Midweek Football Preview

More cups!

FA Cup 5th Round

Peterborough vs. Man City

Peterborough beat QPR in the last round and sit bottom of the Championship. They have since drawn one and lost five. Man City beat Fulham 4-1 in the last round and sit top of the Premier League. They have since won four and lost one of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Man City. Anything else and it would be a massive shock. 

Crystal Palace vs. Stoke City

Palace beat Hartlepool 2-0 in the last round and they sit 11th in the Premier League. Palace have since won one, drawn three, and lost one. Stoke beat Wigan 2-0 in the last round and sit 15th in the Championship. Stoke have won one, drawn two, and lost two since. Palace are the better team on paper and are at home so they should win this even if Stoke cause some problems. 

Middlesbrough vs. Tottenham

Middlesbrough beat United on penalties in the last round and sit 8th in the Championship. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Spurs sit 7th in the Premier League and beat Brighton 3-1 in the last round. They have since won two, and lost three of their games. With Tottenham away and the form that they are in this result could go either way. Spurs though are still favourites on paper.

Southampton vs. West Ham

An all Premier League clash as Southampton take on West Ham. Southampton sit 9th in the Premier League and beat Coventry City 2-1 in the last round. The Saints have since won three and drawn one of their games. West Ham sit 5th in the table and beat Kidderminster 1-2 in the last round. The Hammers have since won two and drawn two. Neither team is unbeaten in their last four but Southampton have won one more game. This should be an interesting game between two good teams and the result can go either way.

Liverpool vs. Norwich

The newly crowned Carabao Cup champions take on another cup as they welcome Norwich City in an all Premier League clash. Liverpool beat Cardiff 3-1 in the last round and have since won five and drawn one of their games. Norwich beat Wolves 0-1 in the last round and sit bottom of the table. Norwich have since drawn one and lost three of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Liverpool.

Everton vs. Boreham Wood

Everton beat Brentford 4-1 in the last round and sit 17th in the Premier League as they take on Boreham Wood. Everton have since won one and lost three of their games. Boreham Wood sit 3rd in the National League and beat Bournemouth 0-1 in the last round. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Everton are at home and even though Boreham Wood will give it their all Everton should win this game. 

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Leicester

Burnley sit 18th in the table as they take on Leicester who sit 13th. A win for Burnley would take them out of the relegation zone and into 15th in the table on goal difference with two games in hand remaining. A win for Leicester won’t mean much movement but it will take them closer to mid table with three games in hand remaining. A big game for both teams Burnley have only lost one of their last five games while Leicester have lost three and drawn two. One game to keep an eye on.

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Valencia take on Bilbao with an aggregate score of 1-1. Betis take on Rayo Vallecano with an aggregate score of 2-1. The Valencia Bilbao game is finely poised and the result can go either way. Betis have a slight advantage but Vallecano are no pushovers and will give it a go. Any team can reach the final. 

Coppa Italia Semi-Final 1st Leg

Milan take on Inter, and Juventus travel to Fiorentina. Two very good games and neither team are clear favourites in their fixture. Milan and Inter are going though a rough patch at the moment while Juventus are inconsistent. Fiorentina are having a decent season. Who will take advantage in the 1st leg?

DFB Pokal Quarter-Final

Union Berlin take on St.Pauli, Hamburger take on Karlsruher, Leipzig travel to Hannover, and Bochum welcome Freiburg. Leipzig are the most high profiel team remaining in the cup. Freiburg are having a very good season though and so are Union Berlin. Anything can happen. 

Coupe De France Semi-Final

Nice take on Versailles, and Monaco travel to Nantes. Nice should beat Versailles and reach the final while Monaco and Nantes will be a more cagey affair. Nice will be favourites though with Monaco and Nantes being at a similar level this season. 

Chelsea vs. Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Preview

Another chance to win a trophy!

Chelsea take on Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday for the Carabao Cup Final. Liverpool last won the league cup in 2012 when they beat Cardiff City on penalties. Klopp himself has not won a domestic cup since taking over as Liverpool boss. Liverpool beat Norwich, Preston, Leicester, and Arsenal to reach the final and are currently on a 9 game winning run in all competitions albeit not having played particularly great in many of those games. The acquisiton of Luis Diaz has added more depth up front and Liverpool do go into this game as the favourites. 

