Chelsea fights Bournemouth for a place in the EFL Cup semifinals on Wednesday, on Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea looks good with Maurizio Sarri on the bench and it is currently on the fourth place in Premier League, with 37 points in 17 rounds, behind Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool. Chelsea has the fourth offensive in Premier League (35 goals scored) and the third best defense (14 goals received). In the previous round of EFL Cup, Chelsea registered a difficult victory against Derby County, after Derby scored two own-goals. In Europa League, Chelsea won the group with Paok, Mol Vidi and Bate Borisov, having five victories and one draw. The team in south-west London comes after three matches without defeat and it did not lose a match on Stamford Bridge this season.
Bournemouth has decent evolution this season, staying on the 11th place in Premier League, with 23 points and 25 goals scored. They have a bad defense though, which conceded 28 times this season in the EPL. Bournemouth doesn’t pass a very good period, managing to win only once in the last five matches in Premier League. They ae coming after two consecutive losses against Liverpool and Wolves. In the previous round of EFL Cup, Bournemouth eliminated Norwich. As it seems they have no worries regarding the relegation in the Premier League, Bournemouth has the EFL Cup to gain some glory.
Chelsea Team News
Alvaro Morata, Moses and Van Ginkel will be out tonight.
Bournemouth Team News
Cook, Francis, Gosling, Smith and Mings are unavailable.
Chelsea form in the last five matches in all competitions: WLWDW
Bournemouth form in the last five matches in all competitions: LLWLL
Head – to – Head
Chelsea won the last seven matches against Bournemouth. The last time the visitors won was in 2015, in a match for the EPL. No draw was registered between the two in the last eight matches. In five out of the last eight games there were scored three or more goals.
Chelsea start this match as a big team, able to fight on all fronts. The chances to win the Premier League are pretty low at this point, therefore any trophy counts. Bournemouth doesn’t have much to hope for tonight, but having nothing to lose makes it dangerous. The EFL Cup is a competition of surprises, so we will witness an interesting match on Stamford Bridge.
The last match of the round 16 in Italy’s Serie A will take place on Tuesday night, between Bologna and AC Milan.
Bologna is the first team below the relegation line in the standings, two points behind Udinese and a match in minus. Bologna is without victory in Serie A since the end of September, when it won 2-1 against Udinese. It grabbed only two points in the last five rounds – 2-2 on the road against Chievo and 0-0 at home against Fiorentina. Bologna comes after a defeat against Empoli and the relegation place forces it to fight for a win tonight.
Milan comes after a very bad week, in which they failed to win against Torino on San Siro and then lost the qualification in the knockout stages of Europa League, after losing surprisingly against Olympiakos. With the European plans now over, Milan can focus fully on the championship, where staying within Top 4 is a must. The loss registered last night by Lazio in Bergamo removed the pressure from the “Devils”, as they will stay on the fourth place after this round, regardless of what happens against Bologna. A victory, however, would distance them from Lazio and cut the 6-point difference from Inter, so big stake is in place for Milan as well.
Bologna Team News
Only Erick Pulgar is unavailable for the home team.
AC Milan Team News
Still lots of absences for Milan – Caldara, Strinic, Biglia, Bonaventura. Romagnoli is uncertain.
Bologna form in the last five matches in Serie A: LDDLL
AC Milan form in the last five matches of Serie A: WLDWD
Head – to – Head
Milan won the last five matches against Bologna. In the last three games, there were scored three or more goals. The last victory registered by Bologna was in January 2016.
Bologna fights to keep away from relegation, Milan fights for the Champions League. The numerous absences are making things difficult for the visitors, who are now facing an increased pressure to perform better in Serie A. I don’t see a spectacular match tonight, more likely a confrontation with a big stake for both teams.
On Moday, in Bergamo, Atalanta will play against Lazio in the round 16 of Serie A.
