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2019-20 FESIG League Preview – (St. Valentine’s edition)

Four days of action across the top five European football leagues in the lovers’ weekend starts on Friday evening in France (at Stade Louis II), Spain (Estadio Mestalla) and England (Molineux). The three-way battle for the Scudetto in the Italian top flight this season will see the peninsula attention switch to Stadio Olimpico when third place Lazio host leaders Inter Milan at Stadio Olimpico this weekend.. LaLiga in-form side, Getafe will test their mettle against defending champions Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Saturday and there is an old rivalry battle at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester United to wrap up the weekend on Monday.

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

We begin in France;

AS MONACO v MONTPELLIER – FRI. 14 FEB 2020, 20.45HRS
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Roses are red, violets are blue, Monaco v Montpellier, is the Valentine’s Day treat for Ligue 1 followers. New Monaco boss Robert Moreno has managed to get some victories after a poor run of three defeats but their performances shows Monaco have more work to do. Montpellier got back on track last week as they edged past Saint-Étienne. It was a welcomed result for the team that had gone three games without a win. Despite winning six of their last nine matches in all competitions, Der Zakarian’s men have really struggled with playing on the road. If results were based on away form alone, La Paillade would be closely to relegation as they have won two of their 14 away games this season.

VERDICT – Monaco have not been enjoying themselves at the Stade Louis II with three defeats in their last four in the principality while the visitors have shown they are poor travelers too. With neither side in glowing form, we think it’ll be a tight match here. It could be a case of who wants it more. We don’t rule out a stalemate here.

(Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP)

LILLE OSC v OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE – SUN. 16 FEB 2020, 21.00HRS
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All eyes will be on Stade Pierre Mauroy for the final game of week 25 in Ligue 1 between fourth-placed Lille and second-placed Olympique Marseille. Both are enjoying a fine campaign considering the bookmakers prediction for the season and Lille seem to have bounced back from a disappointing January to win each of their last three matches. On the other hand, Marseille suffered their first defeat in 16 games midweek, they lost to Olympique Lyon in Coupe de France away from home. Les Phoceens fans shouldn’t be too disheartened as it is always a tough trip to the Groupama stadium but they need to bounce back here to keep up their faint title race on another road trip.

VERDICT – Lille have kept six clean sheets in their last nine home games and have scored 10 goals in this time. Marseille have conceded just twice in their last eight matches, with two goalless draws in the process. The visitors have not be imperious on the road and will face a massive test at Lille. Les Dogues are still the race for a Champions League spot and will be the ones pushing for all three points. Interesting, both teams have shown defensive solidity and we believe defense will triumph on Sunday. Do not expect too many goals in this one. Under 2.5 goals

To Germany;

BORUSSIA DORTMUND v EINTRACHT FRANKFURT – FRI. 14 FEB 2020, 20.30HRS
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Borussia Dortmund will look to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat in an entertaining game at Leverkusen when they host Eintracht Frankfurt in this Friday’s German Bundesliga fixture. Eintracht will attempt to extend their undefeated Bundesliga run to five straight games in this fixture. On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund will be seeking a morale-boosting victory ahead of PSG’s visit next Tuesday in the Champions League. Last week was a week to forget for BVB who lost out in the German Cup and followed it with a league defeat against Bayer 04. Despite this struggles, they still boast of the best home record in the Bundesliga and will look to keep that run going. However, the visitors look completely a different team in Rückrunde.

VERDICT – Borussia Dortmund have been dominate this fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt in recent history, they are unbeaten in the last nine duels. However, their last two shaky performances against Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen will give Adi Hütter’s team confidence they can upstage the host at Signal Iduna Park. Lucien Favre will likely be in a selection fix with his mind on next Tuesday therefore we are not ruling out an upset. Over 2.5 goals

FC COLOGNE v BAYERN MUNICH – SUN. 16 FEB 2020, 15.30HRS
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Bayern will hope to get back to winning ways on Sunday following last weekend’s 0-0 draw with RB Leipzig. That was the first time Bayern failed to score for the first time this season despite their impressive goalscoring run in the Bundesliga. The Bavarians will face a side in exceptional form, Cologne have won five of their last six league matches. Over the past six games, Cologne have scored a total of 15 league goals, only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have outscored them in that time. The home team had last week off – their game against Borussia Monchengladbach was cancelled, and that would have given Markus Gisdol’s team additional time to prepare for the champions.

VERDICT – Cologne have failed to score in just one of their last 10 Bundesliga fixtures; Bayern Munich have failed to score in just one of their 21 Bundesliga fixtures this season. Bayern Munich have scored at least three goals in each of their last three Bundesliga away games. Cologne have scored at least two goals in four of their last six Bundesliga fixtures. The home team may be in good form but Bayern remain Bayern. We anticipate an open game with goals from both teams but an away victory is likely on the cards.

To Italy;

ATALANTA v AS ROMA – SAT. 15 FEB 2020, 20.45HRS
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This is a massive head-to-head for the fourth Champions League spot, as Atalanta hope to make the most of recent Roma difficulties. Momentum seems to be with La Dea at the moment and another victory here would open up a massive six-point lead from the chasing pack. It’d technically count as seven points, seeing as they already beat Roma 2-0 at the Olimpico in September and would therefore have the superior head-to-head record. Only a couple of week back, Roma was fourth on the table, but they have collected one point from their last three matches compared to Atalanta’s seven in the same period. Gian Piero Gasperini will be relishing the opportunity to select from his full squad while his counterpart doesn’t get to enjoy similar situation.

