Reviews

Lazio – Udinese

Lazio continues the battle for Europa League qualification. The team from the capital hosts Udinese in a game from the 26th round of the Serie A at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

 

In a certain time of the season Lazio was even a contender for a place in the Champions League, but Simone Inzaghi’s team lost its momentum. Lazio won just two of its last five games, which made them lose some of their positions in the standings.

 

Udinese on the other hand don’t have much to play for until the end of the campaign. The team from Udine looks secure for its Serie A place this season, but they don’t have chances for something important in the league as well. Luigi Delneri’s team is just waiting for the season to end and hope for something better next year.

 

Simone Inzaghi will be without the services of the Argentine midfielder Lucas Biglia, who is suspended for the game. Luis Alberto’s participation remains doubtful because of a knee injury.

 

Udinese’s manager Luigi Delneri can’t use Assane Demoya Gnoukouri, while Marco Davide Faraoni is doubtful.

 

Europa League remains a realistic goal for Lazio until the end of the campaign. The Biancocelesti are just one point behind the 5th Atalanta, so at the Stadio Olimpico they still have high hopes to play some European football next season.

 

In the last round of Serie A Lazio achieved a difficult win away from home against Empoli, thanks to the goals of Ciro Immobile and Balde Keita, who overturned a goal deficit.

 

Udinese on the other hand lost their last two games against Fiorentina and Sassuolo. Delneri’s team is without a win in three consecutive games. For the last time they beat Milan at the Dacia Arena at the end of January. Udinese conceded 5 goals in its last two games, so Luigi Delneri probably had a lot of talk with his defenders since then.

Bayern Munchen – Hamburger

Bayern Munich will aim to make just another step towards the Bundesliga crown, hosting Hamburger SV at the Allianz Arena in Munich. The Bavarian giants are currently leading the standings with 5 points ahead the sensation RB Leipzig, although Bayern lost points in two of its last three games in the league.

 

In the last round Carlo Ancelotti’s team shared the points with Hertha in Berlin, which allowed RB Leipzig to move closer to the leader. Bayern remains a heavy favourite for the title, of course, but they need to continue winning on a regular basis, if they want to clinch the Bundesliga crown without worrying of a possible surprise.

 

Hamburger SV on the other hand continue to fight against relegation. The former European champions are currently just a point above the relegation play-off spot, which is currently being held by another one of the traditional German clubs – Werder Bremen. The two wins against Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig allowed HSV to move closer to survival, although in the last round they were unable to use their home advantage against Freiburg.

 

Carlo Ancelotti is lucky enough to have a fit squad in this stage of the season. The youngster Julian Green is having some problems with an injury, but all of the key players are healthy. This could be said about Jerome Boateng and Franck Ribery as well, as they are once again fit and ready to play.

 

There are much more problems for Hamburger’s manager Markus Gisdol. Albin Ekdal, Tom Mickel and Dennis Diekmeier are doubtful for the game because of a flu, while Aaron Hunt, Nicolai Müller, Bobby Shou Wood, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Nabil Bahoui are also having some problems. In same time Finn-Dominik Porath and Andreas Hirzel are recovered from their last injuries and they are once again ready for action.

Dortmund – Bayern Munchen

When Borussia Dortmund are playing against Bayern Munich, it’s not just the whole Germany that starts watching. It’s the whole world, because this is one of the biggest football derbies on the Earth at this moment.

 

We had to wait until the 11th round of the Bundesliga, before seeing these two teams facing each other. Right now Bayern are the team in a better position from the two. The Bavarians are on the top of the league, while Dortmund are currently 5th with six points behind their biggest rival. But now they will have a perfect chance to reduce the gap.

 

This will also be Carlo Ancelotti’s first big derby against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. The Italian manager of Bayern Munich is facing some troubles in the league lately, with Bayern winning just two of their last five Bundesliga matches. The team is still above everyone else in the standings, though.

 

For Borussia Dortmund it was a period of a serious crisis. They went through four consecutive games without a win, before finally beating Hamburger in the last round. Scoring five goals in the game as well. If they were more consistent in the last five matches, now they could have been even on the top of the league.

 

There are some good news for Dortmund’s manager Thomas Tuchel, as some important players like Marco Reus, Neven Subotic, Sven Bender and Marcel Schmelzer are back in training. Sebastian Rode is still not fit to play, though.

