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FESIG League Preview – (FA Cup Third Round weekend)

The oldest cup competition – the English FA Cup reaches the third round where Premier League clubs get involved and the pick of the bunch is the all Premier League tie at Molineux between Wolves and Premier League leaders Liverpool in their third meeting of the season. In Spain, the biggest game of week 18 is in Andalusia between third place Sevilla and second place Atletico Madrid.

Here is our preview of matches in LaLiga and FA Cup.

We begin in Spain;

SEVILLA v ATLETICO MADRID – SUN. 06 JAN 2019, 16.15HRS
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All eyes will be on Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan when Sevilla host Atletico Madrid in the battle for second place. Only two points separates third place Sevilla and second place Atletico ahead of this showdown. The home team will aim to return to winning ways following their draw at Leganes last time out and hope their vocal fans will spur them on. Atletico have worked their way to second spot, winning their last three LaLiga matches and are just three points behind leaders Barcelona. Diego Simeone will hope his team pick up from where they stopped last year when they travel to Andalusia.

VERDICT – Atletico are unbeaten in their last 14 league matches with one defeat in eight away LaLiga this season. Sevilla have a strong record at home this season; six wins, one draw and a defeat. Pablo Machin’s team will hope for a better outcome this season considering Atleti won this fixture convincingly last season. A close game is anticipated in Andalusia with both sides not giving much away.

REAL MADRID v REAL SOCIEDAD – SUN. 06 JAN 2019, 18.30HRS
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Fresh from winning FIFA CWC, Real Madrid are gradually working their way up the table. They are fourth on the log and looking to build some consistency under Santiago Solari in LaLiga. Real Sociedad have appointed Imanol Alguacil as new head coach after dismissing Asier Garitano with La Real sitting just four points above relegation zone. The Basque club are struggling at the moment, they are on a four-game losing streak in the league and are unlikely to cause their host much problem.

VERDICT – Real Madrid have won their last four games against Real Sociedad at home and will be looking to make t five. Gareth Bale will likely miss the game, he went out injured against Villarreal on Thursday. Alguacil has the unenviable task of galvanizing his team for the trip to the Spanish capital. Real Madrid have won their last two home league matches without conceding and will look to make it three in front of the Bernabeu crowd.

GETAFE v BARCELONA – SUN. 06 JAN 2019, 20.45HRS
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Barcelona travel to Madrid but this time their trip is to Alfonso Perez Coliseum to play Getafe. Jose Bordalas team have been the surprise team with their performances in LaLiga, the Deep Blues sit seventh on the log and are unbeaten in their last five league games. Their unbeaten run might under threat considering a certain Lionel Messi will be coming to town. The Barcelona skipper has inspired his team to four straight league wins and have a three-point advantage at the top. Winning at the Coliseum is never easy for any opponent and one can expect Getafe to give it their all.

VERDICT – Ernesto Valverde’s team are high on confidence, winning their last four league matches as they prepare for their trip to Madrid. Getafe have won their last two home league matches, however, they have not won any of their last three home fixtures against the Catalan giants. Barcelona will hope for a similar outcome to the last season’s fixture when they won 2-1 at the Coliseum.

To England (FA Cup);

AFC BOURNEMOUTH v BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION – SAT. 05 JAN 2019, 13.30HRS
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Bournemouth and Brighton will aim to find some form in this competition considering their recent poor run in the Premier League. The Cherries have just one win in their last six league matches while the Seagulls are not any better with a single victory in six too. It’s quite difficult to predict the intention of both managers for this competition – if they would be prioritizing it or not but this is a South coast derby and the fans would expect their teams to give them local bragging right. This all Premier League FA Cup game might not provide the biggest spectacle but I expect both teams to go for it.

VERDICT – Brighton lost their last match against Bournemouth but the home team have lost nine of their last 11 matches. Brighton are unbeaten in eight of their last 13 games but are winless 22 of 25 their last 25 games on the road. Bournemouth have scored in eight of their last 10 league matches at home. This is a pretty difficult game to call due to poor form from both teams. Both teams are well matched with a possibility for a replay to settle the tie.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS v LIVERPOOL – MON. 07 JAN 2019, 20.45HRS
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Liverpool lost the top of the table Premier League clash against City which put an end to their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign. The Reds have to turn their attention to the FA Cup as they aim to start another winning run. In a space of a week, Wolves have shown they are Jekyll and Hyde team – from defeating Spurs at Wembley to losing at home to Palace, it is difficult predicting which Nuno Espirito Santo’s team would show up on Monday but we would expect a team that would be eager to inflict more pain on the Reds whose mental resolve will be tested in the next couple of weeks.  

VERDICT – Liverpool have the better head-to-head between these two teams and they won on their last trip to Molineux recently. However, Wolves still have fond memories of their 2017 FA Cup victory over Liverpool and will draw inspiration from there on Monday evening. Jurgen Klopp is likely to prioritize the Premier League title chase over a solid cup run which means rotation. Liverpool’s second string side are not as good as the first choice therefore an upset is very possible.

This wraps up our preview for the week; the Premier League and Ligue 1 returns next weekend. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in the Spanish LaLiga and the English FA Cup over the weekend. 

Welcome to 2019 all FESIG readers and Babijebu punters!

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