Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge of Chelsea didn’t quite go as he would have hoped, and the German coach cut a frustrated figure on the sideline as the Blues limped to a largely uninspiring 0-0 draw at home to a determined Wolves team on Wednesday evening.
Tuchel had overseen just one training session with his new charges before their date with Wanderers however, and it will take time for his ideas and tactical philosophy to take hold.
Teething problems are to be expected as Tuchel finds his feet at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea could endure another nervous moment or two against Burnley on Sunday.
Burnley meanwhile, warmed up for their trip to London with a smash and grab victory at home to Aston Villa in midweek.
The dogged Clarets twice overturned a deficit at Turf Moor to beat the Villains, and the manner of their triumph should add another dollop of self-belief to the confidence they would have gained from beating Liverpool at Anfield last week.
Chelsea ambled to a 3-0 win at Burnley in the teams’ reverse fixture back in October, though we don’t expect it to be similarly smooth sailing when the sides reconvene on Sunday.
Buoyed by excellent results against Liverpool and Aston Villa, Burnley will arrive at Stamford Bridge ready to throw their weight about, and we see them notching against their nervous hosts.
Chelsea has beaten the Clarets in five of their last six league encounters, however, and with eager players hoping to impress their new, notoriously demanding coach, and Tuchel’s compatriots Werner and Havertz keen to make full use of their clean slates, we expect the Blues to eventually force a win.
Predictions: Chelsea Wins
Brighton – Tottenham
Tottenham will be licking their wounds following their midweek chasing by Liverpool, and with Harry Kane out injured, they will have to work hard to bounce back with a win at Brighton on Sunday.
Spurs had been gearing up to launch a title challenge this season, though the manner of their 3-1 reverse at home to current champions Liverpool on Thursday would have been a real wake up call for their supporters.
Jose Mourinho’s troops were thoroughly outclassed in the capital, and their 0.10 xG (Expected Goals) figure for the evening highlights just how ineffective they were.
Brighton meanwhile, missed a huge chance to establish a buffer between themselves and the drop zone when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Fulham on Wednesday.
That was the third time in six Premier League assignments where a toothless Albion failed to score, and following their stalemate against the Cottagers, Brighton remain the only team in the division yet to win a home game in 2020/21.
Harry Kane has provided an incredible 23 goal contributions (12 goals, 11 assists) in 19 Premier League starts for Tottenham this season, and his absence through injury makes Spurs a less-lethal outfit ahead of their trip to Brighton.
With Tottenham’s talisman missing and Brighton’s general lack of thrust in the final third also a factor, we expect goalmouth action to be sparse on Sunday, and the under 2.5 goals market is favoured as a result.
Westham – Liverpool
West Ham are trying to upset the established order in the Premier League this season, and the high-flying Hammers look capable of giving champions Liverpool are real run for their money in London on Sunday.
A four game-winning surge saw West Ham briefly move into the top four last week, before their weekend opponents Liverpool replace them following the Reds’ superb 3-1 win at Tottenham on Thursday.
David Moyes’s in-form Irons have only been beaten twice in 13 Premier League assignments since early November however, and with Tomas Soucek’s aerial prowess, Declan Rice’s bite in midfield and Michail Antionio’s pace up top, they can cause Liverpool a headache or two in the capital.
Liverpool reminded their Premier League counterparts and challengers just how formidable an outfit they can be in midweek when the Reds ragdolled a strong Spurs side on Thursday.
Goals from Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane allowed the reigning champions to stamp their authority on their hosts, and Liverpool’s dominant display felt like statement of intent and a return to their ominous best.
Injuries pre-game to Fabinho and in-game to Joel Matip took the edge off Liverpool’s high spirits in mid-week, and with options already thin on the ground, Jurgen Klopp could be forced to pair Nat Phillips and Jordan Henderson at center-half on Sunday.
Predictions: Liverpool Wins
Barcelona- Atlethic Bilbao
Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao have served up two five-goal thrillers already this month and the entertainment looks set to continue when the pair renew their rivalry at Camp Nou.
A Lionel Messi-inspired Barca ran out 3-2 winners in the Basque country in La Liga earlier this month before Bilbao exacted their revenge by prevailing by the same scoreline to win the Spanish Super Cup in extra-time in Seville.
Barca, ten points adrift of Atletico Madrid in La Liga having played one game more, can ill afford any more slip-ups and they may take some stopping in their pursuit of a fifth straight win.
But with Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto still sidelined, Barcelona are weakened defensively and that offers hope to a Bilbao side that thrashed Getafe 5-1 at home last weekend.
