Four matches to watch this weekend

Sadio Mane in action against Aston Villa
Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action
Nigeria v Cote d’Ivoire @4 p.m. on November 9

Nigeria has had mixed results in under-age football tournaments in 2019 – in Africa and on the world stage.

When the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations kicks off in Egypt on Friday, Nigerians will be hoping the Imama Amakapabo-led side qualify for the 2020 Olympics, having already seen the Falcons knocked out of the Tokyo train.

The last Nigeria U-23 side beat all comers to win the tournament in 2015 and then went all the way to bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil despite many challenges.

The team capped off their preparations in Ismaila with a scoreless draw against Cameroon and players like Kelechi Nwakali, Taiwo Awoniyi, Valentine Ozorwafor, and Tom Dele-Bashiru will hope to catch Gernot Rohr’s eyes with good performances.

This is Cote d’Ivoire’s second involvement in the tournament with the likes of the prolific Christian Kouame, who has scored five goals for Genoa in Serie A, assisted by captain Ismael Chester from Ajaccio and Yves Diallo from Lille.

Current Form: Nigeria [W-L-W-L-W]; CIV [W-L-W-W-L]

Head to head

None

Prediction: Nigeria 1-1 CIV

Liverpool v Man. City @Anfield @5:30pm on Nov.10

If the gap between Liverpool and Manchester City grows to nine points, will it be game over for City and Pep Guardiola?

This question will be the guiding light for the City manager as he strategizes on how to ensure the gap does not grow any further, but will he settle for a draw?

Liverpool are undefeated in their last 43 home matches while Jurgen Klopp and Guardiola have met 14 times in their managerial careers with both having seen the better of the other six times each with the two draws.

There are doubts concerning City goalkeeper, Ederson, and David Silva with Fernandinho expected to play at centre-back.

Jordan Henderson is an injury doubt for Liverpool with Sadio Mane ready to ram the ‘diver’ tag down Guardiola’s throat.

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

Head to head

04/08/19        COS   Liverpool        1 – 1    Man. City

03/01/19        PRL    Man. City       2 – 1    Liverpool

07/10/18        PRL    Liverpool        0 – 0    Man. City

26/07/18        ICC     Man. City       1 – 2    Liverpool

10/04/18        UCL    Man. City       1 – 2    Liverpool

Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Man. City

Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund @Allianz Arena @6:30 on Nov.9

Manager-less Bayern cannot afford to lose to Dortmund in ‘Der Klassiker’ no matter who calls the shots from the Bayern bench.

Caretaker boss, Hansi Flick, cannot start with either of his center-backs – Jerome Boateng is suspended while Niklas Sule is recovering from injury.

Lucien Favre also has concerns about Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus, though the fightback against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League will have his players buzzing and confident about the trip to Munich.

Dortmund is second on the Bundesliga table with 19 points, just one point ahead of their hosts on Saturday. This one promises to be a cracker.

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

Head to head

03/08/19        SUC    Dortmund      2 – 0    Bayern

06/04/19        BUN   Bayern           5 – 0    Dortmund

10/11/18        BUN   Dortmund      3 – 2    Bayern

31/03/18        BUN   Bayern           6 – 0    Dortmund

20/12/17        DFP    Bayern           2 – 1    Dortmund

Prediction: Bayern 1-2 Dortmund

Juventus v AC Milan @Allianz Stadium @8:45pm on Nov.10

AC Milan was [are] a big club and they have made their worst start to a league season since 1994, languishing in 11th place, already 16 points adrift of their hosts on Sunday.

Ivan Gazidis, Milan’s CEO, says, “We [Milan] are playing against the best Italian team. I am convinced we can put in a strong performance against Juve. I think this kind of match can help put Milan on the path back to be a big club.”

But Milan midfielder, Ismael Bennacer, went further by saying, “We are Milan, not Lecce. Juventus and Lecce drew, so we can win. We just need to have the right spirit.”

Having the right spirit will give Milan a fighting chance. What is debatable is whether they have the right tools to hurt the defending champions?

Current Form: Juventus [W-W-W-D-W]; AC Milan [L-W-L-D-W]

Head to head

Sat      06/04/19        SEA    Juventus        2 – 1    AC Milan

Wed    16/01/19        SUC    Juventus        1 – 0    AC Milan

Sun     11/11/18        SEA    AC Milan        0 – 2    Juventus

Wed    09/05/18        COI     Juventus        4 – 0    AC Milan

Sat      31/03/18        SEA    Juventus        3 – 1    AC Milan

Prediction: Juventus 3-0 AC Milan

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