So another weekend is knocking at our doors.It is the “squeaky bum time” of the season with teams vying up for the euphoria of the league titles or the elusive Champions League spots or the desperate attemptto stay in the top tier next season.For few clubs,Europa leaguerepresents a solid progress and for some a solid league positionindicates stability.With less than two months to go before the seasonends it is crunch time.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
Another big match day weekend, in fact,which isn’t,going by the thrill andunpredictability of the Premier League.All the focus will be on thered letter Sunday when the Reds of Merseyside travel down the M62 toOld Trafford and North London renew their hostilities,but there are a
few crunch games on Saturday too.
Hull City vs Manchester City
Manchester City are in real danger offinishing the season with only the League Cup.It’s never easy to winall the games in hand at this period.What is concerning for them istheir strikers have gone off the boil,and the team looks like peakedtoo early.Hull are having a great season,but am going for a narrow winfor Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Everton vs Cardiff City
Everton are having a tough time off late,andfrom being in a good position to push for a 4th spot they are fightingfor a 6th place in what has been a good season for the Toffees.Cardiff
got a huge win last weekend,but Goodison Park is a tough venue tovisit.
Fulham vs Newcastle United
Fulham are in a mire,and there is nothingmuch Felix Magath can do anything new as he is new to theleague.Newcastle have had a up and down season and are slowly gettingsome form back after a wretched month.
Southampton vs Norwich City
Norwich are in danger.They have to pick uppoints in these games,as they have a nightmare last 4 games vsLiverpool,Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.Southampton don’thave much
to play for,as they’ll definitely finish in top 10, but for theirEngland hopefuls the season is still on.
Stoke vs West Ham United
Stoke are having a typical solid season inmid table,and Mark Hughes has done a good job and has improved theirstyle of play and have beaten Manchester United,Chelsea and Arsenal at
home.West Ham are in decent form and are set to be safe.
Sunderland vs Crystal Palace
Sunderland had a great time in theCups,and now it’s the matter of survival.2 of the 3 games they have inhand are at Anfield and Etihad,so these are the games they mustwin.These two sides have improved under their new managers and willcontinue to fight till the last day
Swansea vs WBA
Gary Monk has done a good job since taking over fromMichael Laudrup,and they should be safe.WBA are still to win underPepe Mel and are the off form team in the league.
Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Chelsea are in “cruise Mourinho” mode,as they keep on churning wins.Forget all the talk of “we are not favorites”,Chelsea re indeed the favorites now.Villa are in decent form and the key to them is their forwards in form,but I can’t see anything other than a Chelsea win, even though Jose Mourinho has never won at Villa Park in the league.
Manchester United vs Liverpool
Robin Van Persie’s commitment will boost United ahead of this pivotal period,but Liverpool have been far better than them this season.United need to be at their best defensively for Luis Suarez,Raheem Sterling,Phil Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge can create havoc.If the Merseysiders score first,its a nailed on win for them.
Tottenham vs Arsenal
Tottenham has got to start again next season with a new manager and new players.They will be going to the derby in absymal form,but still i think they will get a draw which won’t do good for either team.
SPANISH LA LIGA
Malaga vs Real Madrid
This is a big game for Real Madrid,as they face Barcelona next.A win here will put them in good stead ahead of the “Classico”.I think they will put their best team,as the 2nd leg vs Schalke at the Bernabeu will be a formality
Atletico Madrid vs Espanyol
Atletico Madrid had a tough run,but they have bounced back to claim 2nd place in La Liga and a quarter final berth in Champions League.They dropped points in the return fixture,but I am going for a home win.
Barcelona vs Osasuna
Barcelona can’t drop any more points as they visit the Bernabeu next Saturday.I think they will be confident after beating Manchester City,but i can’t see them winning La Liga.
Hellas Verona vs Inter Milan
This is a key game for the 5th place spot.Inter are in good form,but it has been a terrific season for the Verona.
Milan vs Parma
Even Europa league looks a distant dream for the Rossenori,but I think it will do them good next season.Parma have surprised everyone this season,and am going for a draw.
Genoa vs Juventus
Juventus are well placed for another league title,and I think they are more concerned about the Europa League 2nd leg vs Fiorentina.But they should have enough to win.
Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Monchengladbach
Dortmund have lost their way this season in the Bundesliga,but they were never going to win it this season,and the defeat to Bayern at home was a massive blow.Monchengladbach have good youngsters and are having a solid season,but Dortmund must win to stay ahead of Leverkusen which is lurking.
Bayern Munich vs Bayer Leverkusen
Such is the Bundesliga now that the Champions league is the only test for Pep Guardiola’smen.Throw anything at them in Germany,they will win.
-Ricky Jana [Ricky is a Football Analyst with Sportz Cosmos. You can reach him at the gmail id: sportzcosmos]