Chelsea last won the League Cup in 2015 beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final. Since then the club have reached the final the last being in 2019 under Sarri eventually losing on penalties to Manchester City. Chelsea beat Aston Villa, Southampton, Brentford, and Tottenham to reach the final. An all Premier League route. At the moment Chelsea are on a six game winning run in all competitions. Chelsea already have the Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup to their name this season. The team and Tuchel have fallen a bit behind City and Liverpool in the title race but remain active in all competitions this season. The previous two meetings against Liverpool this season have end in score draws. The last one came recently in January when Liverpool took a 2-0 lead but Chelsea came back 2-2 before half time. Chelsea go into this game with some confidence in the team once again after what has been a dire winter period. Not many lossess but several draws which have cost the team. 

Chelsea Team Preview

The only player out injured is Ben Chilwell but everyone is back involved in training now which will be a relief to Tuchel. The first big debate for the lineup comes in goal. Kepa has been involved in all the cup games so far but Mendy is back and did also play in the Club World Cup final. Kepa deserves to start but Mendy is the better goalkeeper while the game is going on. Mostly due to his range of saves. Whatever decision Tuchel makes will be followed but I would go with Mendy in goal and bring in Kepa if the game goes to penalties. Chelsea should return to a back three for this game with Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger making it up. Reece James is back and in Tuchel’s words has been brilliant in training. I would start him at right wing back with Azpilicueta shifting to left wing back. Kante, and Kovacic should form the midfield. The front three is another big question. Pulisic should start given he impressed against Lille and against Liverpool earlies this year. Havertz has done very well and should also start. Mount is back training but Ziyech is in form. I would go with Mount for this game just because he can bring that extra energy to the press. There will be plenty of space in behind and Werner could also be an assest from the bench if need be. Ziyech would be perfectly fine though. Lukaku should come off the bench. A strong lineup regardless.

Liverpool Team Preview

Liverpool have a fully fit squad as well bar Firmino who is out injured. Liverpool’s lineup is a bit less speculative. Alisson will be in goal with a back four of Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, and Robertson. Thiago, Henderson, and Fabinho should start in midfield with a front three of Salah, Jota, and Mane. If Jota is not fit enough to start then Mane will play up top with Diaz coming in from the left. We all know what to expect from Liverpool and its front three. The defence has been a bit shaky this season and Van Dijk has not really come back all guns blazing. A strong lineup either way.

Starting XI Prediction

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Chelsea and Liverpool have a history and the games are always feisty. Add on top of that the whole Klopp, Tuchel debate and its a good narrative for a final. Liverpool are favourites but Chelsea like to be the underdogs. It’s going to be a very interesting game but its all about taking the chances. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Weekend Football Preview

Races on all fronts!

Premier League MW 27

Southampton vs. Norwich

10th placed Southampton are unbeaten in their last four as they take on Norwich who sit bottom of the table and five points from safety. Southampton have one game in hand while Norwich also have one game in hand. Norwich are trying to survive in the league but it does look like they will go down once again. Norwich won the reverse fixture 2-1. The result can go either way but Southampton will be favourites.

Leeds vs. Tottenham

15th placed Leeds take on 8th placed Tottenham with both teams under massive pressure. Leeds have one game in hand and sit only three points above the relegation zone while Spurs have two games in hand and sit seven points from top four. Spurs have lost four of their last five while Leeds have done the same. Two teams in need of a win the result could go either way. Spurs won the reverse fixture 2-1. 

Brentford vs. Newcastle

14th placed Brentford take on 17th placed Newcastle with only two points separating the teams. Brentford are one of those clubs which are in a relegation scrap as well with the gap minimal at this point. Brentford have no games in hand while Newcastle have two games in hand. Brentford have lost four of their last five while Newcastle are unbeaten in their last five. Massive pressure on Brentford while Newcastle are in a period of good form. The reverse fixture was a 3-3 draw. 

Crystal Palace vs. Burnley

Palace sit 11th as they take on Burnley who sit 18th in the table. Palace have no games in hand while Burnley have three games in hand. Burnley are in a period of good form having only lost one of their last five while Palace finally managed to win when they beat Watford. No pressure on Palace but Burnley are the ones chasing survival. A big game for the away team. The reverse fixture ended in a 3-3 draw. 

