B/R Experts Predict Top Matches in World Football for Weekend of September 26-28

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterSeptember 26, 2014

B/R Experts Predict Top Matches in World Football for Weekend of September 26-28

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    Clint Hughes/Associated Press

    It is a derby weekend special for our Bleacher Report experts to consider this week.

    Liverpool play host to Everton on Saturday, with the Toffees determined to make up for last season's drubbing at Anfield.

    Tottenham Hotspur make the short trip across north London to the Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal lie in wait.

    In the Bundesliga, the Ruhr derby takes place this weekend, with Borussia Dortmund heading to Gelsenkirchen for the game against Schalke.

    Two of the biggest names in Portuguese football go head-to-head on Friday, with Sporting entertaining FC Porto, while Real Madrid's trip to Villarreal makes up our selection list for this week.

    With Sam Tighe away for the week, can others claw back ground on Karl Matchett and Mike Cummings at the top of the table?

    And more importantly, do you agree with our experts' selections? Let us know in the comments below.

Sporting vs. FC Porto

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    Armando Franca/Associated Press

    Alex Livie: Sporting 2-0 Porto

    First goalscorer: Islam Slimani

    Both sides come into the game protecting unbeaten records, so this is likely to be close. I'll take home advantage for Sporting.

    Karl Matchett: Sporting 1-2 Porto

    First goalscorer: Adrian

    Lots of changes among both of these teams over the summer, but Porto have adapted and started faster. Yacine Brahimi is looking a terrific addition and could be key to the win.

    Will Tidey: Sporting 2-1 Porto

    First goalscorer: Nani

    I'm going for home advantage here, with on-loan winger Nani playing the hero and continuing his fine start to the season.

    Michael Cummings: Sporting 1-1 Porto

    First goalscorer: Yacine Brahimi

    Both teams remain undefeated, but the two have combined for five draws in 10 league matches this season. More of the same, then?

    Jerrad Peters: Sporting 2-1 Porto

    First goalscorer: Islam Slimani

    Both Sporting and Porto are unbeaten so far this season, although neither side has been particularly convincing in the early days of the campaign. Porto followed up their 6-0 shellacking of BATE Borisov in the Champions League with a 0-0 draw at home to Boavista and will once again struggle for offense against Sporting.

    Alex Dimond: Sporting 1-1 Porto

    First goalscorer: Jackson Martinez

    Porto have started the season the better, but home advantage should help Sporting get something from the game.

Liverpool vs. Everton

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Alex Livie: Liverpool 2-1 Everton

    First goalscorer: Mario Balotelli

    Local derbies are never easy to predict, but Liverpool are under a bit of pressure, and I expect them to respond.

    Karl Matchett: Liverpool 3-2 Everton

    First goalscorer: Raheem Sterling

    Given the state of these two defences so far this season, the six and four goals of last season’s derbies could be repeated or exceeded with ease. Liverpool to edge it.

    Will Tidey: Liverpool 2-0 Everton

    First goalscorer: Raheem Sterling

    Liverpool have struggled to fire this season, and I'm not sure they'll set this game alight either. That said, superior quality in the final third will be telling.

    Michael Cummings: Liverpool 4-3 Everton

    First goalscorer: Steven Naismith

    Nothing would surprise me in this fixture, except for a lack of goals. The only question seems to be: Who will score last?

    Jerrad Peters: Liverpool 3-2 Everton

    First goalscorer: Romelu Lukaku

    Everton have failed to score on their last two trips to Anfield, but they’ll make a game of it on Saturday as they look to leapfrog their local rivals in the Premier League standings.

    Alex Dimond: Liverpool 3-2 Everton

    First goalscorer: Steven Gerrard

    Neither side have defended brilliantly in recent weeks, and Merseyside derbies are usually thrilling affairs anyway. Liverpool to edge it as Gerrard hits back at some recent critics.

Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    Alex Livie: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

    First goalscorer: Aaron Ramsey

    Another tight contest in store, but I expect the Gunners to secure north London bragging rights.

