A fascinating weekend of Premier League football has left it tight at the top, with just one point separating the leading five teams in the division. Manchester City still lead the way on 20 points, despite being held by Southampton, while Arsenal and Liverpool occupy the next two spots on goal difference. Chelsea are in fourth on 19 points, ahead of Tottenham on goal difference after their big win over Manchester United, while Jose Mourinho's men are seventh, trailing City by six points and sixth-placed Everton by one. Here we take a look at how the top teams are shaping up after nine games... 1. MANCHESTER CITY: 20pts +11GD How have they started? Six straight wins, including an impressive Manchester derby downing of Jose Mourinho's United, had many thinking Pep Guardiola could well cruise to Premier League glory in his first season in charge of City. However, a surprise 3-3 draw at Celtic in the Champions League was followed by a deserved defeat at Tottenham, and frustrating draws against Everton and Southampton either side of a thrashing at Barcelona. It all adds up to Guardiola's worst run for over seven years. However, City supporters will be quick to point to the standings. Despite their wobble, City remain top of the pile. What challenges do they face? Guardiola's first challenge is to buck this winless trend. A Manchester derby EFL Cup tie on Wednesday would be the perfect time to do it. Defeat to arch rivals United could take this streak beyond a blip and into more serious territory. However, Guardiola remains happy with the way his team are adapting to his methods - he praised their second-half efforts against Southampton and shrugged off John Stones' costly error. The question is, does he have a squad of players capable of consistently matching his high standards? 2. ARSENAL: 20pts +10GD How have they started? Arsene Wenger may be celebrating 20 years in the job, but that didn't stop fierce criticism being thrown his way after a chaotic opening-weekend 4-3 defeat at home to Liverpool. A fortuitous 0-0 at Leicester City next up didn't help matters. But the Gunners have since been on a six-game Premier League winning run, featuring a mix of scintillating attacking play and last-gasp goals. A 0-0 draw at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday, though, was a reminder they still have work to do. What challenges do they face? Arsenal face Tottenham and a trip to Manchester United in a mouth-watering double header either side of the next international break. After defeat to Liverpool and an impressive 3-0 win over Chelsea, those games will act as the next marker of Arsenal's credentials. There has been praise of Wenger's squad this season - perhaps his greatest challenge will be combining and rotating the talented parts to sustain their title challenge right through the campaign. 3. LIVERPOOL: 20pts +9GD How have they started? But for a shock slip-up at Burnley, Liverpool have made a superb start to the Premier League season, thrilling their fans and neutrals alike with their attacking 'heavy metal' football loved by Jurgen Klopp. Tottenham held them to a 1-1 at White Hart Lane and Manchester United shut them down at Anfield last week, but Liverpool remain one of the most exciting teams in the division. Thanks to the construction of their new stand, they have already played away games at Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, while no European football means plenty of time for Klopp to work with his side on the training ground. What challenges do they face? "My only concern with Liverpool is when a team is sitting against them, when a team is waiting for them, they struggle to open them up," said Thierry Henry on Sunday. He could have added set-piece problems, too. The Reds once again came unstuck from a corner-kick routine in their 2-1 win over West Brom on Saturday. However, Henry believes they have an advantage over their rivals, given their away day results so far. 4. CHELSEA: 19pts +10GD How have they started? Antonio Conte got off to a flying start with three wins from three Premier League games but his managerial ability was put to the test after a draw at Swansea was followed by disappointing defeats to title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal. The Italian appears to have come up with the perfect response, though, switching formation to 3-4-3 and getting Eden Hazard firing for wins over Hull City, Leicester City and, impressively, Manchester United What challenges do they face? Conte's next major test will be a double-header with Tottenham and Man City in just over a month's time. In the meantime he'll no doubt spend the majority of his training time with his players refining their 3-4-3 formation. It's a new concept for much of the squad and will take time to perfect - even if the early signs are positive. Conte will also need Diego Costa to stay fit and firing, David Luiz to continue his steady start and Chelsea's young players - who he has been keen to use - to contribute. 5. TOTTENHAM: 19pts +9GD How have they started? Tottenham remain the only team in the Premier League yet to taste defeat and Mauricio Pochettino's tireless young guns have already secured important results with their hard-fought draw against Liverpool and hugely impressive win over previously unbeaten Manchester City. Back-to-back draws with West Brom and Bournemouth have taken some of the shine off from their start, but Spurs have shown they will be in the mix once again this season. What challenges do they face? Spurs have already done well to roll with the blow of losing talisman Harry Kane to injury, with Heung-Min Son stepping up his performances from last season. But Pochettino must find a way to get more from summer signing Vincent Janssen - still searching for his first Spurs goal from open play - while their upcoming fixtures with Leicester and Arsenal will be a further test of their title credentials. 6. EVERTON: 15pts +5GD How have they started? Few would have Everton down as title contenders, but they made a good start to the 2016/17 season under new boss Ronald Koeman, winning four of their first five, after drawing with Tottenham on the opening day. However, two draws and two defeats have followed - including an agonising last-gasp loss at Burnley - to stall their progress. One of those draws came at Man City, though, and Romelu Lukaku - second on the Premier League's top scorers chart with six strikes - has found form, alongside exciting summer signing Yannick Bolasie. What challenges do they face? If Everton are to upset the odds and trouble the Premier League's favourites, they must strike upon a consistency they rarely found under the reign of former boss Roberto Martinez and cannot afford to drop points such as the ones they did against Bournemouth and Burnley. Koeman must also find a way to harness the talents of underperforming Ross Barkley. 7. MAN UTD : 14pts +1GD How have they started? The Jose Mourinho era started well at Manchester United, with three Premier League wins following their Community Shield triumph over Leicester City. However, a Manchester derby defeat at Old Trafford rocked the boat and subsequent losses in the Europa League and at Watford put on the pressure. A convincing 4-1 win over Leicester appeared to get them back on track but a frustrating draw at home to Stoke - when they should have won by six, according to Mourinho - followed. A hotly anticipated Red Monday clash at Anfield finished 0-0 but a humbling on Mourinho's return to Chelsea has heaped importance on Wednesday's EFL Cup game with Man City. What challenges do they face? Numerous. Paul Pogba is yet to consistently find the form which convinced United to pay a world record fee for his services in the summer, while Eric Bailly's injury throws up a question mark at centre-back and the focus on Wayne Rooney's role continues to feature in the conversation. On top of all that, Graeme Souness feels Mourinho is yet to decide upon his strongest XI, while, in the meantime, United have slipped six points adrift of the leaders.
