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2019-20 FESIG League Preview – (England and Italy capital cities derby edition)

One of the most famous and fiercest derbies in the Premier League – the North London derby, is the biggest game in week four of the new English Premier League season. In Turin, defending champions Juventus host last season runner up Napoli in the most anticipated game of week two in the Serie A while Barcelona travel to Pamplona aiming to avoid a second successive away league defeat.

We begin in France;

OLYMPIQUE LYON v BORDEAUX – SAT. 31 AUG 2019, 16.30HRS
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High-flying Lyon were brought back down to earth by Montpellier will aim to return to winning ways at the Groupama Stadium when Bordeaux come calling. The visitors travel east in good spirit after securing their first victory of the season away from home at Dijon. Lyon had been in exceptional form in the first two weeks of the season, bagging nine goals in a perfect start to the campaign but were shut out by a gritty Montpellier display. Saturday game against Bordeaux is a critical test for Les Gones to evaluate their mental strength and ability against one of their bogey opponents.

VERDICT – Lyon will have home support to back them in this tricky game; Bordeaux have not lost on their last three visits to Lyon and will look to keep that run going. The lacklustre performance during the week should serve as motivation for Les Gones whose attacking qualities should produce the goods at home. It is a tricky game for Slyvinho’s team but they have enough class to pull through.

STADE RENNES v OGC NICE – SUN. 01 SEPT 2019, 14.00HRS
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Rennes have hit the ground running this season with three wins from three league matches to move into first position as we head in the fourth week of the new campaign. OGC Nice lost their prefect start to the new season and will need to regroup ahead of the trip to Roazhon Park on Sunday. Patrick Vieira’s team started the season with huge enthusiasm of the new owner but couldn’t change their poor run against Marseille. Julien Stéphan has got Rennes ticking with Hamari Traoré shining like a million stars in the Strasbourg victory.

VERDICT – Rennes got a victory in the last home game against champions PSG and will aim to continue in similar trend against Nice. However, Les Aiglons are unbeaten in the last three visits to Rennes. Can Vieira’s team maintain their current run there? Les Rennais can draw inspiration from the PSG victory to help them overcome a complicated opponent. This might just end in a stalemate.

To Germany;

BAYER LEVERKUSEN v TSG HOFFENHEIM – SAT. 31 AUG 2019, 14.30HRS
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Bayer Leverkusen have been transformed since Peter Bosz took charge at BayArena. The Dutch coach has installed an attacking philosophy in Die Werkself making them one of the best in the league. With two wins in two league games and six goals scored, Leverkusen will be looking to test themselves against a perennial bogey opponent. Life after Julian Nagelsmann has started fairly well; Hoffenheim got their first league win under new coach Alfred Schreuder last week in a five-goal thriller against Werder Bremen. The team is getting to understand the new coach methods and the club’s attacking philosophy is still there but the new players will require more time to settle in fully. 

VERDICT – Leverkusen are favorites for this game considering their Bundesliga form, however, Hoffenheim can draw inspiration from the fact that they have remained unbeaten in their last three trips to Leverkusen. Leverkusen defense is quite porous; an area of target for the visiting team who beat them 4-1 home and away in the league last season. A combination of both teams to score and over 2.5 goals is very likely in the match.

UNION BERLIN v BORUSSIA DORTMUND – SAT. 31 AUG 2019, 17.30HRS
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New boys Union Berlin host leaders Borussia Dortmund in a game that will see former Dortmund defender Neven Subotic aiming to stop his former club. Die Eisernen got a baptism of fire in their first-ever Bundesliga game against RB Leipzig but recovered quickly to earn a draw against Augsburg at home. The challenge against Borussia Dortmund is a different kettle of fish; it is one of those games they are not expected to get anything. Lucien Favre is hope for a better start in the capital; they have conceded first in their first two league matches and had to come from behind to win both matches. Union will have to come up with something special to stop Jadon Sancho who became the youngest player to reach 15 Bundesliga goals.

VERDICT – This is a classic case of the biblical David versus Goliath battle. Unlike in the scriptural outcome, it is unlikely David would be victorious even at home. Dortmund are overwhelming favorites for all three points and anything other than that would be a huge upset.

To Italy;

JUVENTUS v NAPOLI – SAT. 31 AUG 2019, 19.45HRS
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It might be early days in the new Serie A season but a clash between Juventus and Napoli is a big showdown. It is unclear whether Maurizo Sarri will be fit enough to make the dugout as his new team face his former side. For Carlo Ancelotti, it is another meeting with an old employer but he will be available for the game. Both teams started the new season with narrow away victories at Parma and Fiorentina respectively. Ancelotti would be worried about his team defensive performance in Florence where they conceded three goals on the opening night. This game is a test of Juventus title defense and Napoli’s Serie A ambition for the season.

VERDICT – Sarri is well known for his attacking approach to football while his counterpart has expressed his desire to adopt similar style to maximize his team vast potential. Gonzalo Higuain will be facing his former employers having been reinstated in the team after his loan spells. Juventus won both league fixtures last season and have won seven of the last eight at home against Napoli. Expect goals from both teams in a match that could swing either way.

