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FESIG League Preview – (Liverpool Premier League title destiny)

Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez could help decide the destiny of this year’s title when his Newcastle side host the Reds on Saturday night. Current Reds manager, Jurgen Klopp faces selection dilemma as he prepares his team for their trip to the North East. The German is aware that anything short of a victory could see their title challenge blow up in smoke. The Coppa Italia final dress rehearsal takes place at the Olimpico in Rome as European hopeful Lazio entertain Champions League chasing Atalanta. With three games left in the Bundesliga season, leaders Bayern Munich and challengers Borussia Dortmund are still pushing for the title with two points separating both teams.

We begin in France;

AS MONACO v AS SAINT ETIENNE – SUN. 05 MAY 2019, 16.00HRS
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Monaco are not completely out of relegation troubles with four games to go; the 2017 Champions are having an underwhelming campaign and are eager to avoid the drop to Ligue 2. They entertain in-form Ligue 1 Saint Etienne; they have five of their last six league matches and are three points off Champions League spot. Les Verts have been in fine form lately; Jean-Louis Gasset and his team will need to keep winning to put pressure on rivals Olympique Lyon who occupy the final Champions League spot. Leonardo Jardim will be encouraged by Monaco display at Roazhon Park midweek when they recovered from a two goal deficit to force Coupe de France champions – Rennes to a score draw.

 VERDICT – Monaco have one of the poorest home form in Ligue 1 (3W, 6D, 8L) this season compared to the visitors away stats (5W, 6D, 6L). Old fox Radamel Falcao is the Monaco’s marksman and his brace midweek suggest he would lead the attack against the Sainte. Both team have much stake here but the visitors form suggest they are the favorites here and are unlikely to lose at Stade Louis II.

OLYMPIQUE LYON v LILLE OSC – SUN. 05 MAY 2019, 20.00HRS
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Third place Lyon entertain second place Lille at Stade Groupama in one of the most intriguing fixture of week 35. Both teams are enjoying fine seasons till date and can secure Champions League football next season behind PSG with a victory. However, the home team need this win more to keep in-form fourth place Saint Etienne at bay. On the other hand, a victory means they can equally reduce the gap between them and Lille to three points which opens up the race for second position in Ligue 1. Lyon are currently third (62 points), and have been for half the season so far but five other teams can finish in third place: LOSC (68), Saint-Etienne (59), Montpellier (54), Marseille (54) and Nice (51). The race for European places is far from over in Ligue 1.

VERDICT – Lille have the second best away form in Ligue 1 this season (9W, 4D, 4L). They are unbeaten in their last four league matches and haven’t lost on their last three visits to Lyon. The host looks to be rediscovering their old form but haven’t been convincing at the back. We expect attacking display from both teams on Sunday evening; you can expect goals from both teams.

To Germany;

BAYERN MUNICH v HANNOVER 96 – SAT. 04 MAY 2019, 14.30HRS
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Bayern have the ace in the Bundesliga title race even when they slipped at Nurnberg last Sunday with knowledge of Dortmund’s failure in the Ruhr Derby. Nico Kovac’s team will be crowned champions if they pick up maximum nine points from the remaining three games left; they depend on themselves to win their seventh consecutive title. Hannover look dead and buried till they managed a win over Mainz last weekend to give themselves a slim chance of survival. Thomas Doll’s team needs a miracle to save themselves; they are six points of the relegation play-off spot and have to travel to Munich without key players – Niklas Fülkrug and Bobby Wood.

VERDICT – Former HSV teammates Nico Kovac and Thomas Doll meet for the first time as coaches. The latter can only expect a friendly handshake from his former teammate at the Allianz Arena come kick off. Bayern got away with a point last at Nurnberg against another struggler but will want to make a statement here. We expect the home team to dominate from start to finish and win comfortably in Bavaria.

WERDER BREMEN v BORUSSIA DORTMUND – SAT. 04 MAY 2019, 17.30HRS
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Two successive defeats has seen Werder Bremen slip away from European qualification race but the River Islanders will look to bounce back against title chasing Dortmund who could be five points behind Bayern Munich at kick off. The visitors lost the Ruhr derby last weekend which means win in Bremen is vital to keep their title aspiration alive but they will have to do it without their suspended inspirational captain – Marco Reus. Mario Gotze is expected to replace him at Weser Stadion but can the German World Cup winner inspire Dortmund to victory?

VERDICT – Bremen sit four points behind the European spots as they entertain Die Borussen this weekend. They are unbeaten in their last eight home games and have won five. However, last weekend poor performance against Fortuna Dusselfdorf will provide Lucien Favre and his team with belief they can earn an away victory. Dortmund away form isn’t spectacular lately but they have enjoyed success in Bremen winning two of their last three trips.

To Italy;

LAZIO v ATALANTA – SUN. 05 MAY 2019, 14.00HRS
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With two wins in their last six, Lazio face a difficult task against Serie A form side Atalanta at home. Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio have been quite inconsistent; from losing to Chievo to beating Milan in the Coppa and Sampdoria in the league. Le Aquile have excited and frustrated their fans in equal measure. A win in front of their fans will keep their European ambition in place and reignite their Champions League prospects. The visitors have been the surprise team in the division; they have leaped to the top of the chasing pack in the hunt for the final Champions League spot in Italy. Can La Dea continue their impressive run in the ‘Eternal City’?