The Weekend presented a couple of breathtaking performances from european clubs while some sides failed to shine. We take a look back into the weekend across the european leagues to highlight some key events. BIG TEAMS FALTER IN EPL This weekend, the big teams in the EPL didn’t find their games easy. While Liverpool and Chelsea won, Tottenham drew at Bournemouth in the early kick-ff, Manchester City drew at home against Southampton while Arsenal had Petr Cech to thank for a draw against Aitor Kranka’s Middlesborough. For Pep Guradiola, he may have come to the realization that he won’t be running away with the title after an impressive start to the season. Manchester United were heavily beaten at the Stamford Bridge and Jose Mourinho will be having sleepless nights on how to improve the performances of his team. His team was heavily outclassed in the contest and while they are just seven points adrift of top spot, it may be beyond reach if the continue like this. DORTMUND LACKS WINNING MENTALITY Thomas Tuchel lambasted his Borussia Dortmund side for the manner of their performance as they scraped a draw at lowly Ingolstadt on Saturday. Tuchel has let it be known publicly that he felt his side's first-half display wasn't befitting of a top-flight team in Germany. 'We were not ready to play in the Bundesliga,' he said. Well, we agree with him. Until the second half, Dortmund showed no zeal or desire to win and Bayern Munich took advantage of their sloppiness with a win. From 3rd position, they are now 6th on the Bundesliga table, please who said EPL is the most competitive league in Europe? LIONEL MESSI SHINES AND LOSES TEMPER Lionel Messi is usually cool and calm on the pitch, he hardly shows emotional outburst but the Valencia fans went over the line on Saturday by throwing objects at Messi and co. The Argentine didn’t take it likely and was caught on camera muttering curses at them. The sad part is that the event overshadowed a brilliant performance by Messi and co on the pitch coming from behind to steal a win late in the game. The Spanish FA should take actions to curb fan’s excesses on match days. MORATA RESCUES REAL MADRID AS ATLETICO MADRID FALTER Birthday boy Alvaro Morata scored the late winner as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao to go top of La Liga in the rain at the Santiago Bernabeu. Morata celebrated his 24th birthday and was given the perfect present by Gareth Bale who crossed from the left with just six minutes left giving the substitute the chance to net the winner. Gorka Iraizoz blocked Morata's first effort but then fell back on the ball and as it squirmed out form beneath him, the forward followed in to make sure. Steven N’Zonzi’s winner 17 minutes from time ended Atletico Madrid’s unbeaten start to the season and sent Sevilla top of La Liga with a 1-0 win at a soggy Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday. N’Zonzi made Sevilla’s second-half dominance count when he slotted home from on-loan Atletico striker Luciano Vietto’s through ball. The visitors ended with 10 men as Koke was shown a second yellow card 13 minutes from time. Suddenly, frm first position, Atletico Madrid is 4th in the league. AC MILAN DOWNS JUVENTUS TO PROVE METTLE Manuel Locatelli's stunning strike earned AC Milan a 1-0 victory over Serie A leaders Juventus, who controversially had a Miralem Pjanic goal ruled out at San Siro. Teenage midfielder Locatelli fired a sensational effort beyond Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in the 65th minute, with Vincenzo Montella's side consequently moving to within two points of their table-topping opponents on his 200th Serie A match as a head coach. Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said AC Milan players influenced the referees to disallow his side's goal in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at the San Siro. And Allegri suggested the officials would have let the goal stand if not for the remonstrations of the Milan players. "They did well to score and we were unlucky," Allegri told Mediaset Premium. "We played well on a technical level and we had scored, but it was disallowed. Well, we are glad the drama is back in Serie A.
His first game as a manager in the English Premier League was against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United. He didn’t look overwhelmed or shaken by the occasion or the record of the opposition. He said, ‘I am the special one’ and he was truly special sweeping two league titles, a Carling cup win and a FA Cup trophy in his first three years. That manager on the touchline 12 years ago was different from the one that took his Manchester United to his old stumping ground. We all know it ended 4-0 against his team. The last time Jose Mourinho’s team lost by such a close margin was against Real Madrid in November, 2010 where he lost 5-0 at the Camp Nou, then he lost to arguably the best ever team in the history of football and while it was painful, it wasn’t a humiliating defeat considering the quality of the opposition. In this week’s game, he lost to a Chelsea side that finished 10th last season and was beaten 3-0 by Arsenal just three weeks ago. In the end, the latest loss of his team is his own fault. Jose Mourinho has been using the 4-2-3-1 formation for over 12 years. He has always been a pragmatist, a man who will do anything to win a game. Right now, it looks like he has lost his winning aura, the never say die attitude his team is known for was not exhibited for a second against the Blues. The players he claimed betrayed him just 10 months ago defeated his new team 4-0, that brings us to the question, who betrayed who? Right now, it looks like Mourinho betrayed his players with his style and ideology. Chelsea played expansive attacking football and could have been leading by more than 2 goals at half-time, such was their dominance. Back to his formation, some of us knew he had no intention to attack or take the game to Chelsea with the inclusion of Mauroune Fellaini in the game at Stamford Bridge. Against Fernabache three days ago, we saw Mata’s brilliant display as the no 10 in the team. We saw Paul Pogba excel alongside Michael Carrick in midfield but even Michael Carrick was not included in the squad to face Chelsea. To be fair, Mauroune Fellaini is not the team’s problem. He is an expert at hacking the opposition’s creative player and breaking up player but as Paul Scholes rightly noted, Manchester United needs more than that from her defensive midfielder. The team needs someone who can also build up the attack from the back like Carrick exhibited on Thursday. Pogba’s influence is limited when he is asked to play in the defensive midfield but Fellaini is not the man. While Mourinho may fear that Carrick at 35 may be overrun by Chelsea rampaging midfield, he could do better than relying on Fellaini. He hasn’t tested Morgan Schneiderlin in that role this season. Henrik Mkhitaryan is another player that will be feeling frustrated by Jose Mourinho’s method. Since the game against Man City last month, he hasn’t been involved in any game for Manchester United. The Armenian has been grossly underutilized this season and Mourinho’s super cautious approach is to blame. At the bridge on Sunday, he probably planned to replicate the template that earned the reds a point at Anfield a few days back but as fate would have it, his team went behind under 40 seconds and Plan was up in the smokes. It was obvious by the 25th minute that Mourinho had no plan B for the game. Bringing in Mata at half time couldn’t salvage anything at the point and one needs to asks, must Mourinho use the rigid depressing 4-2-3-1 formation that most of the other elites team in Europe are gradually discarding? Today, it is quite easy to predict the Portuguese’s formation and line up for a game. Barcelona and Real Madrid use a 4-4-3 formation, Bayern Munich uses a 4-1-4-1 formation same as Man city although Pep tweaks his formation often, Atletico Madrid and Leicester City use a 4-4-2 formation while Conte’s Chelsea just deployed a 3-4-3 formation. Infact, it looks like it is only in the English Premier League that teams stick to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Pep Guardiola who was a midfielder in his career dislikes the formation because it prevents the pivot from having his own space and control in a team but our dear Jose still sticks to it. For a manager who said he was watching different football games during his unwanted sabbatical from the game, it seems the Portuguese did not really watch his own Manchester United so keenly to identify the present faults in the team. If Jose Mourinho is to succeed at Manchester United, he will need to reinvent himself.