Both teams have scored in six of Barcelona’s last eight home league matches, with their only two clean sheets coming against lowly pair Levante and Osasuna.
Ronald Koeman’s men have been held to consecutive score draws at Camp Nou by Valencia and Levante and Bilbao are another team with the attacking quality to give them a scare.
Despite their inconsistencies in La Liga this season, Bilbao have failed to score in only one of their last nine games and both teams have scored in each of their last five away league trips which include on their visit to Real Madrid.
Predictions: Barca Wins
Napoli – Parma
Parma are in terrible form having fallen to second-bottom in Serie A. The visitors have lost six of their last seven league games, while they’re rank outsiders for the points in Naples.
Napoli won 4-2 against Spezia in a comfortable night in midweek, with that win making it three victories on the bounce at home. However. Napoli have seen both teams score in five of their last six in Serie A.
With Parma scoring in all but two of their games on the road, they should find the net here. We’re backing Napoli to win and both teams to score, while we’re going with a 3-1 win for the hosts, given they’ve scored 13 across their last three at home.
Predictions: Napoli Wins
Roma – Hellas Verona
A 3-1 victory over Napoli last weekend took Verona into eighth, which is bad news for Roma. The hosts have won all 11 meetings with sides from 10th and below, but they’ve won none against the top nine.
Verona have already avoided defeat at Lazio, Atalanta, Juventus and Milan this season. They were also awarded a 3-0 win over Roma after the Giallorossi played an unregistered player in a 0-0 draw earlier this term.
We expect Verona to cause more headaches for Roma, especially considering how the hosts have struggled against any half-decent side so far.
Prediction: Home Wins Or Draw & U 4.5
Lorient – PSG
Lorient ended their winless run in midweek, beating fellow strugglers Dijon 3-2. PSG hit Montpellier for four last time out, making it three clean sheets on the run in Ligue 1. Lorient remains in the relegation places despite that win, while PSG held onto the top spot, but Lille are on the same points tally and continues to breathe down the necks of the title-favorites.
Lorient have not played well against PSG for a long time now, losing each of the pair’s last 12 matches. Lorient have also failed to score in four of their last five games against PSG and will need the visitors to have an off day if they are to claim even a point on Sunday.
PSG are in great form right now, winning five of their last six matches, and have looked really strong at the back. The visitors have kept clean sheets in four of their last six fixtures and Lorient have failed to score in two of their last six matches, one of which was against PSG in December.
Prediction: PSG & O 1.5
AZ Alkmaar – Ajax
AZ Alkmaar pulled off a remarkable Eredivisie double over Ajax last season but Pascal Jansen’s men have their work cut out to topple the table-toppers this time around.
Ajax are unbeaten in ten games in all competitions, winning eight of those fixtures which includes a 1-0 away victory at Alkmaar in the KNVB Beker just 11 days ago.
Four consecutive league wins have seen Ajax move four points clear of PSV at the Eredivisie summit and they have in a formidable form on their travels, dropping just two points across their last seven away games.
Erik ten Hag’s side have been scoring goals freely and we predict them to net at least twice on their trip to the Alkmaar.
Ajax have scored 63 goals in 19 league games, an average of 3.3 per game, and they have failed to score only once this season.
AZ Alkmaar have conceded in each of their last 14 matches in all competitions and, despite sitting fourth in the Eredivisie, their defense has been breached more than any other side in the division’s top-half with them leaking 28 goals across their 19 games.
Predictions: Ajax Wins Either Half
Lille – Dijon
A solitary goal proved enough for Lille to secure all 3pts away at fellow European hopefuls Rennes last week. Dijon played out a 5-goal thriller against Lorient in midweek but ended up coming out on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline. Those results mean that the gap between these two clubs has increased to 30pts and is expected to grow again on Sunday.
Lille have a great record against Dijon, winning nine, drawing one and losing just two of the pair’s last 12 encounters in all competitions. Lille’s last three wins against Dijon have all arrived in Ligue 1 and have been accompanied by clean sheets.
The hosts not only have the home advantage, but they are also the form favourites heading into this weekend’s clash. Lille have won four of their last six league games, while Dijon have only managed to win once during that same period of matches. The fact that Lille have kept three clean sheets in their last six attempts and that Dijon have failed to score in three of their last six outings points towards a clean sheet for the home side this weekend.
Predictions: Lille Wins
Cadiz- Athletico Madrid
It’s impossible to oppose leaders Atletico Madrid this weekend as they bid to rack up an eighth consecutive league victory, although hosts Cadiz could get themselves on the scoresheet to boost the returns for an away win.