Brighton vs. Aston Villa

9th placed Brighton have lost their last two as they take on Villa who sit 13th and have also lost their last two. Two teams in identical form with Brighton having one game in hand while Villa have two. The result can go either way. Villa won the reverse fixture 2-0.

Man United vs. Watford

Man United sit 4th in the table a point clear of 5th as they take on Watford who sit 19th in the table. Man United have not been playing well but they have faced favourable fixtures and got decent results. This is the final relatively easy game before a run of tough fixtures. Watford have one game in hand and are fighting for survival but United should win this. Watford won the reverse fixture 4-1. 

Everton vs. Man City

16th placed Everton have three games in hand as they take on City who lead the league by three points. Everton and Lampard need to return to winning ways but after City lost last weekend they will face a tough test. With Liverpool not playing this weekend City can create a six point gap even though Liverpool will have a game in hand. A massive game for both teams. City will be favourites. City won the reverse fixture 3-0. 

West Ham vs. Wolverhampton

West Ham sit 6th in the table and have only won one game in their last five as they take on Wolves who sit 7th in the table with a game in hand. Both teams are still fighting for 4th but have no advantage now. Both teams need a win as well. Wolves won the reverse fixture 1-0. 

La Liga MW 26

Real Madrid travel to Rayo Vallecano, Atletico take on Celta Vigo, Villarreal take on Espanyol, Sevilla welcome Real Betis, Real Sociedad welcome Osasuna, and Barcelona take on Bilbao. Real Madrid sit 6 points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla, Betis, and Barcelona making up the top four. Atletico sit 6th in the table. Some massive games this weekend with Real Madrid potentially increasing their gap if results go their way. One to keep an eye on.

Serie MW 27

Milan take on Udinese, Genoa welcome Inter, Juventus travel to Empoli, Roma travel to Spezia, Lazio take on Napoli, and Atalanta take on Sampdoria. Milan sit 2 points clear of Inter and Napoli while Juventus sit 4th. Atalanta sit 5th in the table. Lazio sit 6th. Roma sit 8th. The title race could take some more turns this weekend with some teams facing tough opposition. 

Bundesliga MW 24

Hoffenheim take on Stuttgart, Leverkusen take on Arminia, Bayern travel to Frankfurt, Leipzig travel to Bochum, and Dortmund travel to Augsburg. Bayern sit six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and all the other teams can do is hope they drop more points. That does not seem likely though and it is more or less a race for the other places. 

Ligue MW 26

Nice travel to Strasbourg, PSG take on St.Etienne, Monaco take on Reims, Marseille travel to Troyes, and Lyon welcome Lille. PSG sit 13 points clear and the title is all but over. Marseille, Nice, and Strasbourg make up the top four. Monaco sit 6th and Lyon sit 8th. Some interesting fixtures in terms of the top four race but other than that not much to fight for. 

Midweek Football Preview

Champions League time once again!

Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg

Villarreal vs. Juventus

Villarreal sit 6th in La Liga as they take on Juventus who sit 4th in Serie A. Villarreal have won 8, drawn 2 and lost 2 of their games since the group stage. Juventus have won 7, drawn 5, and lost 1. Two teams in similar form going into this game. Neither team is touted to go far in the Champions League this season and I doubt Villarreal will fear this Juventus team. This fixture could go either way. 

Atletico Madrid vs. Man United

Atletico sit 5th in La Liga as they take on Man United who sit 4th in the Premier League. Atletico have won 5, drawn 1, and lost 7 of their games since the group stage. United have won 7, drawn 4, and lost 2 of their games. It is safe to say that Man United are the team in better form while Atletico have been inconsistent at best. Ronaldo loves playing against Atletico and United have a good chance of going though, Atletico though might turn it up for these fixtures. The result can go either way but Man United will be favourites. 

Benfica vs. Ajax

Benfica sit 3rd in the Primeira Liga as they take on Ajax who sit top of the Eredivisie. Benfica have won 8, drawn 2, and lost 4 while Ajax have won 10 and lost 1 of their fixtures. On form it should be a win for Ajax who have looked rampant in Europe and domestically this season. Benfica can ofcourse cause problems and have talented players but over two legs I think Ajax should go through.

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Tottenham

18th placed Burnley take on 8th placed Tottenham as teams play their games in hand. Burnley have only lost one of their last five games and look in good form while Spurs have won two of their last five games having lost three. It would be typical Spurs to beat City and then drop points against Burnley who will be a completely different test. Burnley would still have three games in hand and a win would take them into 18th and two points from safety. Spurs would have two games in hand and a win would take them into 7th. Big game for both teams.