As the third goal went in, we saw a side of Pep Guardiola we have never seen before, one of resignation to the impending defeat. His Man City had been thrashed by the Camp Nou giants. For long spells of the game until Claudio Bravo’s red card, it looked like Manchester City had a chance at winning the encounter. We can blame the red card for their defeat but we have seen teams match Barcelona even with 10 men. Examples of such include Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan and Real Madrid, Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea. While arguably Pep Guardiola may be a slightly better manager than Jose Mourinho overall, the Portuguese has an edge in the sense that he can alternate his style to suit different oppositions. Jose Mourinho knows how to instruct his team to attack relentlessly against weaker oppositions while keeping control albeit or park the bus when he feels he is facing a stronger opponent. Deep down while being the boss at Real Madrid, he knew his team wasn’t as strong as that of Barcelona and as such, he defended deep against the Catalans while hitting them on devastating breaks with the influence of Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo, the players who gave him his first trophy as Real’s boss against Barcelona. Guardiola is tactically inflexible, Yes, he extended the success of a glorious school of football. He’s Johann Cryuff’s true heir and perhaps the finest proponent of their possession based tiki-taka football. But his experience at Bayern Munich suggests that he’s only looking to apply the same template wherever he goes. He does not seem to be very capable or keen on bringing in a new philosophy, either because he believes the strategy might still work or that it can actually be applied everywhere. At Bayern, especially in the last season, there has been a new feature of play, crossing from the wings. Especially, in-swinging crosses after cutting in. Credit to him for the success it has got him. However, yet again, he has shown an over-reliance on the tactic. For more than a game and a half, Juventus sorted them out. Benfica too, almost. Ultimately, Atletico Madrid did too, in the first leg especially. Against Man City, his team was pushing their defensive lines forward so as to stifle Barcelona in midfield but the problem with that is that Barcelona under Luis Enrique can play on the break. In the first half of the game, we saw Marc Andre Stergen play the ball over Man City forward and midfield lines to the MSN trio thereby isolating the Messi, Suarez and Neymar with Man City’s defence. Well, that story has never ended well for any opposition. Pep primary principle is to have the advantage in midfield, in both quantity and quality. This is the best idea when playing teams without quick players who can hit your team on the counter but when there are such oppositions, your team could appear vulnerable. We saw how Eto’o, Sneijder and Milito combination hit Pep’s Barcelona easily on three occasions without having to break much sweat. Something similar happened while he was manager of Bayern Munich when Alvaro Morata ran at Bayern’s defence dribbling past three of them beforing setting up Juan Cuardado for an excellent finish. Saul Niguez did something similar against his Bayern in the semi final of last season quarter-final and Andres Iniesta and Messi tried the same trick for Messi’s second goal. To say Pep Guardiola is not good at organizing his defence would be far from the truth but he focuses more on the attacking side of the game which wins all the plaudits when things go right but whenever they falter, most people wonder why the smartest coach in the world can’t do the simple things to neutralize some direct oppositions. Guardiola called Philip Lahm the most intelligent player that he’d ever worked with in his first year at Bayern. Classic man-management? Or maybe he was just being grateful as the formidable right-back had accepted the task of playing the pivot’s role. Guardiola believed that Lahm was only one fit, physically and in terms of talent, to play that demanding role. He brought in Fabregas to replace either Xavi/Iniesta in the XI. It was clear that he couldn’t, that was not his game. Pep failed to tweak anything to suit Fabregas. It is obvious that while he sometimes find the best position for his players like Messi and co, he forces his system on others which doesn’t produce the best result. The man who ruined their chances of winning yesterday, Claudio Bravo, was brought in because he is good with the ball at his feet. The problem is that Bravo can’t adapt to a new league and a new team in just few weeks, as a result of this, it costs them at the Camp Nou and almost cost them against Manchester United few weeks. Pep Guardiola is a great manager, there is no doubt about that but he needs to have a Plan B when his team have issues breaking down strong oppositions who are somehow comfortable without the ball, in essence, he needs to be dynamic.