Just three sides have taken points from Atleti this season, and despite their shock 2-1 success over Barcelona here in early December, we don’t envisage Cadiz causing Diego Simeone’s men too many problems here.
The hosts have won just one of their last eight league matches (D3, L4), and their 3-0 hammering at Sevilla last time out epitomized the limitations of Alvaro Cervera’s side.
Nonetheless, the Yellow Submarine netted six goals in their three previous league games including five in their last two starts at Estadio Ramon de Carranza, so it’s quite possible that the hosts can register again this Sunday against an Atleti backline that has conceded in four of their last five outings in all competitions.
Backing Cadiz to net markedly increases the odds about another Atleti victory and while the 4/9 for an away win is perfectly reasonable for the weekend multiples, this looks the best value option for single wagers.
Predictions: Home To Score
Today’s UCL Prediction : Bet Tips, Statistics And Insightful Analysis
Are you looking for the best Weekend Football Predictions? Look no more, as all of our predictions are of course explained and full analysis is provided to enable you to make the most of the weekend betting experience.
Tottenham vs Olympiacos
Tottenham have been able to put their embarrassing 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich behind them with big consecutive wins over Red Star Belgrade, winning the home tie 5-0, before going to Belgrade and beating the Serbian outfit 4-0. They come into this match against Olympiakos with Jose Mourinho at the helm and they’ll know a win here would be enough to see them qualify for the knockout stages.
Spurs have scored 13 goals in their four games in the Champions League but that huge defeat against Bayern leaves them with nine goals against. They’ve certainly turned things around, though, and they’ll still be riding the wave of confidence a new manager brings after Mourinho’s appointment last week. With an average of over three goals a game so far, they’ll be confident of another big result this week.
Olympiakos haven’t enjoyed their Champions League campaign so far, with just a single point earned by the Greek side, following their 2-2 draw with Spurs in the reverse fixture. Since then, they’ve lost twice to Bayern Munich and once to Red Star Belgrade, conceding eight goals in the process. Things haven’t gone well for Olympiakos and it’s hard to see them getting anything from this game.
With that in mind, we think Tottenham are in line for a big result and we’re predicting them to beat the 2.5 goal line by themselves. They’ve been scoring for fun in Europe and this should continue with them looking very good in the final third against West Ham at the weekend, during Mourinho’s first game in charge.
Prediction: 1 & O 1.5
Real Madrid vs PSG
Real Madrid comes into this game knowing a win will be enough to secure qualification to the knockout stages once again. That is not a formality, with PSG looking in fantastic form in the Champions League this season, and the Spaniards will have to work hard to claim a result. Madrid has found things a little difficult so far this season and this could be a trend that continues into MD5.
A 6-0 win over Galatasaray would’ve given the side some confidence again. But, prior to that, disappointing results against both PSG and Club Brugge put head coach Zinedine Zidane under considerable pressure. This has been relieved somewhat since but Madrid will need to pick up where they left off against a PSG side that has excelled so far this term.
PSG have a perfect record to protect, winning four games from four, scoring 10 goals and conceding none while romping to qualification from Group A with two games to spare. The wealth of talent available to them has been clear to see but their ability in the final third has separated them from everyone else so far. This is evidenced by the side’s 21 shots on target in four games and conversion rate of just under 50%.
There is so much attacking talent on display for both teams that it’s hard to see anything other than goals in this game. We’re backing a goal fest with the 3.5 goal line being beaten. With teams expected to feature Karim Benzema, Rodrygo, Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe, there should be plenty of chances at either end.
Prediction: 12 & O 1.5
Atalanta vs Dynamo Zagreb
The Serie A side have seen their campaign stall in recent weeks, with major problems both at home and in Europe. Atalanta have won once in their last eight games, while they come into this game winless in seven. They lost 3-1 against Juventus at the weekend, shipping three goals in the final 16 minutes. That could cost them again here, as Dinamo have scored three in the last 15 minutes across their last two in Europe – drawing 2-2 and 3-3 with Shakhtar Donetsk.
While Atalanta’s historic Champions League campaign has been a dud, this has been a great season for the visitors. Dinamo Zagreb have scored nine goals in their four Uefa Champions League games this season (W1 D2 L1), two more than they managed in 24 games in their previous four campaigns (seven goals in 2011/12, 2012/13, 2015/16 and 2016/17). That form has left them in the mix to make the top two.
