Rivers United v Enyimba @Yakubu Gowon Stadium @4pm on December 27
The new season of the Nigeria Professional Football League kicks off on Sunday with a tasty affair between Rivers United and Enyimba FC – the two Nigerian representatives left on the continent.
The match at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium will test the credentials of both teams after differing results on the continent. Rivers United beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-0 in South Africa while Enyimba lost 3-0 away to Al Merreikh of Sudan. Enyimba coach, Fatai Osho, lamented after his side’s loss in Sudan that all his team’s mistakes were punished – a scenario he will not want repeated when they visit a confident Rivers United, who may suffer through some jet lag because they got back into Nigeria on Thursday, December 24. Who will have the better start to the new season?
Current Form: Rivers United [W-W-L]; Enyimba [L-D-W]
12/12/19 NPF Enyimba 1 – 0 Rivers United
08/05/19 NPF Rivers United 1 – 0 Enyimba
03/02/19 NPF Enyimba 2 – 0 Rivers United
28/01/18 NPF Rivers United 1 – 1 Enyimba
20/08/17 NPF Rivers United 2 – 1 Enyimba
Prediction: Rivers United 1-1 Enyimba
Leicester City v Manchester United @King Power Stadium @1:30pm on December 26
In the last match of last season, all Brendan Rodgers and his team needed was a win to snag a Champions League slot but they went and lost 2-0. On Saturday, Rodgers needs his team to have learned from that match and to beat this confident United team, who have won all six away games in the EPL this season. The Foxes do not boast the best of home comforts – having already lost four of their seven games at the King Power Stadium. But United could be hampered by the loss of both Scott McTominay and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who are injury doubts. Jaime Vardy, who limped off in their last match has been declared fit while Caglar Soyuncu could return to boost defensive options. Will United fall behind but claim another away win?
Current Form: Leicester [W-L-W-W-W]; Man. United [W-W-W-D-L]
26/07/20 PRL Leicester City 0 – 2 Manchester United
14/09/19 PRL Man. United 1 – 0 Leicester City
03/02/19 PRL Leicester City 0 – 1 Man. United
10/08/18 PRL Man. United 2 – 1 Leicester City
23/12/17 PRL Leicester City 2 – 2 Manchester United
Prediction: Leicester 2-3 Man. United
Arsenal v Chelsea @Emirates Stadium @6:30pm on December 26
The North West London derby that always depends on form and table placing. This is a derby that runs on form – the better-placed team always seems to have the upper hand though Mikel Arteta led Arsenal to beat Chelsea in last season’s FA Cup final, even though the gunners finished the season in eighth place. There are major injury doubts on both sides – Arsenal are sweating over the fitness of top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang though Granit Xhaka is available for selection while Chelsea will be without their marauding full backs, Reece James and Ben Chilwell. With 11 points and 10 places between them, the result will be a significant lift or dent on the victor and the vanquished? Will the derby follow the form team or will be redemption for Arteta and his men?
Current Form: Arsenal [W-L-W-W-W]; Chelsea [W-W-W-D-L]
01/08/20 FAC Arsenal 2 – 1 Chelsea
21/01/20 PRL Chelsea 2 – 2 Arsenal
29/12/19 PRL Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea
29/05/19 UEL Chelsea 4 – 1 Arsenal
19/01/19 PRL Arsenal 2 – 0 Chelsea
Prediction: Arsenal 2-3 Chelsea
Sevilla v Villarreal @Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan @5pm on Dec.29
Three points separate the teams with Villarreal holding the higher position in fourth place while Sevilla are sixth, but with two games in hand. Villarreal are on a 17-match unbeaten run under their new manager, Unai Emery, though they have won just five of their last 10 matches. Meanwhile Sevilla have won four and drawn one in their last five matches. The major challenge facing Julen Lopetegui’s team is a lack of goals, with just 15 goals scored in their first 13 league games with Youssef En-Nesyri the leading goal scorer with four goals. Gerard Moreno will spearhead the Yellow Submarine’s attack and he already has eight league goals to his name this season. The team that scores first will likely win all three points.
Current Form: Sevilla [W-L-W-W-W]; Villarreal [W-W-W-D-L]
22/06/20 LAL Villarreal 2 – 2 Sevilla
15/12/19 LAL Sevilla 1 – 2 Villarreal
17/02/19 LAL Villarreal 3 – 0 Sevilla
26/08/18 LAL Sevilla 0 – 0 Villarreal
14/04/18 LAL Sevilla 2 – 2 Villarreal
Prediction: Sevilla 2-2 Villarreal
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