The new year will start with the EPL and La Liga in full swing to finish on time for the European Championship in June and already there are exciting matches to watch. Do not miss City’s visit to Watford and the Catalonia derby between Espanyol and Barcelona to kick off 2016.
Watford v Man. City @Vicarage Road @18:30 on Jan.2
Manuel Pellegrini has to find a way for his team to win away from home, but against a resilient Watford side, City have to be at their physical best to get all three points. Quique Sánchez Flores has done a sterling job with the newly promoted side and with their Nigerian hitman, Odion Ighalo, they have defied all expectations. City, on the other hand are expected to be challenging for the title but have fallen short on their travels, a period that has coincided with the injury to Sergio Aguero. This will be practicality against flair and it should be exciting to watch.
Form Guide – Watford [W W W D L] | Man. City [W W L W D]
Head to head
29/08/15 PRL Man. City 2 – 0 Watford
25/01/14 FAC Man. City 4 – 2 Watford
05/01/13 FAC Man. City 3 – 0 Watford
21/04/07 PRL Watford 1 – 1 Man. City
04/12/06 PRL Man. City 0 – 0 Watford
Prediction: Watford 2-2 Man.City
Espanyol v Barcelona @Cornella de Llobregat @16:00 on Jan.2
Local derbies are always hard to call but with Barcelona in the picture, calling this match has been made easier. With Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, firing on all cylinders – the question has become how many goals the trio will get in every match. The last time Espanyol got a win over their neighbours was in 2011 and in the 10 matches that have followed that rare win, Barcelona have scored 21 times while conceding just thrice.
Form Guide – Espanyol [D L W W L] | Barcelona [D D W W W]
Head to head
25/04/15 PRD Espanyol 0 – 2 Barcelona
07/12/14 PRD Barcelona 5 – 1 Espanyol
21/05/14 COC Barcelona 0 – 0 Espanyol
29/03/14 PRD Espanyol 0 – 1 Barcelona
01/11/13 PRD Barcelona 1 – 0 Espanyol
Prediction: Espanyol 1-3 Barcelona
Crystal Palace v Chelsea @Selhurst Park @14:30 on Jan.3
Palace are in 5th position while the defending EPL champions, Chelsea are in 14th, in what is already a crazy season that has seen the demise of Jose Mourinho, six months after he won the EPL title. Palace have already beaten Chelsea this season and two games into Guus Hiddink’s second tenure, he is yet to taste a win. Can Chelsea manage three points at Selhurst Park on Sunday? It is also a London derby but keep your eyes on this one because a loss for the Blues and the fans would really be on the backs of the players – who have not been forgiven for sacking Mourinho.
Form Guide – Crystal Palace [D W W D D] | Chelsea [W L W D D]
Head to head
29/08/15 PRL Chelsea 1 – 2 Palace
03/05/15 PRL Chelsea 1 – 0 Palace
18/10/14 PRL Palace 1 – 2 Chelsea
29/03/14 PRL Palace 1 – 0 Chelsea
14/12/13 PRL Chelsea 2 – 1 Palace
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea
Valencia v Real Madrid @Estadio de Mestalla @20:30 on Jan. 3
Rafael Benitez is under serious pressure and any dropped points will add to the pressure that the fans are putting on him and Florentino Perez and his opponent on Sunday. Gary Neville needs a big scalp to kick off his managerial time in Valencia. So, two teams under tremendous pressure for all three points will either mean an all-out attacking onslaught from both sides or a very cautious affair where both teams will be happy with one point. Whichever way it pans out; it will be an exciting watch!
Form Guide – Valencia [L D W D L] | Real Madrid [W W L W W]
Head to head
09/05/15 PRD Real Madrid 2 – 2 Valencia
04/01/15 PRD Valencia 2 – 1 Real Madrid
04/05/14 PRD Real Madrid 2 – 2 Valencia
22/12/13 PRD Valencia 2 – 3 Real Madrid
23/01/13 CDR Valencia 1 – 1 Real Madrid