Kano Pillars v Ifeanyi Uba @Sani Abacha Stadium @4 p.m. on December 22
After changing their coach, Kano Pillars have found form, looking more like their old selves. With no loss in their last five matches and having decimated their last opponents, Kwara United formerly Delta Force, 6-1, at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Pillars will look for another goals haul and the three points that takes them closer to the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League table. The visitors, Ifeanyi Uba, will, however, look to do better than the 5-1 hiding they got on their last road trip – to the Plateau. Rabiu Ali’s return has coincided with Pillars’ return to form and he will be out to lead his team to another emphatic win on Sunday.
Current Form: Pillars [D-W-W-D-D]; Ifeanyi Uba [W-L-W-L-D]
Head to head
08/06/19 NPF Kano Pillars 2 – 1 Ifeanyi Uba
27/03/19 NPF Kano Pillars 3 – 0 Ifeanyi Uba
17/03/19 NPF Ifeanyi Uba 1 – 0 Kano Pillars
04/04/18 NPF Kano Pillars 4 – 0 Ifeanyi Uba
28/05/17 NPF Ifeanyi Uba 2 – 0 Kano Pillars
Prediction: Pillars 3-1 Ifeanyi Uba
Tottenham v Chelsea @Tottenham Hotspur Stadium @5:30 p.m. on December 22
Just as Jose Mourinho took over at Tottenham and led them on a run in the English Premier League, Chelsea wobbled and have lost their last four matches in the league. A win for Spurs will see them replace the Blues in the fourth Champions League place. Spurs have lost just once at home in the league this season but will be confident of getting one over their London rivals. For Frank Lampard, his team needs to find form again, especially through the jampacked holiday fixtures though it is very unlikely they will find any joy in their first trip to the new Tottenham Stadium with Mourinho in charge of Spurs.
Current Form: Tottenham [W-W-L-W-W]; Chelsea [L-L-W-L-L]
Head to head
27/02/19 PRL Chelsea 2 – 0 Tottenham
24/01/19 LEC Chelsea 2 – 1 Tottenham
08/01/19 LEC Tottenham 1 – 0 Chelsea
24/11/18 PRL Tottenham 3 – 1 Chelsea
01/04/18 PRL Chelsea 1 – 3 Tottenham
Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea
Atalanta v AC Milan @Gewiss Stadium @12:30 p.m. on December 22
Atalanta are a very talented side but also a very unpredictable one. New Milan manager, Stefano Pioli, has guided his team to a four-match unbeaten run that has fetched eight points and sees the Rossoneri moving and looking upwards in Serie A. Milan need goals to win matches but will be without Theo Hernandez, a defender, but the team’s leading scorer with four goals. Hernandez joins Lucas Paqueta on the suspended list while Gian-Piero Gasperini welcomes back his Atalanta captain and talisman, Alejandro Gomez, who should form a front duo with Lucas Muriel, who already boasts nine league goals. Last season, Milan won 3-1 in Bergamo – a result Pioli will covet as he prepares for this match.
Current Form: Atalanta [L-W-W-W-W]; AC Milan [D-W-W-D-L]
Head to head
Sat 16/02/19 SEA Atalanta 1 – 3 AC Milan
Sun 23/09/18 SEA AC Milan 2 – 2 Atalanta
Sun 13/05/18 SEA Atalanta 1 – 1 AC Milan
Sat 23/12/17 SEA AC Milan 0 – 2 Atalanta
Sat 13/05/17 SEA Atalanta 1 – 1 AC Milan
Prediction: Atalanta 3-1 AC Milan
Liverpool v Flamengo @Khalifa International Stadium @6:30 p.m. on December 21
Both teams had to fight very hard to make their final place a reality. Liverpool needed a last-minute goal from Roberto Firmino to beat Monterrey while Flamengo needed Bruno Henrique’s guile and goal to overcome a stubborn Al Hilal, who took a second half lead. Liverpool played their semi-final without the influential Virgil van Dijk, who took ill before the game and Jürgen Klopp had the luxury of sending on Sadio Mane, Firmino, and Trent Alexander-Arnold in the second half. With Europe taking the honours in the last six years, Flamengo, under Jorge Jesus, an experienced European coach, will be up for this backed by a cluster of returnee but seasoned European campaigners like Rafinha and Filipe Luis. The Brazilian side have the nous and talents to create a shock if Liverpool are not at the races from the start. The Reds have never won this title and lost their only previous final to another Brazilian club, Sao Paulo, in 2005.
Current Form: Liverpool [W-L-W-W-W]; Flamengo [W-L-W-W-W]
Head to head
13/12/81 ICC Flamengo 3 – 0 Liverpool
Prediction: Flamengo 1-3 Liverpool
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