Standard Liege are having a great season and have made it into the Championship round of the season. They sit just 5 points off the current leaders Genk and a win here will put them in with a great chance. They had won 4 games on the bounce until they lost 4-0 away at Club Brugge last time out and they will need to pick themselves up from that heavy defeat here against Anderlecht.
Anderlecht doesn’t have any real hope of catching the league leaders, they sit in 5th place in the table and are currently 12 points adrift of leaders Genk. A win here would see them still 2 points adrift of the nearest team. They head into this game in awful form having lost their last 3 consecutive league games with losses to Genk, Club Brugge and Antwerp.
Standard Liege have been in magnificent form at home of late having won 8 of their last 9 and drawing the other. This run of excellent form means they have won 11, drawn 4 and lost just once all season on home soil. They are excellent scorers too, netting 2.19 per game and conceding on average 1.12 per home outing. They love a both teams to score and win result at home, with all of their last 7 home victories coming with both sides finding the net.
Anderlecht, on the other hand, has been very hit and miss away from home this season. Anderlecht are the only side in the league not to have drawn a single game on the road as they have picked up 7 wins and 9 defeats away from home this season. They score 1.38 goals per game and concede 1.56, with their away form being the main reason they are where they are in the league and not in a position to challenge this season.
Prediction: Liege Wins Or Draw
SPAL vs Juventus
Juventus played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with Ajax in midweek, leaving them in charge of their Champions League quarter-final. They don’t need a huge second leg comeback this time around, but they are still in for a test in the rematch on Tuesday. Before that, they head to SPAL this weekend for another crucial game. If Juventus avoid defeat in this game, they’ll be crowned league champions with six matchdays remaining – a new record for the earliest title win in Serie A. Can they get their eighth straight Scudetto success over the line here?
The hosts are struggling near the drop zone in Serie A, with just four points between them and the bottom three. They were beaten again last time out, losing 2-1 at Cagliari. That’s left them in serious trouble in the battle to stay in the top flight, with the club at risk of dropping back into Serie B. The last thing they’d want is a home meeting with the champions. While SPAL have beaten Lazio and Roma in their last two here, they still face a tall order in this clash.
The champions may be focusing on their big tie in Europe, but they’re likely to regroup ahead of that clash. We don’t expect them to put their league ambitions on hold, especially given that securing the title would be a major boost going into that second leg. It’s not like the serial winners are going to go overboard celebrating this latest trophy, while landing more silverware should grow their confidence for the quarter-final clash.
While a point settles it for Juve, we struggle to see them winning it in that manner. They are the runaway leaders who are aiming to set history, a dull 0-0 at SPAL doesn’t exactly fit the bill. They are likely to rotate, but the quality they have should help them to defeat a side who have a poor home record overall. The hosts have the fourth worst return at their own ground, while Juventus come into this one as far and away the most effective side on the road. They lead the away table, with 13 more points on their travels than any other side.
Prediction: Juve Wins
Tottenham Hotspur vs Huddersfield
Tottenham Hotspur fans will remember the torrid time their team faced when moving to Wembley a few years ago, and many will have feared the same sort of poor form when they made the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium their new home this month.
Fortunately for them, nothing could be further from the truth. Admittedly, they have only played two matches there so far, but a comfortable 2-0 win over Palace last weekend was followed by a stunning 1-0 win against Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday. Saturday sees them trying to extend that run, especially as they’re now facing a battle for a top four position in the Premier League.
That being said, there are a few issues for Mauricio Pocchettino to overcome. Harry Kane could miss the remainder of the season after hobbling off on Tuesday, and Pocchettino will be keen to give some key players a rest ahead of their crucial trip to the Etihad next week.
Still, this is a talented group of players coming up against a Huddersfield side who have been truly woeful this season. The Terriers joined the most depressing club in Premier League history as they equalled the record for earliest relegation, with their demotion confirmed with six games remaining.
Things haven’t improved for Huddersfield since then. They were thrashed at home to Crystal Palace last weekend to keep them on a meagre 14 points, with that result resigning them to their 5th consecutive defeat in the Premier League.
Somehow, things get even worse for them away from home. They haven’t won a trip away in the Premier League since November, losing nine of their 10 matches since. That 2-0 win over Wolves is their only victory on the road this season, and they have collected just six points from a possible 48 this season.
Prediction: Tottenham Wins
Manchester United vs West Ham
Manchester United’s already slim hopes of lifting the biggest prize in club football were all but eliminated on Wednesday night, with a 1-0 defeat at home to Barcelona resulting in them needing yet another miracle at the Camp Nou next week. It’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility after their incredible turnaround in Paris, but it’s extremely unlikely that the Catalan giants will capitulate in the same way the rich Parisians did.