Clinical finishing has helped the Croatian side into that position. Dinamo Zagreb have taken the joint-fewest shots of any team in the Champions League this season (36, joint with Galatasaray); however, they have the best conversion rate of any side, scoring with nine of those 36 shots (25%). That’s bad news for Atalanta, who head into this clash with a dreadful record at the back. In their four games, they’ve conceded over 12 shots per game, with 24% of those converted into goals.
Prediction: H wins
Juventus vs Atletico Madrid
Juventus can wrap up first place in their Champions League group on Tuesday. The Italian champions are on a great run, while they come into this one looking to punish an Atlético Madrid side winless in their previous five away trips.
Juventus have won 14 and lost one of their last 23 Champions League group games on home soil (D8). The Old Lady are looking to win four consecutive home group games for the first time since October 2008. Their form this season has also been brilliant, with 12 wins in their last 13 matches. Having scored twice in all four group games this term, they look likely to achieve a result.
History doesn’t seem to favour the visitors in this clash. Atlético Madrid have registered just three wins in their 10 previous encounters with Juventus in all competitions (W3 D2 L5), with four of those five defeats coming in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the other arriving in the Champions League (0-3 in March 2019). They’re yet to really click in this competition following their summer rebuild, so this trip could be a struggle.
Meanwhile, Juventus have shown real progression as a team, building a side who can share out the goals. That’s clearly a key part of Maurizio Sarri’s plan, as the Italian boss was reportedly unhappy with Chelsea’s reliance on Eden Hazard last term. His new side have had eight different scorers in this season’s Champions League – already twice as many as they had last season when they reached the quarter-final.
Of course, the Italian champions still have an obvious leading man who tends to hurt Atlético. Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 25 goals versus Atlético Madrid in all competitions – only versus Sevilla (27) has he netted more. The Portuguese forward has bagged four hat-tricks against Atlético, with two of those arriving in the Champions League (March 2019 & May 2017).
Red Star Belgrade vs Bayern Munich
In the past couple of years, Red Star Belgrade have carved themselves out a reputation as a difficult side to beat. But they haven’t been able to bring this into their Champions League campaign this season, with resounding defeats to both Bayern Munich and Tottenham in Group A. Indeed, they’ve conceded 13 goals, the most of any team in the competition this season.
Bayern Munich have performed exactly as expected, with four wins from four and 15 goals scored in those games, an average of 3.75 per game. The 7-2 victory over Tottenham was definitely the high point, with the Germans dismantling their opponents and putting themselves in a position where they have qualified for the round of 16 with two games to spare.
The reverse fixture saw Bayern Munich run out 3-0 winners and there isn’t much that has happened in the interim which indicates a similar result isn’t on the cards here. Bayern look full of confidence, having only conceded four goals in the campaign, and will be seeking another win to keep their momentum going before they welcome Tottenham to the Allianz Arena in two weeks’ time.
Prediction: O 2.5
Man City vs Shakhter Donetsk
Manchester City hasn’t quite assured themselves of qualification from Group C but a point here will be enough for them to book their place in the knockout stages. They were enjoying a perfect campaign until their last European fixture, when they had a bit of a meltdown, drawing 1-1 against Atalanta and finishing the game with defender, Kyle Walker, in goal after a red card for Claudio Bravo.
This season, however, we’ve seen Man City respond well to a poor result and that could well be the case here as they look to take the pressure off their last game in the group. They come up against a good Shakhtar side, though, and it might not be the run-of-the-mill victory Man City fans have become accustomed to.
Shakhtar Donetsk currently sit second in the group and know they need to keep picking up results. Dinamo Zagreb also have five points and are only kept in third due to the three goals Shakhtar scored in their last game. But getting a result from the Premier League champions is no easy task and Shakhtar will need to be in peak form to challenge City.
Prediction: 1 & O 1.5
Galatasaray vs Club Brugge
Galatasaray have endured an awful Champions League campaign, only picking up a single point and failing to score a goal. This was compounded by a 6-0 drubbing against Real Madrid three weeks ago, which eliminated them from the competition. The side have managed just six shots on target in their four games so far this season, looking second best against every team they’ve come up against.
Injuries haven’t helped them, with main striker Radamel Falcao missing part of the campaign, but the fans are still bitterly disappointed with the state of their European challenge and there are increasing calls for head coach Fatih Terim to be relieved of his duties. For now, though, he remains in charge and leads his side into what looks to be the game that decides which of these two teams will finish third and qualify for the Europa League.
Club Brugge haven’t fared much better in a tough group but a creditable 2-2 draw against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu has at least given them some cause for celebration. They’ve averaged two shots on target per game, not much of an improvement on Galatasaray, but hold a small advantage over their opponents coming into the encounter.
