Predicting Every Major EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, MLS Match This Weekend
From right around the globe, another week of domestic action is set to take place, with some incredible important fixtures to be found in Europe's major leagues.
Races for Champions League qualification dominate the headlines this weekend, with all-important games to be found in England, Italy, Spain, France and Germany.
Which teams are going to emerge victorious from the week's action?
Read on and find out as we predict all the major domestic games this weekend.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City
Premier League—Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Manchester City scored a scrappy win over Wigan Athletic during the week to keep themselves well in control of their Champions League future for next season. They will likely represent the same, tough threat this weekend when they take on Tottenham Hotspur.
The North London club don't have Europa League commitments to worry about any more and will be looking to focus their full attention back on a top-four finish in 2013. Which, with Arsenal and Chelsea both doing exceptionally well over recent weeks, represents a big challenge for Andre Villas-Boas' men.
Spurs have won just one of their past four home games (including a shock defeat to Fulham), and whilst they're up against a side who don't travel that well on the road in City, the defending champions will still have more than enough attacking presence to hurt the Londoners.
City have been strong defensively all year—as have Tottenham—and with both sides desperate not to drop any points here, they'll end up playing a scoreless 90 minutes this week.
Call it pressure, or call it good defense—whatever you want—but we'll likely see the Londoners drop further behind in their Champions League bid this week.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1, Manchester City 1
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Premier League—Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. ET
Liverpool might not have the European dream to play for anymore like Chelsea do, but the Reds will still be a very tough side to take on when they meet at Anfield this week.
Brendan Rodgers will be looking to see which players are going to finish the season strong, and with the Merseyside club trailing their neighbors in Everton by six points coming into this one, they'll be desperate to get a win here and restore some pride once again.
However, Chelsea are seemingly on a roll right now and are coping well with playing a mountain of fixtures in a short space of time. They will eventually slip up and will fall victim to their fatigue, but with a decent rest from Wednesday until Sunday, they will be more than ready for Liverpool.
Liverpool have won just one of their past four games this season, and whilst it won't be by much, I think they'll fall victim to another late goal by the Blues in this one. Demba Ba, perhaps, turning savior for the West London club as they put themselves in a great position to be back in the Champions League next season.
Prediction: Liverpool 1, Chelsea 2
Valencia vs. Malaga
La Liga—Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. ET
We head to Spain now, where attention is also firmly fixed on the race for Champions League football next season when Valencia welcome Malaga to town.
Malaga were cruelly beaten in the final seconds of their Champions League quarterfinal match earlier this year, and whilst they are unable to qualify for a European spot themselves next season, they'll be desperate to ensure that they finish the season on a positive note and don't undo all their hard work from this year.
Malaga have emerged as a genuine challenger to the Real Madrid-Barcelona duopoly in La Liga, and whilst they haven't shown it as much this season, they are still more than capable of producing that form at any given moment, which Valencia will no doubt be looking out for in this one.
Valencia have not been beaten in their last five home games, whilst Malaga have averaged just over a goal per game on the road this year. As a result, we're unlikely to see a great deal of chances arise throughout this one, with the more effective side in front of goal more likely to emerge victorious.
And for me, I'm actually leaning for Malaga.
Their away form has been skewed a bit given that they've rested players for Champions League games and such, but at full strength, they are a very tough team to break down. Their midfield is strong, their defense is organized and with a tactical master in Manuel Pellegrini running the show, they're more than capable of chalking up a win this weekend against Valencia.
Malaga ran riot over them when they played earlier in the year—a 4-0 demolition job—and whilst it won't be that bad, they should do the same again here.
Prediction: Valencia 0, Malaga 1
Sevilla vs. Atletico Madrid
La Liga—Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Atletico Madrid might be an attacking powerhouse on their day, but when playing away from home, they simply haven't shown the same form as they have in Madrid this season.
Atletico have won just six road games all year and just two of their past nine coming into this weekend, when they'll come up against a Sevilla side that is, conversely, very good at home.
Sevilla have not dropped a single point in front of their home crowd in 2013 (winners of their past seven) and have allowed just 15 goals all season. Which, when coupled with the 16 goals that Atletico have produced all season on the road, seems to suggest a tough night ahead for the visitors.
However, I wouldn't be so quick to rule out the away side in this one, with Atletico knowing how important this fixture will be in their Champions League bid for next season.
They'll look to attack here and open up a defense that has allowed 45 goals this season and could well walk away with a huge point from this one in the process.
Which, given their away form this year, would seem like a huge result.
Prediction: Sevilla 1, Atletico Madrid 1
Montpellier vs. Lyon
Ligue 1—Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Changing leagues again for a minute, and we find Montpellier taking on Lyon in a Ligue 1 match that has danger spelled all over it for the away side. Lyon have won just one of their past six league games, and whilst Montpellier have only won one of their past five, it's been the nature of their home form this season that represents a big problem for the visitors.
