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FESIG League Preview – (Jose returns to Stamford Bridge & Derby della Madonina)


Manchester United have not won at Stamford Bridge since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, this Saturday at lunch time, Jose Mourinho returns to his old stomping ground in search of his three points against high flying Chelsea. Surprise league leaders Sevilla travel to the Camp Nou in full confidence to face Barcelona who have not won in four league matches. In Italy, it is time for Derby della Madonina between Inter and Milan and in France, courageous Thierry Henry returns to Stade Louis II to re-engineer AS Monaco project which seem to be falling apart.

Here is our preview of matches across top five European Leagues.

We begin in England;

CHELSEA v MANCHESTER UNITED – SAT. 20 OCT 2018, 12.30HRS
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It has been one week, one trouble at Manchester United until the international break and the come from behind win over Newcastle United will have helped eased the pressure on Jose Mourinho who can breathe easier at least for now. The former Chelsea manager has not found joy on any of his return to Stamford Bridge as Manchester United and on current form, it would take a brave man to pitch tent with him. However, Mourinho is the man for the big moment, you rule him out at your peril. That said, Maurizio Sarri has gone about his business since he arrived at Chelsea, he has tried to instill his attacking philosophy into his team. The Blues look strong and like a team ready to challenge for the title.

VERDICT – Chelsea have made a strong start to the season and are unbeaten after eight league matches. No Manchester United manager has managed a victory at Stamford Bridge since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and on current form, it looks likely that poor run will continue. The Blues are strong at home and we believe they will not lose this one at home. Our prediction is over 1.5 goals for this game.

ARSENAL v LEICESTER CITY – MON. 22 OCT 2018, 20.00HRS
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Arsenal are aiming to maintain their strong run of home form against Leicester City, and their win rate in October. Claude Puel’s team lost to Everton before the international break will aim to return to winning ways at the Emirates stadium which is easier said than done. Arsenal have never lost a Premier League home match against Leicester and have won the last 11 in a row. The Gunners best month in the league is October with a win ratio of 63%. The Foxes may have won two of their last three away matches but the only positive they have for this game is Jaime Vardy’s good record against the Gunners.

VERDICT – 1973 was the last time Leicester managed a victory away at Arsenal which seem like a life time. However, the Foxes ended a 13 game winless run against the Gunners last time both sides met at the King Power. Unai Emery’s Arsenal seem to be on the right path at the moment but their quality and resolve has not been tested since August against a quality opposition. Claude Puel’s team should give Arsenal a decent test but the Gunners are on a row at the moment, it is difficult to see Leicester stopping them. Our prediction is a home win and over 2.5 goals to be scored in this game.

To France;

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN v AMIENS – SAT. 20 OCT 2018, 16.00HRS
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PSG welcome Amiens to the Paris in this week 10 fixture and by now have a healthy eight point advantage over second place Lille at the top of the table. Thomas Tuchel team have a spotless record so far in the league this season and Kylian Mbappe in red hot form scoring four goals in 13 minutes against Lyon before the international break, Les Parisiens look unstoppable. Amiens are enjoying a decent moment winning two of their last three including a 1-0 victory over Dijon before the international break considering their entire season form.

VERDICT – Amiens held PSG to a 2-2 draw last time they met and with their performance against Dijon, Christophe Pelissier’s team would be impulsive to believe they can win at Parc des Princes. PSG showed class and quality when they blew Lyon away, considering Amiens do not have the quality of OL so it is difficult see any result beyond a home victory. Our prediction is a home win & over 2.5 goals.

RACING STRASBOURG v AS MONACO – SAT. 20 OCT 2018, 19.00HRS
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Courageous Thierry Henry takes over Monaco who look completely like shadow of the team that finished runners up in Ligue 1 last season but are currently sitting in the relegation play off zone. Strasbourg had a difficult season last year however they have started this one better, they are 9th on the log and have lost once in their last 5 league matches. Monaco cannot buy a win to save their lives at the moment, they haven’t won in the league since the opening weekend and have been really poor on the road. Henry has an unenviable job at Stade Louis II and with his former World Cup winning team Laurent Blanc saying “It won’t be easy for him but nothing in life is easy”.

VERDICT – Monaco have not in the league since match day 1 but interestingly, Monaco have won their last four meetings against Strasbourg. Le Racing have the fourth best attack in Ligue 1 and against Monaco who have been losing at half-time and full time in their last three matches. Henry will have to work with a reshuffled back line for his debut game. Our prediction is a home win.

To Germany;

VfB STUTTGART v BORUSSIA DORTMUND – SAT. 20 OCT 2018, 14.30HRS
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Bottom club Stuttgart have the unkind task of welcoming league leaders Borussia Dortmund to the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Dortmund have a comfortable three point cushion at the top and a four point advantage over arch rival Bayern Munich. New Stuttgart coach Markus Weinzierl has a poor record against Dortmund in the league winning just one of his 10 meetings and with a host of injury absentees, his job just got harder. Lucien Favre is turning Dortmund into a well-oiled machine who are ready to steamroll any opponent in the league. Paco Alcacer is in good form scoring for club and country since his loan move from Barcelona and would be expected to lead the line for Dortmund.

VERDICT – Borussia Dortmund already have 23 goals after seven matches: a club record at this stage in a season with Paco Alcacer’s six goals in 81 minutes a Bundesliga record. A change in coach usually brings immediate result but it is unlikely that will happen at Stuttgart this weekend considering the absentees for VfB. Dortmund are full of confidence and it is difficult to bet against them at the moment. Away team to win.