The hosts are on the 11th place in Serie A, with 21 points. After a disappointing start of season, Atalanta managed to bounce back in the last weeks and get at the front of the standings, currently having 3 points less than the team on the 6th place, the last one that gives access to a participation in Europa League next year, but a game less. A victory tonight would lift Atalanta up to the 7th place, at tie with Roma and Sassuolo. The last match on Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia did not end well for the team in Bergamo, losing 3-1 against Napoli, so Atalanta owes its fans at least a good fight tonight. The last five matches that involved the team in Bergamo ended with three or more goals scored.
Lazio is better placed than Atalanta in the standings – 5th place, 25 points. Once again this year, Lazio fights for a place in the Champions League, currently staying out of Top 4, one point behind. Lazio has a victory and 4 draws in the last five matches in Serie A and need 3 points tonight to stay close to their objective. The qualification in the knock-out stages of Europa League and the end of the group stage should allow Lazio to focus more on the internal competition, at least until February. 4 draws in the last 4 matches is too little for a top team and Lazio knows it.
Atalanta Team News
Marco Varnier is out injured.
Lazio Team News
Lucas Leiva will be out, while Badelj, Jordao, Marusic and Milinkovic-Savic are uncertain.
Atalanta form in the last five matches in Serie A: WWLLW
Lazio form in the last five matches in Serie A: WDDDD
Head – to – Head
The two matches from last season ended a tie, 3-3 and 1-1. The previous three games were won by Lazio. The last victory registered by Atalanta against Lazio in Serie was in October 2015. In 6 out of the last 10 matches between the two there were scored 3 or more goals.
With a championship that tight, where 7 teams are separated by only 3 points, no wrong step is allowed. Both teams are hungry for victories and points and both will come to win tonight. Both Atalanta and Lazio put focus on offensive, so we should see a nice match.
After snatching the 2nd place in their UEFA Champions League group, and advancing on the first place in the standings last week, Liverpool now needs to defend their position. They have a tough test, as they face arch-rivals Man Utd, a team that they rarely manage to beat, especially in Premier League.
Liverpool, leaders of Premier League, have a tremendous season. They are the only undefeated team in the entire league, after last week, Manchester City lost to Chelsea, 0-2. Liverpool won 13 matches, and drew two times, in 16 rounds, so far. They have the best defense in the league, allowing just six goals so far. Their defense will be heavily tested in the next matches, as they will have a few options available, with many injured players in that department. Liverpool is the hottest team, however, winner of 5 straight in Premier League, a stretch during which they have outscored their opponents 13-1. The team looks much more solid compared to last season, especially defensively, where the addition of Alisson as the goalkeeper has been impactful since round 1. In Champions League, The Reds had serious troubles, but, somehow, they managed to qualify, 2nd in the group, winning all the games at home, and losing all the matches on the road.
Manchester United, only 6th in Premier League comes after yet another disappointing performance, this time in UEFA Champions League. They could have capitalized on Juventus Turin’s unexpected defeat, 1-2 at Young Boys Bern, but lost at Valencia, 1-2, finishing 2nd in the group. The team has been inconsistent throughout the entire season, and they are 6th so far. The problem is that they are already 8 points behind Arsenal and Chelsea, the teams currently situated on the 5th and 4th places. Also, the team plays way worse than those above them. One of the reasons the team plays worse is the defense. David de Gea, their guardian angel the previous seasons, is no longer anywhere near his form. Also, the fact that Jose Mourinho is not liked by his team is anything but good for the Red Devils.
Klopp will be without some important players, such as Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nathaniel Clyne and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. James Miner is also uncertain for this match.
Manchester United News
United is also affected severely by injuries: Lindelof, Alexis Sanchez, and Chris Smalling are all out. Dalot, Martial, Darmian, Rojo, and Shaw are also questionable.
Over the last seasons, there were many draws between these two English giants. Liverpool last won a game against United, in Premier League back in 2014, 3-0 on Old Trafford. At home, their last success was over five years ago.
