Four matches to watch: Plateau need good result against USM, Mourinho plots escape from Etihad

Plateau United training at Agege Stadium by Jide Alaka

Plateau United v USM Alger @Agege Stadium @4pm on April 7

Plateau United are not in very good form at the moment but so are their opponents, USM Alger, as both teams seek a place in the CAF Confederations Cup group stage. Playing away from Jos could throw them off but the Algerians were seemingly discomforted when they trained at the Agege Stadium pitch on Friday. At their last training on Friday, Kennedy Boboye’s team concentrated on breaking through midfield lines using the flanks and the cutbacks that should lead to goals.

Current Form: Plateau [W-L-L-W-L]; USM [L-D-W-D-W]

Head to head

Never met before.

Prediction: Plateau United 2-0 USM Alger

Man. City v Man. United @Etihad Stadium @5:30pm on April 7

You can be sure that Jose Mourinho would not want Manchester United to become the team Pep Guardiola avenges City’s 3-0 loss to Liverpool on. If that means packing three double-decker buses at the Etihad on Saturday – so be it! Guardiola ramped up the pressure on United when he revealed that Mino Raiola, Paul Pogba’s agent had offered the player and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to City during the January transfer window. This bombshell should add some notches to the already escalating tension between him and Mourinho. Will Guardiola rest some of his major players with an eye on next Tuesday’s Champions League return leg against Liverpool or will he go all out to secure the league title?

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

Head to head

Sun 10/12/17 PRL Man. United 1 – 2 Man. City

Fri 21/07/17 ICC Man. United 2 – 0 Man. City

Thu 27/04/17 PRL Man. City 0 – 0 Man. United

Wed 26/10/16 LEC Man. United 1 – 0 Man. City

Sat 10/09/16 PRL Man. United 1 – 2 Man. City

Prediction: Man. City 0-0 Man. United

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid @Santiago Bernabeu @3:15pm on April 8

Another derby that still has ramifications even though the best both teams can get is second place. Zinedine Zidane’s team is in good form – Cristiano Ronaldo is in good scoring form while Isco seems to have found his feet again. Diego Simeone has always proved a hard nut to crack for their neighbours in the league but playing on Thursday in the Europa League might cause some fatigue. Simeone, however, says that must not be the case. “I believe it is logical that after a game of this nature that the players become tired and fatigued because of their great effort but we cannot use that as an excuse for Sunday.”

Meanwhile, Zidane called up academy players Oscar and Dario, which could mean a rest for the first team players.

Current Form: Real Madrid [W-W-W-W-W]; Atletico [W-W-L-W-W]

Head to head

Sat 18/11/17 LAL Atletico Madrid 0 – 0 Real Madrid

Wed 10/05/17 UCL Atletico Madrid 2 – 1 Real Madrid

Tue 02/05/17 UCL Real Madrid 3 – 0 Atletico Madrid

Sat 08/04/17 LAL Real Madrid 1 – 1 Atletico Madrid

Sat 19/11/16 LAL Atletico Madrid 0 – 3 Real Madrid

Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Atletico

Gent v Club Brugge @GHELAMCO-arena @5pm on April 8

The Belgian league is an interesting one because it has two phases. Club Brugge won the first phase but they could lose the title in the second phase that just commenced. Gent have three Nigerians on their roster – Moses Simon, Samuel Kalu, and Anderson Esiti. Simon won the Belgium league two seasons ago while the duo of Kalu and Esiti are chasing a first triumph. This match has traditionally been the home side’s sure win but Brugge will want to maintain the gap they have over the other five teams.

Current Form: Gent [W-W-L-W-D]; Club Brugge [W-W-W-D-D]

Head to head

Sun 28/01/18 FDA Gent 2 – 0 Club Brugge

Sun 01/10/17 FDA Club Brugge 2 – 1 Gent

Sun 21/05/17 FDA Club Brugge 2 – 1 Gent

Sun 02/04/17 FDA Gent 2 – 1 Club Brugge

Sun 29/01/17 FDA Gent 2 – 0 Club Brugge

Prediction: Gent 2-0 Club Brugge

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