Bendel Insurance v Remo Stars @Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium @4 p.m. on 28 January
The unlikeliest of top-of-the-table clash is happening in Benin City on Saturday when two unbeaten teams with perfect records, Bendel Insurance and Remo Stars, in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) will be put to the test.
The assurance is that either or both teams will not leave Benin-City unblemished. They have clashed seven times in the last five years, with Remo Stars seeking their first-ever league victory over Insurance.
The last time they met in the NPFL was during the 2019 abridged season, where both sides played to draws in two encounters. Unfortunately, both were relegated that season, with Bendel finishing with 28 points and Remo, finishing 12th with 20 points.
Subsequent games in the 2020/2021 season ended in two draws and a home win for Bendel Insurance. Based on records, this game might end in a draw.
Current Form: Bendel Insurance [W-W-W]; Remo Stars [W-W-W]
13/04/19 NPF Insurance 0 – 0 Remo Stars
20/01/19 NPF Remo Stars 1 – 1 Insurance
Prediction: Bendel Insurance 0-0 Remo Stars
Napoli v Roma @Diego Maradona Stadium @8:45 p.m. on 29 January
The first meeting this season was settled by a Victor Osimhen ‘Golazo’ last October, but Jose Mourinho would like nothing better for his 60th birthday present than three points against the Serie A runaway leader at the Maradona on Sunday.
Luciano Spalletti’s side have been almost perfect in their Scudetto chase, having suffered just one league defeat all season and scoring loads of goals. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia should regain his place after omission against Salernitana while Mourinho could start fit-again Leonardo Spinazzola at left back.
Historically, this has been a tight affair, but Roma have not beaten the Neapolitans since November 2019—a run of six games.
Current Form: Napoli [W-L-W-W-L]; Roma [W-W-W-D-W]
23/10/22 SEA Roma 0 – 1 Napoli
18/04/22 SEA Napoli 1 – 1 Roma
24/10/21 SEA Roma 0 – 0 Napoli
21/03/21 SEA Roma 0 – 2 Napoli
29/11/20 SEA Napoli 4 – 0 Roma
Prediction: Napoli 3-1 Roma
Brighton v Liverpool @AMEX Stadium @2:30 p.m. on 29 January
The last time Liverpool were at the AMEX, they put in one of the worst performances under Jurgen Klopp’s tutelage. The Reds have not become radically better, but they have more legs in the squad with Darwin Nunez ready to start help the FA Cup defending champions progress to the fifth round.
It is poignant to note that Klopp has lost against the Seasiders twice in their last five meetings and won only once. This season Brighton have scored six goals against Liverpool in two league games, which means defensive solidity will be the Reds’ watchword at the AMEX on Sunday.
Expect Stefan Bajcetic to continue in place for Fabinho while Mohamed Salah needs to spark to life to push the champions forward. Roberto De Zerbi has no new injury worries with Kaoru Mitoma stepping up from the left flank.
Current Form: Brighton [D-W-W-W-L]; Liverpool [D-W-L-D-L]
14/01/23 PRL Brighton 3 – 0 Liverpool
01/10/22 PRL Liverpool 3 – 3 Brighton
12/03/22 PRL Brighton 0 – 2 Liverpool
30/10/21 PRL Liverpool 2 – 2 Brighton
03/02/21 PRL Liverpool 0 – 1 Brighton
Prediction: Brighton 2-1 Liverpool
Marseille v Monaco @Stade Orange Vélodrome @9:00 p.m. on 29 January
The race for the third Champions League slot in Ligue 1 continues to hot up with third-placed Marseille welcoming fourth-placed Monaco to the Velodrome on Saturday. With five points to make up on Marseille, expect this to be a fiery encounter.
Marseille are on a five-match winning streak, and another three points will see them cut the gap on PSG while leapfrogging Rennes into second place, but they have a raft of injuries to some crucial players to deal with. Igor Tudor will have to do without Amine Harit, Eric Bailly, Jonathan Clauss, Bamba Dieng, and maybe his talisman, Dimitri Payet.
READ ALSO: NPFL: Imade scores again as Bendel Insurance trounce Remo Stars
A point to note is that there has not been a home victory in the last three confrontations.
Current Form: Marseille [W-W-W-W-W]; Monaco [W-D-L-W-W]
13/11/22 LI1 Monaco 2 – 3 Marseille
06/03/22 LI1 Marseille 0 – 1 Monaco
11/09/21 LI1 Monaco 0 – 2 Marseille
23/01/21 LI1 Monaco 3 – 1 Marseille
12/12/20 LI1 Marseille 2 – 1 Monaco
Prediction: Marseille 1-1 Monaco
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