Carabao Cup Final, United vs Chelsea to deliver a packed weekend of football
After the European midweek treat, domestic football resumes this weekend. Admittedly, there is so much to take in but we highlight the choicest of games for your viewing pleasure over the weekend.
Arsenal vs Manchester City
Arsenal face Manchester City in the finals of the EFL cup after their poor showing against Oestersunds in the Europa League. Although, the Gunners qualified to the next round where they meet AC Milan, the performance of the North London side was sub-par with most of the players terribly off colour in the loss. Manchester City go into the game on the back of an impressive victory away to Basel in the Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s side are looking to win the title for the third time in five years while Arsene Wenger will hope he gets his hands on the trophy for the first time since he took over at Arsenal over 20 years ago. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is ineligible for the tie as he is cup-tied while Fabian Delph will be missing for Manchester City due to suspension.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City
Manchester United vs Chelsea
Though the war of words between the pair of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho has subsided, there perhaps is still that feel of animus between them, setting the fixture between Manchester United and Chelsea as a crucial clash. Both teams came off the midweek games with draws but Chelsea should feel more imbued with pride for the quality of both their performance and opposition. Mourinho opted for a pragmatic approach away from home against Sevilla but against Chelsea in front of the fans at Old Trafford, there is an onus to play more expansively. Conte will most likely plump for a natural striker to lead the line, improving Chelsea’s attacking force rather than stick with Hazard as a false striker. Alvaro Morato or Olivier Giroud could make the starters list for Conte knowing a victory will put Chelsea level on points with United.
Prediction: Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
Roma vs Milan
Asides the top two, Juventus and Napoli, AC Milan are the most in-form team in the Serie A with five wins in their last six games in the league, unbeaten in 11 games across all competitions. Roma are in a mini-renaissance of their own with three consecutive victories bringing them into third place. Milan’s revival has been very impressive, more so because Gennaro Gattuso’s start at the managerial helm was full of stutters and losses. There is both defensive solidity and enterprise in the team. Gattuso will hope his team gets the victory the Stadio Olimpico, as the game against starts a run of tough ties for the Rosonneri.
Roma will quickly forget the midweek loss to Shakhtar Donetsk so as to focus on the tie against Milan because of the chasing pack behind them. Roma’s recent record against the Rosonerri puts them in good stead for the game while Cengiz Under rich vein of form (five goals in his last four appearances) further increases the chances of a victory for the Rome side.
Prediction: Roma 1-0 Milan
Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid
With more rest time and confidence inspired by their midweek performance against Manchester United, Sevilla pose a substantial threat to Atleti’s four-game winning streak. Sevilla, under Vincenzo Montella have been impressive, looking more solid and disciplined. Atletico on the other hand are undefeated in 22 of their last 23 away matches in the La Liga while sitting in second place, seven points behind Barcelona. Barcelona’s lead might look insurmountable but Diego Simeone and his wards will certainly prefer to stay as close as possible to Barcelona in case the Catalan side slips up.
Prediction: Sevilla 1-2 Atletico Madrid
Paris Saint Germain vs Marseille
Marseille are unbeaten in their last eight league games but that won’t count for much as they face PSG who are unbeaten in their last 16 matches against Marseille. Unai Emery side have underwhelmed in their last two fixtures against Real Madrid and Strasbourg, and therefore will be hoping to give a response against Marseille. Florian Thauvin has been really impressive for Le Phoceens but will have to contend for the stage against PSG’s trio of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edison Cavani.
Neymar with 19 goals and 12 assists in the Ligue 1 this season will be looking to add to his tallies while Cavani would hope to extend his lead in the race for the golden boot.
Prediction: PSG 4-1 Marseille
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