European football weekend preview26th Jan 2018 |
Yeovil Town v Manchester United (FA Cup)
Yeovil Town are fighting relegation in League Two this season, but their survival bid has been put on hold ahead of Manchester United’s visit to Huish Park in the FA Cup fourth round. The neutrals will be hoping for an upset, but the Red Devils – who could include new signing Alexis Sanchez in their starting XI – will almost certainly get the job done against fourth-tier opposition. Jose Mourinho’s men may take their foot of the gas once they have gone ahead, though, which is why I like the look of an away win in a game featuring fewer than 2.5 goals.
Marseille v Monaco (Ligue 1)
There is no doubt PSG will win the Ligue 1 title this season, but the tussle for second spot in France’s top flight is exciting. Marseille and Monaco are two of the teams involved and they go head-to-head at the Stade Velodrome under the floodlights on Sunday night. The hosts are in better form than the defending champions and therefore start as favourites, but Monaco have plenty of quality within their ranks and should not be written off. These two sides are among the highest goal-getters in France, which is why I fancy both teams to score in the second half, when the game should open up.
Liverpool v West Brom (FA Cup)
The last fortnight featured both the best and worst of Liverpool: after becoming the first English team to inflict defeat on Premier League leaders Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp’s side came unstuck against last-placed Swansea City on Monday night. West Brom have shown a few signs of improvement under Alan Pardew in recent weeks, but they will probably struggle to get a result at Anfield. At odds of 29/4, it could be worth a flutter on a 3-0 home triumph.
Milan v Lazio (Serie A)
The standout fixture of the Serie A weekend takes place at San Siro, where in-form Lazio take on hosts Milan. The Rossoneri have struggled for much of the campaign up to now, but back-to-back wins under Gennaro Gattuso have offered hope for the remainder of the season. Lazio, conversely, have exceeded expectations so far in 2017/18, with their return of 56 goals in 21 games more than any other side have managed in Serie A. For that reason, the 27/10 on Lazio to find the net in both halves is appealing.
Barcelona v Alaves (La Liga)
It may only be January, but Barcelona have essentially wrapped up the Spanish title already – the Blaugrana are 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and have a 19-point buffer above reigning champions Real Madrid. Alaves will therefore travel to Camp Nou more in hope than expectation on Sunday night, even if they themselves could do with the points as they attempt to keep clear of the drop zone. Luis Suarez has returned to form in recent weeks, scoring nine goals in his last six La Liga outings, and should continue his hot streak here. He’s 21/10 to open the scoring.
Chelsea v Newcastle (FA Cup)
Chelsea were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final, which means they have only won one of their last seven matches in regulation time. Antonio Conte will want to get back to basics this weekend, when a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup is the prize on offer to the victors at Stamford Bridge. Newcastle lack a Premier League quality centre-forward and have struggled for goals at times this term, so I’d suggest taking advantage of the 11/10 available on a Chelsea clean sheet in front of their own supporters.