LAZIO v AS ROMA – SUN. 01 SEPT 2019, 17.00HRS
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Derby della Capitale is the derby where anything can happen on the day. Form is usually thrown out of the window and replace with desire and passion. Lazio started the new season with a comprehensive 3-0 victory away to Sampdoria while Roma lost the lead thrice and were held by Genoa to a draw. It is another summer of change at Roma, from new coach to new players while the host for the derby, Lazio have continued with Simone Inzaghi and managed to keep most of their star players from last season. Judging by last week performance, Roma might be adopting attacking style of play where players are allowed to take initiative.

VERDICT – Lazio won the last derby but haven’t managed two consecutive victories against their city rivals in the league since 2012. There is no favorite for the derby. Expect goals, as there have been only two scoreless draws between the teams in the last 12 years.

To Spain;

OSASUNA v BARCELONA – SAT. 31 AUG 2019, 16.00HRS
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Barcelona needs to avoid the pitfalls on week 1 as they travel to Pamplona to face newly promoted LaLiga side Osasuna. The champions got their campaign under way last weekend with an emphatic victory at home over Real Betis with summer signing Antoine Griezmann grabbing a brace in the absence of Leo Messi and Luis Suarez. Jagoba Arrasate’s side has made a good start to life back in the top flight; securing an away victory at Leganes and earning a point at home against Eibar. Los Rojillos are unbeaten at home in the league in 17 months as they prepare to host the biggest opponent they have played within this period.

VERDICT – Barcelona won 7-1 the last time the sides met in a league clash at Camp Nou in 2017. In the last six meetings, Barca has five wins and a draw. The Catalans had it easy against Betis at home but will face a motivated side yet to concede in the new season. Leo Messi is unlikely to feature but the champions still have enough quality to irk out a victory in El Sadar.

VILLARREAL v REAL MADRID – SUN. 01 SEPT 2019, 20.00HRS
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Villarreal are in search of their first win of the season as they welcome Real Madrid to Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday. The Yellow Submarines need defensive improvement which has bedeviled the team from last season; they were held to a 4-4 draw in the opening game of the season against Granada and lost the derby to Levante having taken the lead. On the other hand, Real Madrid threw away a late lead in the home game against Valladolid last weekend in a game which highlighted defensive lapses evident last season. Pressure is a constant word in the Spanish capital, the French coach and club legend immunity is wearing thin with the club fans if improvement in performance is seen over the new few weeks.

VERDICT – Villarreal and Real Madrid meetings are a fest of goals; the last six duels have produced 21 goals. The last three results at La Ceramica have been 2-3, 2-2, 2-2. Both Calleja and Zidane like to play on the offense and both teams are yet to keep a clean sheet this season. We are guaranteed goals from both teams in what should be another classic game where either side cannot afford a defeat.

To England;

BURNLEY v LIVERPOOL – SAT. 31 AUG 2019, 17.30HRS
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Burnley are targeting a second league victory in league after being denied by a late Wolves equalizer last weekend. The Clarets welcome leaders Liverpool who have made a perfect start to the season and are aiming to maintain their winning start and stay in top spot. The Reds are unbeaten in 20 Premier League matches (16W 4D) and have lost only one of their last 42 in the competition, a 2-1 defeat by Manchester City in January. Burnley were atrocious in the League Cup defeat to Sunderland during the week, Sean Dyche will be looking for a reaction at Turf Moor on Saturday evening.

VERDICT – A win for Liverpool would set a club record of 13 consecutive league victories, beating the 12 set by Kenny Dalglish’s side in October 1990. A visit to Turf Moor for any side is a tricky game, Burnley can be a tough nut to crack at home in front of their fans and on the back of the poor performance during the week, Liverpool will have to dig deep to earn all three points. This is a potential banana peel game for Jurgen Klopp’s team but the Reds are well equipped for a win.

ARSENAL v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – SUN. 01 SEPT 2019, 16.30HRS
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There should be fireworks in the North London derby with both teams bidding to bounce back from defeat. Arsenal lost to Liverpool at Anfield and Tottenham Hotspur were beaten at home by Newcastle United. Arsenal well documented defensive problems still plagues the team as it was evident in the last two matches against Burnley and Liverpool while Tottenham are yet to click into gear for the season. Spurs got a victory over Aston Villa and forced City to a draw but Mauricio Pochettino side has conceded first in all three league matches this season. Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen have been in and out of Spurs side and their absence speaks in the results earned so far.

VERDICT – In three meetings last season, it was one win, draw and lose each. Arsenal got four points of Tottenham in the league while Spurs won the League Cup meeting. Both teams are yet to hit their strides for the season but this derby should produce great entertainment. Arsenal have won the last two at home and will be eager to put their neighbors further down the table. There would be goals in the derby but the home team have the slight edge.

This wraps up our FESIG preview for the week. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in all matches available in the French, German, Italian, Spanish and English leagues for the weekend.

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