Four key matches this weekend: Sarri battles Guardiola, Espanyol welcome Barca

Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard celebrates Chelsea's goals
Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard celebrates Chelsea's goals in a recent match
Chelsea v Man. City @Stamford Bridge @6:30pm on Dec.8

Maurizio Sarri was, until November 24, on a Chelsea honeymoon; but two defeats in their last two away matches have brought the 59-year-old Italian tactician back to earth.

One thing that is certain when he chooses his starting 11 against Pep Guardiola’s swashbuckling Citizens on Saturday is that it will be his best possible starting pack.

Sarri has shown his teams can play attractive football but against Guardiola’s unrelenting attacking machine, he must show how tactical he can be to cage the beast.

If he is as freewheeling as he has been in their last two defeats then it is almost a surety that a third league defeat is on the cards. City will be without Sergio Aguero, who has a habit of scoring at Stamford Bridge,  as well as Benjamin Mendy, and Kevin De Bruyne.

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

Head to head

Sun     05/08/18       COS   Chelsea        0 – 2   Man. City

Sun     04/03/18       PRL     Man. City      1 – 0   Chelsea


SGF Campaign AD

Sat     30/09/17       PRL     Chelsea        0 – 1   Man. City

Wed  05/04/17       PRL     Chelsea        2 – 1   Man. City

Sat     03/12/16       PRL     Man. City      1 – 3   Chelsea

Prediction: Chelsea 1-3 Man. City

Espanyol v Barcelona @RCDE Stadium @8:45pm on Dec.8

The Catalan derby cannot be juicier than what is expected on Saturday. The poorer Catalan, Espanyol, are having a good season by all standards – just seven points behind the leaders Barcelona – just the elixir to push for a home win and trim that difference to four. Ernesto Valverde has his preferred front three of Lionel Messi, Phillipe Coutinho, and Luis Suarez fit but Samuel Umtiti, Sergi Roberto, and Malcom will not be available. For Rubi, Borja Iglesias will be key having already scored eight league goals and his defence, which has conceded 16 goals in 17 league games must be tighter against the defending champions.

Current Form: Espanyol [W-L-L-L-W]; Barcelona [W-W-W-D-L]

Head to head

Wed  07/03/18       SDC    Barcelona    0 – 0    Espanyol

Sun     04/02/18       LAL     Espanyol       1 – 1   Barcelona

Thu      25/01/18       CDR    Barcelona    2 – 0   Espanyol

Wed  17/01/18       CDR    Espanyol       1 – 0   Barcelona

Sat     09/09/17       LAL     Barcelona    5 – 0   Espanyol

Prediction: Espanyol 1-3 Barcelona

Juventus v Inter Milan @Juventus Stadium @8:30pm on Dec.7

The whole of Serie A is definitely praying for an Inter win because another Juve win could turn the league into a mere procession for the seven-time consecutive champions.  Former AC Milan manager, Arrigo Sacchi, believes the Italian league is one that is not about tactics but about which team has the best set of players and currently that is Juventus by a mile.

Inter have had a patchy time in their last five games, picking up just one win while the defending champions are marching on relentlessly, having surrendered just two points all season in 14 matches. What can Inter do to stop the juggernaut? Play out of their skin which means Mauro Icardi must score every given scoring chance.

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

Head to head

Sat     28/04/18       SEA     Inter Milan   2 – 3   Juventus

Sat     09/12/17       SEA     Juventus      0 – 0   Inter Milan

Sun     05/02/17       SEA     Juventus      1 – 0   Inter Milan

Sun     18/09/16       SEA     Inter Milan   2 – 1   Juventus

Wed  02/03/16       COI     Inter Milan   3 – 0    Juventus

Prediction: Juventus 2-1 Inter Milan

Schalke 04 v Dortmund @VELTINS-Arena @3:30pm on Dec.8

Borussia Dortmund are desperate for a win in the Revierderby as they boast no wins in seven against Schalke in the last seven confrontations. So despite an unbeaten start to the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, an away match against Schalke is one that brings goose pimples. Mario Götze told that they have a few things to put right on Saturday. “It is a very special game regardless of the current situation or the position in the table of either team. It’s a big game regardless of all outside influences. It is especially important away from home because we did not put on a good performance last time and so we have a few things to put right.” Dortmund will hope to extend their seven-point lead atop the table while Schalke need some confidence boost.

Current Form: Schalke [D-L-W-L-L]; Dortmund [W-D-W-W-W]

Head to head

Sun     15/04/18       BUN    Schalke 04   2 – 0   Dortmund

Sat     25/11/17       BUN    Dortmund    4 – 4   Schalke

Sat     01/04/17       BUN    Schalke        1 – 1   Dortmund

Sat     29/10/16       BUN    Dortmund    0 – 0   Schalke

Sun     10/04/16       BUN    Schalke        2 – 2   Dortmund

Prediction: Schalke 1-3 Dortmund

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.