VERDICT – Roma have won just one of their last 10 Serie A encounters with Atalanta, an away victory in August 2017, drawing five and losing four. However, they lost only one of their last seven trips to Bergamo, drawing three and winning three. Both teams tend to play on the offense, considering last season fixture ended in a 3-3 draw, we don’t rule out another high-scoring game at the Gewiss Stadium.

LAZIO v INTER MILAN – SUN. 16 FEB 2020, 20.45HRS
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The Scudetto is a three-horse race right now and this could be a decisive moment, as Lazio sit one point behind joint leaders Inter and Juventus. When two teams are tied on points in Serie A, their position is decided not on goal difference, but head-to-head record, which again could make this a crucial result. Inter won 1-0 when these sides met at San Siro in September and that was the last time Lazio lost a league match, followed by a club record 18-round unbeaten streak. Simone Inzaghi team has a home record of nine wins and three draws in the Serie A this season while Antonio Conte’s troops have nine wins and two draws on their travels. The statistics leaves both teams finely poised for a massive title showdown game at the Olimpico.

VERDICT – Inter have lost only one of their last seven Serie A meetings with Lazio, winning five and drawing the other, keeping four clean sheets. That includes three consecutive victories at the Olimpico. Lazio will be relying on the firepower of Ciro Immobile and Inter have Lautaro Martinez back to partner Romelu Lukaku in attack. Despite the heavy artilleries in attack, this game will be decided on the strength on defense, both teams have the meanest in the league, conceding just 20 goals each. We do not expect a high-scoring game, under 2.5 goals in Rome.

To Spain;

VALENCIA v ATLETICO MADRID – FRI. 14 FEB 2020, 21.00HRS
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Valencia and Atletico Madrid clash in a heavyweight Friday night showdown. Neither side has looked convincing in recent matches, both coaches could really do with a result here with a bit of pressure starting to build on both Albert Celades and Diego Simeone. Los Che head into this following a 3-0 defeat at Getafe, in what was easily their worst performance of the season. Los Colchoneros did at least put three points on the board last time out, though it came in an unconvincing 1-0 home win against Granada. Angel Correa’s goal is the only one an Atleti player has scored in their last four games in La Liga. Valencia have consistently failed to back up their tremendous home form with abysmal performances on the road this season while Atletico Madrid have been indifferent on their travels throughout the campaign.

VERDICT – This is a real six-pointer in the race for Champions League football, and one which Valencia can’t afford to lose. A win for Atleti would take them five points clear of Los Che; however a home victory would see Albert Celades’ side leapfrog Los Colchoneros into fourth. Both teams have selection headaches with strikers missing, goals will be set at a premium in Mestalla. Under 2.5 goals

BARCELONA v GETAFE – SAT. 15 FEB 2020, 16.00HRS
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Barcelona found their way back twice before winning at Benito Villamarin last weekend to keep the pressure on leaders Real Madrid at the top of the table. Interestingly, they face third-place high flying Getafe at home and could move level on point with their arch rivals for 24 hours at least. Getafe might be a revelation to new LaLiga viewers but Jose Bordalas team have continued to perform beyond expectation for the small Madrid-based outfit. Their impressive performance at home last weekend against Valencia underlines the incredible work Bordalas is doing. Getafe shut out Valencia, they left the Coliseum with no shot on target but it will be a different kettle of fish at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

VERDICT – Barcelona boast a near perfect home record in La Liga this term, with ten wins and one draw from 11 starts. Barca have never lost on home soil against Getafe, winning 12 and drawing four of their previous 16 meetings at Camp Nou. Getafe’s past record at Camp Nou is clearly a major concern for them as they travel to Catalonia this Saturday, and certain results this season also suggest that Bordalas’ side are likely to come up short. Home win

To England;

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS v LEICESTER CITY – FRI. 14 FEB 2020, 21.00HRS
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Wolverhampton Wanderers can move three places upwards from ninth to sixth place with a win at Molineux while Leicester City could leapfrog Manchester City into second place with a second win in three matches. The Premier League winter break came at the right time for Nuno Espirito Santo team, having won just one of their eight games. The poor run saw Wolves tumble all the way down to 9th place in the Premier League. The Foxes have had their own patchy run, two wins in the last seven in all competition including losing the semifinal of the League Cup. Brendan Rodgers team hold a healthy 10-point lead over fifth place Sheffield United but the Foxes supporters will be concerned about their poor away run going to the Molineux on Friday.

VERDICT – Wolves are undefeated in 10 of their last 11 home matches against Leicester in all competitions. Nuno Espirito Santos team has kept their visitors out just twice in 12 attempts overall at Molineux since August. In Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes, Leicester have more than enough attacking weapons to score. Neither side has kept it tight at the back recently, therefore we believe both teams would score on Friday.

CHELSEA v MANCHESTER UNITED – MON. 17 FEB 2020, 21.00HRS
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Chelsea are six points ahead of Manchester United as the sides go head-to-head at Stamford Bridge in the battle for UEFA Champions League qualification. Both teams are looking for a first win in four attempts, while Manchester United can complete the double over their hosts. The season has not panned as expected for both teams, Chelsea might be doing much better than expected currently but it doesn’t mean all is well at the Bridge. On the other hand, injuries haven’t really helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer whose future is up in the air at Old Trafford. When these two old foes collide, form is set aside.

VERDICT – The strength of this Chelsea side lies in attack, the Blues have scored in 20 of their 25 league outings this season but are conceding an average of 1.0 goal per game at Stamford Bridge in 2019/20. Manchester United have the fourth best defense in the division despite David De Gea conceding 10 goals in 11 Premier League games on the road. United have beaten Chelsea twice this season, at home and on the road, they will be eager to keep that run going. The top tip; goals at both ends likely.

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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