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

The Mancunian derby is one of the most anticipated derbies in the Premier League considering the power shift in the city from the red side to the blue half. In Italy, the Coronavirus epidemic has forced a reshuffle in schedule – games that were called off last week will be played this weekend and that includes Derby d’Italia between second place Juventus and third place Inter Milan at the Allianz Stadium, Turin. Over in Spain, Atletico Madrid will look to force their way back into Champions League places and give themselves a morale boost with a victory over third-place Sevilla before jetting out to Liverpool next week.

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

We begin in France;

RENNES v MONTPELLIER – SUN. 08 MAR 2020, 17.00HRS
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Rennes and Montpellier face each other at Roazhon Park in what is expected to be one of the most entertaining games of week 28 in Ligue 1. Rennes did well to beat Nimes and Toulouse in the previous two league fixtures, but they need to keep on performing well if they want to stay in third position and play in the Champions League next term. Montpellier bounced back from back-to-back losses to Monaco and Angers with the team rolling over Strasbourg 3-0 in their last league fixture. Can they replicate similar performance at Roahzon Park on Sunday?  

VERDICT – In their last meeting, Rennes defeated Montpellier 1-0, meaning the visitors are hungry for revenge. However, the last five meetings have seen Les Rennais walk away with two away wins and three draws. Julien Stéphan’s team was involved in midweek Coupe de France action therefore; they will not be in the best physical shape for this game but we don’t think Montpellier have enough to win at Rennes.

LILLE OSC v OLYMPIQUE LYON – SUN. 08 MAR 2020, 21.00HRS
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Lyon will travel to Lille on the back of a humbling defeat to PSG in the Coupe de France. Les Gones are six points behind their host and they will hope to put aside Cup loss and focus on the league match as they aim to qualify for Europe next season. Lille are in good form as they welcome their former manager Rudi Garcia but he can expect no favors from Les Dogues who are in the race for a top-three finish. Lyon had been putting together a fine run of form up until the defeat to PSG. They had won four games in five and conceded just one goal in that period so it will be interesting to see if they can return to their previous defensive resilience following the defeat to PSG.

VERDICT – Lyon have been shaky on the road and are in need a big performance at Stade Pierre Mauroy. Les Gones have won only once in Lille 2008, they are facing a team in better shape than them and have the home advantage. Both teams have scored in six of the last seven meetings and we expect that to happen again here.

To Germany;

WOLFSBURG v RB LEIPZIG – SAT. 07 MAR 2020, 15.30HRS
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Wout Weghorst and Timo Werner could have a big say in who comes out on top between Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig on Saturday. Weghorst rescued his team in a 2-2 draw at Union Berlin last week and his manager would be counting on him as he has had a direct hand in five of the Auto City club’s nine goals in their last three games. Like Wolfsburg, Leipzig came from behind to register a point against Bayer Leverkusen last weekend. Die Roten Bullen have lost only one of their last 15 Bundesliga matches, but while Julian Nagelsmann’s team has dropped nine of a possible 21 since the turn of the year and are now three points behind Bayern going into this game.

VERDICT – Leipzig are unbeaten in their last four competitive meetings with Wolfsburg (3W, 1D) and have never conceded more than once in their four visits to the Volkswagen Arena. Wolfsburg have failed to score in just one of their last 10 German Bundesliga fixtures while RB Leipzig have failed to score in just two of their 24 German Bundesliga games this season. The two teams have seen plenty of high scoring games lately, we are going for both teams to score.

BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH v BORUSSIA DORTMUND – SAT. 07 MAR 2020, 18.30HRS
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It’s possibly the biggest Battle of the Borussias in recent memory as Mönchengladbach host Dortmund on Saturday evening with title hopes on the line. The Borussia side playing host, Gladbach, are in form and are unbeaten in the last five league games. Dortmund are in some fine form of their own; three wins on the bounce without conceding a goal since defeat at Bayer Leverkusen have brought Lucien Favre’s side right back into the title race. Even without Marco Reus, BVB have been able to collect maximum points in recent weeks thanks mainly to Jadon Sancho. What should we expect at Borussia Park?

VERDICT – Dortmund have been steamrolling their fellow Borussia easily in recent times. They have 10 straight wins over Gladbach regardless of form or venue. Lucien Favre will be eager to put one over his former employers on Saturday evening but this game is not likely to be the usual one-way traffic as in the past because Dortmund haven’t been very good on their travels. We believe both teams will get on the score sheet thanks to their fantastic attacking qualities.  

To Italy;

AC MILAN v GENOA – SUN. 08 MAR 2020, 15.00HRS
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Davide Nicola will be hoping his team can get something from San Siro to help them climb out of the relegation zone and to bounce back from their most recent defeat against Scudetto contenders Lazio. The Rossoblu can take a lot of positives from the 3-2 defeat against the Biancocelesti when they arrive in Milan. The Rossoneri can take another step towards European places with a victory at home but might be doing so without injured Gianluigi Donnarumma. Ante Rebic has become the new found hero at the San Siro and he will be taking his alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack.

VERDICT – Milan are unbeaten in six Serie A matches against Genoa and have kept a clean sheet in four of those. Can Stefano Pioli’s team keep that run going on Sunday? With Ante Rebic’s goal scoring form, the Rossoneri are guaranteed a goal at any point in the game therefore they should be considered favorites.