Since Liverpool is so hot right now, we cannot ignore that, and it is time for them to finally defeat their nemesis. Our picks here are:
Olympiakos fights Milan for a place in the Europa League knockout stages on Thursday. This is the most interesting match of the day. Separated by three points, Oly and Milan are the two unknowns of the Group F, given that Betis Sevilla is already mathematically qualified with 11 points. At this point, having three points more and a solid victory on San Siro, Milan is obviously in pole position.
In order to go further in Europa League, Olympiacos has to win 2-0 or, if Milan scores, at a three-goal difference in order to advance on the second place. This is not a likely scenario, if we think that the only victories for Oly in this group were registered against Dudelange. The Greek team does not have a very good season overall, being on the third place in their national league, eight points behind leader PAOK Salonica. With an inconsistent evolution, it is hard to think that Olympiacos will manage to do something tonight.
Milan needs to do well this season, on every possible front. After failing to qualify for the Champions League last year, the “Devils” have a moral debt to their fans and it seems that Genaro Gattuso has managed to revitalize the team. They are doing well in Serie A, where they stand on the fourth place, after a clean sheet draw against Torino last weekend. Milan played well in that game, attacked, but failed to score. In Europa League they have 10 points and can even win the group if they win tonight and Betis does not win against Dudelange.
Olympiakos Piraeus Team News
The Greeks will count on all players tonight.
AC Milan Team News
Same old absences for Milan: Romagnoli, Biglia, Bonaventura, Caldara, Strinic. They did well so far without them.
Olympiakos Piraeus form in the last five matches in all competitions: DWLWD
AC Milan form in the last five matches in all competitions: LDWWD
Head – to – Head
Milan won 3-1 on San Siro in the first match against the two this season, after being led 1-0 at half time. Two goals from Cutrone and one from Higuain made Milan’s mission tonight much easier.
Theoretically, the stake is high for both teams, but Milan starts as favorite. It is clearly the better team and I would say the most determinate. On paper, they cannot lose the qualification in the next stage.
United goes on Estadio de Mestalla to face Valencia and try to win the Group H. The match will take place at 20:00 UK time.
Valencia is the third in Group H, behind United and Juventus and cannot lose this position. The Spaniards are qualified for the Europa League knockout stages, having four points over Young Boys. Things are not going so well for Valencia so far, neither in Champions League, where they hoped for more than a third place, nor in La Liga, where they are on the 15th place. They only managed to win once in Champions League, 3-1 against Young Boys on Mestalla and have only four goals scored in five matches. In La Liga they have three victories and nine draws in 15 rounds and are closer to relegation than the first four places. Their only stake tonight is to make a good performance in front of their fans, after a disappointing start of season.
United can take the first place in the group, if they win tonight and Juventus doesn’t win in Switzerland, against Young Boys. Little chances for that to happen, but it is still something to fight for, given their poor evolution in Premier League. Man. United is a team of superstars on paper, but on the field the players don’t seem capable to make a connection. Last weekend the “Red Devils” won in Premier League against Fulham, for the first time in the last five stages. United’s game is unconvincing and only with luck, in the last minutes, they managed to win the last two rounds of Champions League, against Juventus and Young Boys. Maybe this will be the time when United, having nothing to lose, will go on full offensive and win convincingly against Valencia.
Valencia CF Team News
Gaya and Paulista will be out tonight, while Gameiro remains uncertain.
Manchester United Team News
Lindelof, Alexis Sanchez, Martial and Smalling are out.
Valencia CF form in the last five matches in all competitions: WLLWD
Manchester United form in the last five matches in all competitions: DWDDW
Head – to – Head
Valencia doesn’t have a victory against United in the last 20 years. Four times Manchester United won in the last nine matches, while the other five ended a draw. The last match was played on the second round of this year’s Champions League, ended 0-0 on Old Trafford.
It’s a match where no one has anything to lose therefore we should see a spectacle. Manchester has in mind a possibility for the first place in the group and will probably force a victory.