A draw would suit Club Brugge in this game, as it would mean Galatasaray have to claim a victory at Parc de Princes to finish third in the group; they could well look to keep things tight knowing Galatasaray have struggled in front of goal this season.
Prediction: 1-3 G A
Lokomotive Moscow vs Bayern Leverkusen
Both sides can still technically qualify for the Champions League knockout stages but it looks very unlikely. There is still plenty on the line here, though, with the winner being the most likely team to qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League. Lokomotiv Moscow currently holds the advantage, with a single goal scored being the difference between the two sides at this point.
Lokomotiv Moscow’s opening-day win over Bayer Leverkusen in the reverse fixture is what separates the two sides at the moment. But since then the Russians haven’t enjoyed a successful campaign, with two losses against Juventus and a 2-0 defeat at home to Atletico. They’ve averaged four shots on target in that time but only scored twice in what has been a disappointing run.
The fortunes of Bayer Leverkusen have been the opposite of their opponents this week, with three defeats in a row being ended with a victory over Atletico last time out, keeping them in contention for qualification. Their conversion rate has been fairly average, scoring one in every three shots on target, but they’ll need to be a little more clinical in the final third to find the win in a tough game in the Russian capital.
Prediction: O 1.5
Sure Prediction For Dec 23 : Bet Tips, Analysis And Prediction
This is quite simply the biggest game in football and there will be an extra edge to this one, not least because of off-field events over the past few months in Catalonia.
As far as the players are concerned, their main focus will be on the 11 points that currently separate the two teams. Victory for Barcelona here would leave Los Blancos with an absolute mountain to climb but a home win could really prove a big momentum shift in terms of this season’s Spanish title race.
Real Madrid has been away at the FIFA Club World Cup, which they predictably won without really hitting top gear. In truth, you could argue that Real peaked in the opening week of the season when they bossed the Spanish Super Cup clashes against Barcelona. Few then could have predicted the Catalans would have such a huge advantage heading into the first league Clasico of the season.
Barcelona are not only top of the league table but top of the form table with 20 points from their last 8 matches. They are now unbeaten in 23 league games, winning 20 of them and given that kind of record, it’s understandable why Real Madrid may view this as a must-win game in terms of their title ambitions.
Given that and given Real Madrid have dropped points in 38% of their home league games this season, backing Barcelona Draw No Bet looks the smart bet here with Los Blancos looking very short for the win given their current league position.
Clasico matches invariably produce plenty of goals and there’s virtually no chance of this one ending goalless. 12 of the last 13 meetings in La Liga have seen both teams score and backing Barcelona & Both Teams to Score could be worth considering, given the array of attacking talent that will be on display.
This will be the 237th competitive meeting between these eternal rivals. They’ve already met twice this term with Real Madrid winning both legs of the Spanish Super Cup Clasico in August. Barcelona have won 5 of the last 8 league meetings though. They’ve won on 3 of their last 4 league trips to the Bernabeu, including a dramatic 3-2 win last term.
Real Madrid have won their last two El Clasico’s, both in the 2017 Spanish Supercopa (3-1 at Camp Nou and 2-0 at Santiago Bernabéu). The last time Real Madrid won three consecutive matches against Barcelona in all competitions came back in 1978.
Barcelona have the chance to win three consecutive La Liga matches against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu for the first time in the club’s history.
Real Madrid is 11 points behind Barcelona in La Liga this season- this is the biggest points difference for the first league meeting between the two sides since three points were awarded for a win (1995/96 season).
Prediction: 2x & Over 1.5
Everton vs Chelsea
Sam Allardyce may have been an unpopular managerial appointment to the Goodison Park faithful, but the chances are they are a little less unimpressed with this decision now. Everton have been a completely different side since he took over, and have pushed themselves into the top half of the Premier League table despite their flirt with the relegation zone a month or so ago.
Indeed, the future is looking bright for The Toffees. They have suffered from injuries all season but the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley, Maarten Stekelenburg, and Seamus Coleman are all nearing returns to action, so they can look forward to a much more promising second half of the season.
Chelsea obviously won’t be an easy team to get points against, but the hosts will feel slightly confident. The visitors faced a midweek League Cup game against Bournemouth and saw Alvaro Morata pick up a booking that rules him out of this match.
They only just won that match against The Cherries, and they have been less than impressive in the Premier League recently as well. They struggled in a 1-0 win over Southampton and Swansea in the last month and lost 1-0 away to West Ham earlier in December.