JUVENTUS v INTER MILAN – SUN. 08 MAR 2020, 20.45HRS
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All eyes will be on Allianz Stadium when Juventus and Inter face each other in this weekend’s Derby d’Italia. This derby will be a quiet one due to the Coronavirus outbreak that saw the game postponed last weekend. Luckily for Antonio Conte, he will be getting no sweltering reception at his old ground and that feels like an advantage to Inter right away. Beyond all the pre-match shenanigans, neither side cannot afford a defeat in the derby with Lazio finely poised to take full advantage of the situation to snatch the leadership or become the main challenger. Juventus had a disappointing performance in the Champions League against Lyon, an outing that should give Juve fans cause for concern.  

VERDICT – We expect a tactical battle where Sarri and Conte will try to outsmart each other. Inter’s record against Juve is miserable; they have won just one of their last 14 Serie A meetings, 2-1 victory in September 2016, along with five draws and eight defeats. They haven’t picked up a victory in Turin since November 2012. And, they are ones in need of a win more but can the Nerazzurris deliver? Watch out for a very close game.

To Spain;

ATLETICO MADRID v SEVILLA – SAT. 07 MAR 2020, 16.00HRS
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LaLiga is providing its followers with several fascinating battles – from the title race to the battel for a top four finish. Fifth-place Atletico Madrid host third-place Sevilla with just two points separating both teams ahead of this clash. There are three huge points for grab at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday; Atletico Madrid look to have rediscovered themselves while Sevilla appear to be back on good terms with themselves following back to back league wins. A win for Atleti will propel them back into third and knock Getafe out of the top four, while victory for Sevilla will see them solidify their current position and open up a sizeable five-point gap between themselves and Los Colchoneros.

VERDICT – Both teams are closely matched as the league standings imply and the last three meetings between the sides have finished all square. Atletico have four wins and a draw in the last five at home; only Barcelona has managed a victory at the Metropolitano. There is everything to place for and in games like this, Atletico are usually back to their tenacious best. We expect a close game but the home side might just nick it.   

BARCELONA v REAL SOCIEDAD – SAT. 07 MAR 2020, 18.30HRS
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Barcelona suffered their fifth defeat of the domestic campaign in last weekend’s El Clasico, leaving the champions playing catch-up once again in their quest to land a third consecutive La Liga title. Quique Setien team will be desperate to bounce back after the disappointment last week but will face a team filled with excitement after reaching their first Copa final in 32 years. Real Sociedad are still in the mix for the for a top-four finish; they are just three points behind third place Sevilla. La Real will be aware that their trip to the Camp Nou will be no tea party. They last earned a point away to Barca in the 1994-95 and have since lost on their last 23 trips to this venue.

VERDICT – Barcelona have a home record of 12 wins and a draw in the league this season; the only team that left the Camp Nou with something in LaLiga is Real Madrid. The Catalans home form is frightening and when you compare it to the Basque side away form (5W, 2D, 5D), it tells you where you should put your money. The reverse fixture at the La Reale Arena was an entertaining 2-2 draw but when you consider Real Sociedad woeful record in terms of their previous visits to Camp Nou, you are inclined to tip the home team.

To England;

CHELSEA v EVERTON – SUN. 08 MAR 2020, 15.00HRS
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Chelsea could lose their grip on a top-four spot if they fail to beat Everton as their rivals for the spot close in on them with 10 games left. Everton will arrive at Stamford Bridge coming off the back of a draw with Manchester United and a win at Stamford Bridge could see the Toffees climb into the top 10. It is a bit strange that Frank Lampard is under some pressure at Chelsea despite the circumstances surrounding the club and what he has managed to achieve. Carlo Ancelotti has breathed a new lease of life into Everton, the Toffees find themselves in the race for European qualification. Will Lampard get one over his former boss or will Carlo put spanner in the Blues top-four aspiration?

VERDICT – Chelsea are unbeaten in 29 home matches against Everton, but could only manage a draw at home last season. The Toffees have beaten the Blues when both sides met in December and will believe they can repeat similar feat in London. Chelsea are not in their best form but did beat Liverpool in the FA Cup during the week and that should boost their confidence. Both teams are shaky defensively, we believe there would be goals at both ends.  

MANCHESTER UNITED v MANCHESTER CITY – SUN. 08 MAR 2020, 17.30HRS
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Manchester United will keep the pressure on Chelsea for a top-four spot if they win their second Manchester derby of the season. Manchester City come into this fixture after reaching the FA Cup quarter finals in midweek just four days after winning the Carabao for a third consecutive time at Wembley. The Red Devils look primed for Sunday after dismantling Derby County in the FA Cup, there has been a significant improvement in United and more importantly, a desire to win. On the other hand, City will not be taking this game lightly as well but their focus is likely to be on the Champions League with the league title out of reach this season. Pep Guardiola will still like his team to earn bragging rights in Manchester.

VERDICT – Manchester United are aiming to complete a Premier League double over Manchester City for the first time since 2009-10 when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager. Manchester City’s record against the ‘Big Six’ hasn’t been stellar this season; they have won just three of their nine competitive meetings with the Big Six, losing four times and twice against Manchester United. This game doesn’t have a favorite so we are expecting the spoils to be shared.

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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