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FESIG League Preview – (The FA Cup final edition)

Premier League Manager of the season – Pep Guardiola can lead Manchester City to achieve an extraordinary feat of winning a domestic treble if they win the oldest cup competition – the English FA Cup just six days after securing the Premier League title. Watford is the team that stands between them and this accomplishment come Saturday afternoon at Wembley stadium in London. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben can sign off their Bayern career with another Bundesliga title on the final day of a dramatic season in Germany. The final Champions League spot in Spain is down to the last day of the LaLiga season; Getafe and Valencia will battle it out for fourth place finish.

We begin in France;

OLYMPIQUE LYON v SM CAEN – SAT. 18 MAY 2019, 20.00HRS
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There is so much to play for in this week 37 fixture between Olympique Lyon and SM Caen in the penultimate week of the season, with the host chasing the Champions League football and the visitor pursuing survival. Lyon begin the day in third position, six points behind Lille OSC in second with six points difference and a significantly inferior goal-difference means they are unlikely to catch up with Les Dogues. Over their shoulder is local rival AS Saint-Etienne, four points back. A win against Caen would therefore guarantee Les Gones third place this season, which brings Champions League qualification – third qualifying round. Caen are 15 places worse off than Lyon but on current form of three victories and a draw in the last four, Normandy club will not roll over easily.

VERDICT – Lyon have one of best home form in Ligue 1 this season (11W, 4D, 3L) and have lost once in their last four league matches at home. Enzo Crivelli is Caen top marksman away from home in the league; the French striker has five Ligue 1 goals away from home and will look to rattle Lyon’s defence in the absence of first-choice defenders Jason Denayer and Kenny Tete. Both teams need a victory here, a draw does neither side much good. Lyon have won their last four Ligue 1 matches at home against Caen and should continue along that path.

AS MONACO v AMIENS – SAT. 18 MAY 2019, 20.00HRS
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This is a relegation six pointer for either team but more importantly, the last chance salon for Monaco to secure their Ligue 1 status in the final home game of a wretched season. Both teams are struggling for form with no victory in their last six league matches but visiting Amiens has a two point advantage of Monaco. Runners-up last season, Monaco have not finished out of the top three since returning to the French top flight in 2013 — this term, they remain in serious danger of ending in the bottom three with just 180 minutes of league football left. Monaco depend on their own results; a victory is crucial at home on Saturday. Amiens last two league matches is against Monaco and already relegated Guingamp, Christophe Pélissier is aware his team is still in the most comfortable position of any of the four teams that could join Guingamp in Ligue 2 next season.

VERDICT – Caen and Dijon good form in the last month has dragged Amiens and Monaco back into the relegation battle making this match more important. A draw suits Amiens, they are two points ahead of Monaco, far more than the hosts, who will be forced to play on the front foot. Amiens are poor travelers and the last time they won at Monaco was in 1951/52 season in Ligue 2. Monaco have to win at home.

To Germany;

BAYERN MUNICH v EINTRACHT FRANKFURT – SAT. 18 MAY 2019, 14.30HRS
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Bayern Munich needs just a point to secure their seventh successive Bundesliga title in front of their fans on when Champions League chasing Eintracht Frankfurt come calling at the Allianz Arena. Bayern coach Nico Kovac’s former team is not likely to spoil the mood or proposed party in Bavaria; the visitors will need to better the result of Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusenif they aim to secure a place in Europe’s premier competition. Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic is third on the top scorers’ list and would be expected to lead the line though the Serbian has not found the net in his last five outings in the Bundesliga. In that period, Eintracht have only taken two points from a possible 15 in that time. Saturday’s game at the Allianz Arena is a day for emotion in Bayern and the end of the Robbery era – Robben and Ribery will be leaving the club. The duo will also be joined by Rafinha as part of those exiting with a huge summer shake up in sight.

VERDICT – All pre-match stats are in favor of Bayern and we have to go back to March 2010 for the last time Frankfurt defeated Bayern in the league; it is even more shocking that Frankfurt last victory away against Bayern was at the old Olympic stadium in Munich in 2000. Bayern are dominant at home and will be motivated to end the league campaign with another title.

BORUSSIA MOENCHENGLADBACH v BORUSSIA DORTMUND – SAT. 18 MAY 2019, 14.30HRS
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Dortmund skipper Marco Reus returns from suspension to face former club Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday as Borussia Dortmund go in search of the win they hope will be enough to pip Bayern Munich to the title. Reus needs no introduction at the Borussia-Park. The Dortmund talisman scored 36 goals in 97 Bundesliga games for Gladbach between 2011 and 2013, and has found the net on his last three visits to Mönchengladbach. The home team were cruising in the Bundesliga at one point in the season before suffering a serious dip in form but have managed to wrestle back the initiative heading into the final day of the season. Borussia now need to better the results of Bayer Leverkusen and Frankfurt – away to Hertha Berlin and Bayern respectively – to seal the deal.

VERDICT – This is an important match for both teams as both sides are chasing victory that could be decisive. Neither side have impressed lately, Dortmund have taken 29 points from their 16 away games so far this season while Gladbach have collected 30 from the same number of home games. Borussia Dortmund has better quality and their record against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the past few seasons has been perfect. This should be a close game.

