We are at the business end of the 2021/22 football season and almost everything is up for grabs.
Apart from Ligue 1, there are no settled decisions with almost concerning title aspirants, cup chasers, and relegation candidates.
This is ‘squeaky bum time’ according to the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson-where teams earn their money.
Rivers United v Enyimba @Yakubu Gowon Stadium @4pm on April 18
Can Enyimba stop Rivers United’s relentless march to a first Nigeria Professional Football League title? Stanley Eguma has created a side hard to beat, home and away as their last 1-0 victory away at Katsina United proved.
That made it 11 matches unbeaten, in which they have conceded just four goals and that run includes eight wins.
Enyimba’s form meanwhile has fluctuated throughout the season and have lost seven of 11 away matches-form that has seen them marooned in seventh place.
Victor Mbaoma’s scoring form gives some hope to Finidi George’s team to cause an upset, but Rivers United are almost perfect at the Gowon Stadium where they have won 10 of the 11 played and scored 24 goals.
Will George’s announcement as an assistant coach in the Super Eagles lead to another poor performance on the road?
Current Form: Rivers Utd [W-W-D-W-D]; Enyimba [W-L-W-D-D]
9/12/21 NPF Enyimba 0 – 1 Rivers Utd
04/07/21 NPF Enyimba 1 – 1 Rivers Utd
02/05/21 NPF Rivers Utd 1 – 0 Enyimba
21/02/21 CCC Rivers Utd 1 – 0 Enyimba
14/02/21 CCC Enyimba 1 – 0 Rivers Utd
Prediction: Rivers Utd 2-0 Enyimba
Man City v Liverpool @Wembley Stadium @4:30pm on April 15
City and Liverpool have met twice already this season for two exhilarating draws, but on Saturday in an FA Cup semifinal, there will be a winner.
Both were involved in midweek Champions League matches that were anything but simple. City travelled to Spain and escaped with a draw while Liverpool were home but Benfica gave them a scare.
City fell at this point last season to Chelsea and have won the FA Cup just once under Guardiola while Klopp is chasing the first-ever win. Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker are serious doubts for City while Klopp, having rested most of his preferred players against Benfica, will have to make calls on both Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota.
Will tiredness play a part in determining the winner?
Current Form: Man. City [D-D-W-W-W]; Liverpool [D-D-W-W-W]
10/04/22 PRL Man. City 2 – 2 Liverpool
03/10/21 PRL Liverpool 2 – 2 Man. City
07/02/21 PRL Liverpool 1 – 4 Man. City
08/11/20 PRL Man. City 1 – 1 Liverpool
02/07/20 PRL Man. City 4 – 0 Liverpool
Prediction: Man. City 2-1 Liverpool
Napoli v Roma @Stadio Diego Armando Maradona @6pm on April 18
In 16 Serie A home matches, Napoli have lost five-the main reason the Partenopei are mired in the third position and in danger of fluffing another chance to lift the Scudetto.
The margins for error are thinner after both Inter Milan and AC Milan won on Friday. However, Jose Mourinho’s Roma have found momentum and are looking very dangerous as they try to close the gap on fourth-placed Juventus with five matches left.
Roma are undefeated in their last 11 matches and have two confident young forwards in Tammy Abraham and Nicolo Zaniolo, who scored a hattrick against Bodo Glimt in the UEFA Conference League. Luciano Spalletti can call on Zambo Anguissa to pair Stanislav Lobotka at the base of midfield and push Fabian Ruiz into a more offensive position. Victor Osimhen will again be the main attacking threat, having scored five of the six goals in the last three matches he has featured.
Will Mourinho finally scupper Spalletti’s Scudetto chase?
Current Form: Napoli [L-W-W-W-L]; Roma [W-W-L-W-W]
24/10/21 SEA Roma 0 – 0 Napoli
21/03/21 SEA Roma 0 – 2 Napoli
29/11/20 SEA Napoli 4 – 0 Roma
05/07/20 SEA Napoli 2 – 1 Roma
02/11/19 SEA Roma 2 – 1 Napoli
Prediction: Napoli 1-2 Roma
Sevilla v Real Madrid @Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán @8pm on April 17
The major contrast between the two sides is the number of goals their leading goal scorers have scored in the league.
While Real Madrid’s talisman and captain Karim Benzema has 24 league goals; Sevilla’s Rafa Mir has nine.
Julen Lopetegui’s side failed to score in three consecutive matches before beating Getafe 4-2 last weekend as they try to consolidate on the third position, with Atletico Madrid in hot pursuit.
Carlo Ancelotti has given greater balance to Los Blancos, while the duo of Benzema and Vinicius Junior has continued to combine well in attack.
With a 12-point cushion and just seven matches left in the season, Real Madrid should be able to hold off the challenges of both Sevilla and Barcelona.
Current Form: Sevilla [W-L-D-L-D]; Real Madrid [L-W-W-W-L]
28/11/21 LAL Real Madrid 2 – 1 Sevilla
09/05/21 LAL Real Madrid 2 – 2 Sevilla
05/12/20 LAL Sevilla 0 – 1 Real Madrid
18/01/20 LAL Real Madrid 2 – 1 Sevilla
22/09/19 LAL Sevilla 0 – 1 Real Madrid
Prediction: Sevilla 1-3 Real Madrid
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