    Karl Matchett: Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham

    First goalscorer: Danny Welbeck

    All we hope for from this game every year is controversy, loads of goals and a comeback victory for one team or the other. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

    Will Tidey: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

    First goalscorer: Danny Welbeck

    The Gunners like a run during this period of the season, and I think they'll pick up where they left off to win this one against Spurs.

    Michael Cummings: Arsenal 3-2 Tottenham

    First goalscorer: Danny Welbeck

    Arsenal went out of the League Cup midweek, but will that really be a disappointment for Arsene Wenger's side? Expect goals from both sides, with Arsenal's attackers just edging a tight contest.

    Jerrad Peters: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham

    First goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez

    Spurs haven’t found the back of the net against Arsenal since March 2013 and haven’t scored at Emirates Stadium since November 2012. Mauricio Pochettino’s men are in a difficult moment, and in that regard this derby couldn’t really come at a worse time for Tottenham.

    Alex Dimond: Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham

    First goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez

    Likely to be the same old story, as Arsenal rise to the derby occasion in front of their home fans and Spurs wilt slightly as they still get to grips with their manager's tactics.

Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Alex Livie: Schalke 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Julian Draxler

    Schalke have made a poor start to the season, so a point at home to Dortmund will be a welcome result.

    Karl Matchett: Schalke 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Ciro Immobile

    The big rival match in the Bundesliga. It should be a spectacle, but S04 haven’t started the season in great form, and BVB, although not perfect themselves, will hope to take advantage of that.

    Will Tidey: Schalke 1-3 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    Dortmund will have too much for Schalke, who have had a miserable start to the Bundesliga season.

    Michael Cummings: Schalke 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    It's been an up-and-down start to the season for Dortmund, who have already lost twice in the league. But Schalke have been perhaps just as unpredictable, winning just once in five fixtures so far.

    Jerrad Peters: Schalke 2-2 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

    Of all the derbies this weekend, this one could well end up being the most intense. Schalke just won their first Bundesliga match this season, and Dortmund are a modest eighth in the standings and coming off a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart. Both sides have won two of their last five matches against the other.

    Alex Dimond: Schalke 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Ciro Immobile

    Schalke's erratic start has been worse than Dortmund's, and perhaps Jurgen Klopp's side will find a way to eke this one out.

Villarreal vs. Real Madrid

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    Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

    Alex Livie: Villarreal 0-3 Real Madrid

    First goalscorer: Gareth Bale

    The Madrid attacking juggernaut will roll on, with Gareth Bale setting them on their way to three points.

    Karl Matchett: Villarreal 3-2 Real Madrid

    First goalscorer: Denis Cheryshev

    Both teams prefer to attack than defend here, so we should see an open, flowing match with plenty of chances. The team that can be the most efficient in taking their chances will take the points.

    Will Tidey: Villarreal 1-4 Real Madrid

    First goalscorer: Cristiano Ronaldo

    Another Galatico fest in the offing here. The biggest question is who'll score first for Madrid.

    Michael Cummings: Villarreal 2-4 Real Madrid

    First goalscorer: Cristiano Ronaldo

    Cristiano Ronaldo can't stop scoring. But Real Madrid can't stop conceding, either.

    Jerrad Peters: Villarreal 1-4 Real Madrid

    First goalscorer: Karim Benzema

    El Madrigal has typically been a difficult ground for Real Madrid, who have drawn in each of their last two matches against tenants Villarreal. But Los Blancos look irresistible at the moment and should win comfortably on Saturday, despite the fact that the Yellow Submarine have a defensive record in the top five of La Liga.

    Alex Dimond: Villarreal 1-3 Real Madrid

    First goalscorer: Cristiano Ronaldo

    Real Madrid look to have turned a corner in the last week or so, and you would imagine Villarreal will be the latest to suffer at those hands.

Latest Standings

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    B/R Experts' Table
     Week's TotalTotal
    Karl Matchett 348
    Mike Cummings646
    Alex Dimond 439
    Sam Tighe 639
    Jerrad Peters236
    Alex Livie 431
    Will Tidey 228

    B/R

    Correct result: 1 point

    Correct first goalscorer: 2 points

    Correct scoreline: 3 points

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