Watford vs. Crystal Palace

18th placed Watford take on 13th placed Crystal Palace. Watford finally managed to win at the weekend and would have one game in hand post this fixture. A win would see them remain 18th but a point from safety. Palace have not won a game in a while and this is their only game in hand. A win would see them move up to 11th in the table though. It is a London Derby and both teams need a win, Watford for survival hopes and Palace for morale. The result can go either way.

Liverpool vs. Leeds

Liverpool sit 2nd while Leeds sit 15th in the table as the two go head to head. This is Liverpool’s only game in hand for now and a win would take them to within three points of Man City and 10 points clear of Chelsea. Leeds would have one game in hand remaining and a win would take them into 14th. Leeds have lost three of their last five games and Liverpool are rampant. Liverpool should win this game comfortably. Liverpool won the reverse fixture 0-3. 

Arsenal vs. Wolverhampton

6th placed Arsenal take on 7th placed Wolves in a big game for European places. Arsenal would have two games in hand remaining after this game and a win would take them into 5th and a point behind Man United. Wolves would have one game in hand remaining after this game and a win would take them into 5th and 3 points from 4th. A big game for both teams and the result can go either way. Arsenal won the reverse fixture 0-1. 

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea MW 26 Preview

A return to Premier League action!

Chelsea sit 3rd in the table with a game in hand as they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Palace 13th in the table with a game in hand and have drawn three and lost two of their games. Palace have had a decent first season under Vieira playing some exciting attacking football with young players. Chelsea won the reverse fixture 3-0 at Stamford Bridge and will be hoping to do the same in this game.

It’s been more than 20 days since Chelsea played Tottenham in their last Premier League game. Since then there has been an international break and Chelsea have been crowned World Champions. The time away from the Premier League sees Chelsea sitting 16 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand. Chelsea are also seven points behind Liverpool and only four points ahead of Manchester United. In the pre match conference Tuchel said that the main aim for right now is to build their gap from 4th and then reassess at the end of the season. Chelsea will not want to get dragged back into a top four race and there is still a slight small chance that they can cut the gap to the top albeit not win the league. The essential goal still remains to finish in the top three and within single digits of whoever wins. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea are still without Reece James, and Ben Chilwell. James should return to training next week. Mason Mount is also out with an ankle injury but Chelsea are hoping he is back next week. Mendy should start in goal with a back four of Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Silva, and Sarr. Kovacic, and Jorginho should start in midfield with Pulisic, and Ziyech as the wingers and Havertz and Lukaku up top. Chelsea coud play with a back three as well but I think the back four is bringing out the best in players like Ziyech at the moment. Pulisic deserves a run as a winger as well while Havertz and Lukaku have shown that they can build some sort of partnership up front. Regardless Chelsea should have a strong XI on the pitch and strong subs on the bench. Ruben is also back for this game.

Crystal Palace Team Preview

Palace will be without Gallagher who cannot play against parent club Chelsea. Gallagher has been a big player for Palace and is already lined up to make an impact at Chelsea next season. Guehi has done well at centre back for Palace and is a mainstay for them. Guaita should start in goal with a back four of Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen, and Ward. Schlupp, Hughes, and McArthur should start in midfield. Zaha, Edouard, and Ayew should start up front for Palace. Players like Olise, and Eze can provide plenty of threat with their pace and creativity of the bench or if they start. Benteke, and Mateta are also available. It’s a good team with plenty of pace and there is always a threat.

Starting XI Prediction

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Chelsea return to the bread and butter on Saturday. The problems for Chelsea remain that the players are not clinical enough but hopefully the Club World Cup win is the boost they need. Lukaku scored two and maybe it can spur him on. Chelsea will have to be clinical and tight at the back. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Weekend Football Preview

Some big games this weekend!

Premier League MW 26

West Ham vs. Newcastle

West Ham sit 5th in the table with no games in hand as they take on Newcastle who sit 17th in the table with two games in hand. Newcastle have won their last three games in a row and are unbeaten in their last five. West Ham have only won two of their last five games. West Ham are at a risk of losing ground in the top four race and Newcastle are in good form at the moment. It’s an interesting game for sure. West Ham won the reverse fixture 2-4. 