After winning their first three away league games this season, Chelsea has won just three of their last six (D1 L2). However, only Manchester City (9) have won more away Premier League games than Antonio Conte’s side this season.
Sam Allardyce has won his last two Premier League encounters with Chelsea – as many as he won in his first 24 against the Blues. Allardyce will become the first Premier League manager to win against Chelsea with five different clubs if he wins this game; he is currently tied on four with Roy Hodgson.
Wayne Rooney has scored 10 goals in 16 Premier League appearances so far this season – this is the fewest tally of games that it’s taken him to reach 10 goals in a league season since 2011-12 (14 games).
Everton have won 80% of their competitive games under Sam Allardyce, losing 0%.
Prediction: Over 1.5
Burnley vs Tottenham
Burnley may not have been able to take all three points at The Amex Stadium last weekend, but their goalless draw against Brighton keeps them in the running for an unlikely top-four spot heading into Christmas Day in the Premier League. The Clarets are currently 6th in the table, just two points adrift of Liverpool in 4th and not looking fazed in the slightest by their position.
It’s much of the same story at Turf Moor, where they have lost just twice this season. One of those was in their first home game of the season too, and since then they have won five, drawn two, and lost one. Admittedly they have had a fairly easy run at home, but their away performances against the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham suggest that they can do it against the big clubs.
In fact, that earlier meeting at Wembley ended 1-1, and back at Turf Moor Burnley will be quietly confident of taking more points off last season’s runners-up. That’s because Spurs aren’t in the best form at the moment and actually sit a point below their opponents down in 7th position.
They were comprehensively beaten 4-1 at Manchester City last weekend and have won just two of their last seven league games. Both of those victories came at home, and despite starting the season in fantastic form on the road, they have failed to win each of their last five games
Burnley have won one of their seven Premier League matches against Spurs (D2 L4), winning 4-2 in May 2010 under Brian Laws.
Sean Dyche’s side have lost just one of their last eight Premier League home games (W5 D2), keeping six clean sheets and conceding just twice in that run.
After a run of six consecutive away wins, Spurs are winless in their last five Premier League games on the road, picking up just one point from a possible 15 (W0 D1 L4). They last had a longer winless away run in April 2012 under Harry Redknapp (8 games).
Alli has just three goals and three assists in the 2017/18 Premier League so far. Last season, Alli had been involved in just five goals in 16 league apps before Christmas (four goals, one assist) but was involved in 20 goals in 21 Premier League games after Xmas Day (14 goals, six assists).
Prediction: 2x & Over 1.5
Manchester City vs Bournemouth
Manchester City scraped through to the League Cup Semi-Finals in midweek with their second penalty shootout victory of the competition, but their performances in the Premier League have been a lot more convincing than that 1-1 draw at Leicester.
In the league, they are on an unprecedented 16 match winning streak, and their only failure so far this season was a 1-1 draw at home to Everton in game week two. Since then they have been unstoppable, and even when not performing at the top of their game they have been fortunate enough to snatch three points.
Defensively they have been weak recently, and especially at home. They have conceded in six of their nine home games this season, including in each of their last four. However, they more than makeup for that at the other end, where they have scored a huge 32 goals.
This won’t come as good news to Bournemouth. The visitors were knocked out of the League Cup by Chelsea in midweek and are now winless in seven games in all competitions. They have had to face Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea in their last three outings, but Saturday will be an even bigger test than those matches.
The Cherries now sit dangerously close to the drop zone in 16th position, and defeat on Saturday could potentially see them endure Christmas day in the bottom three. The fact they have shipped 12 goals in their last six games will be a big worry coming up against Manchester City as well.
Manchester City has won nine and lost none of their 11 previous league matches against Bournemouth (D2), winning all five in the Premier League.
The Cherries have conceded nine goals in two previous Premier League visits to the Etihad, losing 5-1 in October 2015 and 4-0 in September 2016. Bournemouth have never won a match in Manchester against either City or United in 11 previous attempts in all competitions (W0 D2 L9), conceding 32 goals in those 11 games.
Raheem Sterling has scored in all four of his Premier League appearances against Bournemouth, scoring six goals, including a hat-trick in October 2015 and last-minute winner in this season’s reverse fixture.
If Manchester City wins this, it will be the joint-second longest ever winning run in one of Europe’s big five leagues (17 games). The current record is 19, achieved by Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in 2013-14
Prediction: Over 2.5
Leicester City vs Manchester United
It would be accurate to say that Leicester have had a very disappointing week in the run-up to Christmas. First, they were hammered 3-0 at home to Crystal Palace last weekend. The Foxes have been fairly good recently though, winning four of their last six in all competitions. However, their home form this season hasn’t really been up to scratch. They have won four, drawn one, and lost four of their nine home league games.
