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2019-20 FESIG League Preview – (London derby edition)

The battle for fourth position gets intriguing in England; Tottenham Hotspur face Chelsea in a London derby with implications for both sides in securing Champions League football next season. Leicester City ambition to mix it with the big guns continues in their mouthwatering clash against Manchester City at the King Power stadium. The battle for title in Spain is very close; Barcelona can heap more pressure on Real Madrid if they secure all three points against Basque side Eibar while Real Madrid make the trip to Ciutat de Valencia to face Levante. Los Blancos stumbled at home last weekend against Celta Vigo, with an eye on Champions League game next week, Zinedine Zidane might be tempted to rotate his team which could see them drop points on the road.

Let us take a preview of some of the most exciting matches in this FESIG edition.

We begin in France;

OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE v FC NANTES – SAT. 22 FEB 2020, 17.30HRS
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Olympique Marseille will be looking to extend their winning run in the Ligue 1 to four games when they host Nantes at their Stade Velodrome. Andre Villas-Boas’ troops are on the right track to secure a top-two finish, but they aim to stay in the race for the trophy as well. Their come-from-behind 2-1 win away to Lille once again showcased the character of AVB’s team. Nantes have a mammoth task here as they travel to the south coast. They are winless in their last six with draws against relegation battling Metz and Dijon coming in their last two games. The Canaries have generally been lauded for their resolute defense but this hasn’t been the case in recent weeks with 13 goals conceded in the last six matches.

VERDICT – Marseille are in fine form at the moment but have defensive issues but thanks to Steve Mandada’s displays have covered by Steve Mandada’s displays. However, we believe Nantes’ upturn in attack should see the Canaries get on the score sheet but ultimately the home team are good enough to secure another victory at the Velodrome.

RENNES v NIMES OLYMPIQUE – SUN. 23 FEB 2020, 17.00HRS
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Rennes suffered a second loss in three games to leave the door open for Lille in the race for the final Champions League spot. Julien Stéphan’s men looked like a side short on confidence after winning just two of their last six league games but will be glad to return to Roazhon Park for this one. Nîmes are one of the in-form teams in the division with four wins on the bounce which will make them tough competitors here. Bernard Blaquart’s men were recently sitting in the relegation zone but a dramatic upturn in form has seen them jump out of the relegation zone for the first time since October. The Crocodiles will be hoping to take this momentum into their clash with Rennes.

VERDICT – This game is a mismatch of two teams; Rennes are out of form but great at home while Nîmes are in good form but awful on the road. Both teams met last month, Rennes managed a narrow victory in a tight clash. However, Julien Stéphan’s men really haven’t been at it recently, it would be safe to sit on the fence. A draw looks likely outcome but under 2.5 goals is the top tip.

To Germany;

BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH v HOFFENHEIM – SAT. 22 FEB 2020, 15.30HRS
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Borussia Monchengladbach will be lifted by their 4-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf and will look to stay in the title race when they take on Hoffenheim on Saturday. The Foals currently boast the second-best Bundesliga home record this season; their eight-game winning streak has helped them to earn 25 points from their 10 Bundesliga home games. On the hand, Hoffenheim suffered a 3-2 loss to Wolfsburg at home, making it two straight defeats in the league. They are losing further ground on European qualification spot and that’s the rot die Kraichgauer will want to stop though they have been struggling at the back of late.

VERDICT – Borussia Monchengladbach have scored at least three goals in five of their last seven Bundesliga games. Hoffenheim have scored at least one goal in 15 of their last 16 Bundesliga games. Both of these two teams have played in relatively high scoring games recently. Eight of Monchengladbach’s last nine Bundesliga home games have seen over 2.5 goals scored. The home team are favorites here but we are tipping both teams to score as well.

SCHALKE 04 v RB LEIPZIG – SAT. 22 FEB 2020, 18.30HRS
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Sixth-placed Schalke will host second-placed RB Leipzig at the VELTINS-Arena in what is expected to be one of the most entertaining games in the German Bundesliga this weekend. The Miners have been having their ups and downs in the Bundesliga this term, but they are still in the race for a place in European competitions. Leipzig will arrive in Gelsenkirchen on the back of their impressive Champions League at Tottenham Hotspur. However, the visitor’s recent dip in form may be cause for concern for Julian Nagelsmann team. Leipzig have won just one of their last four Bundesliga fixtures. Furthermore, the title challengers have also failed to win each of their last three Bundesliga away fixtures.

VERDICT – RB Leipzig suffered their only league home defeat of the season to Schalke and will be looking for revenge when they face off on Saturday. Only three points will be good enough in their bid to keep pace with Bayern Munich in the title race. Schalke have scored only once in their last four Bundesliga games, but will be physically better than Leipzig who had a battle in London midweek. Schalke have a chance of securing all three points here but this may just end even-steven.

To Italy;

GENOA v LAZIO – SUN. 23 FEB 2020, 12.30HRS
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Lazio should now be considered genuine title contenders following last weekend’s victory over Inter Milan. Le Aquile have beaten the Nerazzurri and Bianconeri this campaign to fully state their intent in the three-horse race for the Scudetto. On the other hand, Genoa are on a four game unbeaten run in the league and Davide Nicola is asking for more consistency from his charges as they fight to beat the drop. Genoa will likely play with a similar 3-5-2 system to neutralize Lazio and be the team to end their 19 games unbeaten run in the Serie A.