In the battle of super managers this week, Jurgen Klopp is pitched against Jose Mourinho. Both have faced five times with the German coming out tops on three occasions to the Portuguese’s one. They have also drawn just one game. Of course, the blow out between their rivals is nothing when compared to Pep Guardiola vs Jose Mourinho or Arsene Wenger vs Jose Mourinho which is seen as most as personal. Here we examine the strengths and weaknesses of both managers. For Jose Mourinho, his major strength lies in his bullish dominant ‘US versus the world mentality’ he instills in his players. Whenever he has the players on his side, they can achieve anything. He won the UEFA Champions league with a relatively unknown Porto FC team and an unfancied Inter Milan in 2010. He also won the league in Spain with Real Madrid against Pep Guardiola, a feat no other manager has achieved. He is a reactive rather than proactive manager as seen in his tactics. This helps his team to stop stronger opponents especially with his traditional ‘park the bus’ approach. He sets his team to play counter attacking football and there was no better team in counter attack during his reign at Real Madrid. Mourinho prefers a more disciplined tactical approach and has rarely deviated from his preferred 4-2-3-1 line-up developed at Porto. It has brought him plenty of success, although neutrals and some United fans would not describe the rigid approach as particularly entertaining. Mourinho is also happy to marginalise high-profile players who do not suit his style, with prime examples being Juan Mata at Chelsea and, more recently, Bastian Schweinsteiger. For Jose Mourinho, his greatest strength is also his greatest weakness i.e. his player’s loyalty. Whenever his players stop fighting for him, he tends not to handle the dressing room well. We saw this at Real Madrid and Chelsea. At Real, he stopped speaking with high profile players few months to the end of his tenure. He had problems with Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and even Portuguese compatriots, Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo. At Chelsea, he had issues with Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard, players who were his darling just few months before. The fact that he has never spent more than three years at a club is a source of concern for some as they argue that he can’t keep the winning momentum for years unlike Sir Alex and Carlo Ancelotti. Also, some would argue that he doesn’t know how to play creative football but relies on a strong defence foundation to succeed. Whenever his defence falters, his team struggles. Jurgen Klopp can not compete with Jose Mourinho in terms of trophies despite having a better head to head ratio. The German’s greatest strength is his high intensity style of play. Klopp's high-intensity pressing style dates back to his Dortmund days and the fluid system has resulted in a number of high-scoring games since his Anfield arrival in October 2015. He knows the types of players which suit his methods and is not afraid to leave out or offload those who do not, as demonstrated by Christian Benteke's limited game time last season and subsequent summer transfer. Klopp appears to adopt a more energetic, positive and enthusiastic approach based on his behaviour on the touchline and during interviews. Like Diego Simeone, he knows how to transfer that high energy approach into his players. We can see this in the transformation of players that were particularly meek under Brendan Rodgers especially in the case of Roberto Firmino. The German has had low moments. An example of this is his last season at Dortmund when his team was battling relegation at Christmas though to his credit, by the end of the season, he secured a Europa league spot for them. Also his displays on the touchline do not always help. Against Arseanl at Emirates in the opening game of the season, his team was leading 4-1 and he lost concentration due to over excitement on the touchline. Arsenal scored two goals due to the fact that he got carried away. Also, his teams drops points against teams they have no business dropping them. Some accuse him of focusing too much on the big teams which means his team could be complacent against the smaller ones. The North East derby is on Monday and we can explosive game as both teams will be out for blood. We expect excitement, intensity and flaring tensions. Anything less will be a disappointment.
A couple of mouth-watering clashes will be coming up this weekend . Fansbox18 will be looking at top 5 match ups to look up to 1.) LIVERPOOL VS MANCHESTER UNITED Jurgen Klopp was right when he said a game between Liverpool and Manchester United is never a normal one. They are the two most successful teams in England and they are the joint two highest winners of the English league title and UEFA Champions league among the British teams. While Liverpool has not won the league in 26 years, Manchester United has not been at her best since 2013 when their best ever manager, Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Both teams have been underachievers for some time but make no mistake, it is still a match to watch. This season, Liverpool are under a form of resurgence under Jurgen Klopp. The German manager has really transformed the club into a fearless exciting team and results away at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge is a clear testament of his efforts at reviving the Reds. Right, he has just been awarded the manager of the month for September. For Manchester United, after an impressive start to the season with four consecutive wins, Manchester United had a month to forget with just three victories out of sevcn games played. They lost at home to bitter rivals, Manchester City, away at Feyernood and Stoke City. Their only impressive display came at home against Stoke City. Jose Mourinho will have no excuses if his team fails to deliver at Anfield with the quality of stars at his disposal. Whoever wins gets the bragging rights, It is game on. 2.) CHELSEA VS LEICESTER CITY The defending champions face the former champions. Ordinarily, this would have been a title deciding game in the EPL but the defending Champions is a team that is never likely to win the league again in this decade. We all agree that Leicester City were exceptionally impressive last season but this season hasn’t gone as well. Currently 12th in the EPL table and after losing midfield general, N’golo Kante to their opponents this weekend, they are not expected to pull a surprise by beating Chelsea at home. But we are in the EPL, all bets are off Chelsea hope to continue from where they left off last time out at Hull City. They will hope Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 methods work wonders in a tricky encounter. Having already beaten Leicester City 4-2 in a tough game away in the League Cup, they know this encounter won’t be any easier although they will be happy Leicester City are not as formidable as last year. They will also hope Eden Hazard will continue where he left off for Belgium in their 6-0 thrashing of Gibraltar in the World Cup Qualifiers. Chelsea vs Leicester City will not be the game of the weekend, such is the competitiveness of the EPL but we should expect an interesting game. 3.) NAPOLI VS ROMA Fans and Serie A neutrals alike are surely in for a treat as Napoli and Roma square off in a mammoth tie at the Stadio San Paolo this Saturday. The most eye-catching fixture of the weekend’s Serie A calendar is undoubtedly Napoli vs. Roma at the Stadio San Paolo. With just one point separating the pair after seven rounds, the match is likely to be a close encounter, and it is not just during this season that the two clubs have experienced similar fortunes. Finishing second and third in two out of the three previous campaigns, this pair is united in their futile attempts to close the gap to Juventus, who have won the last five league titles. This summer also saw the Bianconeri snatch a top player from each club, with both Miralem Pjanic and Gonzalo Higuain making the move to Turin. This double-swoop not only served to strengthen the champions, but undoubtedly weakened the squads of both Roma and Napoli, and a four-point gap between first and second place has already emerged. Now, as the sides face each other at this early stage of the season, they may already be looking down the table instead of up. After a shaky start under Frank de Boer, Inter have started to improve and could well be a contender for a Champions League berth. An excellent and richly deserved 2-1 win over Juventus in the Derby d’Italia proved that there could be a lot more to come from the Nerazzurri, and indeed their cross-city rivals Milan have fared better than expected of late under new boss Vincenzo Montella, while Sassuolo, Torino and Fiorentina continue to grow. As their rivals have been steadily improving, both Napoli and Roma have suffered unfortunate setbacks. The latter crashed out of the Champions League to FC Porto back in August, dropping into the Europa League where the potential rewards are much smaller and a punishing schedule is notorious for taking its toll on the squads involved. Whoever wins has a better chance of catching up with Juventus. 