Leicester’s home defeats have largely come against the top teams, with Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City all beating them. This may be understandable, but it won’t give them much confidence as they come up against another top team in the Premier League on Saturday.
Away from home, The Red Devils have had a few disappointing results this season, but more recently they seem to have overcome that hurdle and have now won three on the bounce away from home. This is thanks to an increased output from their strikers, which has seen them score nine goals in their last three goals but ship four at the other end.
Manchester United have won five and drawn two of their last seven meetings with Leicester, with there being three or more goals in four of these five wins.
Leicester City has lost 13 of their last 17 Premier League games against Manchester United (W1 D3).
Manchester United have lost just one of their last 12 league visits to Leicester (W7 D4), a 5-3 defeat in September 2014.
Manchester United have conceded in each of their last five Premier League away games, but have managed to win the last three in a row (L2). Indeed, Man Utd’s haul of three wins from their last three away games is more than they’d managed in their previous 10 on the road in the Premier League (W2 D4 L4).
Prediction: Over 1.5
Celtic vs Aberdeen
Celtic got back to winning ways in midweek, claiming a 2-0 victory over Partick Thistle. While that wasn’t the most stellar way to see off the league’s bottom side, it was a much-needed result following their weekend loss at Hearts. Having surrendered their unbeaten record, Brendan Rodger’s side needs to hit their stride once again, but they face second-placed Aberdeen this weekend. With the Dons just five points off top spot, they’ll be looking to inflict another defeat on the Bhoys and close the gap in the title race.
Aberdeen comes here on the back of three straight victories, following Derek McInnes’ decision to stay on at Pittodrie. Having transformed the Dons in to Celtic’s biggest title rivals in recent years, McInnes would have been a big loss for Aberdeen. The visitors seem full of confidence following his decision to hang around, and he’ll be looking for a productive finish to the season, which would include running Celtic close in the battle for the Premiership title.
While Celtic have been slightly better on their travels this season than at home, Aberdeen has an identical away record. The Dons have the joint-best away record in the division, and they’re bound to test the Bhoys in the weekend’s biggest Premiership clash. They have averaged 1.7 goals per game on the road this season, scoring in 80% of their away trips. They should be out to add to that this weekend, as they’re likely to approach this game on the front foot and look to cause more problems for Celtic.
Celtic are on an eight-game winning run against Aberdeen.
Celtic may have lost at Hearts, but they are on a 38 game undefeated run at home. The Bhoys have seen over 2.5 goals scored in 16 of their previous 19 games against Aberdeen.
Prediction: Celtic Wins
Juventus vs AS Roma
The biggest game of the weekend in Serie A is Juventus taking on Roma on Saturday night. This huge clash involves two of the four sides who are competing for the title, with Roma bouncing back after a tough summer to stay in contention for the Scudetto.
Having impressed in the Champions League this season, there is a feeling that the Giallorossi can take the title this year. However, a 2-1 loss to Juve’s city rivals Torino in the Coppa Italia in midweek was a blow for Roma, will they be able to bounce back straight away with a big league victory?
That makes this a difficult trip for Roma, who have a pretty poor record at this ground of late. They have already lost out to Napoli and Inter Milan this season, and this could well be another big defeat for the Giallorossi, who just seems a little inexperienced compared to the likes of Juve. While they are incredibly consistent against the sides below them, Eusebio Di Francesco’s side tends to slip up against bigger opposition.
Juventus have won their last seven matches at home to Roma, keeping a clean sheet in five of those. They’re likely to produce another shut-out once again here, given their great streak at the back. Roma isn’t likely to give too much away either, with just 29% of their away games seeing over 2.5 goals scored. We expect Juve to edge a tight game, so we’re backing a home win, along with a Juve victory and under 3.5 match goals, which both look like great value bets.
Roma has lost 79 games against Juventus so far – more than against any other opponent in the top-flight.
Juventus have scored in 23 of the last 24 Serie A games against Roma. Prior to this season, the last Serie A team to score at least 44 goals in the first 17 games had been Juventus in 1959/60. Roma has already won five games by a 1-0 scoreline this season – a league-high.
Juventus have scored with 13 different players this season – another Serie A-high. While Roma has stopped their opponents from landing a shot on target in three games this season – no other side has managed to do the same.
