The Premier League is back!!!
Premier League (Games in hand)
Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United
The Premier League is back this week as the teams that have fixtures in hand play midweek games so they are ready for the weekend. First up are Aston Villa who entertain Sheffield United. Villa find themselves 19th in the table 2 points from safety as they welcome Sheffield who sit 7th 2 points from 5th. It is a massive game for both teams as one could move outside the relegation zone while the other could move above the likes of United and Wolves. There is plenty to play for but players will be rusty, I can see this game being a draw but Sheffield could edge it.
Man City vs. Arsenal
The other game in hand is a big one as well although more due to reputation than actual consequence. 2nd placed City take on Arsenal who sit 9th in the table. A win for City could see them move to within 22 points of Liverpool and delay the leaders title party while a loss could mean that if Liverpool won at the weekend they would be Champions. A win for Arsenal could see them move as high as 6th and in contention for a Europa League position at the very least while a loss would make it tough. Another interesting dynamic of this game is that Pep will take on Arteta for the first time. Arsenal have had a mixed bag of results in their warm up games and there has been little to no noise from City’s camp. I expect City to win but it could be an interesting game.
Bundesliga MW 32
Monchengladbach vs. Wolfsburg
A top of the table clash as 5th placed Gladbach take on 6th placed Wolfsburg. Monchengladbach need to win to stay in contention for the Champions League spots while Wolfsburg could cut the gap to 7 points with 3 points of their own. The two teams are chasing European football but Monchengladbach still have a chance at the top four. A win for Wolfsburg could take them ever closer to sealing 6th while Monchengladbach are already guaranteed Europa League football at the very least.
Union Berlin vs. Paderborn
14th placed Union take on bottom of the table Paderborn in what is a do or die game for the away team. A point or more for Union should guarantee them safety and a place in next seasons Bundesliga while Paderborn are not going to get out of the relegation zone even if they win all three of their remaining games. Paderborn though can still mathematically make the play offs but they have to win this game. An interesting game and from what I have seen of Paderborn they will go down fighting.
Werder Bremen vs. Bayern Munich
Bayern can seal the title with a win in this game as they take on 17th placed Werder Bremen. Bremen are 3 points from safety and still very much in the fight for survival. A loss against Munich might not be the worst thing but a win would be a massive boost for their survival hopes. Sadly the way Bayern have gone about their business since the return of football there can only be one winner.
Freiburg vs. Hertha Berlin
8th placed Freiburg take on 11th placed Hertha Berlin in a big game for the home team. Freiburg still have a chance at European football as they are only 4 points from 6th but they need to win this game as a loss could see them miss out on the spot. The two teams have been in mixed form and so there isn’t any clear winner that one can pick. Hertha are all but safe but could still drop into the relegation zone mathematically and so a win would alleviate those doubts.
Frankfurt vs. Schalke
10th placed Frankfurt take on 9th placed Schalke in a bit of a nothing fixture. Frankfurt have done well to pull themselves clear of the relegation zone and a win could see them enter the top 10 of the table in what would be a positive turn of fortune. Schalke have been poor since football returned and while they still have a mathematical chance at Europa League football it probably will not happen.
Dortmund vs. Mainz
Dortmund are might have lost the title but they are still fighting for a 2nd placed finish as Leipzig remain behind them. With the two teams still to play each other 3 points here would be a massive win for the home team. Mainz sit 15th and a loss could see them drop into the relegation zone while a win and favourable results elsewhere could see them all but guarantee safety. Massive game for both teams but Dortmund should win.
RB Leipzig vs. Dusseldorf
3rd placed Leipzig are looking to bridge the gap to Dortmund and 3 points against 16th placed Dusseldorf would be a good place to start. Dusseldorf are 3 points from safety and need to win this game as a loss could make it very hard for them to reach safety if results around them did not go their way. Leipzig should win this game but Dusseldorf could cause trouble.
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim
13th placed Augsburg take on 7th placed Hoffenheim with the away team chasing European football. With Wolfsburg playing Monchengladbach, Hoffenheim could move level on points with them in 6th if the got three points in this game. Augsburg are no pushovers though and will want to guarantee their safety with 3 points of their own. An interesting game.
Leverkusen vs. Koln
4th placed Leverkusen take on 12th placed Koln with Leverkusen looking to consolidate their Champions League place. Koln have no real goals at this stage of the season and Leverkusen will be looking to return to winning ways. I expect the home team to win but this could be a tricky tie.
La Liga MW 29
Levante vs. Sevilla
3rd placed Sevilla take on 12th placed Levante as the away team looks to consolidate their Champions League position. Levante do not have much to play for and are firmly in the mid table at the moment.
Real Betis vs. Granada
It is 13th vs 9th as Granada travel to Real Betis. Granada have a chance at top 6 with plenty of games to go while Betis are just trying to enter top 10 for now. It should be a close game.
Getafe vs. Espanyol
5th placed Getafe take on bottom of the table Espanyol with both teams searching for the win. Espanyol are just 3 points from safety as they take on Getafe who are just a point outside the top four. A big game for both teams one I feel Getafe will edge out as they have been in better form this season.
Villarreal vs. Mallorca
8th placed Villarreal take on 18th placed Mallorca with both teams once again seeking different things. Villarreal sit 5 points outside the top 6 while Mallorca are just a point from safety. Villarreal have been in good form though and should get three points.
Barcelona vs. Leganes
The league leaders take on 19th placed Leganes in what should be a straightforward three points for Messi and co.
Valladolid vs. Celta Vigo
14th vs 17th as the two teams try to pull away from the relegation zone with Celta only a point from dropping into the bottom 3.
Eibar vs. Bilbao
10th placed Bilbao take on 16th placed Eibar for what should be 3 points for the away team. Eibar did cause Real problems during the weekend though and so it should not be as straight forward as it seems.
Osasuna vs. Ateltico Madrid
11th placed Osasuna welcome 6th placed Atletico with the away team chasing Champions League football. Atletico are just a point from the top four and so a win here would do them brilliantly.
Alaves vs. Real Sociedad
15th placed Alaves take on 4th placed Real Sociedad in what should be 3 easy points for the away team. Sociedad are just about in the top four but a win would help them build upon the position.
Real Madrid vs. Valencia
A tougher test for Zidane and co as they take on 7th placed Valencia who themselves could enter the talk for a Champions League place with a win. Real were nervy in their win against Eibar but played some good football while Valencia were solid in their game as well. Real should win but it will be an interesting game.
Coppa Italia Final
Napoli vs. Juventus
Neither team really dominated their 2nd leg fixtures as both games were a draw but the final is between Gattuso’s Napoli and Sarri’s Juventus. This will be an interesting game and Sarri will want to win against his former club as he seeks his 2nd trophy in his career. With most of the players fit and different styles of football this should be fun to watch.