VERDICT – Lazio are playing their best season ever in Serie A, with 56 points from their first 24 games. Genoa have picked up 11 points from their seven games under Davide Nicola, only six teams have been better than them during the same period. Nicola will try to draw inspiration from last season 2-1 home victory against Lazio when the in-form capital club visit Marassi. We expect a difficult affair because this game is equally important for both sides, as only one point separates the Lazio from Juventus at the top, whilst the Genoa are one point behind their local rivals Sampdoria in 17th. Over 1.5 goals

VERONA v CAGLIARI – SUN. 23 FEB 2020, 15.00HRS
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The Serie A has produced many surprises this season with these two sides are amongst the biggest. Both teams meet at the Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday, but while Hellas Verona keep causing upsets, Cagliari are on a very long slide. Hellas Verona are currently sixth in the League on level terms with both Parma and Milan, a remarkable achievement for a side that was only promoted from Serie B via the play-offs. Following an impressive start to the season for Cagliari, Rolando Maran’s team is currently on a run of 10 winless game in the league. The Rossoblu sit in the second half of the log but they are just three points behind their host in the fight for a place in Europa League.

VERDICT – It could be a make or break weekend for Cagliari. The Gli Isolani need to find the winning magic again and there is a silver lining for them. They are the only team that Verona have met over 10 times in Serie A without being able to score more than twice in the same game. We are not expecting a high scoring game in Veneto. Top tip is under 2.5 goals

To Spain;

BARCELONA v EIBAR – SAT. 22 FEB 2020, 16.00HRS
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Barcelona will look to build on a 2-1 win over Getafe when they host Eibar at their Camp Nou in their second consecutive home fixture. The Catalan giants are eyeing their fourth consecutive win in the Spanish top flight to keep up the pressure against rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table. Eibar have shown they are an extremely capable team on their day as demonstrated in their victory against Atletico Madrid in mid-January, but those performances have mainly been at Ipurua. Eibar will at least be fresh for their trip to Camp Nou after their clash against Real Sociedad was postponed due to air pollution.

VERDICT – Barca have dropped just two points from 12 home games this season, and they have won all but one of their 11 previous meetings with Eibar, securing victory in all by at least a two goal margin. Luis Mendilibar’s men are notoriously bad travelers, with just one win and six defeats suffered from 12 outings on the road. It is no surprise that have big odds for this game. Quique Setien’s team has recorded slim margin victories lately but that should change here. We expect a comfortable home win for Los Cules

LEVANTE v REAL MADRID – SAT. 22 FEB 2020, 21.00HRS
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Real Madrid will be looking to return to winning ways in La Liga when they take on Levante in Valencia after dropping points at home last time out. It was a frustrating night for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu but will have to turn their focus to the Levante game. Their host sit 13th in the table and are beginning to look nervously over their shoulders, with just eight points separating themselves from the relegation zone. The positive for Levante going into this Saturday’s clash is the fact they have won four of their last six matches at Ciutat de Valencia; however the last three of those victories have been against sides currently toiling in the bottom four.

VERDICT – Real remain unbeaten in 15 LaLiga games (W10, D5), including winning the last three on the road. Los Blancos have been a model of consistency on the road this season. Levante’s home record this season (6W, 2D, 3L) definitely merits some respect and Paco Lopez’ men will give any opponent a game to remember at Ciutat de Valencia. Both teams have quality in attack to hurt the opponent and we believe there would be goals from both sides just like in the last six meetings. Over 2.5 goals

To England;

CHELSEA v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – SAT. 22 FEB 2020, 13.30HRS
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Two London rivals separated by just one point go head-to-head in a crucial match in the top-four fight. Fourth-placed Chelsea are seeking to bounce back after their last home defeat against Manchester United, while Spurs would leapfrog their hosts with a fourth consecutive Premier League win. Having held that final Champions League qualification place for most of the season, Chelsea’s grip on fourth has been loosening by the week since the turn of the year. The Blues have managed one league victory in the last six with the pressure building on Frank Lampard. Jose Mourinho can smell blood and he will hope to galvanize his injury ravaged and tired Spurs to push harder at one of his old stomping ground. 

VERDICT – This fixture produce goals, however, with both clubs having problems in forward areas, this game might be decided on the strength of defensive qualities. Chelsea can secure a third successive Premier League win over Spurs for the first time since March 2006, when the Blues were managed by Jose Mourinho. It is a tough game to predict but we do not think there is a lot of goals in this one. Under 2.5 goals

LEICESTER CITY v MANCHESTER CITY – SAT. 22 FEB 2020, 18.30HRS
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Two of the top three teams go head-to-head at the King Power Stadium, with third-placed Leicester City lying one spot behind visitors Manchester City. The Foxes are aiming to get back to winning ways after back-to-back draws with Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers. After one of the most controversial weeks in the club’s history, Manchester City’s will hope to let their football do the talking when they resume their pursuit of a second place finish this weekend. With the title already out of sight, City are locked in a two-way battle with Leicester city for this season’s runners-up spot with four points separating both teams.

VERDICT – Leicester have only won two of their last eight games in all competitions. They still have a 10-point cushion on fifth but cannot afford to let results slide completely. City can open up a seven-point gap over Leicester with a win here. Leicester have only suffered one defeat in their last six home encounters with City and Pep Guardiola’s side have managed no more than one goal four of those fixtures, including each of the last three. Expect a tight game with probably a single goal to separate both sides.

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, English, Spanish, Italian and German leagues and more for the weekend.

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