4.) OGC NICE VS LYON The league leaders meet former champions, Lyon in the star match of the French league. Most French media expect Nice’s winning run to stop and for other more experienced teams to take over at the top, but they have been thinking that for a month now. Nice has an excellent work rate and will try and pull clear at the top with victory over the very haphazard Lyon. Nice have the best home record in the league where from a possible 15 points they have earned 13 and are unbeaten at home. Indeed Nice remain the only team unbeaten in the league.The good news for Nice was seeing Mario Balotelli’s red card overturned and the Italian who has made a huge impression since joining the club will be available. Mario Balotelli will look to extend a storming start to his Nice career when the Ligue 1 leaders face fifth-placed Lyon on Friday. Balotelli has scored six goals in five games since joining the club and has already declared his desire to win the coveted Ballon D'Or (though we know he is high on something). Lyon has been very inconsistent where they don’t seem able to get a good run going. They looked excellent against St Etienne in their last game but that was at home. Away from home Lyon have won just once all season. The visitors will be boosted by the fact that Alexandre Lacazette has been cleared fit to play after injury but he may start from the bench. 5.) BORUSSIA DORTMUND VS HERTHA BERLIN The second vs the third team in the Bundesliga table. Dortmund suffered their second win of the season on the Matchday 6 by a 2-0 margin to Bayer Leverkusen. The start is not the ideal one their fans have expected this season. But under the current circumstances with at least six first team players still injured, Thomas Tuchel must be a satisfied man as they are just 4 points behind league leaders Bayern Munich. The test gets even tougher on matchday 7 as they welcome the second placed Hertha Berlin, who are playing some excellent football at the moment. Hertha Berlin got back to winning ways against Hamburg after going on for two previous matches without a win. The defeat against Bayern Munich on matchday 4 was followed by a thrilling 3-3 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. Goals from Ibisevic on either halves gave the Berliners a 2-0 win on matchday 7 against Hamburg, which fired them to second place in the table. After six match-days, Dortmund have won 4 and lost 2 and each of the defeats have come away from home. While their three home wins have come with comfortable margin scoring 11 goals in total to 2 conceded. Also, Dortmund’s last league defeat at home has to be dated back to April 2015. An unbeaten run of 41 matches at home with 38 of them being wins. Hertha Berlin’s overall away record is inconsistent. The win against Ingolstadt on the opening week of the current season is their only win in the last 8 away matches in Bundesliga. The statistic analytic are backing the home side for a win, but too many injuries could dent their chances here. Also Hertha have made a brilliant start to the 2016 season. The one thing that both these sides have proved this season is their brilliance in attacking department. As a reason, it is better off looking into the goal markets. Because, we feel there is a good chance of this match swinging to either sides over different periods of play.
The draw of the final tournament of the TOTAL Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 was held on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 in Libreville, here are some numerical highlights of the history of the qualifiers and the Africa Cup of Nations. 1 – Amongst the 16 finalists, Guinea Bissau is the only first timer. They finished in Group E ahead of Congo, Zambia and Guinea Bissau. The presence of the ‘Djurtus’ maintains the record of having a Portuguese speaking country at every edition of the final tournament since 2006. Angola made five successive appearances between 2006 and 2013 with Cape Verde qualifying for the first time in 2013 in South Africa and two years later in Equatorial Guinea. 2 – Two best runners-up, Uganda and Togo from Groups D and A respectively qualified alongside the winners of the 13 groups namely Tunisia (Group A), DR Congo (Group B), Mali (Group C), Burkina Faso (Group D), Guinea Bissau (Group E), Morocco (Group F), Egypt (Group G), Ghana (Group H), Cote d’Ivoire (Group I), Algeria (Group J), Senegal (Group K), Zimbabwe (Group L) and Cameroon (Group M). 3 – The Warriors of Zimbabwe have qualified for the final tournament for only the third time after 2004 and 2006. 4 – Four teams have indigenous coaches - Florent Ibenge (DR Congo), Paulo Torres (Guinea Bissau), Aliou Cisse (Senegal) and Calistus Pasuwa (Zimbabwe). Also four Gabonese cities, Libreville, Oyem, Franceville and Port Gentil will host the finals of the 31st edition from 14 January to 5 February 2017. 7 – The number of goals scored by the top scorer of the qualifiers, Soudani Hilal El Arabi of Algeria. It includes a brace in the 3-1 away win over Lesotho in Maseru on 6 September 2015. Also, the Pharaohs of Egypt are the most successful side in the history of the competition with seven triumphs - 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010. The Egyptians lost 4-2 after extra time to Ethiopia in the final in 1962. 8 – Eight former winners including holders Cote d’Ivoire have qualified for the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. The others are Algeria (1990); Cameroon (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002); Egypt (1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010); Ghana (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982); Morocco (1976); Congo (1968, 1974) and Tunisia (2004). 10 – Ten teams from the last edition in 2015 in Equatorial Guinea have qualified for next year’s finals in Gabon. They are holders Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DR Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Tunisia. 13 – Qualification for 2017 means 13 qualifications in a row for the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia since 1994. Between the period, 1994 to 2015, Tunisia won the title at home beating Morocco in the final in 2004 and losing to South Africa in the final in 1996. 14 – A total of 14 teams have at least once laid their hands of the Holy Grail of African football. They are Egypt (7 times), Ghana & Cameroon (4 times each), Nigeria (3 times), Cote d’Ivoire & DR Congo (2 times each) with the likes of Algeria, Congo, Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Zambia with one title each. 18 – The Teranga Lions of Senegal was the only team to win all six matches during the qualifiers, with a point tally of 18 in Group K. 21 – The number of Red Cards shown during the qualifiers from over 150 matches. 23 – Egypt has qualified for the final tournament the most times, 23, missing out on only eight editions. The full details are 1957, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1970, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2017. 25 – ‘Les Fennecs’ of Algeria scored 25 goals in six matches during the qualifiers, the highest by any team. The 1990 winners let in five goals finishing with a goal difference of 20. 38 – The Cranes of Uganda had to endure a 38-year wait to qualify for the final tournament since their last showing in 1978. Their other appearances at the final tournament were 1962, 1968, 1974 and 1976. 39 – Of the 54 National Associations affiliated to CAF, 39 of them have qualified for the flagship continental football championship at least once since its inception in 1957. They include Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi and Mali. The rest are Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 355 – A total of 355 goals were scored during the qualifiers, an average of 2.5 per match. 444 – The number of yellow cards shown during the qualifiers. Culled from CAF.