 

Carlo Ancelotti will be without the injured Kingsley Coman, while players like Javi Martinez, Jerome Boateng, Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben are facing some troubles as well. The good news come from Franck Ribery’s condition. The former French international is ready to play once again, so don’t be surprised if you see him in action against Dortmund

Udinese – Napoli

Udinese are hosting Napoli in a game from the 13th round of the Italian Serie A. Both teams don’t have a win in their last two games in the league, so now they will try to get back on the winning track.

 

Labeled as title contenders before the start of the new season, Napoli are now 9 points behind the champion and current leader Juventus. The Azzurri won just a single point in their last two matches, losing the big derby against Juve and being unable to beat Lazio at home ground as well. For Maurizio Sarri’s team it’s absolutely mandatory to start winning games as soon as possible, if they want to keep their hopes for finishing in the Top 3 of the Serie A alive.

 

Udinese is not a team with Napoli’s high ambitions, but they are still a traditional club which always try to perform as good as possible. We should note that Udinese, led by the veteran manager Luigi Delneri, didn’t lose neither once in its last four matches. This allowed them to move away from the relegation zone in the Serie A and to start breathe more freely now.

 

This game is surely more important for Napoli than it is for the home team. For the Azzurri it would be a huge failure if they don’t qualify for the Champions League. And this will certainly not happen, if Sarri’s boys continue to lose points so often. They need to find a solid consistency, if they want to fight with teams like Roma, Milan and Lazio for the Champions League places.

 

Arkadiusz Milik is the player who will miss a lot of games for Napoli in the coming months. Maurizio Sarri’s other problems come from the condition of Raul Albiol, Manolo Gabbiadini, Faouzi Ghoulam and Marek Hamsik, who have light injuries and are doubtful for the game.

 

The same could be said about Udinese’s Sven Kums, Emil Hallfredsson and Jakub Jantko, who are also under a question for the clash.

Crystal Palace – Man City

Whoever thought that after starting the new season in the Premier League in a such a brilliant manner, now Manchester City would have won just one of their last five games in the league? But this happened and now Pep Guardiola’s team will try to bounce back during the visit of Crystal Palace in London.

 

City’s last Premier League game offered a huge dissapointment to all of the club’s fans, as The Citizens showed themselves being unable to beat Middlesbrough at home. A late equalizer meant that Boro will take a point away from the Ettihad Stadium and Manchester City will drop from first to third place in the standings.

 

City’s only win in the last five rounds is agains West Bromwich and now Josep Guardiola will have to find a way to improve his team’s performances. The Citizens lost too many points in the last five rounds and they can’t afford to lose anymore, because the rivalry for the league title looks incredibly fierce this season. Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal are showing that they will fight for the gold medals until the very end and teams like Tottenham and Manchester United still haven’t said their final words.

 

Winning against Crystal Palace is a must for Manchester City and we shall see them fighting for the win until the very end. Simply because they don’t have any other options right now.

 

As for Crystal Palace, the Londoners are just one point away from the relegation zone of the Premier League. Palace are in a terrible run of four consecutive losses in the Premier League, which is obviously not a very good sign before playing a team like Manchester City. This is why The Citizens are labeled as a favourite to win the game, but do not forget that it was the same against Middlesbrough as well.

Everton – West Hamm

Four games in a row without a win. Things are not looking good for Everton lately. Ronald Koeman’s team started very well the new season in the English Premier League, but now The Toffeemen are dealing with a serious dip in form. Everton are still just five points away from the top though, so there’s nothing lost for them yet. Now they are about to welcome West Ham United at home and it’s a good opportunity for them to record a first win for this month.

 

West Ham are enjoying a much better moment than Everton right now. Recently The Hammers were placed in the relegation zone of the Premier League, but two consecutive wins against Crystal Palace and Sunderland allowed them to improve their position in the table a little bit.

 

This improvement also allowed West Ham’s manager Slaven Bilic to keep his position at the club, after he was seriously threatened with a sack, if the bad results of the team have continued.

 

The last time when Everton and West Ham met in the Premier League was once again at the Goodison Park in Liverpool. In March West Ham managed to beat the home team with 3-2, after the first game between the two sides in London finished with a 1-1 draw.

 

Ronald Koeman will be without the services of the injured James McCarthy, Leighton Baines, Muhamed Besic, Tyias Browning and Matthew Pennington.

 

For West Ham there will be also some missing players. Slaven Bilic can’t rely on Gokhan Tore, Sam Byram, Arthur Masuaku, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, who are all sidelined with injuries.

