European football returns with massive derbies, rivalries
The last international break of the year has come and gone, which means that for the next three months football fans will drown themselves with as much football action they would want to. It gets better this weekend as the football gods seem to be in a cheerful mood and are offering blockbuster matches across the four major European leagues.
There will be two massive derbies and two huge rivalry games this weekend. It starts today with the Manchester United-Arsenal game in England, followed by Der Klassiker in Germany, the Madrid derby in Spain and finally, the Derby della Madonnina in Italy. This promises to be a bumper weekend across Europe and we will preview these games and also give you our usual 25-game betting tip to help make the weekend more interesting for you.
The Derby della Madonnina, also known as the Derby di Milano, which takes place tomorrow evening at the magnificent San Siro is a derby football match between the two major Milanese clubs A.C. Milan and Internazionale of Italy. It is called “Derby della Madonnina” in honour of one of the main sights of the city of Milan, the statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of the Duomo, which is usually called “Madonnina”.
These two great clubs have clashed 164 times in the Serie A with Inter having the slight edge with 61 wins to Milan’s 51. AC Milan are the form team going into tomorrow’s match with five wins from their last six matches in the league, while for Inter Milan, their form has been patchy and they just parted company with their Dutch Coach two weeks ago after he lost seven of his fourteen games in charge of the team. He lasted just 84 days. The new coach, Stefano Pioli, will be Inter’s ninth coach in six years since the club lifted the Serie A-Champions League-Italian Cup treble in 2010 under the guidance of “Special One” José Mourinho.
For the first time in a long while AC Milan seem to be genuine title contenders this season and after a slow start to the league, their recent hot streak has left them trailing second-placed Roma by just one point and are five behind leaders Juventus. Inter Milan, meanwhile, are ninth on the table with a total of 17 points from 12 games played so far.
Seventeen-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma has been one of the top players for AC Milan this season as the young man has shown a great ability that belies his tender age. The fact that he has a formidable defence in front of him which includes Mattia de Sciglio and Alessio Romagnoli has also helped boost the teenager’s confidence. Offensively for Milan, Carlos Bacca has a fine eye for goal but is in the midst of a goal drought while Suso and M’Baye Niang also offer ever-present dangers.
The Nerazzurri have no such problems going forward as they boast one of the best strikers in the league, the prolific Mauro Icardi, who has ten goals and three assists in 12 games played so far this season. They also have Ever Banega, Ivan Perisic, Marcelo Brozovic, all top quality players, but they have been terribly inconsistent and losing three of their last five games in all competitions.
A draw is unlikely in this fixture as the last six matches between these sides have always produced a winner with AC Milan taking four wins to Inter’s two. The last game between them was in January of this year when Milan thumped Inter by three goals to nothing and a repeat result for the Rossoneri is not farfetched.
This evening in Germany, the latest instalment of Der Klassiker, Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich, will take place at the beautiful Signal Iduna Park, home of the Die Schwarzgelben. Bayern go into the match on top of the Bundesliga on goals difference, but Borussia Dortmund could move to within three points of the record titleholders with a victory.
Dortmund snapped a four-game winless skid just before the international break with a 5-2 thrashing of bottom-placed Hamburg. Gabonese striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored four goals in that game and would love to add to his eleven league goals this evening when they host the Champions. There are injury concerns for both teams. For Bayern, Frank Ribery and Javier Martinez have been ruled out because of injuries, while for the hosts, it is not looking good as they have 4 players injured including Marco Reus. However, the German striker, who just finished his rehab, might just make a return today.
Bayern München are under the new management of Carlo Ancelotti who has improved the defence line ,they have only conceded 6 goals from 10 matches while scoring 24 goals and Dortmund are the only side to have scored more goals than them in the Bundesliga with 25, but the Bavarians boast the best defence in the land. We should expect a very thrilling game with lots of goals and I would advise a bet of over2.5 goals on this game on www.nairabet.com It would also be interesting to see how the Dortmund crowd will welcome Mats Hummels, who became the latest big name to move from Ruhr to Bavaria following in the footsteps of Robert Lewandowski and Mario Goetze(who has moved back).
In the Vincente Calderon this evening, Atletico Madrid will be desperate to close the gap on LaLiga leaders Real Madrid when the two sides lock horns in the Madrid derby. Diego Simeone’s men are currently six points behind Los Galacticos following two defeats in their last three matches, however, the last time they lost at home in La Liga was a 2-1 loss to Barcelona in September 2015. They also have a great record against Real recently, winning four and drawing two of their last six league matches.
Real Madrid are currently on top of La Liga table with 27 points and have the best form in La Liga, they are unbeaten in all competitions this season, while Atletico Madrid slipped further down the table when they lost 2-0 to Real Sociedad before the break. They are now 4th in the table with 21 points, same points as Sevilla in the 5th position and they will need a win in this game to keep themselves in the top four.
Frenchman Antoine Griezmann carries Atletico’s greatest goal threat and he will be hoping to take advantage in the absence of the injured Sergio Ramos and add to his tally of six league goals scored so far this season. Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to add to their tallies of five each in the league. Both players will have to make do without Karim Benzema once more but can count on the service of midfielder Toni Kroos, who has registered the most assists so far this season with six. Real will be hoping for a first LaLiga win over Atleti since April 2013 to continue their momentum.
The first of this weekend’s four heavyweight clashes will happen this afternoon in England when Manchester United welcome Arsenal to the theatre of dreams. The rivalry between these teams has been well documented but there will be a new twist to this storied rivalry as Arsene Wenger’s nemesis, Jose Mourinho, is now in charge at Old Trafford these days and both men’s mutual dislike of each other is legendary. The fact that Arsene Wenger is yet to get a competitive win over Mourinho in all his years of trying is another factor that will make the Frenchman really want to get a victory in today’s game. However, the odds are not in favour of the gunners as they have not been able to get a victory at the home of their rivals since 2006. Arsenal are the form team going into this game, but previous clashes between these two sides show that form counts for very little in this fixture.
My 25-game betting tip for this weekend will be a variety of matches across Europe so log on to www.nairabet.com to place your bets and enjoy this weekend’s football fiesta with a little more than interest.
Crystal Palace v Manchester City (Double chance for Man City)
Southampton v Liverpool (Double chance for Liverpool)
Everton v Swansea (Double chance for Everton)
LA LIGA (Spain)
Barcelona v Malaga (Barca win)
Valencia v Granada (Valencia win)
Deportivo v Sevilla (Double chance for Sevilla)
SERIE A (Italy)
Chievo v Cagliari (Double chance for Chievo)
Juventus v Pescara (Juventus win)
Bologna v Palermo (Double chance for Palermo)
Hoffenheim v Hamburger (Double chance for Hoffenheim)
Dortmund v Bayern (Over 2.5 goals)
Mainz v Freiburg (Double chance for Mainz)
Lorient v Monaco (Double chance for Monaco)
PSG v Nantes (PSG win)
Toulouse v Metz (Double chance for Toulouse)
Ajax v NEC (Ajax win)
Feyenoord v PEC Zwolle (Feyenoord win)
Willem II v PSV (double chance for PSV)
PRIMEIRA LIGA (Portugal)
Boavista v Sporting (Double chance for Sporting)
Belenenses v Porto (Porto win)
Benfica v Moreirense (Benfica win)
JUPILER LIGA (Belgium)
Genk v Eupen (Double chance for Genk)
Oostende v Westerlo (Double chance for Oostende)
Kilmarnock v Celtic (Celtic win)
Rangers v Dundee (Rangers win)