Four matches to watch this weekend

Juventus team after a pre-season friendly
Juventus team after a pre-season friendly

Burkina Faso v Nigeria @Boubker Aamar Stadium @5 p.m. on August 30

The Burkinabe U-21 team has been the more prolific in Morocco at the All Africa Games –outscoring their Nigerian counterparts 8-5.

They have also had the better defence, conceding just twice to the Flying Eagles’ four, but a final is a shootout, which means all bets are off and the best team on the day will be the gold winner.

Having met in the opening match and played to a 1-1 result, Coach Paul Aigbogun should be better prepared to enable his team to follow the good example set by the women’s team, who beat Cameroon to gold on Thursday in a penalty shootout.

The Aigbogun-led side will seek to become the first Nigerian male football team to win gold since 1973.

Current Form: Burkina Faso [D-W-W-D]; Nigeria [W-D-W-D]

Prediction: Burkina Faso 1-2 Nigeria

Juventus v Napoli @Allianz Stadium @7:45 p.m. on August 31

An early statement of intent and vendetta are the salient points that will be in play on Saturday as the two best teams in Italy meet at the Allianz.

After the thrilling opening day 4-3 away win at Fiorentina, Napoli’s Carlo Ancelotti will expect Kostas Manolas to click into gear with Kalidou Koulibaly and keep Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, and Douglas Costa at bay.

They will do this while unleashing the quick feet of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, and Jose Callejon to unlock the Juve defence.

Will Juve show who is boss once again or will the Neapolitans storm the fortress for a signature victory as their former manager, Maurizio Sarri, makes his bow as Juve manager after his one-year stint at Chelsea.

Current Form: Juventus [W-W-L-W-L]; Napoli [W-L-L-W-W]

Head to head

03/03/19 SEA Napoli 1 – 2 Juventus

29/09/18 SEA Juventus 3 – 1 Napoli

22/04/18 SEA Juventus 0 – 1 Napoli

01/12/17 SEA Napoli 0 – 1 Juventus

05/04/17 COI Napoli 3 – 2 Juventus

Prediction: Juventus 3-3 Napoli

Arsenal v Tottenham @Emirates Stadium @4:30p) p.m. on September 1

Arsenal looked good for periods at Anfield last week though still ended up beaten while Tottenham were shocked 1-0 at home by Newcastle. This means the 186th North London derby is more than bragging rights in the first meeting of the season.

The Gunners look the better prepared and could unleash a front trident of Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Alexandre Lacazette for the very first time.

For Mauricio Pochettino, the pressure does not ease with Tanguy Ndombele and Kyle Walker-Peters being serious injury doubts while Unai Emery can call on Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac for the first time this season.

In their last 10 confrontations, Spurs have lost just two but both defeats have come in the last two visits to the Emirates.

Current Form: Arsenal [L-W-W-L-W]; Tottenham [L-D-W-L-W]

Head to head

02/03/19 PRL Tottenham 1 – 1 Arsenal

19/12/18 LEC Arsenal 0 – 2 Tottenham

02/12/18 PRL Arsenal 4 – 2 Tottenham

10/02/18 PRL Tottenham 1 – 0 Arsenal

18/11/17 PRL Arsenal 2 – 0 Tottenham

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham

Villarreal v Real Madrid @Estadio de la Cerámica @8 p.m. on Sep.1

New Villarreal recruit, Raul Albiol – a former Real Madrid defender – is excited to face his former team.

“It will be a challenge – Madrid aren’t going through their best spell, but they’re Real Madrid and it’s always difficult to play against them,” he said.

In their first match of the season, Villarreal score four goals but got only a point while Zinedine Zidane’s men are still finding their feet with a win and a draw while scoring four goals in those two matches.

Matches between the Yellow Submarine and Los Blancos have been very close in their last five meetings and that could be the case again on Sunday though Villarreal will have to score more than once to have a chance of getting their first three points of the new season.

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

Head to head

05/05/19 LAL Real Madrid 3 – 2 Villarreal

03/01/19 LAL Villarreal 2 – 2 Real Madrid

19/05/18 LAL Villarreal 2 – 2 Real Madrid

13/01/18 LAL Real Madrid 0 – 1 Villarreal

26/02/17 LAL Villarreal 2 – 3 Real Madrid

Prediction: Villarreal 3-1 Real Madrid


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