Either way, it’s likely that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will choose to rest some key players for this Premier League clash, despite the fact that they’re embroiled in a battle for the all-important top four spots at the moment. Their 2-1 loss to Wolves at the start of the month leaves them three points adrift of 4th place Tottenham, and with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal also in the hunt, it could be a very interesting end to the season.
West Ham, on the other hand, are battling against their inherent inconsistency to try and finish in 7th place, which could potentially yield Europa League football next term. They currently lie 11th in the table, five points behind current placeholders Leicester but having played a game more than fellow contenders Wolves and Watford.
The Hammers inconsistency keeps coming back to haunt them. Their 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Monday wasn’t exactly unexpected, but defeats to the likes of Everton and Cardiff were much less understandable results and their form away from home has been very poor of late.
In fact, West Ham are winless on the road since the day after Boxing Day, losing six of their seven league away days since. Manchester United may have lost two of their last three league games, but they are unbeaten at home in the league since August and have won five of the seven home league games since Jose Mourinho was sacked.
Prediction: 12 & Over 1.5
Huesca vs Barcelona
The basement boys host the league leaders here as Huesca take on Barcelona this Saturday in La Liga. The Catalans are now on the brink of winning another Spanish title while Huesca’s first ever top flight season now looks destined to end in relegation. However with the visitors expected to rotate heavily, this could be a closer game than many are expecting.
Barcelona have had an excellent week. They effectively clinched the Spanish title with a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid last weekend as Luis Suarez and Leo Messi netted late goals to open up an 11 point advantage at the top. Barca backed that up with a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford and will have a firm eye on the 2nd Leg of that Champions League Quarter-Final which takes place just three days after this game.
Huesca meanwhile will give it all they’ve got and it should be a lot closer than the 8-2 defeat they suffered at Camp Nou earlier this season. They have reverted back to more of a gung-ho approach in recent weeks but wins have eluded them. Their last two have ended in 2-2 and 3-3 draws against fellow relegation rivals to leave them 6 points from safety heading into this weekend.
Even though it’s Barcelona, they really still have to try and chase a shock win here and that should open this game up. Huesca are better than the league table suggests. They’ve actually scored more goals than 7 teams in this division including 6th placed Valencia. They play some genuinely good football at times and they’ve only failed to net in 1 of their last 10 matches.
Their chances here are aided by the suspension of Gerard Pique. That should see Samuel Umtiti come in but he looked desperately short of match fitness in the 4-4 draw at Villarreal the week before last. Barcelona could certainly be vulnerable but even without the suspended Luis Suarez and quite possibly Leo Messi, who is carrying a knock, they should have enough quality to create chances against this Huesca defence.
Prediction: Barca Wins & Over 1.5
Atletico Madrid vs Celta Vigo
Relegation-threatened Celta Vigo travels to play Atletico Madrid this Saturday in La Liga. They do so on the back of their best week of the season which has seen them jump out of the drop-zone. However, they won’t be expecting a great deal here, despite being up against an Atleti side that has very little left to play for.
The main motivation now for Diego Simeone’s side will be trying to finish as the top team in Madrid for the second season running. That’s still a decent achievement for a club that has spent so much of their history playing second fiddle to Real in the Spanish capital. But there will be a real sense of disappointment that they are now a huge 11 points behind Barcelona and with no realistic chance of winning the title after a late defeat at Camp Nou last weekend.
Celta meanwhile comes into this one having taken 7 points from their last 3 games in pretty dramatic fashion. They scored 3 goals in each of those games, coming from behind to win twice and squandering a 2-0 lead to draw the other. Unquestionably the return to fitness of Iago Aspas was the main reason for their improvement. Aspas scored 5 times in hose 3 matches having not been fit enough to start in 2019 prior to that.
Crucially though, Aspas is suspended here. Cynics might suggest he deliberately took off his shirt last weekend when celebrating his second goal to spark a one-match ban that occurs here in a game that won’t be pivotal in determining Celta’s chances of survival. The Galicians have only taken 4 points from their 11 games without Aspas this season and that’s unlikely to improve here.
Atleti are also missing three men to suspension, including Diego Costa who was sent off for something he said to the referee last weekend early on at Camp Nou. However, they have the squad to cope and with no more cup commitments, there’s no reason to really expect them to run into trouble here.
