Four matches to watch this weekend

Manchester United
Manchester United (Photo Credit: Official Twitter Handle)

Plateau Utd v Dakkada FC @Jos International Stadium @4pm on Feb.16

The surprise of the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League season must be Dakkada FC, formerly Akwa Starlets, as they sit in fifth place with 30 points from 20 matches and are undefeated in their last five matches.

Plateau United forced Dakkada to a 0-0 result just about a week ago and need all three points to keep in touch with the top league spot currently occupied by Lobi Stars.

Plateau are chasing a second league triumph in four seasons. Although the new coach, Abdu Maikaba, has taken his Plateau United in the right direction, he will be wary of the Uyo-based side’s willingness to get a result wherever they play.

Current Form: Dakkada [D-W-D-L-W]; Plateau Utd [L-D-L-W-W]

Head to head

08/02/20 NPF Dakkada 0 – 0 Plateau United

Prediction: Plateau Utd 2-1 Dakkada FC

Chelsea v Man. United @Stamford Bridge @9pm on Feb.17

Chelsea are at home but will start as underdogs to Manchester United even though they are in fourth place on the league table whilst the visitors are eighth.

The Blues have not been convincing at the Bridge this season and have no win against the Red Devils in the last five meetings.

Twice they have met this season and twice they have lost – 4-0 on opening day and 2-1 in the League Cup last October.

In both matches, Frank Lampard’s team played well but were knocked back by inexperience and the ability to score goals. Will that again be the narrative on Monday?

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

Head to head

Wed 30/10/19 LEC Chelsea 1 – 2 Man. United

Sun 11/08/19 PRL Man. United 4 – 0 Chelsea

Sun 28/04/19 PRL Man. United 1 – 1 Chelsea

Mon 18/02/19 FAC Chelsea 0 – 2 Man. United

Sat 20/10/18 PRL Chelsea 2 – 2 Man. United

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Man. United

SS Lazio v Inter Milan @Stadio Olimpico @8:45pm on Feb.16

After pulling the proverbial chestnut out of the fire against AC Milan last weekend, Antonio Conte’s men will need another big output to get over the serious challenge of a Ciro Immobile-led Lazio, who have turned Serie A into a three-horse race.

Inter lead the table with a better goals difference on 54 points, just one point ahead of the Biancocelesti but they have a jittery Daniele Padelli in goal to worry about after Samir Handanovic failed to recover from a fractured finger.

On a good note, Antonio Conte has Lautaro Martinez returning after serving his suspension but the team could suffer some fatigue after playing the Coppa Italia 1-0 loss to Napoli last Wednesday.

Meanwhile Lazio manager, Simone Inzaghi, has to rearrange his defence line without their captain, Senad Lulic, who just had ankle surgery. But they are the form team in Serie A with an unbeaten run in the league, stretching back to last September when Inter pipped them 1-0 at the San Siro.

Current Form: SS Lazio [W-D-W-D-L]; Inter Milan [L-W-W-W-D]

Head to head

Wed 25/09/19 SEA Inter Milan 1 – 0 SS Lazio

Sun 31/03/19 SEA Inter Milan 0 – 1 SS Lazio

Thu 31/01/19 COI Inter Milan 1 – 1 SS Lazio

Mon 29/10/18 SEA SS Lazio 0 – 3 Inter Milan

Sun 20/05/18 SEA SS Lazio 2 – 3 Inter Milan

Prediction: Lazio 2-2 Inter Milan

Valencia v Atletico Madrid @Estadio de Mestalla @9pm on Feb.14

Valencia have hit a bad patch with two consecutive league losses following that buoyant win over Barcelona and they need to bounce back against very awkward challengers in Atletico.

Diego Simeone is facing serious questions about his Atletico future and will have to prosecute this match without the injured Kieran Trippier, Hector Herrera, Joao Felix and Diego Costa.

Valencia’s game plan will also be hampered by the absence of trusted goalkeeper, Jasper Cillessen, Cristiano Piccini, Ezequiel Garay, Francis Coquelin, Rodrigo Moreno, and Manu Vallejo, which then makes the match a dicey one to call.

With two points separating the duo – Atletico in fourth and Valencia in sixth, the prerogative will be not dropping points with third-placed Getafe traveling to face Barcelona.

Current Form: Valencia [L-L-W-W-W]; Atletico Madrid [W-L-D-L-L]

Head to head

Sat 19/10/19 LAL Atletico 1 – 1 Valencia

Wed 24/04/19 LAL Atletico 3 – 2 Valencia

Mon 20/08/18 LAL Valencia 1 – 1 Atletico

Sun 04/02/18 LAL Atletico 1 – 0 Valencia

Sat 09/09/17 LAL Valencia 0 – 0 Atletico

Prediction: Valencia 2-1 Atletico

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