Fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur host unbeaten Chelsea at Wembley stadium in a London derby with the Blues aiming to keep their unbeaten start to the season going. Barcelona need a response following their surprise loss to Real Betis before the international break but a trip to Estadio Wanda Metropolitano isn’t exactly the place to go in search of three points when facing Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid who should have Diego Costa back in attack. Lazio welcome AC Milan without Gonzalo Higuain to the eternal city in a battle for a top-four place on the table and there is the Rhone derby in France between Olympique Lyon and Saint Etienne.
Here is our preview of matches across top five European Leagues.
We begin in England;
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v CHELSEA – SAT. 24 NOV 2018, 18.30HRS
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Tottenham Hotspur welcome unbeaten Chelsea to Wembley as they target their seventh Premier League win in eight matches. Spurs have lost home games against Liverpool and Manchester City and would be keen to avoid a third defeat against another member of the top six when they play Maurizio Sarri’s team. Pochettino is recovering his key players back from injury as Tottenham target a second consecutive league victory over Chelsea for the first time since 1987. The Blues equally need a win to stay in the title race so we expect a proper battle at both ends with Harry Kane leading the line for Spurs while Eden Hazard will be the chief tormentor for Chelsea.
VERDICT – Tottenham have won six of their last seven matches while Chelsea are undefeated in their last 12 Premier League matches. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won just 22 per cent of their Premier League points in home matches this season while Chelsea have kept 21 PL clean sheets against Spurs, which is their joint-best record, having achieved the same feat against Everton and Newcastle United. Two good teams meet for this London derby, in what could be an entertaining game. This is a game that could go either way but we can expect goals from both teams.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH v ARSENAL – SUN. 25 NOV 2018, 14.30HRS
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High flying Bournemouth welcome Arsenal to the Vitality stadium as they aim to bounce back after successive defeats against fifth place Arsenal who haven’t won in their last three Premier League games. Bournemouth won the last meeting between these two in January and that is the Cheeries lone victory over the Gunners in the Premier League. Eddie Howe’s team lost their last home Premier League match to Manchester United but have not lost back-to-back games in the league since August 2017. The Gunners need to a victory stay within distance of the top-four.
VERDICT – There have been over 2.5 goals scored in nine of Arsenal’s last 10 away Premier League games. There have been over 2.5 goals scored in seven of Bournemouth’s last eight Premier League games. The international break came at a good time for Eddie Howe’s team to stop their poor run. Arsenal are four points better than their host but they have not won on their last two visit to the Vitality stadium. Both teams love to attack; we are expecting an open game on the South Coast.
OLYMPIQUE LYON v SAINT ETIENNE – FRI. 23 NOV 2018, 21.00HRS
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The 56th Rhone derby sees Lyon welcome Saint Etienne to Stade Groupama for the opening game in week 14 between two local rivals in the French top division. One point is all that separates these clubs on the table so it could serve as a perfect test for Lyon who are trying to build some consistency before hosting Manchester City in the Champions League. Saint Etienne are enjoying a fine season so far under Jean-Louis Gasset, they sit fifth on the log and are undefeated in their last four Ligue 1 games including winning the last two. There is a bit of pressure of Bruno Genesio whose team has been erratic this season but he can rely on in-form Memphis Depay to lead the way for Les Gones.
VERDICT – There have been under 2.5 goals in six of Lyon’s last seven home games in Ligue 1. It is the same outcome in four of the last six matches for rivals Saint Etienne too. Four of the last five derbies has followed similar trend as well including last season’s 1-1 draw at the Groupama. Les Verts are poor travelers but would be fired up for the derby. Do they have the quality to earn an away victory? Saint Etienne have not won on their last four trips to Lyon.