Prediction: Atletico Wins
Borussia Dortmund vs Mainz
Der BVB looked back to their best in the Bundesliga before being blown out of the water by Bayern Munich in a crushing 5-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena last time out. Lucien Favre’s men have gone from six points ahead to one point behind since the half-way point of the season and he’ll need players like captain Marco Reus and top scorer Paco Alcacer to step up and help re-instil some confidence against Mainz on Saturday. Borussia Dortmund can’t afford another slip-up, so if they don’t produce the goods this weekend, they risk losing sight of the title in one of their best ever seasons.
Mainz 05’s recent form is almost the opposite. The 05ers’ 5-0 win over Freiburg ended a four-game losing streak and they’ll be hoping not to revert back to losing ways on Saturday. Fortunately for them, even though they’ve taken just six points from their last nine games – those coming from two home wins – the teams at the bottom of the table are not putting up much of a fight, so Mainz have avoided slipping too close to the relegation zone – in fact, they’re pretty much safe with a 12 point cushion between them and Stuttgart. Complacency can be a killer in the closing stages though, so Mainz will know there’s work yet to be done.
However, defensively, Dortmund could be better, and that’s where we feel the value is in this game. Dortmund have kept a clean sheet in just 21% of their matches at Signal Iduna Park in 18/19, and with both teams scoring in all but one of their last seven Bundesliga home outings (W6 D1), including in games at home to strugglers Hannover and Stuttgart, we feel Mainz should be able to get themselves on the scoresheet too – they did score five last weekend after all. Mainz have conceded at least two goals in each of their last five Bundesliga away days, however, so expecting Dortmund to keep up their three-goal per game average does seem reasonable.
Prediction: BVB Wins
Ajax vs Excelsior
Ajax top the table by goal difference alone, so can’t afford to drop points on Saturday against an Excelsior side whose form suggests they are serious contenders for relegation this season. The visitors sit second from bottom in the table, two points off safety, which means they would have to win on Saturday to stand any chance of moving out of the relegation zone.
Ajax took the lead in Tilburg last weekend through a fourteenth-minute strike from van de Beek, but a penalty shortly before the half-hour mark saw Willem II equalise. An own goal from Heerkens just before the break restored Ajax’s one-goal lead, and in the second half, the visitors scored two more goals through Veltman and Ziyech to wrap up a 4-1 win. Excelsior put in a decent performance away at Groningen last time out and looked like they might earn a point, until with twenty minutes left on the clock substitute Gladon scored to win the game for the hosts.
The head to head record between these two clubs, especially over the last two seasons, and their performances in the Eredivisie over the last month, suggests that Ajax will win on Saturday and at least four goals will be scored. Ajax have won five of the last six meetings between these two clubs, and two of the last three encounters between the pair have produced over 3.5 goals. Ajax have won four of their last six matches in all competitions, while Excelsior has lost all of their last six matches in the Eredivisie. Three of Ajax’s last four matches have produced over 3.5 goals, and Excelsior have failed to score in five of their last six games, so a big win and a clean sheet could well be on the cards for the hosts this weekend.
Prediction: Over 2.5
Feyenoord vs Heracles
Third-placed Feyenoord takes on fifth-placed Heracles in the Eredivisie on Saturday, where defeat for either side could see them slip down one position in the table. The hosts really need to win if they are to hold onto the third spot in the table this weekend, as AZ Alkmaar are only a point behind, while Heracles could move back into the top five with a win in Rotterdam.
Feyenoord ended their hoodoo away from home last weekend when they strolled to a 3-0 victory in Venlo. A twenty-fourth minute Larsson strike saw Feyenoord lead VVV 1-0 at the break and further goals in the second half from Jørgensen and Malacia made the final scoreline very convincing. Heracles were almost held to a goalless draw at home to bottom of the table Breda last time out, but their blushes were spared by Swedish forward Peterson who scored the only goal of the game in the eighty-first minute.
We’re expecting goals at both ends of the pitch when these two sides meet, with the most likely result being a Feyenoord victory due to the pairs recent head to head record and their performances in the Eredivisie over the last few weeks.
Feyenoord has won each of their last six matches against Heracles, and four of the last seven encounters between the two teams have seen both teams score and over 2.5 goals. Five of Feyenoord’s and four of Heracles’ last six matches have produced over 2.5 goals, while three of Feyenoord’s last five and five of Heracles’ last six matches have seen both teams score. All of the above has us expecting plenty of goals on Saturday, but we can’t see this game ending in anything but a win for the home side.
Prediction: Feyenoord Wins & Over 1.5
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