Arsenal vs. Brentford

A London Derby as 6th placed Arsenal have three games in hand and sit four points behind United who sit 4th. Brentford sit 14th in the table with no games in hand and ended their losing streak last weekend with a draw. Arsenal should win this game but Brentford need to start winning if they want to not get dragged into a relegation battle. Brentford won the reverse fixture 2-0. 

Brighton vs. Burnley

9th placed Brighton have one game in hand as they take on Burnley who sit bottom of the league and have four games in hand. Burnley sit seven points from safety and lost last weekend. Brighton only have one win in their last five games but also only one loss. An interesting game both teams will want to win it. Brighton won the reverse fixture 1-2. 

Liverpool vs. Norwich

Liverpool sit 2nd in the table having won their last four, with one game in hand and sitting 9 points behind Man City. Norwich sit 18th in the table with one game in hand and four points from safety. This should be a straight forward win for Liverpool. Liverpool won the reverse fixture 0-3. 

Southampton vs. Everton

Southampton sit 10th in the table with one game in hand with one loss in their last five games. Everton sit 16th in the table with three games in hand and finally ended their losing streak as Lampard got his first win last weekend. It’s a big game for Everton in terms of the relegation race while Southampton will want to try and get into Europe. An exciting game expected. Everton beat Southampton 3-1 in the reverse fixture.

Aston Villa vs. Watford

12th placed Villa only have one win in their last five games and have two games in hand as they take on Watford who sit 19th in the table with no wins and two games in hand. Villa need to win this game as Gerrad goes through a slight slump while the pressure is on Watford in every game. Watford beat Villa 3-2 in the reverse fixture. 

Man City vs. Tottenham

City sit 9 points clear at the top with no games in hand having won four of their last five as they take on Spurs who sit 8th with three games in hand and having lost their last three. I would love to say that Spurs could make this game interesting and City could drop points but there is very litte chance of that happening. City should win this game and Conte will have lost four in a row. If Spurs get something out of this game it would be a great point or three for them. Spurs won the reverse fixture 1-0. 

Leeds vs. Man United

Leeds sit 15th in the table and have not won any of their last three games having two games in hand. United sit 4th with no games in hand and are unbeaten in their last five. This should be a straight forward win for United as they usually beat Leeds. United won the reverse fixture 5-1. 

Wolverhampton vs. Leicester

Wolves sit 7th in the table with two games in hand and have lost only one of their last five games. Leicester sit 11th in the table with three games in hand but only have one win in their last five games. Two teams on the opposite sides of the form spectrum. In current form Wolves should win this game and the pressure is on Leicester to perform. Leicester won the reverse fixture 1-0. 

La Liga MW 25

Villarreal travel to Granada, Atletico travel to Osasuna, Real Madrid take on Alaves, Sevilla travel to Espanyol, Barceloan travel to Valencia, Betis take on Mallorca, and Real Sociedad travel to Bilbao. Real Madrid sit four points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla, Betis and Barcelona making up the top four. Atletico, Sociedad, Villarreal, make up the teams behind them. The race is heating up and Real Madrid are going through a slump in form at the moment. It will be interesting to see if their are more slip ups. 

Serie MW 26

Juventus take on Torino in a derby, Roma take on Verona, Milan travel to Salernitana, Atalanta travel to Fiorentina, Inter take on Sassuolo, Lazio travel to Udinese, and Napoli travel to Cagliari. Milan sit at the top a point clear of Inter but Inter have a game in hand. Napoli and Juventus make up the top four. A
Atalanta, Lazio, and Roma make up the teams behind them. Another very close and interesting race, and it’s a weekend where there could be some slip ups. 

Bundesliga MW 23

Leverkusen travel to Mainz, Wolfsburg take on Hoffenheim, Frankfurt travel to Koln, Bayern take on Furth, Dortmund take on Monchengladbach, and Leipzig travel to Hertha Berlin. Bayern sit six points clear at the top of the table with Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Leipzig making up the top four. Bayern and Dortmund are going though a slump in form at the moment but Bayern should still remain clear in this race. 

Ligue MW 25

Lille take on Metz, Lyon travel to Lens, PSG travel to Nantes, Nice take on Angers, Monaco travel to Bordeaux, and Marseille take on Clermont. PSG sit 13 points clear with Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg making up the top four. Monaco, and Lyon are playing catch up. The title race is over in this league but the rest are trying to get into the Champions League places. 