 

It’s curious to note that two of the most effective strikers in the Premier League at the moment play for these two clubs. Romelu Lukaku scored six goals for Everton since the start of the season, while Michail Antonio scored five times for West Ham so far.

Grasshooper – Basel

The champion and convincing leader of the Swiss Super League Basel travels to Zurich to face Grasshopper in a game from the 13th round of the championship.

 

Just as it was expected, Basel are clearly dominating all other teams in Switzerland at the moment. Basel are twelve points ahead of Sion at the top of the league and they already look like huge favourites to win another title in the Super League. For now it doesn’t look that anyboby can stop Urs Fischer’s team from celebrating the gold at the end of the campaign.

 

Certainly it doesn’t look like Grasshopper is the team do it. Grasshopper is curently 7th in the standings and the difference between them and Basel is 17 points. They even lost their last two games in the Super League – against Sion and Young Boys, conceding eight goals in these two matches. This is something which tells us that Grasshopper’s defense is a pure mess in the moment, which is not a good sign before playing a team with Basel’s qualities and talent.

 

Basel on the other hand lost two points in the visit to Lugano, but they are still comfortably alone on the top. It’s safe to say that the Swiss league is not much of a challenge for this club, who is also participating in the Champions League group stage. Most probably Basel will play this game, thinking more about its performance in the Champions League.

 

Even in this way, we could hardly see Grasshopper taking something from this clash. The difference in the two teams’ level is just too big. Basel made a wrong step against Lugano, but it’s hard to think that they are going to do it in two consecutive times. Most probably they will take what belongs to them in this game, underlining their domination in the Super League.

Juventus – Napoli

The champion and current leader in the Italian Serie A Juventus hosts Napoli in the most interesting game of the 11th round of the league.

 

Juve are the expected leader in the Serie A, having two points advantage in front of Roma and four points in front of Napoli. This is a good chance for Napoli to reduce the margin, but it will be a difficult task for them to do it at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, where it’s very hard to win even a single point. It would be also curious to see Juventus’ striker Gonzalo Higuain playing against his former club.

 

Juventus won four of their last five games in the Serie A, with their only misstep being the loss they suffered in the derby against Milan at the San Siro. During the week Juve fixed their mistake and won comfortably against Sampdoria at home, scoring four goals in front of their own fans.

 

Napoli won its last two games in the league, which helped them to get back into the Top 3 of the Serie A. The Azzurri won against Crotone and Empoli, after they have lost two times in a row before that.

 

Juventus will be without the injured Paulo Dybala and Marko Pjaca, while Patrice Evra also remains sidleined with a calf injury.

 

Napoli will be without the injured Raul Albiol and Arkadiusz Milik, while Manolo Gabbiadini is suspended for the game.

 

Last season Juventus won against Napoli at home, avenging the loss they suffered during their visit to Naples. Now the Old Lady is once again a big favourite to take all of the three points, especially when playing at home ground. Even if they allow themselves to lose points away from home, Juventus are almost unbeatable when playing at the Juventus Stadium in Turin.

Betis – Real Madrid

Three draws in a row. Three consecutive games without a win. Things are not looking good for Real Madrid in La Liga right now. The Los Blancos are not on the top of the league anymore, although they are on equal points with the new leader Atletico Madrid.

 

This weekend Real Madrid will have to travel to Seville to meet Real Betis. The Los Blancos’ manager Zinedine Zidane is fully aware that he can’t allow a fourth consecutive game without a win, so everybody expects to see Real Madrid finally snatching its fifth win in La Liga since the start of the new season. But what could Real Betis do to stop the reigning European champions?

 

The Seville team is not performing very convincing since the start of the new season. Betis is currently just two tops above the relegation zone of La Liga, having won 8 points in the first seven rounds. They lost two of their last three games – against Sevilla and Real Sociedad, but won against Malaga at home.

 

Marcelo and James Rodriguez are back in training for Real Madrid, after healing successfully from their last injuries. The problems for Zinedine Zidane come from the condition of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos, who are not at his disposal at the moment.

 

Real Betis’ manager Gus Poyet could be without the goalkeeper Antonio Adan, but Jonas Martin, Antonio Sanabria, Rafa Navarro and Alissa Mandi are all back in training.

