The festive period starts now!
Premier League MW 13
West Ham vs. Tottenham
Football is straight into the the thick of things on Saturday as Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham YES! Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham travel a short distance to play West Ham in a feisty London Derby. The biggest news of the international break was not Wales qualifying or 20/24 teams making the Euros but that Pochettino was sacked on Wednesday night and replaced by Jose Mourinho a few hours later. Mourinho had his first press conference as a Spurs manager yesterday in which he said he would carry on in a similar way to Pochettino but bring his own twist while also stating that his love for Chelsea fans was in the fast and now he was Spurs biggest fan. As a Chelsea fan I never saw this coming but I decided to respect Mourinho for his achievements and not much else a long time ago. Some Chelsea fans went into a meltdown as if they had broken up with someone as social media went ablaze. The Premier League is way better off with Mourinho in it and as a football fan it is blockbuster. Pellegrini awaits in his first game as West Ham sit 16th not having won a game for sometime as they have 4 losses in their last five. Pressure is on the Hammers manager while Mourinho will be looking to take Spurs from 14th into the top 10.
Arsenal vs. Southampton
One of the managers that will feel the knock on effect of Mourinho being appointed is Emery who is under pressure himself but who the Arsenal board have backed. Arsenal are 6th but have not won in their last four games and a loss would see them drop several places down the table. Southampton are 19th and under pressure themselves and while they could have managed something at home I feel that Arsenal should have enough to win this game. Southampton should not lose hope though because no one knows what to expect with this Arsenal side and the home fans are beginning to get frustrated with their manager.
Bournemouth vs. Wolverhampton
A top 10 clash as 9th placed Bournemouth take on 8th placed Wolves. Wolves are in great form recently not having lost any of their last 5 games and climbing up the table at good pace as they visit Bournemouth who have only 1 win in their last 5 and are moving the other way. Eddie Howe started the season well but tough fixtures have seen them drop points and they need to win to avoid dropping further down the table. A tough game is expected but Wolves should get a win as it is these games they need to start picking up points in.
Brighton vs. Leicester
11th placed Brighton welcome 2nd placed Leicester City as Leicester look to take advantage of the game between City and Chelsea. Leicester have been brilliant this season and go to the Seagulls having won their last 4 games in a row. Brighton have won 3 in 5 and have shown positive signs under Graham Potter but Leicester are at another level at the moment. Leicester need a win to stay above their top four rivals while and should get one even if the game is tough.
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool
12th placed Palace have dropped down the table as they are winless in four and entertain high flying Liverpool. Crystanbul was a long time ago and Liverpool are a totally different team as they are grinding out results and winning games convincingly at the same time. 9 points clear of City Liverpool might have already won the title but for me I have not been convinced when I have watched them and I feel they are bound to slip up at some point. Liverpool have also been fairly lucky in all their games. Palace and Hodgson started the season well but have fallen away in recent weeks. A win against his former club would bring a massive boost for Palace but it is probably too much to ask. Palace do have the players to hurt Liverpool but luck needs to be on the Eagles side. A tough game that I feel Liverpool could drop points in.
Everton vs. Norwich
15th placed Everton who are beginning to pick up some form travel to bottom of the table Norwich who have not won since they beat City. Things are not quite right for Norwich at the moment as all the players have dropped off. Norwich need to start winning games if they want to survive the season and Everton are a good opponent as they themselves have not been convincing although recent performances have shown an improvement. While Norwich can always rally and win a game I expect Everton to get three points.
Watford vs. Burnley
18th placed Watford finally ended their winless run before the break as they welcome 10th placed Burnley who also won before the break but have lost 3 of their last 5. Sean Dyche and Burnley have been in decent form this season but Watford have been steadily improving and so this should be a tough test. A win would be a big step in the right direction for Watford but this should be a tough game for both sides.
Sheffield United vs. Man United
Another manager who will feel the heat after Mourinho’s appointment will be Ole at United who succeeded Mourinho. United sit 7th in the league but with only 3 points separating 5th and 15th it really is a fluctuating position. United have been poor since the tail end of last season but the club similar to Arsenal have decided to back their manager unless and until they literally cannot. Sheffield are 5th in the table and have not lost any of their last 5 games as they have been a surprise package under Chris Wilder. The Blades similar to Wolves have shocked the big teams this season and I actually expect a home win and Sheffield to pick up all three points from this game.
Aston Villa vs. Newcastle
17th placed Villa have lost their last 3 games as they welcome Newcastle who sit 13th and have won their last two. Bruce is slowly seeing improvement in his team as he travels to London to face a Villa side not quite up to the task at the moment. The break can change things though and Villa do need to start winning games to avoid dropping into the relegation zone. A tough game that based on current form Newcastle should win.
La Liga MW 14
Barcelona travel to Leganes, Real Betis play Valencia, Atletico travel to Granada, Real Madrid entertain Real Sociedad, and Sevilla travel to Vallodolid. Barcelona lead La Liga by a point as Real Madrid are close behind but such is the competition at the top that Valverde is under pressure at Barcelona. Zidane has also not been great this season but Real Madrid have improved over the last few weeks. Some of the big managers are under pressure with Pochettino now available for free. A tough weekend in La Liga awaits.
Serie A MW 13
A really tough set of fixtures in Italy this weekend as Juventus travel to Atalanta, Napoli play Milan in Milan, Inter travel to Torino, and Roma play Brescia. Juventus lead Inter by 1 point at the top but these two teams are clear of the rest. The race is real and all the teams face tough fixtures and so a win for either one of the leading teams could be a massive three points.
Bundesliga MW 12
Dortmund welcome Paderborn, Leverkusen welcome Freiburg, Schalke travel to Werder Bremen, Monchengladbach play Union Berlin in Berlin, Frankfurt entertain Wolfsburg, Bayern travel to Dusseldorf, and Leipzig play Koln. Monchengladbach lead the Bundesliga by 4 points as they arguably have one of the easier fixtures this weekend. 3 points then separate 2nd and 8th as the Bundesliga is turning out to be quite an interesting league this season.
Ligue 1 MW 14
PSG play Lille, Lyon play Nice, Monaco travel to Bordeaux, and Marseille travel to Toulouse this weekend. PSG and Lille is probably the biggest game this weekend as everyone tries to cut PSG’s 8 point lead at the top. Below PSG though 4 points separate 2nd and 11th as Ligue 1 is quite interesting other than the usual team that win it.