Barcelona meets Tottenham on Tuesday night, on Camp Nou, in a match that matters only for the visitors.
Barcelona is the undefeated leader of Group B, already qualified for the next round from the first place regardless of what happens tonight. While their game doesn’t convince like in previous years, Barcelona still makes a good season and stays on the top of the standings in both La Liga and Champions League. In the European competition, the “Blaugrana” has four victories and a draw, with 13 goals scored and 4 received. Barca is undefeated in the last five matches in all competitions, having a draw against Atletico Madrid in La Liga and four consecutive wins. However, they showed vulnerability on home court couple of times this season, against teams like Bilbao or Betis, so it will be interesting to see what happens tonight.
Tottenham needs to win on Camp Nou, if they want to advance in the next round. Having the same number of points as Inter Milano, Tottenham has the advantage of the goals scored, therefore three points against Barca would secure a place in the payoffs. The Spurs started the competition disastrously, losing against Inter and Barcelona in the first two matches in Group B. When no one would give them a chance, they managed to bounce back and win seven points in the next three matches. They are in good form and most certainly they will give everything tonight against Barcelona.
FC Barcelona Team News
Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Luis Suarez, Umtiti will be out due to various reasons. Most probably Messi will start from the first minute.
Tottenham Hotspur Team News
Dembele and Trippier are out injured, Lamela is uncertain.
FC Barcelona form in the last five matches in all competitions: DWWWW
Tottenham Hotspur form in the last five matches in all competitions: WWLWW
Head – to – Head
Barcelona won the confrontation against Tottenham in the second match of this season, 4-2 on Wembley Stadium.
For Barcelona, this is nothing more than a training match, as they are already qualified for the next round. The only pressure could come from the fans, who expect a victory on every game. Moreover, some players that usually stay on the bench might enter and try to prove they are worthy to play for Barcelona. For Tottenham, this is all or nothing, there is not much too lose, therefore they will push the acceleration as much as they can. However, they must be careful not to leave open spaces in defense, as Barcelona are the masters of counter-attack.
The last match of La Liga’s round 15 will take place on Monday night between Athletic Bilbao and Girona, on Estadio San Mames in Bilbao.
For Bilbao, the match on Monday against Girona represents a new beginning under the lead of young coach Gaizka Garitano. This is the time to prove that all this bad period was only an accident. The situation at the end of Eduardo Berizzo’s era is not good. Bilbao is on the 18th place in La Liga, with only 18 points gained in 14 rounds. The last victory on San Mames was in August 2018, against Leganes. Since then, the team went through a difficult period, even though they managed to remain undefeated against Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. With only 14 goals scored and 23 received this season, Bilbao needs a win badly.
Girona, on the other hand, has a good year, staying on the 9th place on the chart. It is also the only team in La Liga that did not lose on the road. The match from last week against Atletico Madrid showed a team that is very disciplined and very hard to beat. With 17 goals scored and 16 received this season, Girona is undefeated in the last eight matches in all competitions.
Athletic Bilbao Team News
Íñigo Martínez, Peru Nolaskoain and Yuri Berchiche are suspended, while Mikel Balenziaga is injured. However, Muniain and Inaki Wiliams will be on the starting team.
Girona Team News
Johan Mojica, Aday Benítez, Carles Planas, Patrick Roberts and Marc Muniesa are out injured.
Athletic Bilbao form in the last five La Liga matches: DLLDL
Girona form in the last five La Liga matches: WWDWD
Head – to – Head
Not too many matches played between the two in the recent past. In the last match, played on February this year, Girona won 2-0.
There is a huge pressure on Bilbao to win on their home court, where they were very strong in the past years. This is the time for them to figure out whether they will fight to save themselves from relegation or they have the force to still make a good season. Girona stays relaxed at the middle of the standings and it will be more than happy to go home with a point.
Two teams in need of a win are meeting on Sunday. Wolves just won in midweek their first game since October, while Newcastle barely managed to get out of the relegation zone after the recent games improved results.
