Predicting the Biggest EPL, Liga, Serie a Matches: L'pool vs. Man City on Sunday
The standout match this weekend is of course Liverpool hosting Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, but there are other crunch ties to be played in Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga.
Relegation six-pointers are all the rage this weekend with Fulham and Norwich locking horns in a game with potentially huge ramifications for the short-term future of their clubs.
In Serie A, Livorno and Chievo have a crunch tie where the loser of the game could finish the day in the relegation zone, while the winner will haul themselves from the drop with a few games to play.
La Liga also has a relegation dogfight match between Osasuna and Real Valladolid, while Real Madrid— coming off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Dortmund last night in the Champions League— have a must-win game against Almeria on Saturday or they can say goodbye to their hopes of winning the league title this season.
So, let's review and predict the biggest games from England, Italy and Spain’s top respective divisions.
English Premier League
All the games in the English Premier League will be delayed by seven minutes this weekend as the Hillsborough disaster is commemorated.
Liverpool vs. Man City
It promises to be an emotional day for Liverpool at Anfield, but the players know they can ill afford to let anything get the better of them as they face Manchester City this weekend.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are in incredible form in 2014. They have won 12 and drawn two of their 14 matches this year—scoring 46 goals in the process. Everton, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham are some of the sides they’ve thrashed already in the last few months.
But despite their fine form, Manchester City will be a very tough outfit to come up against. The Citizens have taken 52 points from a possible 60 in the Premier League and will go one point off top with two games in hand if they see off the Reds this weekend.
Liverpool have only lost once at home this season, all the way back in September, while Man City have only lost once away to a top-half side in the table all campaign. A draw would suit City more than Liverpool, but with the attacking nature of both clubs, goals should ensue.
Match prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Man City
Fulham vs. Norwich
The Premier League relegation battle could take a big twist this weekend as a rejuvenated Fulham side host a Norwich team who have recently sacked manager Chris Hughton.
Fulham recently beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park, which was their second win from their last four games—taking them to five points from safety.
Norwich are the side just one place above the drop zone with five to play, but the Canaries have just one win from their last six in the league—conceding 13 goals in the process.
Despite their plight this season, Fulham guarantee scoring goals at home, but Norwich have only bagged five goals in their last eight matches on their travels.
Match prediction: Fulham 1-0 Norwich
Italian Serie A
Sampdoria vs. Inter
Inter Milan have an important clash against Sampdoria to maintain their aspirations of finishing in a Champions League place. This weekend’s game could potentially see them go just two points adrift of fourth place, or eight points away depending on results.
Sampdoria have been in better form of late, with four wins in their last seven league games. Their home form remains solid of late—with just one defeat from 10.
Inter Milan are in poor form—winless in their last four games and drawing far too often to make ground on their rivals (14 from 32 games). The manager’s future is at stake too with his side continuing to drop points too easier week after week to poor opposition. They drew 1-1 to Sampdoria when the sides met in December.
Match Prediction: Sampdoria 1-1 Inter Milan
Livorno vs. Chievo
Another relegation battle this weekend sees the out-of-form Livorno host Chievo, with just two points separating the two sides coming into Sunday’s meeting.
Livorno are winless in their last four, and they have only won three from their previous 21 games. They lost 3-0 to Chievo when the two sides met earlier this season too. Livorno have the second-worst defence in the league (60) and have only averaged 1.06 goals per game.
Chievo are in slightly better form, with three wins from eight, but they have scored just 26 goals in 32 games for the season. They haven’t won away from home in 2014, while having the fourth-worst away record in the entire division—10 points from a possible 39.
Match Prediction: Livorno 2-1 Chievo
Spanish La Liga
Real Madrid vs. Almeria
Real Madrid have a crucial match against Almeria where only a win will do to keep their fledgling hopes of a league title alive. Carlo Ancelotti’s men recently scraped through into the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 3-2 aggregate win against Dortmund.
They could go top of the table if they beat Almeria on Saturday, providing Barcelona lose their match. Recent form suggests a comfortable home win, but the ramifications will be fatal if they lose, as they could face the prospect of going six points adrift this weekend.
Madrid have won back-to-back league games since their double defeat to Sevilla & Barcelona, while relegation-threatened Almeria have just one win from their last nine. They got hit for five with no reply when they last faced Los Blancos in November too.
Match prediction: Real Madrid 4-0 Almeria
Osasuna vs. Real Valladolid
Another crunch game for Osasuna this weekend sees them face Real Valladolid, who are just one place and two points adrift of them. Both sides are currently out of the drop zone, but dropped points this weekend could see either get swap places with 18th-placed Getafe.
Osasuna ended their run of defeats with a draw against Real Sociedad and a win against fellow relegation rivals Almeria recently. They will have hope for the next game considering they face a Real Valladolid side without an away win in their last 11 matches.
The home side won 1-0 when the two sides met earlier this season, and they’re expected to repeat the feat on Friday evening.
Match prediction: Osasuna 2-0 Real Valladolid