OGC NICE v LILLE OSC – SUN. 25 NOV 2018, 17.00HRS
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Patrick Vieria’s Nice appeared to have turned the corner in Ligue 1 with Les Aiglons seeking a fourth consecutive league victory and fifth in all competition. Nice are coming up against second place Lille who have been a surprise this season. LOSC have won four of their last six league matches but winless in the last two. Nice’s recent success in the league has been built on solid defensive platform, Vieira’s team has kept three clean sheets in their last three Ligue 1 games. Les Dogues have hit a purple patch lately, they have not won their last three games in all competition and they lost their last away game in the league to PSG (well everyone in France will lose to Les Parisiens). Christopher Gatlier’s troop need to refocus to keep their campaign on track as they seek European qualification.
VERDICT – Lille were fighting for their lives in Ligue 1 last season but the tale is different this time; they are up there fighting for a European place. Patrick Vieira’s start to life at Nice has been anything for smooth sailing for the former French player. A strong defensive platform has been built with Dante leading the group from the back. Nice – Lille matches have been low scoring affair lately with an average of 2 goals per game. Lille have been producing thrilling displays at home but on the road, they’ve struggled a bit. Nice do not give much away but their current form suggest they would be difficult to beat at home. A cagey affair is on the cards at the Allianz Riviera.
MAINZ 05 v BORUSSIA DORTMUND – SAT. 24 NOV 2018, 15.30HRS
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After dispatching Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker before the international break, Dortmund hit the road to face Mainz 05. The 05ers have crept into the top half of the table with victories over Werder Bremen and Freiburg. Bayern Munich are the only visitors to have won at the Opel Arena this season and Mainz will hope to avoid another home defeat to Borussia Dortmund for a second successive year. BVB are currently enjoying life under Lucien Favre, they are top of the log and scoring goals with ease. The Swiss tactician has most of his players available which gives him the luxury of rotating his squad if he decides.
VERDICT – Dortmund are unbeaten after 11 matches for only the second time in their history. They have won eight of those 11 while Mainz have won their last two games after going six without a victory. There is no pressure on Rouven Schröder and his team as they welcome league leaders Borussia Dortmund who will be looking for another victory to keep them further away from the chasing pack. Anything other than an away victory would be a surprise at the Opel Arena.
BORUSSIA MOENCHENGLADBACH v HANNOVER 96 – SUN. 25 NOV 2018, 18.00HRS
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Borussia Moenchengladbach currently sit second on the table behind Dortmund having made their best start to a Bundesliga season in 31 years. The Foals have suffered just one defeat in their last seven league outings but their perfect home record is the key to their success and confidence. Hannover travel south to Moenchengladbach in poor form even with a victory over Wolfsburg. Die Roten are not off the drop zone regardless of the victory but have received a timely boost with star striker Niclas Füllkrug recovering from a knee injury. With one striker coming off the treatment table, Ihlas Bebou has been ruled out with a thigh injury.
VERDICT – Borussia Moenchengladbach are the only team with a 100% record in the Bundesliga this season. Alassane Plea is the first Gladbach player since Oliver Neuville to have scored eight goals after the first 11 matches of a season. Hannover have nine points after 11 matches, with seven coming in their last five matches. The 96ers have failed to win in their last 18 away Bundesliga matches. Can Hannover halt Gladbach perfect home record in the league?
PARMA v SASSUOLO – SUN. 25 NOV 2018, 12.30HRS
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Two points is all that separates 11th place Parma and seventh place Sassuolo when both teams lock horns. Parma head into this match having won their last game against Torino, while the visitors are coming off of a draw with Lazio. Prior to Parma’s trip to Torino, the Gialloblù went three games without a win. This poor run saw Parma drop seven points. Roberto D’Aversa’s team return to form is coinciding with Gervinho’s return to the team. Sassuolo make the trip to Stadio Ennio Tardini looking to continue their impressive season they’ve had so far. However, the Neroverdi are went three games without a win in October but still sit in 7th on the table.