VERDICT – Atalanta are unbeaten against Lazio in their last three Serie A meetings, so a fourth would be their longest streak since 2001. Duvan Zapata has scored more away goals than any player in Italy; the Colombian has 14. These two teams will face each other again in the Coppa Italia final 10 days after this game and we expect them to give maximum effort at the Olimpico on Sunday afternoon. When these two teams met last season, they played a draw and there is chance we could have similar outcome this term.

GENOA v AS ROMA – SUN. 05 MAY 2019, 17.00HRS
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There can be no better time for Roma to visit Stadio Luigi Ferraris in the race for Champions League football next season. The Grifone are on a bad run; losing four of their last six league matches with their last victory as far back as March when they surprisingly defeated Juventus. Cesare Prandelli’s team is back in the relegation fight though they are still six points off 18th place Empoli. Claudio Ranieri’s team has turned a corner, unbeaten in their last five league matches with three wins in that period. They are one point behind fourth place Atalanta with the caretaker boss determined to secure Champions League football for the Giallorossi.  

VERDICT – Roma are unbeaten against Genoa since a defeat in May 2014, followed by eight victories and a draw. However, the 4-3 loss at Marassi in February 2011 saw Claudio Ranieri’s loss his job during his previous spell at the club. Genoa need to win at least one game before the end of the season in order to beat the drop but that isn’t expected to happen in this game considering the visitors form. Roma are favorites for this game in Liguira.

To Spain;

CELTA VIGO v BARCELONA – SAT. 04 MAY 2019, 19.45HRS
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Spanish champions Barcelona travel to Galicia to face relegation-battling Celta Vigo. With one eye on next Tuesday Champions League return leg in Liverpool, Ernesto Valverde would be expected to rotate his team and keep his best legs fresh for the Anfield battle. Celta Vigo have lost one of their last seven league games but are still in danger of being relegated. Fran Escriba will be happy with the timing of this fixture because the visitors will likely field a second string side for this game. However, it should be noted that the Catalans have won 18 of their last 22 league fixtures with 11 victories on the road this season and a single defeat. Beating the Champions is not walk in the park for anyone and Celta require an extraordinary performance to pick all three points.

VERDICT – Celticos have not lost in any of their last four home league matches against Barcelona and they would desperately hope to make it five this weekend. The hosts have won their last three home matches, scoring eight goals in the process during their battle against relegation. They are slight favorites because the stakes are higher for them with Barcelona’s focus probably in Merseyside.

REAL MADRID v VILLARREAL – SUN. 05 MAY 2019, 15.15HRS
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In-form Villarreal travel to the capital in good form to face out of sorts Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane return has not inspired Los Blancos nor improve their fortunes with the manager criticizing his team publicly following defeat at struggling Rayo Vallecano last weekend. The Whites are 18 points behind eternal rivals Barcelona in a forgettable campaign and cannot wait for the season to end. Villarreal are five points off the drop zone but know that a victory at the Santiago Bernabeu will all but guarantee their safety for the season. Beating Real Madrid at home isn’t easy but four teams have walked away from the capital with full points this season.  

VERDICT – Villarreal won at the Bernabeu last season and will look for a repeat of the same. The Yellow Submarines are undefeated in their last three meetings against Los Blancos but Zidane will be demanding a better performance from his team with many playing to save their Real Madrid careers. The hosts have won their last four home matches in La Liga, taking maximum points from games against Athletic Club, Eibar, Huesca and Celta Vigo. The home team have the quality to deliver in front of their fans.

To England;

NEWCASTLE UNITED v LIVERPOOL – SAT. 04 MAY 2019, 19.45HRS
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Newcastle United are looking for a third win in four matches while title contenders Liverpool are targeting an eighth straight Premier League victory, which would take them back to the top spot ahead of Manchester City’s game against Leicester City on Monday. Jurgen Klopp faces a selection headache with one eye on Tuesday Champions League second leg home game against Barcelona. Anything short of a victory at St. James Park could end their title aspirations and the Reds should expect no favors from their former manager Rafa Benitez. The Magpies have won six of their last seven Premier League home matches but the Reds have shown grit and determination to dig deep this campaign and find ways to win.  

VERDICT – Newcastle are difficult to break down and beat especially at home thanks to the good job Rafa Benitez is doing. With Premier League status guaranteed, Newcastle can play without pressure as they aim to make it seven wins from their last eight home league matches. Rafa Benitez will not make things easy for his former club, but Liverpool’s extra quality may be enough to see them through in the end.

CHELSEA v WATFORD – SUN. 05 MAY 2019, 14.00HRS
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Fourth-placed Chelsea are looking for a first win in four Premier League matches as they attempt to secure Champions League qualification. FA Cup finalist Watford trail seventh-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers by four points, are aiming to keep their own European hopes alive with a first victory in three matches. Chelsea are unbeaten in 11 home matches against Watford in all competitions and have won four of the last five Premier League meetings at Stamford Bridge. Watford are progressing steadily under their Spanish boss Javi Gracia who will have Troy Deeney back to lead the attack with Gerard Deulofeu alongside him. The Hornets are a dangerous opponent and can be a handful on their day.  

VERDICT – It has been an eventful season for Blues manager – Maurizio Sarri whose future might still be in the air depending on the outcome of the last few weeks of this campaign. Will fatigue from the trip to Frankfurt after performance on Sunday? It might affect them, however, Chelsea know their top-four status is in their hands and they cannot afford to let that slip. The home team should secure a win in their last home league match of the season.

This wraps up our preview for the week. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in league matches across top five European leagues this weekend. 

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