Predicting the Biggest EPL, La Liga, Serie A Matches: England Takes Centre Stage

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistMarch 13, 2014

Predicting the Biggest EPL, La Liga, Serie A Matches: England Takes Centre Stage

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    There is little doubt where the biggest matches of the weekend lie this time around, with old rivals meeting on a huge Sunday in England.

    Manchester United versus Liverpool is still one of the most anticipated fixtures worldwide, with this clash at Old Trafford seeing a role reversal from the usual as Brendan Rodgers' Reds arrive in Manchester still chasing the Premier League title.

    David Moyes will be determined to stop them in their tracks and inject a little cheer into his side's season, whilst Sunday also sees a huge North London derby at White Hart Lane with major ramifications in both the title race and the battle to get into next season's Champions League.

    Tottenham will be desperate to bounce back from their 4-0 loss at Chelsea last week, whilst Arsenal still have eyes on Premier League glory and will be smarting from their Champions League exit.

    In Spain, Real Madrid could go six points clear at the top of La Liga for a couple of hours as they head to mid-table Malaga, but in truth all of the top three should earn victories this weekend as Atletico Madrid go to Espanyol and Barcelona host Osasuna on Sunday.

    Serie A leaders Juventus are at Genoa on Sunday, where a win would take them a huge 17 points clear, ahead of Napoli's trip to Torino on Monday, when Roma also host Udinese.

Premier League

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    Hull v Manchester City

    After contrasting fortunes in the FA Cup, these two meet in a Premier League clash which looks destined to intrigue.

    Manchester City have got the pressure of games in hand heaped upon them by Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, and they could find it tough against a Hull side who are riding on the crest of a wave.

    Expect the Tigers to make it tough for Manuel Pellegrini's men, and they could take a point.

    Prediction: Hull 1 Manchester City 1

    Aston Villa v Chelsea

    The Blues have got their game faces on now, and their manager knows just how to win things from here.

    Mourinho will know that Villa will make life tough for his team, but the key advantage they have over all of their title rivals is the strength of their defence. If they can keep a clean sheet then they'll be confident that Eden Hazard and co. can do their job at the other end.

    Prediction: Aston Villa 0 Chelsea 1

    Manchester United v Liverpool

    The world is always watching this clash, and it will give Liverpool great satisfaction to enter it as many people's favourites.

    Brendan Rodgers will have to hope that the international break hasn't stalled his side's momentum, whilst David Moyes will have taken great heart from last weekend's victory at an admittedly poor West Brom.

    Liverpool would go 14 points clear of United with a win, but expect their rampant attack to be cancelled out by their generous defence in an entertaining draw.

    Prediction: Manchester United 2 Liverpool 2

    Tottenham v Arsenal

    You have to wonder just what the spirit is like in the Tottenham camp now following their loss to Chelsea, the uncertainty surrounding Tim Sherwood and Sherwood's public criticism of his players.

    Tonight's Europa League clash with Benfica won't help preparations for this one either, and with Arsenal in a fresher mood and surely in need of the points more, a first Premier League win for the Gunners at White Hart Lane in seven years looks possible.

    Prediction: Tottenham 1 Arsenal 2

La Liga

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    Malaga v Real Madrid

    The monied days at Malaga are long gone, and they've now won just two of their last eight home matches in all competitions.

    Real Madrid are in much more ruthless form than that. They are now unbeaten in 29 matches stretching back to the loss at Barcelona in October.

    They beat Malaga 2-0 at the Bernabeu a week prior to that match, and they should experience similar comfort here.

    Prediction: Malaga 1 Real Madrid 3

    Atletico Madrid v Espanyol

    Mid-table Espanyol arrive at the Vicente Calderon with nothing to really play for, and whilst Atletico Madrid have struggled on their travels occasionally on late, this looks like being a routine home win for them as they strive to keep the pressure on city rivals Real.

    Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2 Espanyol 0

    Barcelona v Osasuna

    They may not be the team they once were but Barcelona routinely sweep to victory in matches such as these.

    The scorelines from Osasuna's last three trips to the Nou Camp read 5-1, 4-0 and 8-0, and you can expect something along similar lines here.

    Prediction: Barcelona 5 Osasuna 0

Serie A

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    Genoa v Juventus

    As seen by the 1-0 victory over Fiorentina on Sunday, Juventus can grind out victories when they aren't playing well; another impressive weapon to add to the armoury of easily the best team in Italy.

    It is now a matter of when and not if they'll wrap up a third consecutive Scudetto, and although this trip to a firmly mid-table Genoa won't be without its problems, expect to see Juve sitting 17 points ahead at the top of the table come Sunday night.

    Prediction: Genoa 0 Juventus 2

    Torino v Napoli

    Rafael Benitez's Napoli earned a terrific 1-0 win over Roma last time out to keep them firmly in the hunt for a top-two finish.

    This tricky trip to Torino comes off the back of their visit to Porto in the Europa League though, and tired legs could just affect them a little as they drop a couple of points.

    Prediction: Torino 1 Napoli 1

    Roma v Udinese

    That Napoli loss hurt for the Romans, as did the season-ending injury to Kevin Strootman, but they have the perfect chance to bounce back at home to underachieving Udinese.

    Roma remain unbeaten at home this season, and that won't change as they deliver three points along with their trademark solidity at the back.

    Prediction: Roma 3 Udinese 0