Four matches to watch: Barcelona must win Clasico, Spurs have London edge

FC Barcelona [Photo:]

MFM v Akwa United @Agege Stadium @3pm on Apr.23

The second stanza of the Nigeria Professional Football League kicks off this weekend and MFM have the chance to take on Akwa United. Akwa United are the league’s most in-form team and won their last away encounter, against Kano Pillars at the dreaded Sani Abacha Stadium, which means the Agege Stadium should not scare them. In the 3-0 away loss to Akwa, MFM coach, Fidelis Ilechukwu made seven changes from the team that beat El-Kanemi. On Sunday, he would need to send out his best XI if he is desirous of a good result.

Current Form: MFM [L-W-L-W-L]; Akwa Utd [W-W-W-L-D]

Head to head

19/04/17      NPF   Akwa Utd     2 – 0 MFM

04/09/16     NPF   Akwa Utd     3 – 1   MFM

30/04/16     NPF   MFM           3 – 0 Akwa Utd

Prediction: MFM 2-1 Akwa

Chelsea v Tottenham @Wembley Stadium @5:15pm on Apr.22

Spurs are on an incredible run – eight consecutive victories in which they have scored 28 goals – their last two have ended in 4-0 victories. With their London neighbours clearly with the greater momentum, Chelsea need all their mettle and all their big players on the same page just to be able to compete after a clearly dispirited display last time out at Old Trafford, where they justifiably lost 2-0.

Both teams have one win each in the league this season but this is the FA Cup with the victor facing either Manchester City or Arsenal in the final. It looks like who blinks first loses in this one.

Current Form: Chelsea [L-W-W-L-W]; Tottenham [W-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

04/01/17      PRL    Tottenham    2 – 0 Chelsea

26/11/16      PRL    Chelsea        2 – 1   Tottenham

02/05/16     PRL    Chelsea        2 – 2 Tottenham

29/11/15      PRL    Tottenham    0 – 0 Chelsea

01/03/15      LEC    Chelsea        2 – 0 Tottenham

Prediction: Chelsea 1-3 Tottenham

Arsenal v Man. City @Wembley @3pm on Apr.23

The only way to end a dispirited league campaign would be lifting the FA Cup for these two teams. Arsenal are clearly fighting for top-four life in the league but the FA Cup triumph could buy Arsene Wenger the next two-year contract he desires while Pep Guardiola finally understands the dynamics of English football. Recent matches between these two clubs have been close and Sunday’s meeting shouldn’t be an exception.

Current Form: Arsenal [W-L-W-D-L]; Man. City [W-W-L-D-D]

Head to head

02/04/17     PRL    Arsenal        2 – 2 Man. City

18/12/16      PRL    Man. City     2 – 1   Arsenal

07/08/16     CLF    Arsenal        3 – 2 Man. City

08/05/16     PRL    Man. City     2 – 2 Arsenal

21/12/15      PRL    Arsenal        2 – 1   Man. City

Prediction: Arsenal 2-3 Man. City

Real Madrid v Barcelona @Santiago Bernadeau @7:45pm on Apr.23

The biggest match in world football, the El Clasico will surely have grave ramifications for the loser. With just three points separating league leaders, Real and Barcelona, a loss on Sunday by Zinedine Zidane would have the head-to-head advantage to Barca, even though Los Blancos still have a game in hand. Their last meeting – in December 2016 was a testy affair till the last minute when Sergio Ramos equalized with a header. This one promises to be another cliffhanger with Barcelona needing a crucial win to get over the hangover of been knocked out by Juventus in the Champions League. But Real will start as favourites with the Catalans missing Neymar for the showdown as they chase a first league title in eight seasons.

Current Form: Real Madrid [W-W-W-D-W]; Barcelona [D-W-L-L-W]

Head to head

03/12/16      PRD    Barcelona     1 – 1   Real Madrid

02/04/16     PRD    Barcelona     1 – 2   Real Madrid

21/11/15       PRD    Real Madrid 0 – 4 Barcelona

22/03/15     PRD    Barcelona     2 – 1   Real Madrid

25/10/14      PRD    Real Madrid 3 – 1   Barcelona

Prediction: Real Madrid 3-2 Barcelona


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