Ranked 14th, with 13 points, Newcastle won only three games out of the 15 games played so far. The team drew other 4 and lost eight games in the Premier League. Newcastle looked improved in the recent games, winning 3 out of the last games. They are now 4 points above the relegation zone, but if they don’t keep playing better and better things could quickly turn bad for them.
Newcastle suffered a heavy loss last week, on home soil against West Ham United, 3-0, but in midweek stole a point on the road, at Everton, 1-1. Rafa Benitez and his men should have an excellent chance to get more points on the board in upcoming weeks as they will play Wolves, Huddersfield and Fulham in the next three rounds. Matt Ritchie is available and ready to start after serving a one-game suspension for collecting five yellow cards.
This season has been a roller coaster for Wolves. Wolves won midweek, beating Chelsea, 2-1, after a full month of winless games. After a strong start of the season, Wolves lost fuel, and now they sit on the 12th spot, with 19 points. Wolverhampton won 5 games, drew 4 and lost 6. Wolves away games have been low scoring, averaging 0.7 goals per game and only 1 of the seven matches had 3 or more goals scored.
Predicted line-up (3-4-3): Rui Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Joao Moutinho, Saiss, Ruben Vinagre; Gibbs-White, Jimenez, Diogo Jota
The Magpies lead the head to head by two wins, this being the 70th meeting between the two.
Newcastle scored only six goals in eight home matches, while Wolves scored just five goals on the road. It is expected to see a low scoring game. The bookies priced around 1.55 to have a match with under 2.5 goals scored. Concerning match winner, it might look a bit strange to see Wolves a bit favourites, odds around 2.7. The Magpies are priced around 2.90 to win this match.
The odds are enormous on the home team, even though Newcastle are not having a great season so far, Benitez is a great coach, so make sure to back the Magpies.
Newcastle to win @ 2.90
Newcastle Draw No Bet @ 1.91
Newcastle to score 1st goal @ 2.1
Two high-flying teams will kick off at King Power Stadium on Saturday evening. Unbeaten in the last six games, Leicester will host a team that enjoy top of the standings, the Spurs.
Leicester is having a great period, considering the circumstances. In late October, the helicopter that was transporting Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four other people lost control because of a mechanical fault and killed them. Everyone was expecting to see a downfall. Instead, Claude Puel and his players are motivated to continue this season with good results. The Foxes are ranked 9th, just one point behind 6th place, Everton. This is the start of a tough month, as Spurs, Chelsea and City will be 3 of the five opponents which Leicester will have to play until 2019.
Leicester City possible starting lineup: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Mendy, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison, Gray; Iheanacho
After a slow start of the season, with many ups and downs and facing a lot of frustrations, Mauricio Pochettino managed to balance the team, and they are coming after back to back wins. The Spurs lost only two games in last 10, and the first came on home soil against the reigning champions, Manchester City and the second on the road at Arsenal. The manager is concerned about the delayed move to the new ground. The Spurs are still playing on Wembley, after multiple delays of the official opening of the stadium from White Hart Lan, which is expected to be complete in February 2019. Another concern of the manager was about the summer transfer window when the Spurs made no significant move. Even so, the Spurs can be proud of their form, sitting on the 3rd place, with 33 points, after eleven wins and four losses in the 15 games played so far in the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur expected to start lineup: (3-4-3) Lloris; Aurier, Foyth, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Winks; Moura, Alli, Son; Kane
Leicester team news
Vardy and Ghezzal remain in fitness doubt. Amartey and Evans will be unavailable.
Tottenham team news
Mousa Dembele remains out with an ankle problem and won’t return until the new year. Wanyama will also be sidelined for this match. Jan Vertonghen returned after two months on the sideline, and he is expected to start.
Over the last five games in front of home crowd, Leicester won only one game, drew once and lost 3.
Leicester seems to be highly motivated to achieve European football for the next season, and with Vardy back in starting lineup, the team is expected to perform even better.