This is the defining moment that all Manchester City fans have been sitting tight for, and it couldn’t come against a more fitting old adversary. The Cityzens will host Jose Mourinho led-team on Saturday evening, and a triumph over their rivals will automatically seal the Premier League title.
Manchester City has been unstoppable in the Premier League recently too, with seven wins from their last eight games and still just a single defeat to their name all season. At home, they failed to win their first league match, but have since won all 14 games and beaten the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, and Chelsea.
Manchester United will be eager to delay their opponents’ victory parade, but that’s a lot easier said than done. The visitors sit 2nd in the table with a 16 point deficit on Manchester City, and whilst a top four spot does look safe for them they are only two points ahead of 3rd placed Liverpool now.
- Manchester City has done the double three times over Manchester United in the Premier League, only Liverpool have done so more often in the competition (4).
- Manchester United have lost eight of their last 13 Premier League games against Man City (W3 D2) – their previous eight top-flight defeats against Man City came over a 49-game period stretching back to March 1978.
- Man City are unbeaten in their last 27 home league games (W22 D5), winning the last 14 in a row. Only twice has a team ever had a longer winning run at home in the Premier League (Man City 20 between March 2011 and March 2012, and Man Utd 19 between October 2010 and October 2011).
- The Red Devils have only won one of their last 10 away league games against fellow ‘big six’ sides (D3 L6), failing to score on eight occasions in that run.
- Manchester City has won 27 league games so far this season – their record for most wins in a single top-flight season is 28 in the 2011-12 campaign. They had to wait until matchday 38 for their 28th and final win that season.
- This will be the 21st managerial meeting between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, the most either manager has faced another. Guardiola has won nine of the previous 20 meetings (D7 L4), the most defeats Mourinho has suffered against another manager in his career.
Prediction: Manchester United Win
Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspur
It’s all looking pretty hopeless for Stoke at the moment, and unless Paul Lambert does something drastic to change things soon, they will be plying their trade in the Championship next season.
It would be a well-deserved relegation as well. The Potters lost 3-0 at Arsenal last weekend to make it eight games without a win and three losses on the bounce. This leaves them second from bottom in the table, seven points ahead of the dreadful West Brom but three points adrift of safety. They still have crucial ties with the likes of West Ham, Crystal Palace, and Swansea to come before the end of the season, but they also have this hosting of Tottenham and a trip to Anfield to contend with
Spurs may still be hurting from their Champions League exit last month, but Mauricio Pocchettino’s men have responded in precisely the right way. They have won all three of their games since that Wembley loss to Juventus, scoring ten goals in the process and putting themselves in a great position to achieve a top-four finish. They are eight points clear of 5th placed Chelsea after last weekend and only sit four points adrift of Manchester United in 2nd.
- Tottenham have won their last four Premier League games against Stoke by a four-goal margin – a top-flight record.
- Indeed, Tottenham has won their last two away at Stoke by a 4-0 scoreline – only one team has ever won three consecutive top-flight away games against another by at least a four-goal margin, with Chelsea doing so against Bolton between 2009 and 2011.
- No side has won more Premier League away games at the Bet365 Stadium than Tottenham (6, level with Chelsea).
- Spurs are on the longest current unbeaten run in the Premier League (13 – W10 D3), and are the only side yet to lose in 2018.
- The Potters have shipped 61 Premier League goals this season – the most in the division and the most they’ve ever conceded in a single campaign since promotion in 2008.
- This is Spurs’ fourth game in a row that has been away from home in all competitions, with a different player scoring a brace in each of the previous three (Son vs Bournemouth, Eriksen vs Swansea and Alli vs Chelsea).
Prediction: Spurs win
Barcelona vs Leganes
It looked for all the world as though Barcelona’s unbeaten record in La Liga was finally going to go last weekend at Sevilla. 2-0 down and on the ropes for much of the contest, Barcelona introduced Leo Messi in the 58th minute and the game changed in an instance with Barca fighting back to draw 2-2.
It not only maintained Barca’s unbeaten league season but ensured they have a 9 point advantage rather 8 on Atletico. That may not sound too significant but with a superior head-to-head record, it means the Catalans could lose three times between now and the end of the season and still win the title no matter what Atletico do.
The only real question is how big a margin Barcelona will win by. Leganes are the third lowest scorers in the division and have failed to net in a huge 60% of their away league games this term. However, they have enough defensive foundations to suggest they can at least limit the damage at the other end.