VfL WOLFSBURG v BAYERN MUNICH – SAT. 20 OCT 2018, 14.30HRS
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Bayern Munich are currently going to a mini crisis will need to turn the corner this weekend when they travel to the Volkswagen Arena to face Wolfsburg who have begun the season on the right foot. Rumors of Nico Kovac losing his job has started to gather dust if results don’t improve at Sabener Strasse. In spite of their good start to the season, the home team have not won any of their last five league matches while Bayern Munich are winless in three. Die Wolfie have not looked convincing at home this season aside the opening day against Schalke. Bruno Labbadia will play without midfield duo of Joshua Guilavogui and Ignacio Camacho, both are out injured. For Bayern, Robert Lewandowski will hope to end his scoring drought against a team he put five past in nine minutes in 2015.

VERDICT – Wolves took a point of Bayern in a surprise 2-2 at the Allianz Arena last season, but have lost their last four matches on home turf against the Bavarians. Labbadia has lost 12 of his 13 meetings with Bayern as a coach, the 1-0 win whilst in charge of Hamburg in September 2009 being the exception. Bayern have failed to score in their last two Bundesliga outing and will want to put an end to that poor run. Wolfsburg defense is porous, Bayern have won on their last three visits to the Volkswagen Arena. We believe FC Hollywood quality will be too much for the home team; our prediction is an away win & over 2.5 goals.

To Italy;

PARMA v LAZIO – SUN. 21 OCT 2018, 14.00HRS
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Parma finished second in Serie B last season, a position which earned them promotion back to the top division and they have started life in Serie A on a steady note sitting 9th on the log after eight round of matches. On the other hand, Lazio finished fifth and have kicked off this season quite well winning five and losing three. La Aquile have won five of their last six league matches and would be quite confident as they travel to Stadio Ennio Tardini. Parma have a number of players missing through injury including talismanic Gervinho who has been training separately from the group but still has an outside chance to make the team. For Simone Inzaghi, there are no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip.

VERDICT – Lazio will be expected to line up with a familiar XI with Immobile leading in attack while Parma will need to make adjustments for the absentees. Both teams are in good form, Parma (4W, 1L) in their last five league matches while Lazio (5W, 1L) in their last six league matches. A lively encounter is anticipated in Tardini with both sides going for a win; our prediction is for both teams to score.


INTER MILAN v AC MILAN – SUN. 21 OCT 2018, 19.30HRS
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Derby della Madonnina is the most anticipated game of this round between the two Milan giants. Inter sit third on the log with 16 points while Milan are tenth with 12 points having played a game less. Both teams have not had their ideal start to the season but on current form, Inter are on a four game winning run in the league while Milan are undefeated in their last six which means both Inter and Milan will be eager to continue their impressive runs of good form in a mouth-watering derby on Sunday.

VERDICT – Both teams have lethal weapon in attack; Inter skipper Mauro Icardi’s return to form has also coincided with his team’s improved fortune. He has scored five times in the last six matches. On the other hand, Gonzalo Higuain presence in attack guarantees Milan goals. With everything considered, we are relishing a battle between two Argentine strikers who can win the game for their respective teams. Our safe prediction for the derby is for both teams to score.

To Spain;

BARCELONA v SEVILLA – SAT. 20 OCT 2018, 19.45HRS
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The Sun still rises in the East and sets in the West but in Spain, Sevilla are the league leaders after eight round of matches. Pablo Machin’s men travel to the Camp Nou in high spirit on a four-game winning run in the league including a convincing 3-0 home win over Real Madrid recently. Their host Barcelona are on a four-game winless run in the league but are just a point behind their visitors on the log. Ernesto Valverde’s team are not at the level they played at last season just yet but there is a feeling that Saturday night game could bring the spark before El-Clasico next weekend. Whenever these two teams met, goals are always a part of the menu and I don’t expect anything different on Saturday evening.

VERDICT – It is important for Barca to return to winning ways in the league having gone four games with a victory. Los Cules find themselves in an unusual terrain in LaLiga but have the capacity to turn things around with Leo Messi well rested during the international break. Pablo Machin seem to be transmitting his ideas clearly to his team and he is reaping rewards. Whenever these two teams meet, goals are always a part of the menu and I don’t expect anything different on Saturday evening. Over 2.5 goals is our prediction.

REAL BETIS v REAL VALLADOLID – SUN. 21 OCT 2018, 19.45HRS
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Betis and Valladolid are level on points and have similar form with one defeat in their last six league outings. Betis lost at Atletico Madrid just before the international break while Valladolid defeated Huesca. The newly promoted team are on a three game winning run including a vital away win at Villarreal which would boost confidence ahead of this trip to Benito Villamarin. Quique Setien appears to have find the right balance for the new look Betis who have started scoring and winning matches before losing at Wanda Metropolitano.

VERDICT – Valladolid are improving each week and have kept a clean sheet in their last two LaLiga outings. Betis have lost once in their last five, winning three and keeping clean sheets in those victories. This game has the making of a strong defensive duel where goals might be hard to come by. We believe the home team will be motivated by the vocal crowd and spur them to victory. Our prediction is under 2.5 goals for this game.

This wraps us our weekend focus, FESIG previews returns next weekend. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers.

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