Midweek Football Preview

THE CHAMPIONS!!!

Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg

Paris Saint Germain vs. Real Madrid

One of the standout fixtures of this round as PSG take on Real Madrid. PSG have won seven drawn two and lost one of their games since their last group stage game. Real Madrid have won eight, drawn three, and lost two of their games. A pretty similar track record as both teams lead their respective leagues as well. PSG I feel are flattering to decieve at the moment sitting 13 points clear in Ligue 1 while Real have entered 2022 in inconsistent form. There are no away goals so it should encourage teams to go all out in both legs. This is what Messi was bought for and he has been in good form recently. It will be a very interesting game but over two legs I think Real Madrid will beat PSG. 

Sporting Lisbon vs. Man City

Sporting sit 2nd in the Portguese league as they take on Premier League leaders Man City. Sporting have won 11, drawn one, and lost two of their games. Man City have won 11, and drawn one of their games. City are the clear favourties without a doubt and they should progress easily over two legs. Sporting always stand a chance but I doubt they get anything over two legs. 

RB Salzburg vs. Bayern Munich

Austrian leaders RB Salzburg take on German leaders Bayern Munich in this fixture. RB have won six, and lost one of their games since the group stage while Bayern have won six and lost two of their games since the group stage. Similar to Man City I doubt Bayern Munich will face any problems over two legs against Salzburg. Bayern have not started the new year in great form having lost two games but overall they will have enough. Salzburg have nothing to lose and should go for it. 

Inter Milan vs. Liverpool

Inter sit 2nd in Serie A as they take on Liverpool who sit 2nd in the Premier League. Inter have won eight, drawn two and lost one of their games since the group stage while Liverpool have won ten, drawn three, and lost one of their games. More or less two evenly matched teams but of course Liverpool being the Premier League team are favoured in this fixture. I don’t think it’s going to be that simple and I think Inter have a case to upset the odds in this round. Inter will have to be strong defensively and take their chances. The result can go either way and Liverpool are the favourites but I think Inter could cause a shock over two legs. 

Premier League (Game in hand)

Man United vs. Brighton

Man United play their game in hand with Brighton during the week. United sit 5th in the table and a win would take them into 4th two points above West Ham. Brighton sit 9th in the table and a win could potentially take them up to 8th and within four points of United. Both teams are unbeaten in their last five fixtures with two wins and three draws. United are for sure the team under pressure at the moment and the result can go either way. Brighton have done well against the traditional top six this season. I think Brighton can get something out of this game.

La Liga (Game in hand)

Atletico take on Levante as they play their game in hand. A win for Atletico would take them into 4th above Barcelona and a point behind 3rd placed Betis. Levante sit bottom of the table and it should be an easy win for Atletico. 

Chelsea vs. Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Preview

Massive final for Chelsea!

Chelsea will take on Brazilian team Palmeiras in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup final on Saturday. Palmeiras beat Al Ahly 2-0 in their semi-final and will have several thousands of fans in the stadium supporting them. Chelsea seem to have the rest of Brazil supporting them so I guess it’s not that bad for the Blues. This is the teams first outing in the Club World Cup and their first appearance in the final. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Al-Hilal 0-1 on Wednesday. It was a close game but Chelsea pulled through thanks to a goal from Lukaku in the 1st half. Chelsea will be playing their 2nd Club World Cup final having lost the first one to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2012. It is is the only trophy that is missing from the cabinet at Chelsea and if the Blues win it they would have completed the set of all available trophies to an English Premier League club. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea have the full squad available with the only exceptions beind Reece James and Ben Chilwell. Mendy is back in training and was on the bench against Al-Hilal. Kepa has been outstanding while Mendy has been at AFCON. Some would say that the Spaniard deserves to start in the final but I would say start Mendy. Fans are fickle and if a long range effort went in that Kepa could not save then everyone would blame him. Chelsea are blessed with two goalkeepers that are high on confidence so start Mendy and bring Kepa on if the game goes to penalties which hopefully it does not.

Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger should start in defence while I would start Azpiicueta and Sarr as the wing backs. Christensen and Alonso could start but I would be worried with Alonso and his lack of pace against Brazilians. Jorginho and Kovacic should start in midfield with a front three of Havertz, Lukaku and Ziyech. I personally would start Havertz ahead of Lukaku and bring in Mount but I doubt the Belgian will get dropped. The front three did well against Al-Hilal and I think the wingers should keep their place. Again Chelsea could go with a back four as well in which case we could see Mount come in for one of the centre backs. It should be a strong lineup regardless.

Palmeiras Team Preview

Palmeiras just began their new season this year. Last season their top scorer was Veiga while Rony and Willian also finished with 10+ goals. Scarpa was their highest creator with 20 assists last season. This season having played five games Dudu is their highest goal scorer with three goals. Veiga has the most assists with three. I wouldn’t say I know much about Palmeiras but they are a strong and pacy team that love attacking. Weverton should be their goalkeeper with a back four of Rocha, Gomez, Luan, and Piquerez. Danilo and Ze Rafael should make up their midfield with Dudu, Veiga, and Scarpa starting up front behind Rony who is their striker. The front four by all means look lethal and that is where the danger lies with Palmeiras. Abel Fereira is their manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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This trophy means a lot for Chelsea fans. These players would be making history if they won it for the first time for the club. There seems to be welcome news that Thomas Tuchel might make it for the final which will be great for the whole team. Palmeiras won’t be an easy team by any means and their fans will be as vocal as ever, but Chelsea know what they need to do. The most important thing is to be clinical in front of goal. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Weekend Football Preview

The games keep rolling on!

Premier League MW 25

Man United vs. Southampton

6th placed United have one game in hand and sit a point from top four. United are unbeaten in their last four but have only won two of those games. Southampton sit 10th in the table with one game in hand and have only lost one of their last five games. This should be an interesting early kick off and Southampton are coming off of an impressive win at Spurs. The result could go either way but there is pressure on United. The reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw. 

Watford vs. Brighton

19th placed Watford have two games in hand and sit three points from safety as they take on Brighton who sit 9th in the table and have two games in hand as well. Watford are winless in recent games while Brighton have drawn four of their last five games. More pressure on Watford in this game but Brighton fans will want to win as well. Brighton beat Watford 2-0 in the reverse fixture. 

Brentford vs. Crystal Palace

Another London Derby as Brentford take on Palace. Brentford sit 14th in the table and have lost their last six in a row. Palace sit 13th in the table and have only one win in their last five games. Palace have one game in hand. If Palace win then Brentford will find themselves right in the middle of a relegation race. We could see the debut of Christian Eriksen as well for Brentford. A high stakes game for the home team. The reverse fixture was a 0-0 draw. 

Everton vs. Leeds

16th placed Everton have three games in hand as they take on Leeds who sit 15th in the table with two games in hand and four points above Everton. Everton have lost their last four while Leeds have two wins in their last five games. The pressure is already on Lampard after that loss to Newcastle and this would be a massive three points in their race for survival. A big game for the home team. The reverse fixture was a 2-2 draw.

Norwich vs. Man City

Norwich sit 18th in the table with one game in hand and a point from safety. They take on City who sit 9 points clear at the top of the table. City should win this game comfortably even though Norwich are unbeaten in their last three. City won 5-0 in the reverse fixture. 

Tottenham vs. Wolverhampton

7th placed Spurs sit 6 points from 4th as and have three games in hand as they take on Wolves who sit 8th two points behind Spurs with two games in hand. Spurs have lost their last two while Wolves lost to Arsenal. A big game for both teams in terms of the race for top four. Spurs won the reverse fixture 0-1.

Newcastle vs. Aston Villa

Newcastle sit 17th in the table and are unbeaten in their last four with two games in hand as they take on Villa who sit 11th and are unbeaten in their last three wth two games in hand as well. Newcastle got a big win against Everton and will face a similar if not tougher task against Villa. Another big game for the home team. Villa won the reverse fixture 2-0. 

Burnley vs. Liverpool

Bottom of the table Burnley have drawn their last three games and have four games in hand as they take on Liverpool who sit 2nd with a game in hand. Liverpool should win this game comfortably. Liverpool won the reverse fixture 2-0. 

Leicester vs. West Ham

Leicester sit 12th and have three games in hand having won only one of their last five games. Their is plenty of pressure on Rodgers at the moment to start winning games. West Ham sit 4th and have won three of their last five games. It’s a big game for both teams. West Ham won the reverse fixture 4-1. 

La Liga MW 24

Sevilla take on Elche, Villarreal welcome Real Madrid, Atletico take on Getafe, Real Sociedad take on Granada, and Barcelona travel to Espanyol. Real Madrid sit six points clear at the top of the table while Sevilla, Betis, and Barcelona make up the top four. Atletico sit 5th in the table, Villarreal sit 6th and Real Sociedad sit 7th in the table. Real Madrid are leading the race in Spain at the moment but the teams around them are doing well to keep up. 

Serie MW 25

Lazio take on Bologna, Napoli take on Inter, Milan take on Sampdoria, Roma travel to Sassuolo, and Juventus travel to Atalanta. Inter sit a point clear of Napoli and Milan while Juventus sit 4th. Atalanta, Lazio, and Roma all follow the rest. The closest race in Europe at the moment and an entertaining one. Another big game with Napoli taking on Inter and maybe Milan can take advantage. A very interesting weekend.

Bundesliga MW 22

Leipzig take on Koln, Bayern travel to Bochum, Frankfurt take on Wolfsburg, Leverkusen take on Stuttgart, and Dortmund travel to Union Berlin. Bayern sit 9 points clear at the top of the table with Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Union Berlin making up the top four. Leipzig sit 7th in the table. Bayern are running away with the title once again and no one looks likely of catching them.

Ligue MW 24

PSG take on Rennes, Lille travel to Montpellier, Lyon welcome Nice, Monaco take on Lorient, and Marseille travel to Metz. PSG sit 13 points clear at the top of the table and are heading towards regaining their title. Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg make up the top four. Monaco sit 6th in the table. The top four race is interesting but the rest is a foregone conclusion. 

Al-Hilal vs. Chelsea Club World Cup Semi-Final Preview

Another trophy to win!

Chelsea will take part in the semi-final of the Club World Cup on Wednesday as they take on Saudi Arabian team Al-Hilal. The londoners have been in Abu Dhabi for the last few days and have had a mid season camp of sorts with warm weather training. The Club World Cup is no friendly tournament though and Chelsea have lost the final once before in 2013. Al-Hilal are the opposition and are managed by former Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim. 

Al-Hilal have won four of their last five games and beat Al Jazira 6-1 to get into the semi-final. They are in no way a team to take lightly for Chelsea and it seems that Tuchel and the players know that. Tuchel himself won’t be present for this game as he continues to isolate in London. Chelsea are hoping that he might make it for the final or 3rd placed game. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Plymouth Argyle at the weekend. It wasn’t the greatest of games and it took 120 minutes for Chelsea to get past the Championship team. The Blues were not poor but it was another game where there was no cutting edge up front. The only attacking player that seemed to play the whole game at a good level was Hakim Ziyech. The winger continues to thrive in Chelsea’s formation switch. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea will have Edouard Mendy back in the fold after he was crowned an Africa Cup of Nations champions with Senegal on Sunday. It is yet to be seen whether he will start the game though. For safety I will say Kepa will probably start. Mount was also touch and go but has returned to training recently. Chelsea should revert to a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger for this game. Hudson-Odoi, and Sarr should start as the wing backs with Kovacic, and Kante in midfield. Mount, Ziyech, and Havertz should start up front. 

Tuchel could of course start with a back four with Sarr probably starting on the left but Al-Hilal are a pacy team with plenty of attacking talent. I wouldn’t start Lukaku either because he was far from decent at the weekend. There are several options and I think the lineup above could easily transition to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 with Chalobah and Sarr playing as full backs. It’s a solid team either way. 

Al-Hilal Team Preview

Al-Maiouf is the goalkeeper with a back four of Abdulhamid, Jang, Al Bulahi, and Al-Shahrani. Kanno, and Cuellar serve as their two sitting midfielders. Up front is where the talent lies in the team. Marega the former FC Porto striker plays as a winger while Pereira who Chelsea fans know all to well from his West Brom days plays as the playmaker. Al-Dawsari plays on the left wing with Ighalo their striker. Ighalo the former Watford and Man United striker has been in fine form this season while all the front four scored against Al Jazira. They have Carrillo on the bench as well. A talented team with a talented manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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The Club World Cup is the missing link for Chelsea as a club. It is the only trophy we have not one and the hunger for all the players should be real. It won’t be an easy game but if Chelsea play at their best level then we should book a place in the final. COME ON CHELSEA!!!