 

Real Madrid are the clear favourite to win this one, but remember that it was the same against Villarreal, Las Palmas and Eibar as well. The Los Blancos are clearly far away from their best form at the moment, but they know that the win against Betis is “a must” after three consecutive games without three points.

Elfsborg – Helsingborg

Elfsborg and Helsingborg are about to meet in a game from the 26th round of the Swedish Allsvenskan.

 

Elfsborg are comfortably sitting at the middle of the table and their season looks over, while Helsingborg is still leading a hard battle against relegation. Henrik Larsson’s team is currently placed at the relegation play-off place, falling six points behind the 13th GIF Sundsvall and the hope for salvation.

 

This is a really disastrous season for Helsingborg. Led by the legendary Henrik Larsson, The Reds won just 6 of their 25 games in the Allsvenskan this season, losing 15 of them. Last year Helsingborg finished in the middle of the table, but now everything looks much worse for them for some unknown reason.

 

Elfsborg is currently enjoying what Helsingborg enjoyed last season – a comfortable existence in the middle of the table. They have won 35 points so far and they are completely safe, without any chances for European qualification as well. It’s safe to say that Elfsborg is just waiting for the season to end, because they do not have anything to play for in the remaining games. Except for their own reputation.

 

Helsingborg still have a slight chance to avoid playing in the relegation play-off. They are six points behind GIF Sundsvall, but they are going to need a really good run until the end of the season, if they want to move above in the table. But do they have the qualities needed for this? We shall see against Elfsborg this weekend. They also have to be careful to not move a place downwards, because this would be fatal for them. Henrik Larsson’s team is just six points above the 15th Gefle, so they are going to need a few more points to feel more secured about their destiny

Norrkoping – Malmo

Norrköping and Malmo FF are facing each other in one of the most important games of the Swedish Allsvenskan for this season. These two teams are the big favourites for the gold medals in the league and there are just four points that separate them from each other. For now Malmo are leading the standings with 57 points, but a win for Norrköping would mean shortening this difference to just one point.

 

Just a few weeks ago Norrköping was leading the table in Sweden, but two consecutive losses allowed Malmo to get on the top. This was a very bad moment for Norrköping to allow a dip in the team’s form, especially when the league is nearing it’s big finale, but they still have their chances to win the gold medals. Winning against Malmo is “a must”, though.

 

Malmo on the other hand gladly accepted the gifts they recieved from Norrköping. Allan Kuhn’s team won four of its last five games in the league, which allowed them to occupy the first spot. Now everything is in their own hands and everybody at Malmo knows how important is to not lose the visit to Norrköping.

 

Malmo’s biggest weapon comes from Iceland and is called Vidhar Kjartansson. The Icelandic stiker is currently leading the Allsvenskan’s topscorers table, having scored 14 goals in the league so far.

 

Norrköping’s answer to Kjartansson is called Sebastian Andersson, who scored 11 goals since the start of the 2016 campaign. He’s currently the third most profilic striker in the Swedish league.

 

This a very important game in the Allsvenskan, because it could either decide almost everything or make the league very complicated in the last few rounds. A win for Malmo could be decisive and the price could be the gold medals, but if Norrköping manages to snatch the three points, then everythings starts once again.

LIVERPOOL – HULL CITY

Liverpool are hosting Hull City at the legendary Anfield Road in a game from the sixth round of the English Premier League.

 

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool is showing some really solid form in the last two weeks, having won two consecutive times against the champions Leicester City and especially against Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge. This kind of performances reminded us why Jurgen Klopp is labeled as one of the best managers in the world right now and cemented Liverpool’s status as a legit contender for the title.

 

Hull City on the other hand are not doing too well lately. The Tigres won just one point from their last three Premier League games, so it’s not all stars and rainbows for the manager Mike Phelan right now. They started the new season winning two consecutive times, but right now they are far away from this kind of performances in the league.

 

Jurgen Klopp won’t be able to rely on four of his players, who are still injured. These are the striker Daniel Sturridge, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sheyi Ojo and Joe Gomez. Sadio Mane is still also healing a knee injury.

 

Allan McGregor, Alex Bruce, Moses Odubajo, Michael Dawson and Gregory Roland Luer are all out for Hull City, while the central defender Jake Livermore was sent off during the 1-4 loss against Arsenal at the KCOM Stadium last week.

