Predicting the Result of Every Major European Match This Weekend
After two weeks of international action, it's time to focus back on the domestic side of things, with plenty of spectacular matchups to be found this weekend.
From France to Spain, there's a stack of quality matches this weekend, and we've picked out the best ones of them all for for your enjoyment.
Plus, as a special bonus treat (OK, we do this every week), we've thrown in a free scoreline prediction for the matches selected.
Read on to see all the major games in Europe this week.
Manchester City vs. Newcastle United
Saturday March 30, 2013, at 11 a.m. ET
It might not seem like a big match, but City playing at home to Newcastle United could well turn out to be one of the best matches seen in the Premier League this weekend.
City have very little to play for domestically (with the title race all but over), and whilst the Magpies might seem safe in 13th position, the reality is that they're only three points above 17th-placed Aston Villa and could well still fall into relegation danger this year.
Alan Pardew will definitely have prepared his side for the fight, so expect them to come out strong in this one.
The Citizens are a good team at home, and they'll be tough to pick against, but the Magpies could well end up shocking a few people with a solid performance here. After all, they do have plenty to play for here, whereas their opponents are simply playing for pride.
Manchester City 1, Newcastle United 1
Southampton vs. Chelsea
Saturday March 30, 2013, at 11 a.m. ET
Under normal circumstances, the notion of Southampton playing Chelsea would leave many people instantly assuming a victory for the West London club.
Yet it is hard to completely rule out the Saints, who have been very strong after a managerial switch during the season. Moreover, playing in Southampton, the home side will certainly fancy their chances at toppling Chelsea, who have been largely inconsistent this season.
The Blues are vying for a top-four spot, but a loss here wouldn't be the end of the world in that regard. A loss for Southampton, however, would be disastrous, and the threat of relegation will surely spark a very strong performance from the home side here.
Like Newcastle, I'm not sure it's enough for the win, but they should come close.
The threat of relegation can do some incredible things.
Southampton 2, Chelsea 2
Inter Milan vs. Juventus
Saturday March 30, 2013, at 10 a.m. ET
Arguably the pick of the games this week from around Europe, Italian league leaders will face an incredibly tough test when they travel to the San Siro to take on Inter Milan.
Inter are currently in sixth position and have won just twice in their past eight matches—making them a difficult team to read coming into this one. They do, after all, have plenty of talent on hand but haven't quite been able to turn that into results this season.
Juventus' depth is well-known this year, and with the title seemingly secured, they'll no doubt start focussing their attention on the Champions League.
With a game this Tuesday away to Bayern Munich looming, the Old Lady could well look to rest some players in this one as well as play without their usual intensity and aggression. After all, playing in Munich will be arguably their biggest game of the year, and they'll want to have their best possible starting side available for selection in that one.
Having said that, Juventus do possess remarkable depth this year, and even a number of their replacements will be more than capable of pushing Inter. And that, in the end, should be enough to earn the away side a valuable point and continue Inter's frustrating season.
Inter Milan 0, Juventus 0
Cagliari vs. Fiorentina
Saturday March 30, 2013, at 10 a.m. ET
With three wins in a row, and five from their past seven games, Fiorentina will look to extend their run of good form when they take on Cagliari this weekend.
And on the precipice of a European berth, it's hard to see them being denied in this one.
Cagliari have very little left to play for this year—with relegation unlikely—and they just don't have the domestic form capable of challenging a Stevan Jovetic-led Fiorentina.
They were held last week to a scoreless draw by a desperate Siena; expect them to again be held scoreless by the away side. Only this time, don't expect a point to be forthcoming for the home side, who will be the latest victims in Fiorentina's storm towards the top four.
Cagliari 0, Fiorentina 3
Atletico Madrid vs. Valencia
Sunday March 31, 2013, at 3 p.m. ET
The headline match in La Liga this weekend sees two powerhouses up against each other, with top-four ambitions on the line for Valencia. The Spanish giants currently sit in fifth spot but are only two points behind Real Sociedad—a gap they'll be desperate to close this weekend.
Atletico Madrid might seem like they have little to play for in this one, with their berth in the Champions League next season all but guaranteed. And whilst I can understand that, it's definitely dangerous to sleep on any team with Radamel Falcao in it—especially when Madrid sit so close to them on the table.
It might not seem like much, but Atletico will be furious that they surrendered their spot on the table to Los Blancos. They are bitter rivals, and would have loved to finish above the "bigger" of the two Madrid-based clubs and will no doubt come out firing in this one as a result.
Atletico aren't scoring an abundance of goals this year, but they should have enough in them to beat Valencia, who haven't beaten a team higher than 15th on the road this year.
Atletico Madrid 2, Valencia 1
Bayern Munich vs. Hamburger SV
Saturday March 30, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. ET
Bayern Munich playing at home in the Bundesliga has meant pretty much an automatic win this year. However, let's go out on a limb here and make the claim for Hamburger to seriously push the German giants in this one—perhaps even sneaking a point off them on the night.
Bayern have the domestic title all wrapped up (20 points clear), and play a key Champions League match against Juventus this Tuesday. Granted their squad is deep and strong enough to cover certain players who might be rested for that match, but their team chemistry and overall performance has to be affected somewhat by the changes that may be made here.
Also, Hamburger have been surprisingly good against big-name teams this year. They haven't beaten Bayern, but they have chalked up wins against Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and FSV Mainz. Moreover, they beat Dortmund 4-1 in Dortmund earlier in the year—a game that the home side rested players for so that they would be fresh for their Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Bayern are that good they should still win here, but I like Hamburger to keep this one close and earn a few accolades along the way as a result.
Bayern Munich 3, Hamburger 2
Nice vs. Marseille
Sunday March 31, 2013, at 8 a.m. ET
Our final big European match of the week sees us travel to France, where Nice and Marseille will do battle for an all-important top-three or -four spot in the Ligue 1 competition.
Nice are currently fifth but just three points behind the third-placed Marseille, who in turn, are only seven points off the first-placed Paris St. Germain and two points behind Lyon in second place.
Thus the result of this one will have a profound affect on the title and top-four race.
The biggest question mark here for Marseille is surrounding their away form, which has seen them come away winless from their last five away games. Granted some of those were against strong teams (PSG and Lyon), but some of those also were against relatively weak opponents as well.
And against a team that has lost just twice at home all year, that could well be the difference. Expect Nice to find an early goal here and let their strong defense do the rest. They've allowed just 14 goals at home all year, and Marseille have scored just 15 road goals to match that.
Look for a close but comfortable victory for the home side.
Nice 1, Marseille 0
What are your predictions for Europe's biggest games this week?
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