Plateau seek a win to go top of the NPFL
Plateau Utd v Akwa United @Jos International Stadium @4pm on February 27
Former Heartland FC coach Fidelis Ilechukwu is doing wonders on the plateau as his side embarks on an unbeaten run that has taken his team just shy of the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League table.
But Sunday’s opponents, Akwa United, are also on a six-match unbeaten run that has seen them keep three clean sheets and concede three goals-two in their last home game against Dakkada.
Plateau United are one point behind log leaders, Rivers United, and five points better than Sunday opponents. Last matchday, they went to Gombe and got a credible draw that saw Gombe concede for the first time at home.
In Jos, Plateau have won all seven previous NPFL matches at the Jos Stadium, scoring 21 goals and conceding just three. This looks like an arduous task for the visitors to get anything but that is why we love football.
Current Form: Plateau Utd [D-W-W-W-W]; Akwa United [W-W-D-D-D]
04/07/21 NPF Plateau United 0 – 0 Akwa United
20/02/21 NPF Akwa United 1 – 0 Plateau United
12/01/20 NPF Plateau United 0 – 0 Akwa United
21/04/19 NPF Plateau United 3 – 0 Akwa United
23/01/19 NPF Akwa United 2 – 2 Plateau United
Prediction: Plateau United 1 – 0 Akwa United
Will Klopp get the better of a former protege on Sunday?
Chelsea v Liverpool @Wembley Stadium @5:30pm on February 27
There is no way the history of Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel is not interwoven. Both got their big breaks at Borussia Dortmund where they successfully challenged the might of Bundesliga juggernaut, Bayern Munich. They are both Germans, known for innovative ways of coaching and management and getting the best out of their players.
The only blemish on Klopp’s time at Anfield has been a paucity of titles, especially local ones like the Carabao Cup while Tuchel has been a titles’ hoovering machine in the last 13 months, having led Chelsea to four finals, winning three.
This season has already seen two draws in the league and the Sunda’s narrative will dwell on the No.9s. Roberto Firmino is injured while Diogo Jota is touch and go for Liverpool but Chelsea, have a misfiring and clearly lacking-in confidence Romelu Lukaku, who might not even start on Sunday.
How will these questions be answered?
Current Form: Chelsea [W-W-W-W-W]; Liverpool [W-W-W-W-W]
02/01/22 PRL Chelsea 2 – 2 Liverpool
28/08/21 PRL Liverpool 1 – 1 Chelsea
04/03/21 PRL Liverpool 0 – 1 Chelsea
20/09/20 PRL Chelsea 0 – 2 Liverpool
22/07/20 PRL Liverpool 5 – 3 Chelsea
Prediction: Chelsea 1 – 2 Liverpool
Can Napoli get back to winning ways?
Lazio v Napoli @Stadio Olimpico @8:45pm on Feb.27
Another matchday and Napoli have another chance to go top of the Serie A. Last weekend was the same as both Milan teams played and dropped points before Napoli faced Cagliari but Luciano Spalletti’s side needed a late goal from substitute Victor Osimhen to get a point.
This weekend had brought up the same scenario as both Milan teams dropped points again, which means the Partenopei are three points behind first-placed AC Milan. But while Napoli extended their unbeaten streak in Serie A to seven against Cagliari, they lost scandalously to Barcelona, 4-2, on Thursday in the Europa League.
Meanwhile, Lazio are running out of matches that will guarantee Champions League matches next season and will be out for revenge for the 4-0 pounding they got last November at the Armando Maradona. They are just four points behind fourth-placed Juventus but they need to start getting the points on board to achieve a return to the UCL again.
Current Form: Lazio [D-D-L-W-L]; Napoli [L-D-D-D-W]
28/11/21 SEA Napoli 4 – 0 Lazio
22/04/21 SEA Napoli 5 – 2 Lazio
20/12/20 SEA Lazio 2 – 0 Napoli
01/08/20 SEA Napoli 3 – 1 Lazio
21/01/20 COI Napoli 1 – 0 Lazio
Prediction: Lazio 1 – 0 Napoli
Xavi wants to keep the winning feeling
Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao @Camp Nou @9pm on February 27
Barcelona have gone six matches without a loss since Bilbao inflicted their last defeat, in the Copa del Rey. in their last five matches, Bilbao have gotten the better of Barcelona in two matches-both cup games.
Xavi seems to have the ideal No.9 in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for his fluid offensive formation that sees Barcelona tweak their multi-passing template for one that seeks out either a rapid Aubameyang, Adama Traore, or Ousmane Dembele and these have fetched 15 goals in their last five matches. In Bilbao’s Marcelino, they confront a savvy coach who will seek to frustrate and hit on the counter.
Barcelona have found some form and will look to hold on to their Champions League spot while Bilbao are also chasing a spot in Europe from their present eighth position, five points behind fourth-placed Barcelona.
Current Form: Barcelona [W-W-D-D-W]; Bilbao [W-L-D-W-W]
20/01/22 CDR Bilbao 3 – 2 Barcelona
21/08/21 LAL Bilbao 1 – 1 Barcelona
17/04/21 CDR Bilbao 0 – 4 Barcelona
31/01/21 LAL Barcelona 2 – 1 Bilbao
17/01/21 SUC Barcelona 2 – 3 Bilbao
Prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Athletic Bilbao