To Italy;

JUVENTUS v ATALANTA – SUN. 19 MAY 2019, 19.30HRS
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Juventus will be looking to bounce following their 2-0 loss at Roma last weekend and there isn’t a better opponent to face than Coppa Italia runners up. Gian Piero Gasperini’s team has missed out on one of its target losing the Coppa Italia Final and now visit Juventus to retain fourth place. They are the ones in need of points in the race for the final Champions League spot in Italy. La Dea are three points better off than closest challengers AC Milan and AS Roma and Milan but face one more final hurdle – a struggling Juventus. Since wrapping up the league title some weeks back, Max Allegri’s team has struggled for form and the coach’s future with the club has marred celebration. Nevertheless, the Old Lady can silence critics and put a dent in the aspiration of rival that ended their Coppa Italia dream.

VERDICT – Atalanta’s last league win over Juventus came in February 2001, but they haven’t secured a victory in Turin since 1989. However, Gasperini’s men did crush Juve 3-0 in the Coppa Italia in January. Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the Bianconeri attack while Colombia striker Duvan Zapata with 22 league goals to his name will spearhead Atalanta frontline. Three of the last four meetings between these two teams ended 2-2, expect goals in Turin. Over 2.5 goals

NAPOLI v INTER MILAN – SUN. 19 MAY 2019, 19.30HRS
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Napoli host Inter Milan in one of the high profile fixture of week 37 in the Serie A. The Neapolitans secured second-place finish behind Juventus a couple of weeks ago, while the Nerazzurri, who currently lie in third only one point ahead of Atalanta, can wrap up a Champions League place with a win. Both teams have been involved in off-the-field issues; Napoli fans are unsettled with rumor of club captain Lorenzo Insigne wanting to leave while Inter coach Luciano Spalletti’s future has been up in the air the entire season. Inter are within touching distance of securing a place in Europe’s premier competition so the Nerazzurri might approach this game more pragmatic.  

VERDICT – Napoli have struggled lately though they have won three games in a row while Inter put themselves in commanding position for third place with the win over Chievo on Monday. Spalletti’s team is likely to maintain their position on the log if they avoid defeat at San Paolo on Sunday.  Inter have kept three consecutive clean sheets against Napoli in Serie A, home and away. Don’t expect a high scoring affair; under 3.5 goals.

To Spain;

GETAFE v VILLARREAL – SAT. 18 MAY 2019, 15.15HRS
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It’s down to the final day of the Spanish LaLiga season and Getafe are still very much in the race to secure Champions League qualification for next season. That is an amazing achievement on its own as Jose Bordalas team look to bounce back from last weekend defeat against champions Barcelona. Villarreal managed to shake the relegation threat and can finally let out a sigh of relief. The team raised their levels right when it mattered the most. Sure they let things run the course without control till the very end, but credit when it’s due – the team did secure their safety ticket and extended their stay in the top division for another year. What can expect from the Yellow Submarines at the Coliseum?

VERDICT – Getafe have won four of the last five clashes, they have scored two or more goals in three of the last five meetings. Villarreal managed just three goals in total from the last eight visits to this stadium. Villarreal have lost just one of their last five league matches, with that run of form ensuring that their league status is safe with a game to play. Getafe need to win to stand a chance in qualifying; expect a win for the hosts in this crucial tie.

REAL VALLADOLID v VALENCIA – SAT. 18 MAY 2019, 15.15HRS
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Valencia desperately needed a win against Alaves and they managed to get one but are yet to secure their place in the Champions League. Getafe are breathing down Valencia’s neck ahead of the last day of the season and Marcelino’s men need to record a win over Real Valladolid if they are to secure a top-four finish. Valladolid secured LaLiga survival last weekend with a victory over Rayo Vallecano; they raised their intensity when it looked like they might be heading for the drop and have ensured safety.

VERDICT – Real Valladolid have lost just one of their last six LaLiga games with the defeat coming against Atletico Madrid. The hosts have taken seven points from their last available nine while Valencia have won their last two games, leaving their destiny in the race for fourth place in their own hands. Marcelino’s team will fight it tough at Jose Zorilla but they are fully aware of what it is at stake.

To England – The FA Cup final;

MANCHESTER CITY v WATFORD – SAT. 18 MAY 2019, 17.00HRS
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What Pep Guardiola has done at Man City is nothing short of extraordinary; City can write themselves in history again on Saturday as no team has ever won the domestic treble in England. It is another big weekend for the Spaniard who faces his fellow country man in Watford’s Javi Gracia. The Spaniard in charge of the Vicarage Road club is equally loved by the Hornets fans that will make the short trip to Wembley believing he can take them one better than club legend Graham Taylor did in the 1984 FA Cup final. Regrettably, Pep is obsessed at laying his hands on the only trophy left in English football he is yet to win. Can Watford create an upset, will Watford repeat Wigan shock? Win or lose, it has been a very good campaign for Watford, who have managed to finish the season with the same manager they started it with, which is a massive success by their recent standards.

VERDICT – It is a little weird that no team has done the domestic treble before, but then only seven different English clubs have done the Double of league title and FA Cup since 1888. If City win on Saturday it will be only the 12th time that any club has achieved the feat in 131 years, and the first since Chelsea in 2009-10 season. Watford are a physical side and they will surely try use that to their advantage. Gerard Deulofeu could be the wildcard Watford need, has started to look like the player Everton thought they were getting when they signed him from Barcelona in 2015, and the Hornets have got quality in the centre of their midfield too in Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue. However, Pep is obsessed at laying his hands on the only trophy left in English football he is yet to win. This is City first FA Cup final since 2013 but they have been to Wembley four times already this season alone, and I am expecting them to get the same result this time as they did on each of those visits – another win.

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 four European leagues and the English FA Cup final this weekend.   

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