Leganes matches this season average just 2.03 goals per game and they’ve only conceded 1.2 goals per game which isn’t bad for a side of their stature. Barcelona has regularly settled for getting the job done too and have rarely chased a cricket score. 73% of their league games this season have seen under 3.5 goals scored in total and they boast an excellent 60% clean sheet ratio in La Liga
- Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 37 La Liga games (W30 D7), only one less than the all-time La Liga record set by Real Sociedad between 1979 and 1980 (W21 D17).
- Leganés are winless in their last 11 La Liga games away from home (D3 L8), failing to score in eight of them.
- Only Atlético de Madrid (19) have kept more clean sheets than Barcelona (18) and Leganés (12) in La Liga 2017-18.
- Lionel Messi has scored 26 goals in La Liga this season, more than the entire Leganés squad combined (25).
- The Argentinian player has scored four goals in his three La Liga games against Leganés. No player has scored more against Leganés in the top tier (four, alongside Morata and Griezmann).
Prediction: Barca Win & Over 1.5
Augsburg vs Bayern Munich
Mid-table Augsburg held top-four hopefuls Bayer Leverkusen to a 0-0 draw last weekend, a result very much in line with their on-and-off run of form in 2018.
Such a result shouldn’t bring too much optimism ahead of a tough clash with league leaders Bayern Munich, but the hosts can at least take some positives in the return to fitness of Icelandic striker and top scorer Alfred Finnbogason, who is “an option for Saturday” after missing their last eight games with a calf injury.
Despite a 6-0 win at home to Dortmund last weekend, Bayern were unable to wrap up the league title on home soil for the first time in 18 years. Schalke’s win over Freiburg kept them mathematically still in with a chance of taking the Bundesliga crown, but in reality, it will only delay the inevitable.
Bayern can seal the league with three points against Augsburg this weekend, though with the return fixture of their Champions League quarter-final against Sevilla ahead on Tuesday.
- Bayern average 2.5 points per Bundesliga game against their Bavarian neighbours – more than against any other current top-flight side.
- Augsburg have lost their last five matches against league leaders (4x Bayern and 1x Dortmund).
Lewandowski has scored more Bundesliga goals against Augsburg than any other club (18), including nine in his last four.
Prediction: Bayern win
Benevento vs Juventus
Juve’s recent seasons have been so good that their progress is measured almost entirely on their success in Europe. Max Allegri may be on course to complete a fourth straight league and cup double since taking over the club, but the fact that he’s made just two Champions League finals since taking charge in the summer of 2014 has led to calls for an overhaul in Turin.
The latest rumours suggest that Carlo Ancelotti – a man with remarkable European pedigree – is being sought out as Allegri’s replacement this summer.
We expect Juventus to see out the title from this position, having moved eight points clear with eight matches to play. The fact that their European campaign is over could be a positive as far as Serie A is concerned, given that many suggested extra European games would tire out Juve, and allow Napoli to overtake them. That doesn’t seem like the case now, and we fully expect to see the champions lay out their title credentials against the bottom side.
- Benevento have won four of their last six home league games (L2).
- Juventus are unbeaten in their last 28 Serie A games against newly promoted teams (W23 D5), keeping 18 clean sheets in the process.
- Juventus have conceded the fewest goals in Serie A this season (16), while Benevento have shipped the most (69).
- Juventus have been in leading positions in 27 games in Serie A this season, while Benevento have gone ahead in just 10.
- Juventus have scored the most goals in the first 30 minutes of play (29) in Serie A this season, while Benevento have conceded the most (30).
- Paulo Dybala and Lionel Messi have scored the most goals from outside the box in the top-5 European Leagues this season (seven goals for both).
Prediction: Juve wins
Monaco vs Nantes
Reigning Ligue 1 champions Monaco will be hoping to bounce back from a couple of setbacks when they host Nantes this Saturday, as Leonardo Jardim’s team look to seal second place in the table behind runaway leaders PSG.
Monaco lost to PSG in last weekend’s French League Cup final before managing a disappointing draw away at Rennes on Wednesday night. Although they are five points above third place Marseille with seven matches left to play, Monaco will need to win matches like this one if they make sure they get that runners-up spot.
Nantes meanwhile have stuttered in the past month after having an excellent campaign for much of 2017/18. Despite not having the most talented squad, former Chelsea, Roma and Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has moulded the team into a fine unit which concedes few goals. However, they have only won once in their last eight games and that was against relegation-threatened Troyes. It certainly looks as if having a small squad has caught up with Nantes.
- Monaco are the second highest scorers in Ligue 1 this season, having notched 75 times in 31 games.
- Nantes are the lowest scorers of all teams in the top half of the division, scoring just 30 times.
Prediction: Monaco wins
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