 

Liverpool are looking like one of the dark horses in the title run this season and winning away from home against Arsenal and Chelsea is proving that. It’s clear that Jurgen Klopp’s team is doing really well against the big teams in the league, but it’s even more important for them how consistent they are going to be against the so called “lesser teams”. The game against Hull City is a good chance for them to show us that.

LAS PALMAS – REAL MADRID

Real Madrid made a wrong step against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu during the week, but now Zinedine Zidane’s team will have the chance to redeem itself against Las Palmas in a game from the sixth round of La Liga.

 

It was a bad game for the Los Blancos against the Yellow Submarine just a few days ago. Sergio Ramos’ scored the only goal for the 1-1 draw, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale being unable to show their worth. And we perfectly saw that when these three players perform under their usual level, the whole team underperforms as well.

 

But even losing two points against Villarreal, Real Madrid is still on the top of the table with 13 points won from the first five games. They were also happy from the result between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou, with both of their main rivals for the gold medals losing two points after another 1-1 draw.

 

Las Palmas is performing in a solid way since the start of the new campaing. Quique Setien’s boys are among the first five teams in the table, having won three of their first two games in the league. It remains to be seen if they are able to keep this kind of performance up in the coming weeks or months, but it’s definitely a very good start for them. The team is showing inspiration and spirit, even with losing its last game against Real Sociedad at the Anoeta. Kevin-Prince Boateng being sent off after just 21 minutes of play was a serious reason for that, though.

 

It’s a rare thing to see Real Madrid making two wrong steps in a row, so let’s see how they are going to react after surprisingly losing two points against Villarreal at home.

BESIKTAS – GALATASARAY

It’s going to be really hot in Turkish football this weekend, because Besiktas and Galatasaray will once again offer us an unforgetable show from the Süper Lig. These are two of the biggest Turkish clubs in history, so everytime when they face each other it’s really interesting.

 

Besiktas won the title in the Süper Lig last season and now the Black Eagles started the new campaign in a good way, too. Senol Güneş’ team won three of its four games in the league, only losing two points against Konyaspor in the second round. With ten points in the first four games, Besiktas is just behind the surprising leader Istanbul BB.

 

The same could be said about Galatasaray as well. The team is, which led by the Dutch manager Jan Olde Riekerink, won three of its first four games in the league, being unable to win only against Kayserispor away from home. In the last round Galatasaray beat Rizespor 2-0 at the Türk Telekom Arena in Istanbul with the Swiss international Eren Derdiyok scoring two times for the winners. It was a good game for Wesley Sneijder as well, with Real Madrid and Inter’s former player giving two assists to his teammate.

 

There are two players from the both teams who have scored four goals since the start of the season. Cenk Tosun is Besiktas’ most profilic forward right now, while Eren Derdiyok is looking deadly in front of the goal for Galatasaray. It will be interesting to follow their performance in the derby as well.

 

This is one of the greatest rivalries in Turkish football, so everytime when Besiktas and Galatasaray face each other, it’s a moment of big excitement for everyone who loves football in the country. This time it won’t be different, so you should expect a nice football show in the beautiful Istanbul.

ARSENAL – CHELSEA

It’s time for another one big Premier League derby clash, because Arsenal are hosting Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London. Both teams are in a similar position in the table after the first five rounds, so one of them could get ahead of the other with a good result.

 

Even if Arsenal and Chelsea are in a similar position in the table, having won 10 points since the start of the campaign, their current form is different. Arsenal won consecutive games in the league after a difficult start of the season. The Gunners didn’t begin very well the new campaign, winning just one point against Liverpool and Leicester City, but winning against Watford, Southampton and Hull City have put them in a good position to attack the top once again.

 

Chelsea on the other hand started the new season in a brilliant way, winning three games in a row, but in the last two matches Antonio Conte’s team was unable to win against Swansea and Liverpool – something that made them seriously fall behind the leader Manchester City.

 

Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger used Alexis Sanchez as a striker in the game against Hull City and the Chilean star scored two goals for his team. It remains to be seen if the French manager is about to use these tactics again or we are about to see Olivier Giroud coming back in the team from his latest injury.

 

Chelsea will once again rely on the Spanish international Diego Costa, who is showing a fine form under Antonio Conte’s guidance. The former Atletico Madrid striker scored five goals since the start of the season, which makes him the most profilic player in the Premier League so far, alongside West Ham’s Michail Antonio.

 

It’s a great game at the Emirates between two teams who can’t afford to lose any points at the moment. This is also going to be the first duel between Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte in the Premier League.