Montpellier have not been defeated in their last 12 home games (last was against Evain TG in October, on a last-minute goal) and have allowed a staggering 11 goals against all season (just 0.67 per game). Contrast that, then, to Lyon, who haven't won their last three away games despite playing some pretty poor opposition, and this one seems pretty straight forward.
Last year's champions are a good team at their best and have shown to be just that when playing in front of their home crowd this season in Ligue 1.
Lyon will know that their chances at European football next season are slipping away with every passing week, but when they're up against teams that are as technically strong as Montpellier, there's not that much they can do to stop the slump from occurring.
Another week of frustration for Lyon as Montpellier emerge victorious.
Prediction: Montpellier 2, Lyon 0
Paris Saint Germain vs. Nice
Ligue 1—Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 6:00 a.m. ET
Paris Saint Germain's Champions League dream is over. Their chance at a French double is also over, which means that their only focus is on winning the Ligue 1 title this year, which they will now give their full attention and ruthless devotion to as they finish off the season.
PSG have been very strong all year in the domestic competition, and whilst they have lost their way a little of late, they've still been very tough to break down at home.
So much so that they haven't been beaten in Paris since November and have lost just two home games all year. What's even more incredible than that is the eight goals they've allowed against in that time (just one every two games) and how dominant they've been in doing so.
Nice have been relatively consistent all year and will be desperate to move up the Ligue 1 standings with a good result in this one. But having scored just 17 road goals all year—against a PSG side with nothing else to focus on—they'll end up getting demolished pretty easily this weekend.
Prediction: Paris Saint Germain 3, Nice 0
Juventus vs. AC Milan
Serie A—Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ET
The two hottest teams in Serie A clash this weekend in a star-studded fixture that could have a profound impact on the European prospects of AC Milan next season.
Juventus were shown to be second-class squad by Bayern Munich earlier this month and will now focus their full attention back on winning the Italian competition, where they hold a commanding lead over their opponents. However, Milan represent a big threat in this one and with striker Mario Balotelli potentially being a late inclusion for this one (depending on his appeal), the Rossoneri will be tough to beat here.
The Old Lady hasn't lost in their last six home matches; Milan haven't lost in their last seven away games and their last 14 games overall in Serie A. Juve have allowed just nine goals at home all season and scored 33 of their own; Milan have failed to score in just one game away from home this year.
The numbers portray this one to be a very close fixture, and whilst Juve will certainly hold an edge being the home side, their meetings throughout the year have shown that home advantage doesn't really matter here as much as the individual matchups on the field.
If Balotelli plays, Milan have an edge, and the hot streak of their incredible run since Christmas continues. Which, in what would no doubt be a huge result, I think they may just do in Turin this weekend.
Stunning upset, but the Rossoneri's undefeated streak continues.
Prediction: Juventus 1, AC Milan 2
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Schalke 04
Bundesliga—Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. ET
We head back across Europe and settle ourselves in the Bundesliga for the best game they have to offer this week—a fascinating fixture between Frankfurt and Schalke.
Frankfurt haven't been in good form at all lately, but neither have Schalke when playing away from home this year. And whilst it might not seem like the away side should have too much to worry about, their performance on the road this year suggests that they will find it difficult to win this one.
Schalke have won just four games away from home all year have just two victories from their past 10 fixtures on the road. And given that neither of those wins came against teams ranked higher than 12th at the moment, it's hard to feel all that confident about taking Schalke here.
However, Frankfurt haven't been that much better in 2013, even with the home-ground advantage. They have just one win from their last five home games and have won just one of their past nine games overall—a streaky 3-2 win against the worst team in the Bundesliga this year.
Who wins in the battle of the worst form lines?
You'd have to think Schalke, who have the talent to beat a Frankfurt side that's seriously falling apart down the stretch this year.
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Schalke 3
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Sporting Kansas City
Major League Soccer—Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 10:30 p.m. ET
We finish up here with the best that the MLS has to offer, with Los Angeles Galaxy's home fixtures against Sporting Kansas City shaping as a pretty special match to watch for.
Galaxy will have taken plenty of positives away from their loss to Dallas last time around, and now back at home, they will be desperate to triumph over their opponents, who have a pretty tough schedule ahead in the Galaxy and New York Red Bulls in the space of three days.
KC's defense is always tough to break down—even with a home-ground advantage—and they've started in similar style this year, allowing just three goals against.
Galaxy have allowed just four and could well be in for an upset this week against a well-rested KC side. It will be interesting to see how they pull up after the Red Bulls game, but with a whole week of rest, they'll no doubt be ready to come to L.A and deliver a shock result.
A third straight Eastern Conference regular-season crown is no doubt on the minds of KC this year, and they'll prove their worth with a strong showing in this one.
Prediction: Los Angeles Galaxy 0, Sporting Kansas City 1
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