VERDICT – A win on Sunday could see Sassuolo move into the top five while Parma can leapfrog their guest with a home win. There have been 18 goals in the last five meetings between these sides. Ivorien Gervinho plays a massive role in Parma’s attack, he is heavily involved in Crociati goals. Roberto De Zerbi has multiple scoring options including Kevin Prince Boateng. For neutrals, this will be an interesting game to watch. Will Sassuolo’s desire to continue their great season gives them the advantage this Sunday?
LAZIO v AC MILAN – SUN. 25 NOV 2018, 18.00HRS
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All eyes will be on Stadio Olimpico Sunday evening when Lazio and Milan face each other. La Aquile dropped two points in a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo in their last league match while Milan suffered a heart-breaking defeat at home to Juventus. Simone Inzaghi’s team produce their best football in front of their teeming fans in Rome but the visit of Gennaro Gattuso’s troops will not be a walk in the park for the home team. Lazio will aim to cement their place in the top-four by putting some distance between them and Milan who are just a point behind them. The Rossoneris head into this game with a lack of confidence considering the outcome of their last game against Juventus.
VERDICT – Milan have the better head-to-head in this fixture. However, AC Milan have an injury crisis on their hands especially at the back where Mateo Musacchio, Mattia Caldara and Alessio Romagnoli are all ruled out for this game. Lazio has no missing player through injury except Luis Alberto who is struggling to recapture his best form. Gonzalo Higuain will miss the trip to Rome through suspension which adds to Gattuso’s selection headache. Given Milan’s absences, Lazio should look to take advantage over a direct rival this weekend.
ATLETICO MADRID v BARCELONA – SAT. 24 NOV 2018, 20.45HRS
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The biggest game in LaLiga this weekend takes place in the Spanish capital, it’s not at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu but at Wanda Metropolitano between 3rd place Atletico Madrid and league leaders Barcelona. Atletico Madrid managed to dig themselves out of a hole in their 3-2 victory Athletic Bilbao before the international break while Betis surprised the whole world with their majestic performance and victory at the Camp Nou. The champions need a response in the capital if they hope to retain top position but everyone knows what it feels like playing Diego Simeone’s team. Atletico are without captain and defense marshal Diego Godin while Barca should have their skipper Leo Messi back in the starting XI.
VERDICT – Barcelona are undefeated in 25 of their last 27 away LaLiga matches while Atletico Madrid have won their last four home league matches. Apart from Diego Godin who is ruled out, Jose Jimenez is a doubt as well which limits Simeone’s option at the back. Ivan Rakitic is the latest casualty for Ernesto Valverde who will demand a better performance from his team. Atleti – Barca games in Madrid are very tight and cagey, this fixture ended in a 1-1 draw last season and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we get a repeat outcome this time.
SEVILLA v REAL VALLADOLID – SUN. 25 NOV 2018, 16.15HRS
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Sevilla welcome new boys Real Valladolid to Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan for a Sunday afternoon match. Both teams have different ambitions for the season, Sevilla are progressing positively under Pablo Machin. The Andalusians sit second on the table and are just a point behind the league leaders. The team is on a brilliant goal scoring run, they have scored a total of 24 goals and conceded only 14 in return. Real Valladolid are enjoying life in the Primera Division after promotion from Segunda Division. Sergio is doing a good job with La Pucela, they have only suffered three defeats after 12 rounds of matches. LaLiga new boys sit seventh on the table, lost once in their last six league outings and are just three points behind Real Madrid going into the weekend’s game.
VERDICT – In the last five meetings between these two teams, Valladolid has two wins and a loss. Sevilla has won three of their last five home meetings with Valladolid and both teams have scored in the last four games played between them at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Valladolid are struggling in attack and have had to rely on their defensive strength. Sevilla are a team who love to attack so this looks like a typical attack versus defense game. Are we expecting a high scoring affair in Andalusia on Sunday considering the outcome of games in the last four played in Seville?
This wraps us our weekend focus. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers.