The Premier League might not be the home of the world’s best players, it may not boast the technical proficiencies of their Spanish counterpart, but it has something no other league has-the endless and infinite thrills provided not only on the top of the table, but the other end of the spectrum too. The top 4 sides separated by only 6 points, with everyone bar Chelsea having games in hand promises to go right to the final day. If the Manchester duel of 2011-12 was exhilarating, this one promises to be a bigger humdinger. Last week we had twists and turns provided in the title race and desperate attempts to survive and it is set to continue.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
Chelsea vs Arsenal
The South West London side has a stronghold over their North London rivals, but this is the most important derby involving these 2 sides since the Special One landed in the English shores. Chelsea suffered a blow last weekend losing to Aston Villa, but the bigger disappointment will be losing Willian and Ramires for this pivotal fixture. Arsenal showed their title ambitions and new strength of resilience overcoming Spurs last weekend, but this won’t be an easy game at all. These are the games Jose Mourinho has for breakfast, he relishes them and his record at Stamford Bridge speaks for itself. I am going for a tense close nervy home win.
Cardiff City vs Liverpool
Cardiff were unlucky to lose at Everton last weekend, but things go against you when you are at the wrong end of the table. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is trying his best, but replacing Malky Mackay with a novice in Premier League management was always a risky option. Liverpool are the most improved side since last season, and the pace, movement and confidence of the Merseysiders will be too much for the Bluebirds.
Manchester City vs Fulham
Manchester City’s victory over Hull last weekend showed why they are among the favorites for the title. It wasn’t petty and eye catching, but they were never in danger after being reduced to 10 men after 10 minutes in a tricky fixture and came out comfortable winners. Fulham are in trouble even though they beat Newcastle, but this has a comfortable home win written all over it.
West Ham United vs Manchester United
West Ham were in trouble in January, but credit to their owners who stuck by Sam Allardyce, a proven manager in the league and they are set to play next season in this league. Manchester United had a big result on Wednesday, but that wasn’t a turnaround as Olympiakos were an average side, and United are a couple of bad results away from piling on more pressure on David Moyes. United are out of the top 4 race, but can still qualify for Europa league and I think David Moyes will be looking for a good end to the season and will take Europa League, no matter how much the fans want to avoid it.
Tottenham Hotspurs vs Southampton
Spurs are in a mess. Poor form and injuries have ravaged them. The Europa League does them no favors, yet they look like heading there next season. I think they will start again next season with a new manager and new players, with all their new signings except Christian Eriksen enduring disappointing seasons. Southampton will be lively because of their English contingent who will be desperate to go to Brazil.
The La Liga is the best league in the world. Technically astute, it has the world’s best players and their top 3 sides are just irresistible and their success in Champions League is a reminder why it is the best league in the world. It is a big weekend in Spain, with the Clasico being the focus and which will have a big say in the final standings while Atletico Madrid continue their quest for the title.
Real Betis vs Atletico Madrid
Real Betis are at the bottom of the La Liga table, and being in Europa League is the last thing you want. Atletico Madrid are the most improved side in Europe-it is never easy to compete with the riches of Real Madrid and Barcelona and that they are still in the title race shows how good they are. Also that they are flying in the Champions League is a testament to Diego Simeone.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona
Barcelona have to win to have any hopes of winning the La Liga. Lose and they go 7 points behind which will be impossible to surmount with only a handful of games remaining. Real Madrid are in a rich vein of form, but form hardly matters in this fixture. The whole world will be glued to this fixture as a constellation of stars will be battling for supremacy. However I think Real Madrid will have too much for Barcelona.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Catania vs Juventus
The Bianconeri are a ruthless and efficient machine which keeps on winning. They might not play attractive football like Real Madrid or Barcelona or Bayern Munich, but they are like the Chelsea sides of mid 2000s. Another 3 points for the Turin Giants and they are romping towards the title.
Inter vs Atlanta
Lazio vs Milan
Milan are in horrendous form, and their decline had been coming for quite some time. I think they will sell Mario Balotelli in the summer, they can’t afford him and he will have plenty of suitors. I think they will have a better next season with no European involvement.
Hannover vs Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund are in wretched form with their entire defense decimated by injuries and key midfielders like IlkayGundogan and Bender sidelined with injuries. This has been a tough season for them, and they face an almighty battle for the 2nd spot.
Mainz vs Bayern Munich-
Bayern were severely tested vs Leverkusen, but still found a way to come back with 3 points. That is the hall mark of great sides. Mainz are 5th in the table, been a good season for them but there is only 1 winner here.
-Ricky Jana [Ricky is a Football Analyst with Sportz Cosmos. You can reach him at the gmail id: sportzcosmos]