Just 180 minutes and a potential penalty shoot-out separate Mamelodi Sundowns and Zamalek from a place at the showpiece event of club football: the FIFA Club World Cup. South African champions Sundowns host the Cairo giants, whose name has already been engraved five times on the trophy, for the first leg of the CAF Champions League final on Saturday. Second time lucky? Sundowns are no rookies when it comes to the championship match, although their first – and to date only – appearance in the final will not conjure up pleasant memories for their fans as they took on Zamalek's city rivals Al Ahly in 2003. After drawing the first leg 1-1 at home, they found the going much tougher in Egypt and lost 3-0. What makes Sundowns progress to the final so spectacular this time around though is the fact that they were literally down and out – twice. In the play-offs for the group phase of the competition, they were knocked out by Congolese club Vita Club. They then continued playing in the play-offs of the CAF Confederation Cup and were again knocked out, this time by Ghanaian team Medeama. Sundowns, however, received an unexpected life-line when Vita Club were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player in a previous round and Sundowns were given their place. Their coach Pitso Mosimane is quick to point out the similarities between his side and Denmark in the UEFA European Championship in 1992, when the Scandinavians had also been eliminated, but received a call to replace Yugoslavia whilst most of their players were already on holiday. “That story had a fairy-tale ending," said Mosimane. "Many of my players were also on holiday when we were reinstated into the competition and there is no reason why our story should not end the same way.” The 'Brazilians', as they are known, go into their game on Saturday on the back of a 3-0 defeat against Wits University in the MTN Cup final last weekend, but South African Footballer of the Year Khama Billiat believes they will have learned something from that loss. “We love learning and we can't choose the way we learn sometimes. That defeat was a wake-up call for us. I'm sure we are ready for anything right now and we don't want to do the same mistake. “We don't want to lose again, it was so hard to digest. But at the end of the day, we don't have much time to cry and mourn. We have to come back and do things right.” The Zimbabwean international says that having beaten the White Knights twice in the group stages could help them. “We knew exactly what to expect and it came out exactly like that. It was easy for us to deal with them. Hopefully, there is not much change because we know them very well, but there is always a surprise on the day.” A similarly long wait If Sundowns' fans have had to endure a long wait to get to the final, Zamalek fans can share their pain. Their last appearance in the final was in 2002, when they won the last of their five titles. Coach Moemen Soliman is aware that adding a sixth will not be an easy undertaking. “We can’t get anything wrong in the coming period; in training, sleeping or nutrition. Everything must be done at a high level. Sundowns is a big, strong team just like Zamalek, and winning the title is possible for either team.” Soliman, who only took over from Mohamed Helmi in July, said that he will resign if Zamalek fail to win the trophy. “If we lose, I’ll resign via phone call, and I will not go to the club for the training sessions so that I don’t embarrass anyone, if this happens.” He received a major boost ahead of the game when defender Ali Fathi, who missed Zamalek's last three Champions League matches through injury, was declared fit. His absence forced Soliman to play Ramzi Khaled and Islam Gamal on the left, but as neither are natural left-back players, Soliman will welcome Fathi's return. Zambian international Emmanuel Mayuka, who joined Zamalek at the beginning of the year, has already tasted continental glory, being in the side that sensationally won the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 2013. He is aware that adding the club title to that will not be easy. “Sundowns are a good team. They play good football. We know that they are a good team. We just have to do our own thing and play our own game. We know that it won’t be easy… We are both in the final, so that means that these are the two best teams in the continent.” Culled from FIFA
The lights from the cameras are now off after more than 200 calendar days of action in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season. It is time to take stock of who did what in terms of numbers in the just-concluded season. Here is a wrap of those very interesting statistics in one piece. 0 - El-Kanemi, Nasarawa United and Niger Tornadoes were the only clubs that recorded no wins on the road through the season. 2 - The NPFL season averaged 2.15 goals per game after 735 goals were scored in 342 matches. 3 - The most away wins of the season by any club were three. Only Enugu Rangers and Rivers United recorded the most wins on the road. 4 - Plateau United and Wikki Tourists were the only teams that managed the longest winning streak, being four successive wins each. 5 - Relegated Ikorodu United endured the longest run of back to back losses of five matches against FC Ifeanyiubah, Akwa United, Nasarawa United, Rivers United and 3SC. 6 - Kano Pillars produced the highest number of goals scored by a team in the game this season when they hit 3SC 6-0 in April. 7 - NPFL champions, Rangers, had the least number of games in which they failed to score. Six of the seven matches in which Rangers failed to score in where on the road at Wolves, El-Kanemi, Plateau United, Wikki, FC Ifeanyiubah and Nasarawa United. Rangers failed to score only against Heartland at home. Rangers also joined Enyimba as the only NPFL clubs to have won more titles than any other sides. Both clubs have won the NPFL seven times apiece. 9 - El-Kanemi were the only team that put up a 100% run at home in the second round of the season. They won all nine of their home matches. 10 - Despite their struggle for survival in the run-in, Abia Warriors put up a string of 10 matches unbeaten streak at the start of the season before Nasarawa United end that run that lasted for 80 days. 11 - Ikorodu United held the longest streak without a win in 11 games. That streak lasted for four months. 15 - Rangers got the most away points of the season. The Flying Antelopes took 15 out of the 54 points available on the road to them. Abia Warriors come close with 12. 16 - Nasarawa United put together the longest winning run at home in the campaign. The Solid Miners won 16 home matches on the spin. El-Kanemi and Rivers United come close with 13 home consecutive wins apiece. 17 - Rivers United goalkeeper Rotimi Sunday had the most clean sheets in the season. He did not concede in 17 matches. 18 - Wikki Tourists striker Godwin Obaje finished the season as leading scorer with 18 goals. 28 - It took Obaje only 28 minutes to score the fastest hat-trick of the season when Wikki defeated 3SC 4-0. 32 - It took Rangers 32 years to end their wait for a first league title. 55 - Enyimba's Christian Pyagbara scored the fastest goal of the season in a time of 55 seconds. He opened scoring in his team's 2-1 win over Warri Wolves on May 29. 63 - This is the number of points which proved just enough to see Rangers crowned champions for the season - three more than Rivers United. culled from supersport.
