Four matches to watch this weekend

Arsenal celebrates in their win against Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal celebrates in their win against Tottenham Hotspur (Photo Credit: SkySports)

Real Madrid v Barcelona @Santiago Bernabeu @1pm on Dec 23

The last defeat Barcelona suffered was handed out by Real four months ago and now Zinedine Zidane must plot another victory for Los Blancos to stay in La Liga race.

There is an 11-point gap between them at the moment though Real have a game in hand so cannot afford a draw, not to talk of a loss, which would be the Catalan plan. There are doubts about the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo though Gareth Bale is back in the squad and helped Zidane’s men snag the Club World Cup last weekend.

The match kicks off at 1pm for the first time in a long while because of the Asian market as La Liga tries to wrestle some fans off the English Premier League.

Current Form:
Real Madrid [W-W-W-W-D]; Barcelona [W-W-W-D-W]

Head to head

Wed 16/08/17 SUC Real Madrid 2 – 0 Barcelona
Sun 13/08/17 SUC Barcelona 1 – 3 Real Madrid
Sun 30/07/17 ICC Real Madrid 2 – 3 Barcelona
Sun 23/04/17 LAL Real Madrid 2 – 3 Barcelona
Sat 03/12/16 LAL Barcelona 1 – 1 Real Madrid

Prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona

Arsenal v Liverpool @Emirates @8:45pm on Dec 22

Arsenal have not beaten Liverpool in their last five encounters and have conceded 14 goals against the Reds in those five matches.

The last match was a 4-0 whitewash at Anfield and Wenger would be seeking some sort of revenge on Friday.

The Gunners cannot afford to lose as that would mean their race for top four is already in jeopardy not to talk about any title race. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have scored at least three goals in each of their four EPL matches against the Gunners – a stat Wenger will be keen to overturn.

There are doubts on the fitness of Olivier Giroud while Wenger must choose his formation carefully. Perhaps he will pay three central defenders to confront the searing pace of the Liverpool forwards.

Current Form: Arsenal [W-D-D-W-L]; Liverpool [W-D-D-W-W]

Head to head

Sun 27/08/17 PRL Liverpool 4 – 0 Arsenal
Sat 04/03/17 PRL Liverpool 3 – 1 Arsenal
Sun 14/08/16 PRL Arsenal 3 – 4 Liverpool
Wed 13/01/16 PRL Liverpool 3 – 3 Arsenal
Mon 24/08/15 PRL Arsenal 0 – 0 Liverpool

Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Liverpool

Juventus v Roma @Allianz Stadium @8:45pm on Dec 23

Juventus have played Napoli and Inter Milan in two of their last three league matches and will welcome Roma on Saturday, needing a victory.

Roma themselves are not too far off the top of the table and are in good form despite the 2-1 loss to Torino in the Coppa Italia. Matches between these two have been very tight of recent – one draw and three one-goal wins in their last five and this shouldn’t be any different. It will be a battle between the top scorers – Juventus and the best defence – Roma.

Gigi Buffon, Mario Mandzukic, and Juan Cuadrado are big doubts for the encounter but Paulo Dybala is back scoring after a one-month hiatus while for Roma, Eusebio Di Francesco needs to get runners in and around Edin Dzeko to stand a chance of nicking anything on Saturday.

Current Form: Juventus [W-W-D-W-W]; Roma [L-W-D-W-W]

Head to head

Sun 30/07/17 ICC Roma 1 – 1 Juventus
Sun 14/05/17 SEA Roma 3 – 1 Juventus
Sat 17/12/16 SEA Juventus 1 – 0 Roma
Sun 24/01/16 SEA Juventus 1 – 0 Roma
Sun 30/08/15 SEA Roma 2 – 1 Juventus

Prediction: Juventus 3-1 Roma

Leicester City v Man. United @King Power @8:45pm on Dec 23

This is a match Jose Mourinho cannot afford to lose as the vultures keep gathering at pace on his doorsteps.

After the 2-1 loss to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup, United need to have their A-game at the King Power to stifle the hit and run style of the Foxes.

Leicester lost on penalties to Manchester City in the Cup and will be looking to bounce back. Both teams have two losses in their last five though Mourinho would be quietly confident because United have lost just once in their last 12 visits to Leicester’s home.

Current Form: Leicester [L-L-W-W-W]; Man. United [L-W-W-L-W]

Head to head

Sat 26/08/17 PRL Man. Utd 2 – 0 Leicester
Sun 05/02/17 PRL Leicester 0 – 3 Man. United
Sat 24/09/16 PRL Man. Utd 4 – 1 Leicester City
Sun 07/08/16 COS Leicester 1 – 2 Man. United
Sun 01/05/16 PRL Man. Utd 1 – 1 Leicester

Prediction: Leicester 1-2 Man. Utd

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