect flying challenges, many cards and potential upsets becoming more common in Coupe de France.

 

4. Dundee FC vs Dundee United

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Date: Saturday Jan 2 (12:30)

Form goes out the window in this derby fixture as the two Dundee clubs clash on Sunday which is expected to be as fiery as before. Famous for passion and rivalry is reflected with sold out stadiums in previous meetings. With stats of this fixture in 2015; 5 cards and 5 goals per match; this derby never disappoints in entertainment value.

 

5. Manchester United vs Chelsea FC 

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Date: Monday Dec 28 (17:30)

With Louis van Gaal’s team 6th place and 3 consecutive losses and no win in 5; Chelsea 2 spots off relegation and sacking the Chelsea legend Jose Mourinho; this is set up to be the most unusual and unpredictable match of the week. This match could go either way and a bookies dream, the result could be the crucial point in Van Gaal’s Man Utd career with former Chelsea boss looming. This match is a must watch just because it’s rare you see a match played under these circumstances.

 

Other Mentions:                                                                                              

Arsenal vs Bournemouth

Middlesbrough vs Derby

Barcelona vs Real Betis

Celta Vigo vs Athletic Club

 

Feel like I missed out any matches or wanna give me any feedback? Comment Below!