MATCH - LIVERPOOL VS TOTTENHAM VENUE - ANFIELD DATE- 25TH OCTOBER 2016. TIME- 7;45PM 4TH ROUND EFL CUP. Liverpool welcome Tottenham to Anfield in what is one of three glamour fixtures in the fourth round of the League Cup – the other two being the Manchester derby and a London derby between West Ham United and Chelsea. Liverpool and Tottenham have met once already this season in the Premier League and played out a draw at White Hart Lane. Wednesday's encounter (26 October) however is likely to see both managers' much changed lineups, which will not be their strongest. Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino have both admitted that their squads will be a mixture of experience and youth consisting of players from the academy and the fringes of the first-team. The Reds are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and Klopp will be keen to continue the momentum. Last year's unbeaten finalists will face a difficult task as their opponents are also in good form, having lost just once in all competitions thus far. Danny Ings will make his second appearance this season, as the manager looks to cautiously ease him into the first-team following a long-term injury, while Daniel Sturridge, who has struggled to break into the starting XI this season, is also likely to be given a chance to impress the manager. Tottenham are without Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld for the game against the Reds owing to injury, but the manager is likely to call up a number of academy players, who are on the fringes of the first-team. Cameron Carter-Vickers is likely to return at centre-back alongside Kevin Wimmer, while Tom Carroll and Harry Winks could start in midfield. What managers say: Jurgen Klopp [on Danny Ings]: It's really good. If I was being a little less sensitive I could say that is his job to do, but I am sensitive and I know it is not easy. He takes the situation in a perfect way but it's all for him. But it is all for him. He was a long time injured. He is fit now, everything is good and, with his attitude, all will be good in the end. Mauricio Pochettino:"For me, it's Liverpool against Tottenham. Football is a collective sport. It's true that when you are involved in many competitions like we are, you can see that I rotate the squad in different games. Now it's to assess the team and take a different solution with freshness and compete in a different way. We have Liverpool and then key games like Leicester and Leverkusen. It's important to be clever." Team news: Liverpool Possible XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Can, Lucas, Wijnaldum; Sturridge, Origi, Ings. Tottenham Possible XI: Vorm; Trippier, Wimmer, Carter-Vickers, Davies; Dier, Carroll; Lamela, Winks, Onomah; Janssen.
Chelsea vs Manchester United English Premier League. Date: Sunday, 23rd October, 2016, Kick-off at 16:00 Venue: Stamford Bridge, London. Team News Willian missed their win over Leicester last weekend following the death of his mother and it remains to be seen whether he is in the right frame of mind to return this weekend. Pedro is on standby to retain his place if Antonio Conte is without the Brazilian. Antonio Conte has confirmed that John Terry has overcome an ankle problem and is available. Phil Jones is the only injury concern for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho prepares to return to Chelsea for the first time since being sacked by the club in December. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back in training and fine to play but Mourinho said he lacks match intensity and that should mean he misses out on the chance to start at the weekend. All in all, Mourinho could stick with the same team that earned a 0-0 draw away to Liverpool on Monday. This could see Ashley Young retain his spot in the team after impressing at Anfield, although Anthony Martial is an option after making his return in United's 4-1 win over Fenerbahce on Thursday, in which he scored. Marounane Fellaini could also keep his place in the team, although Juan Mata also impressed in midweek and will want to play against his former club. Wayne Rooney may also return to the bench after starting on Thursday. Prediction Chelsea have won both of their last two matches since changing to a back three and that looks to have given the team a new lease of life. They have also kept a clean sheet in both of those matches but Sunday's clash with Manchester United will serve their new formation its first real test. Jose Mourinho will be desperate to get one over on his former club after being sacked by Chelsea in December. He returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since his dismissal and only the second time ever as the opposition manager. He took his Inter side there in March 2010 and recorded a 1-0 win en route to winning the Champions League with the Serie A giants. United are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions but haven't won at Stamford Bridge since October 2012. The away side cannot afford to drop many more points if they want to challenge for the title this season, which means a win is almost mandatory here. Mourinho and Conte's paths have only crossed on one occasion (Atalanta vs Inter in December 2009) in which the match finished as a draw. That looks like the most likely outcome here, but you wouldn't be surprised to see the 'Special One' enjoy a special return to Chelsea.
Manchester city vs Southampton English Premier League. Date: Sunday, 23rd October, 2016, Kick-off at 13:30 Venue: Etihad Stadium. Team News With Bacary Sagna out and Pablo Zabaleta a doubt, Pep Guardiola could revert to a three-man defence used in the 1-1 draw with Everton last weekend. Fabian Delph is also a doubt, but is closing in on a return to fitness, but Yaya Toure misses out having been suspended by the club. Nolito and Vincent Kompany are both pushing for starts, however may be forced to start from the bench. Shane Long sustained a thigh injury in the midweek 1-0 defeat against Inter and with Nathan Redmond a doubt, club-record signing Sofiane Boufal may make his full debut up front. Florin Gardos, Jeremy Pied and Cedric Soares are all ruled out for the away side. Youngster Sam McQueen could feature at left-back, with Matt Targett and Ryan Bertrand both struggling to overcome hamstring strains. Prediction Manchester City's 4-0 thumping at the hands of Barcelona means they have now failed to win their last four competitive outings and the title favourites need to quickly return to winning ways. With those within touching distance playing on Saturday, City could find themselves in fourth by the time this match kicks off. Southampton, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last four in the league and will be looking to quickly overcome a disappointing 1-0 loss in Milan to Inter on Thursday night. However, they have struggled at City in recent seasons, losing their last five trips to face the two-time Premier League winners. Saints won't make things easy for City, but Pep Guardiola's side have what it takes to return to winning ways here.
Burnley vs Everton English Premier League. Date: Saturday, 22nd October, 2016, Kick-off at 15:00 UK Venue: Turf Moor, Burnley. Burnley will continue their Premier League dream as they host Everton on Saturday afternoon. It’s fair to say that Sean Dyche’s team have been feeling the heat of the competition lately where they claimed just a single win in their last 4 games. Though they are in 14th place in realistic terms the Clarets are just a point away from being dragged into the relegation zone. Now Burnley may have lost all of their away games but at home they have impressed with wins over Liverpool and Watford. They were also heading for a 0-0 result over Arsenal until the Gunners struck with a last minute goal. Everton has been indifferent after getting off to such a positive start in the campaign and they have now gone 3 games without a win. But Ronald Koeman’s side did look better last week when they went to the Etihad Stadium and got a 1-1 draw against league leaders Manchester City. Burnley vs Everton: Head-to-Head Stats Just two matches in recent times have taken place at Turf Moor, with one win a piece, although last season Everton did claim a 3-1 victory here. From the last 4 fixtures Everton has won the last three of them. Burnley vs Everton: Prediction Everton have had a tough four weeks but they seem to be getting through it and should make a positive impact at Burnley. The Toffee men would probably be happy to take a point here and Burnley has proven that they are no pushovers at home. Leighton Baines for Everton was due back this week but has suffered a setback and won’t make the team which will be a blow to the visitors. Burnley vs Everton: Betting Tips Anytime Goal Scorer: Romelu Lukaku of Everton Hammers seem to have gotten back on track in their last 2 games, they are unbeaten in the 2 games with a win and a draw. Their last 5 games have recorded 2 wins, 2 losses and a draw. They will hope to build on their win last weekend as they go into this game. Sunderland have been the worst team so far in the premier league, they are currently languishing in the bottom of the table. Sunderland have failed to win any Premier League this season, they have only 2 points to their name. Sunderland will enter this game from 2-0 defeat Stoke City last weekend that made it their 6th premier league defeat this season. They will be hoping to lift themselves out of the bad spot as they prepare for a win in this fixture.
