Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Premier League - Watford vs Crystal Palace - 21st April

This weekend, the relegation battle takes another interesting turn as Watford play host to Crystal Palace. Can the Hornets take out the Eagles? With the away side’ woes, we wouldn’t bet on a performance that Watford fans have waited a little too long to receive. 
 
Home News

With one win in six, including four loses out of five, Watford need a good result – fast. The drop-off in performance of the likes of Richarlison, Will Hughes, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Adrian Mariappa has been alarming. Coincided with the poor form of the likes of Roberto Pereyra and Troy Deeney, and its’ easy to see why Hornets fans have valid concerns.

They come into this one with a banged-up squad, too. The likes of Gerard Deulofeu will miss out, as will Nathaniel Chalobah and Tom Cleverley. For Watford, any kind of positive result would be accepted given their middling form. 
 
Away News

Meanwhile, Palace are flying after their 3-2 win in the derby with Brighton and Hove Albion. With Christian Benteke finally fit again, it’s the loss of the likes of Bakary Sako and Scott Dann that has hurt them the most.

At the moment, it would be hard to call the Palace team bar one thing: when Wilfried Zaha is fit, they play much better. They’ve lost all ten games this season that the Ivorian has not started, which has major complications for them if he misses any of the run-in.

If Zaha starts, don’t expect anything other than another impressive performance. 
 
Verdict

We expect Watford to get something here. They look like a side that needs the season to end, but Palace are poor away from home. We would expect more from the home side, and a performance against a Palace side with a phobia of away days would be a good place to start.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Champions League - Manchester City vs Liverpool

This Tuesday, Liverpool travel to the Etihad Stadium in a bid to reach the Semi-Finals of the UEFA Champions League. They arrive in Manchester set to play a City side that simply looks to have come off the rails a touch.

Following the 3-0 reverse at Anfield, City endured a damaging 3-2 loss at home to rivals Manchester United. Being 2-0 up at half time, the Citizens watched the dream of sealing the title at home to United blow up in their face. Conceding 6 in 2 games is very unlike City; can they recover here in style?

Home News

For the home side, the return of star striker Sergio Aguero can only be a good thing. He came on (and should have had a penalty) in the Manchester Derby, and loves a goal against the Reds.
Meanwhile, Kevin de Bruyne and Kyle Walker will return to the line-up. Vincent Kompany may miss out, though, meaning that John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi will likely line-up in the defence for City. 
 
Away News

For the Reds, the midfield is looking bare. Emre Can is almost certainly out and Jordan Henderson misses out with suspension. This means that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner will likely play a third game in six days.
Mohamed Salah should make the game, giving Liverpool attacking impetus alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold should return to the full-back slots. The Reds got out of Goodison Park with a 0-0 playing a shadow side in Saturday’ Merseyside Derby, which should bode well for their fitness going into a crucial away tie. 
 
Verdict

We reckon City will win this one – but not enough to get through to the Semi-finals. Liverpool have looked more resolute in recent times, and if Mohamed Salah can make the game then we can see the Reds getting a crucial away goal. Just one away goal means City need 5, after all. City to win, Liverpool to progress.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Champions League - Liverpool vs Manchester City

This midweek, arguably the biggest English-based Champions League clash in a decade will take place. Far bigger than most, the two most exciting sides in England – Liverpool and Manchester City – will go to war. With a promise of goals and bombastic football, who will come out on top at Anfield?

Liverpool News

The Reds host City knowing they have great form in this kind of experience. They are in good form, with the loss of Joe Gomez a minor blow. Young full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a target in recent matches, but a resurgent second half at Selhust Park from the full-back helped him to come out the other side unscathed.
The Reds have the firepower to beat anyone, and have history on their side: the 4-3 epic at Anfield being a true sign of where Liverpool can reach. This midweek will go some way to show if that was a fluke or a victory that was a sign of things to come. 
 
Manchester City News

The Citizens stroll into Anfield knowing they have a league to win in-between both matches. With Manchester United set to visit, it’s going to be very exciting to see how City react to a season-defining week.
With few injury or form worries, though, they couldn’t turn up in better condition. With the form of David Silva and Leroy Sane making up for a minor Kevin de Bruyne lilt, they should arrive at Anfield feeling confident of a big result. 
 
Verdict

We’re going to be ambitious – 3-3. This has the makings of an all-time classic, but we just cannot see Liverpool staying tight enough at the back to win this one. City are lethal, as are the Reds, but they are slightly less outrageous at the back. This tie will likely be decided by slim margins, and that defensive prowess (and lack of for the Reds) could play a major role.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Everton vs Manchester City - 31/3

As the Premier League finally returns this weekend, we’ve got a fantastic game in store as Everton play host to Manchester City. With City in such a commanding lead of the title, and Everton in desperate need of some extra points to secure survival, this match should be one to watch for sure.

Everton News

Everton are presently without Idrissa Gueye in the midfield, while fellow midfield engine Tom Davies will likely miss out also. Ashley Williams is out with suspension, though some may argue that, on present form, that’s a help rather than a hindrance.
The loss of Gylfi Sigurdsson pre-international break will be a major blow for the home side, too, joining Eliaquim Mangala and Mason Holgate as absentees.

City News

Meanwhile, City turn up here with a bit of an injury problem themselves. Sergio Aguero is likely to miss out, though will likely be fit for midweek. Fabian Delph has been out for a while, and may return at one stage though not likely as a starter.
With Benjamin Mendy finally in training, too, the full-back should offer an opportunity for Pep Guardiola to get him some much-needed gametime. City come into this one in good form, though, and should have more than enough to see off a brittle Everton side who look like they want the season to end. 

Verdict

We reckon this will be an easy one for the away side. Everton aren’t great, and often struggle against sides that play with tempo and quick passing. While they have improved slightly under Sam Allardyce, their improvement does not suggest they’ve got enough in their locker to take anything here.

City’ main problem will be their awkward record against Everton historically, and the fact the game falls just before a massive match-up with Liverpool in the Champions League.