Prediction: 1X & Over 1.5
Napoli vs Sampdoria
Napoli have returned to the summit of Serie A and continued their push for silverware in the Coppa Italia. The Partenopei face tough opposition this weekend as they look to hold on to their place at the top of the table, with sixth-placed Sampdoria heading to Naples. Will they be able to pull off a shock against the current leaders, or will Samp suffer yet another disappointing result as their great start has begun to tail off?
The visitors come here having lost three of their last four games, taking just one point. They were in solid form until they lost at home to Lazio, and since then Samp have fallen behind in the race for Europe. They’ve fallen 15 points behind the leaders, and 11 shy of the Champions League spots. While they’re still performing well above expectations, the away side are on a bit of a downward spiral at the moment, and that’s only likely to get worse when they take on Napoli.
One thing that hasn’t abandoned the visitors yet is their scoring touch, as they’ve found the net in four of their last five games. The visitors are among the top five scorers in the league, averaging 1.25 goals per game on the road. That’s a solid record, especially as Samp aren’t quite at their best away from home. They’ve claimed two away wins – one of which came at their home stadium – and they’ve lost three of their eight trips. Having slipped up to some poor sides, we think Samp are in line for a loss on Saturday.
Napoli are unbeaten in their last 12 Serie A games against Sampdoria (W9 D3).
Napoli have won seven of their last nine games at the San Paolo against the Blucerchiati. Napoli has collected 42 points this season – their joint-best in a single Serie A campaign after 17 games since 1987/88 (when they finished second).
Sampdoria have picked-up only one point from their last four games, conceding eight goals in the process, they’ve conceded seven goals in the last 15 minutes of play – more than any other side.
Prediction: 1X & Over 1.5
Lazio vs Crotone
Lazio are out to boost their title hopes in Saturday’s early Serie A clash, as they host Crotone at the Stadio Olimpico. They’ve fallen nine points behind the league leaders, but they do at least have a game in hand. On top of that, two of the top four clash this weekend, meaning the Aquile have a chance to push for a Champions League spot. Making the top four has to be their aim after an impressive 18 months, but they’ve slipped five points off fourth-placed Roma.
The meeting between these two last season saw Lazio work for a 1-0 victory, and they’ll be out to add to that with another home win on Saturday morning. The Aquile will see this as the perfect chance to boost their mixed home record, having won three and drawn two of their seven matches here so far. However, seeing as Crotone have lost six of their eight away trips, we fully expect the points to go to Lazio in this clash.
One big problem for the visitors is their lack of goals, having averaged just 0.75 per game in the league this season. They’ve scored just 13 times in 17 league matches overall, which isn’t a record that is likely to keep them up this term. Losing forward Diego Falcinelli in the summer was a huge blow to Crotone, and that’s left them short of goals, as they just don’t have enough quality to cut through defences at this level. That’s especially true when it comes to facing the elite sides in Serie A.
These two sides have met only twice so far in Serie A, in the last campaign – the home team had the better on both occasions.
Lazio have never conceded more than a single goal in their 13 previous Serie A games at the Olimpico against an opponent from Calabria, and have scored in each of their last 15 games – currently the longest streak in Serie A.
Crotone have kept their first clean sheet after a series of 10 consecutive games in which they had always shipped at least one goal.
Prediction: Over 1.5
PSV vs Vitesse
PSV suffered a brief setback in the hunt for their twenty-fourth Eredivisie title when they were first beaten 3-0 convincingly by arch-rivals Ajax and then drew 3-3 at Groningen, but a return to winning ways in the league against Den Haag last weekend was followed up by a 4-1 win in the cup against VVV, and the league leaders look back to their very best once again. On Saturday Vitesse provide the opposition to the table toppers, but this weekend is all about consolidation for the visitors as three points won’t move them any higher than their current placing of seventh, while defeat could see Vitesse slip to as low as tenth.
With four wins from their last six league and cup games, PSV head into this weekend’s second meeting of the season against Vitesse as the form favorites. The league leaders have lost once and drawn once during that six-game period and will prove very difficult to defeat in their own backyard this weekend. Vitesse has also only lost once in their last six, but with two wins and three draws their are doubts as to their ability to finish off games they are in control of.
Three of PSV’s last five wins have seen the table toppers keep a clean sheet, and with Vitesse losing their last big away test 1-0 at Feyenoord, another clean sheet and three points could well be on the way for PSV on Saturday.
PSV have won 42 of their last 66 matches against Vitesse, drawing 17 times and losing on just 7 separate occasions.
Three of PSV’s last five victories have been accompanied by a clean sheet.
Prediction: Psv Wins & Over 1.5