Arsenal vs Middlesbrough English Premier League. Date: Saturday, 22nd October, 2016, Kick-off at 15:00 UK Venue: Emirates Stadium, London. Arsene Wenger is sure to win the Premier League manager of the month award as Arsenal has been the best team with five wins out of five. They have simply been playing great football and the side are in a very confident mood. This was underlined in mid-week when they destroyed Ludogorets 6-0 in the Champions League at this stadium.As per normal Wenger has his league and Champions League team so we should expect to see Petr Cech back in goal for David Ospina. Granit Xhaka will be suspended for this game after his sending off last week. Middlesbrough couldn’t be any different to the Gunners where they have won just 1 game all season and haven’t tasted victory in their last five games which includes losing 4 of those. After 8 games they are already 13 points behind Arsenal. Middlesbrough has actually performed better on the road than at home but it is still not a great record. They have collected just 2 points from their last 3 away games. The pressure is gradually mounting on Aitor Karanka in the fight to keep his side in the Premier League beyond the current season. Arsenal vs Middlesbrough: Head-to-Head Stats From 10 matches where Arsenal has been at home Boro have won 1 of them and that was at the old Highbury Stadium 12 years ago. The last two fixtures here have ended in the same result of 2-0. It has been a dominant win/draw record for the Gunners. Arsenal v Middlesbrough: Prediction Nothing less than a comfortable Arsenal victory is expected. The only quality side that Boro has faced this season away from home was Everton. And they conceded 3 goals in that encounter. With Arsene Wenger’s boys in fine form, we can expect more of the same from Ozil and co. Arsenal vs Middlesbrough: Betting Tips Leading at 30 minutes- Arsenal
Udinese vs Pescara Venue – Stadio Olimpico Date – Sunday, 23rd Oct, 2016 Time – 14:00 After five winless weeks each, Udinese and Pescara are now lurking just off the relegation spots, struggling in 16th and 17th position respectively. The hosts are looking to leapfrog the Delfini, desperate to kick off a dismal start to the season which has already cost Beppe Iachini his job. The Zebrette showed more resilience under newly appointed Luigi Del Neri to make life difficult for Juventus last week, but ultimately suffered a 2-1 defeat in his first League game, making it three consecutive losses for the Friulians. Del Neri must now stabilise a side that finished a point away from relegation last season and change the fortunes at a club appearing perilously close to the drop zone once again. Lacking in front of goal has been the main concern and with key players such as Ewandro, Emil Hallfredsson, Panagiotis Kone, Silvan Widmer and Emmanuel Badu all missing. Anything other than three points against a promoted side could hike some early pressure for the new boss on all fronts. Despite the two sides being level on points, Pescara Coach Massimo Oddo has a very different remit. Oddo just needs to keep Pescara in Serie A to consider this season a success, and the Biancazzurri have already been involved in some controversial yet enthralling matches. The drama continued against Sampdoria with Andrea Coda being sent off from two bookable offences before half time. Gianluca Caprari then missed a golden opportunity after the break to win the game from the spot, resulting in a 1-1 stalemate. The Delfini have now failed to convert any of their penalties so far this season, but remain a lively team to watch. Pescara are also shy in front of goal with just three goals in their past six outings. An inspired performance from the forwards is most definitely required if either side is to have a win to their name once the final whistle blows on Sunday afternoon. Keep an eye on: Ahmed Benali (Pescara) — The Manchester born Libyan international has become an integral figure at the heart of the attack for Pescara. So much depends on whether Benali or Caprari can create any clear-cut chances from attacking midfield roles within this teams’ possession-based style which can often be hit and miss. Form Guide: Udinese (L L L D L) Pescara (D L D D L) Last season: Not played Stat fact: Pescara have visited Udinese three times in the top flight and lost all of them. Top Tip: First half 0-0 Udinese (probable): Karnezis; Heurtaux, Danilo, Felipe, Armero; Fofana, Kums, Jankto; De Paul; Zapata, Thereau Suspended: None Pescara (probable): Bizzarri; Vitturini, Campagnaro, Fornasier, Biraghi; Memushaj, Aquilani, Brugman; Benali, Caprari; Bahebeck Suspended: Coda, Aldegani
Liverpool vs West Brom English Premier League. Date: Saturday, 22nd October, 2016, Kick-off at 17:30 Venue: Anfield, Liverpool. Liverpool will look to continue their superb form in the Premier League when they welcome West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on Saturday evening. Liverpool played out a goalless draw against Manchester United on Monday night, both sides were unable to get a goal. Liverpool will enter this game from an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions with 2 draws and 6 wins. Liverpool are currently 4th in the table with 17points, they are just 2 points away from the leaders Manchester City. They will hope to continue their unbeaten run as they entertain West Brom at Anfield. Meanwhile, West Brom will enter this game from a 3-game consecutive 1-1 draw. They are in 12th position in the League table with 10 points from 8 games. If they were able to convert their past draw to win, they would be somewhere near Chelsea in the table. However, they are currently unbeaten in their last 4 Premier League games, and will hope to get at least a draw in this game. Liverpool vs West Brom: Head to Head statistics The last three meetings between Liverpool and West Brom have all ended in stalemates. The paid of meetings of last season saw a 1-1 score line at The Hawthorns and 2-2 at Anfield. Liverpool are coming on the back of a three match unbeaten run against West Brom with 2 wins and a draw. While the Baggies have managed back-to-back wins in their previous two visits to Anfield. However, those two wins remain their only wins in the last 10 away matches against Liverpool. Manager’s quote Asked if United offered good preparation for Pulis’s side, Jurgen klopp answered: “Yes, partly. We all know we have had to watch out for a few problems that we had last season, although we are not suffering from the same amount.” “We are a football-playing side and Manchester United were more physical and stronger than we were with a lot of tall players,” Klopp said. Liverpool vs West Brom: Prediction Liverpool are huge favourites in this game, they are also the better team consisting their Head to Head stat. They have a very good performance with 4 wins and a draw to in their last 5. They will hope to for a win in this fixture to add to their unbeaten run. All odds are against West Brom and a win for them in this game will be a miracle. Liverpool vs West Brom: Prediction Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 goals