Four matches to watch this weekend

Liverpool beat Everton to boost top-4 chances [Photo: theguardian.com]

Liverpool v Everton @Anfield @8:55pm on Jan 5

The pick of matches in the third round of the FA Cup is the Merseyside derby going down on Friday at Anfield. Just 25 days ago, Sam Allardyce waltzed into Anfield and despite just 23% of ball possession picked a share of the points through Wayne Rooney’s penalty. Since then Everton have wobbled and lost two matches consecutively while Liverpool have waxed stronger with goals from the fabulous four of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino. Will this game follow the same course of the one in early December or will Liverpool get an early goal to ensure Everton don’t camp on the edge of their box for 90 minutes? Tune in on Friday starting at 9pm.

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

Head to head

Sun    10/12/17      PRL    Liverpool     1 – 1   Everton

Sat    01/04/17      PRL    Liverpool     3 – 1   Everton

Mon    19/12/16      PRL    Everton       0 – 1   Liverpool

Wed   20/04/16     PRL    Liverpool     4 – 0  Everton

Sun    04/10/15      PRL    Everton       1 – 1   Liverpool

Prediction: Liverpool 4-1 Everton

 

Fiorentina v Inter Milan @Stadio Artemio Franchi @8:45pm on Jan 5

Both teams are in dire form and need the three points though Luciano Spaletti’s team needs it more to stay in touch with Napoli and Juventus. This match would also see the emotional return of Borja Valero, who played for five seasons at the Franchi.

Miranda and Danilo D’Ambrosio will miss the encounter for Inter with Andrea Ranocchia continuing in the centre of the defence. Fiorentina are undefeated in 26 of their last 29 Serie A matches at home and have scored 15 goals in their nine home matches this season. Inter have scored 13 and conceded six goals in their nine away matches, losing just once. It promises to be a cagey affair.

Current Form: Fiorentina [D-L-W-D-W]; Inter Milan [D-L-L-L-W]

Head to head

Sun    20/08/17     SEA   Inter Milan  3 – 0  Fiorentina

Sat    22/04/17     SEA   Fiorentina    5 – 4  Inter Milan

Mon    28/11/16      SEA   Inter Milan  4 – 2  Fiorentina

Sun    14/02/16      SEA   Fiorentina    2 – 1   Inter Milan

Sun    27/09/15     SEA   Inter Milan  1 – 4   Fiorentina

Prediction: Fiorentina 1-2 Inter Milan

 

Celta Vigo v Real Madrid @Estadio de Balaídos @8:45pm on Jan 7

It never rains but pours for Real Madrid. Are they in a crisis of confidence? Will Zinedine Zidane be sacked? All these are unclear but the sure thing is Celta are a very tricky two-faced team. They can be very good and then be very poor and in Iago Aspas, they have a goal poacher, who understands goal scoring. The duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema; especially Benzema must start scoring more frequently to help the fans forget the 3-0 pounding the got in the Christmas El Clasico. But this is a very tricky tie!

Current Form: Celta Vigo [W-L-L-D-W]; Real Madrid [L-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

Wed   17/05/17      LAL    Celta Vigo    1 – 4   Real Madrid

Wed   25/01/17      CDR   Celta Vigo    2 – 2  Real Madrid

Wed   18/01/17      CDR   Real Madrid  1 – 2   Celta Vigo

Sat    27/08/16     LAL    Real Madrid  2 – 1   Celta Vigo

Sat    05/03/16     LAL    Real Madrid  7 – 1   Celta Vigo

Prediction: Celta Vigo 2-3 Real Madrid

 

Man. City v Burnley @Etihad Stadium @4pm on Jan 6

With no wins in their last five matches, would Burnley lay down at the Etihad and be sacrificed in this FA Cup third round matchup with all-conquering Manchester City? Knowing Sean Dyche’s DNA, this would be no. For City, it is expected that Pep Guardiola would rest the cream of his team, which means Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, and maybe Ederson. Fernandinho should also be given a rest. But because of Gabriel Jesus’ injury, Guardiola could deploy Raheem Sterling down the middle while Ilkay Gundogan and Yaya Toure support through the middle.

Current Form: Man. City [W-D-W-W-W]; Burnley [L-D-D-L-D]

Head to head

Sat    21/10/17      PRL    Man. City     3 – 0  Burnley

Mon    02/01/17      PRL    Man. City     2 – 1   Burnley

Sat    26/11/16      PRL    Burnley        1 – 2   Man. City

Sat    14/03/15      PRL    Burnley        1 – 0   Man. City

Sun    28/12/14      PRL    Man. City     2 – 2  Burnley

Prediction: Man. City 2-1 Burnley


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