Four matches to watch this weekend

Manchester United Team. [Photo credit: theinsider.ug]

Man. Utd v Southampton @Old Trafford @6:30pm on Dec 30

What excuse would it be this time if Jose Mourinho’s United does not get a good result at Old Trafford? Two points from six is not the stuff of champions and Southampton should offer canon fodder to bounce back.

Mourinho cannot afford to pair Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku together ever again while one of his defenders must become the leader in the absence of the injured Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling.

Mauricio Pelligrino needs to find capable replacements for the missing trio: Charlie Austin, Cedric Soares, and Ryan Bertrand, if not then it could mean a pasting at the Theatre of Dreams!

Current Form: Man. Utd [D-D-L-W-W]; Southampton [L-D-L-L-D]

Head to head

23/09/17 PRL Southampton 0 – 1 Man. Utd
17/05/17 PRL Southampton 0 – 0 Man. Utd
26/02/17 LEC Man. Utd 3 – 2 Southampton
19/08/16 PRL Man. Utd 2 – 0 Southampton
23/01/16 PRL Man. Utd 0 – 1 Southampton

Prediction: Man. Utd 4-1 Southampton

Inter v Lazio @San Siro @6pm on Dec 30

After three consecutive losses – having not lost since the start of the season, Inter need a good result against Lazio on Saturday to keep in touch with Napoli and Juventus. Luciano Spalletti has to find a formula to manage the absences of Miranda and Danilo D’Ambrosio, two of his most reliable defenders.

This Lazio team is free-scoring – 13 goals in their last five matches, which has seen three wins, one draw, and a loss. Ciro Immobile is very mobile and will test Andrea Ranocchia, who is expected to partner Milan Skriniar. Mario Icardi has not scored since the 3-1 loss to Udinese – Spalletti needs him back firing on all cylinders.

Current Form: Inter [L-L-L-W-D]; Lazio [W-W-D-W-L]

Head to head

21/05/17 SEA Lazio 1 – 3 Inter
31/01/17 COI Inter 1 – 2 Lazio
21/12/16 SEA Inter 3 – 0 Lazio
01/05/16 SEA Lazio 2 – 0 Inter
20/12/15 SEA Inter 1 – 2 Lazio

Prediction: Inter 1-1 Lazio

Liverpool v Leicester City @Anfield @4pm on Dec 30

The honeymoon is over for Clause Puel at Leicester but it will be desperate to imply that the hemorrhage will stop at Anfield. For Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp must be buoyed by the £75 million acquisition of Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton, even though his suspect defense will have to pay attention against the speed of the Jaime Vardy-led Leicester attack.

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

Head to head

23/09/17 PRL Leicester 2 – 3 Liverpool
19/09/17 LEC Leicester 2 – 0 Liverpool
22/07/17 PLA Liverpool 2 – 1 Leicester
27/02/17 PRL Leicester 3 – 1 Liverpool
10/09/16 PRL Liverpool 4 – 1 Leicester

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Leicester

Crystal Palace v Man. City @Selhurst Park @1pm on Dec 31

In their last five confrontations, the Eagles have conceded 19 goals against the Citizens and scored just once! Very embarrassing but it could get more embarrassing on Sunday. Pep Guardiola is seeking to lead this City side to 19 consecutive wins which he achieved in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich even though more EPL sides have resorted to packing double-decker buses in their defensive positions. Will Wilfred Zaha prove to be a thorn in Kyle Walker’s flesh? Or would he have to feed on crumbs? The latter seems to be the logical answer but we will see o Sunday.

Current Form: Crystal Palace [D-W-W-D-D]; Man. City [W-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

23/09/17 PRL Manchester City 5 – 0 Crystal Palace
06/05/17 PRL Manchester City 5 – 0 Crystal Palace
28/01/17 FAC Crystal Palace 0 – 3 Manchester City
19/11/16 PRL Crystal Palace 1 – 2 Manchester City
16/01/16 PRL Manchester City 4 – 0 Crystal Palace

Prediction: Palace 0-3 Man. City


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