It is the FA Cup Third round weekend in England but there are still tasty and testy matches to follow. Nigerian hotshot, Odion Ighalo, will hope to start another scoring run against Newcastle and in Madrid, Los Blancos legend, Zinedine Zidane, will lead out Real Madrid for the first time as manager against Deportivo La Coruna.
Watford vs. Newcastle @Vicarage Road @16:00 on Jan. 9
This match is all about getting back to winning ways for Watford, who have lost their last two matches [narrowly] and Newcastle, who really need confidence-building victories. Watford will be looking to their Nigerian forward, Odion Ighalo, who has already scored twice against Newcastle this season and his strike partner, Troy Deeney, to do the business while Newcastle manager, Steve McLaren, will be hoping that his strikers will not forget their shooting boots in the dressing room. In the EPL, Watford are flying high in ninth place while Newcastle are staring relegation in the face with a lowly 18th placing.
Form Guide: Watford [L L D W W]; Newcastle [L L L D W]
Head to head
19/09/15 PRL Newcastle 1 – 2 Watford
27/02/10 CHA Watford 1 – 2 Newcastle
05/12/09 CHA Newcastle 2 – 0 Watford
13/05/07 PRL Watford 1 – 1 Newcastle
16/12/06 PRL Newcastle 2 – 1 Watford
Prediction: Watford 2-1 Newcastle
Zinedine Zidane begins his full time in management at the Santiago Bernebeu on Saturday, when he will lead Real Madrid against Deportivo La Coruna and he has succinctly told his superstars that, “you can’t have two or three players who don’t defend” even though he added that Cristiano Ronaldo is the ‘soul’ ofLos Blancos. In Deportivo, they will be meeting a gritty side, who have only lost one away game all season, while winning three and drawing five.
Real are four points from the summit of the table and the sacking of Rafael Benitez shows a side that will not reason with any other position but the top. This promises to be an edgy and cagey affair and if there are no goals in the first half, the tension and occasion may just get to all the Madrid players.
Form Guide: Real Madrid [D W W L W]; Deportivo [D L D W D]
Head to head
14/02/15 PRD Real Madrid 2 – 0 Deportivo
20/09/14 PRD Deportivo 2 – 8 Real Madrid
29/08/13 CLF Deportivo 0 – 4 Real Madrid
23/02/13 PRD Deportivo 1 – 2 Real Madrid
30/09/12 PRD Real Madrid 5 – 1 Deportivo
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-0 Deportivo
Rudi Garcia and Sinisa Mihajlovic, two coaches under immense pressure from their board and fans, though Garcia seems to be one loss or draw away from the sack according to SportItalia. Roma have won just one of their last nine matches, with Wednesday’s 3-3 draw Chievo eliciting more howls from the fans.
Meanwhile, Mihajlovic is also not enjoying his stint at San Siro, after his team contrived to lose 1-0 to Bologna last Wednesday.
Despite the run of results, Roma are fifth on the table with 33 points, six shy of Inter, who sit in first place but will be without Edin Dzeko, who is suspended while Milan are in seventh, 11 points behind the leaders and they could field the returning Kevin-Prince Boating.
Form Guide: Roma [D W L D D]; Milan [L W W D D]
Head to head
09/05/15 SEA Milan 2 – 1 Roma
20/12/14 SEA Roma 0 – 0 Milan
25/04/14 SEA Roma 2 – 0 Milan
16/12/13 SEA Milan 2 – 2 Roma
12/05/13 SEA Milan 0 – 0 Roma
Prediction: Roma 3-1 Milan
Though both sides will be without some key players, the FA Cup might still be the realistic target for a good season, which could become more memorable if the oldest football trophy was to be added at the end of the season. And these sides will meet again in three days’ time in the EPL so this tie could be a marker for the winner. Leicester have gone cold in their last three matches, scoring just once, in which they have drawn two and lost one. They need to get the spark back in their game Spurs are clicking into gear at the right time with three wins and a draw [away at Everton] in their last four matches.
One thing that will not change in the two matches is Leicester manager, Claudio Ranieri who says he will retain the status quo. “Why do I have to change? Everything is going well, so no, no. It’s an exciting moment and our fans are dreaming, so it’s okay.” But will the Foxes be caught in the glare at White Hart Lane?
Form Guide: Tottenham [D W W W L]; Leicester [D D L W W]
Head to head
22/08/15 PRL Leicester 1 – 1 Tottenham
21/03/15 PRL Tottenham 4 – 3 Leicester
24/01/15 FAC Tottenham 1 – 2 Leicester
26/12/14 PRL Leicester 1 – 2 Tottenham
08/01/06 FAC Leicester 3 – 2 Tottenham
Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Leicester