Four matches to watch this weekend

Bayern vs Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League
Bayern vs Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League

Man. City v Chelsea @Wembley Stadium @4:30pm on Feb.24

In the first final of the season, City hold all the aces as they confront Chelsea, who they beat 6-0 just 13 days previous. There is an interesting deduction from the five previous clashes between these two sides – whichever one scores first have won and not conceded a goal to the other. So with Maurizio Sarri under increasing pressure to reverse the downward spiral by the team while Pep Guardiola is chasing a quadruple of trophies.

The Italian manager is said to be in talks already with AS Roma about a likely return to Serie A next season. “It’s very easy,” Sarri told his club’s website. “We need to win three or four matches in a row. It’s the only solution. I can understand very well the frustration of our fans. They are used to winning, and now we are in trouble. There isn’t another way. We only have to have good performances and good results.”

Guardiola’s team does not need any motivation after coming from a goal down and with 10 men to beat Schalke 3-2 last Wednesday.

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

Sun 10/02/19 PRL Man. City 6 – 0 Chelsea

Sat 08/12/18 PRL Chelsea 2 – 0 Man. City

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

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

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

Prediction: Man. City 3-1 Chelsea

Man. Utd v Liverpool @Old Trafford @3:05pm on Feb.24

Can Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s ever-improving United beat Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team, who seem to have a famous goal of winning the English Premier League title for the first time in 25 years? Virgil van Dijk returns after sitting out Liverpool’s barren draw at home to Bayern, with his extra assurance needed in the rarefied atmosphere at Old Trafford.

Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are said to be back in training and one of them could make the 18-man matchday squad on Sunday. Liverpool’s speed of attack has slowed in the last weeks while United have got good results without playing really well. Paul Pogba is again leading the charge and his duel against Giorginio Wijnaldum will be of particular interest.

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

Sun 16/12/18 PRL Liverpool 3 – 1 Man. Utd

Sat 28/07/18 ICC Man. Utd 1 – 4 Liverpool

Sat 10/03/18 PRL Man. Utd 2 – 1 Liverpool

Sat 14/10/17 PRL Liverpool 0 – 0 Man. Utd

Sun 15/01/17 PRL Man. Utd 1 – 1 Liverpool

Prediction: Man. Utd 1-2 Liverpool

Sevilla v Barcelona @Sanchez Pizjuan @4:15pm on Feb.23

Sevilla’s form has been downhill in the last three weeks with two losses out of their last five matches though Barcelona’s form has not been superlative either but Lionel Messi continues to deliver with crucial goals and victories.

Ernesto Valverde would not want a repeat of the 2-0 loss last month in the Copa, though Barca overturned the deficit in the second leg. Pablo Machin’s team can be relentless with his best 11 players and will cause Barcelona some challenges on Saturday. With a seven-point lead over Atletico, Valverde will need his captain and playmaker to come to the party once again.

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

Sun 16/12/18 PRL Liverpool 3 – 1 Man. Utd

Sat 28/07/18 ICC Man. Utd 1 – 4 Liverpool

Sat 10/03/18 PRL Man. Utd 2 – 1 Liverpool

Sat 14/10/17 PRL Liverpool 0 – 0 Man. Utd

Sun 15/01/17 PRL Man. Utd 1 – 1 Liverpool

Prediction: Sevilla 1-2 Barcelona

Dortmund v Leverkusen @Signal-Iduna-Park @6pm on Feb.24

It is squeaky bum time for Lucien Favre and his team as Bayern Munich are just three points askance and sniffing the opportunity to overhaul the league leaders.

Though Dortmund will be confident of a victory, having not lost to Leverkusen since October 2016 but injuries to Marco Reus, Manuel Akanji, and Christian Pulisic have left Favre a bit shortchanged. Top scorer Paco Alcacer is without a goal in his last six matches and looking short of confidence – with the added pressure, the task of scoring just got harder.

Leverkusen are a team adept at counter attacks and set pieces, indices that could swing the result of this match while former Dortmund manager, Peter Bosz has a point to prove and has led Leverkusen to four victories out of five in 2019.

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

Sat 29/09/18 BUN Leverkusen 2 – 4 Dortmund

Sat 21/04/18 BUN Dortmund 4 – 0 Leverkusen

Sat 02/12/17 BUN Leverkusen 1 – 1 Dortmund

Sat 04/03/17 BUN Dortmund 6 – 2 Leverkusen

Sat 01/10/16 BUN Leverkusen 2 – 0 Dortmund

Prediction: Dortmund 2-0 Leverkusen

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