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January 16, 2019

Arsenal's game aside this feels like another weekend of drawn results

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil in action during Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur match at Emirates Stadium. Photo/Reuters
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil in action during Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur match at Emirates Stadium. Photo/Reuters

Real Madrid Vs Barcelona Today 8:15pm

My Prediction: Los Blancos 2-2 The Catalans

Right now it’s still a hope and a prayer that Lionel Messi will be fit for this game. The world’s greatest player is working hard to put his injury behind him because let’s face it; no player wants to miss out when their club is playing the biggest match up in the world! The Catalans are ahead of the game in Spain right now; three points ahead of Real Madrid but statistics mean nothing in this clash of the titans. Messi has travelled with the squad to Madrid but it doesn’t appear as if Barcelona has missed him much during his absence. Neymar has stepped in and stepped up to help keep the Catalans on top during Messi’s hiatus. They are in good form right now and if I were manager Luis Enrique, I wouldn’t start Messi because he has been out for a while; 54 days to be exact. But we all know that he can come in at any time and give a moment of brilliance and change a game. On Real’s side; Karim Benzema may not play. He’s just come back from injury and isn’t exactly match fit. But both Rafa Benitez and Enrique run big enough clubs to overcome the absence of one or two players. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are fit and rearing to go. This is such an unpredictable game that has seen both narrow and wide score-lines. It will come down to mental preparedness on the day. I’m actually going to be pretty boring now and predict a draw. Even Stevens I tell you!


Watford Vs Manchester United Today 3:45pm

My Prediction: Watford 1-1 The Red Devils

Oh my! It would be easy to say this Man United would walk all over Watford today but life isn’t that simple. The international week didn’t go in United’s favour and key players are injured. Michael Carrick who they rely on so heavily to sort out their midfield picked up an injury while playing for England while their golden boy Anthony Martial injured his foot on international duty and will be out for a while. I just need to add here that I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I saw that some United fans say they wished Memphis Depay could carry Martial’s injury on his behalf! Ouch! That was below the belt; and hypocritical, considering Depay’s signing dominated the early weeks of the summer transfer window; with massive excitement from Red Devil supporters. Anyway United were boosted before the break by winning their game against West Brom, on a weekend where all the big teams lost or drew. But that was a fully fit United side. Watford are doing okay for a club that was promoted this term. Four wins, four draws and four losses is what they have to their name. I remember they gave Arsenal a hard first half when they played each other last month and if they work hard today, manager Enrique “Quique” Sanchez Flores’ team can get a result.


Chelsea Vs Norwich Today 6pm

My Prediction: The Blues 1-1 Norwich

Why do I bother with Chelsea matches anymore? This is supposed to be about the top four and I should probably substitute The Blues with Leicester; who appear not to be slowing down. Okay, I focus on Chelsea because I need a laugh, and I need to rub it in that they are having their worst season ever! Before every game I think this will be when their season turns around; but 12 matches in, more than a quarter of the season gone, and their season isn’t turning around. Quite funny actually – if you aren’t a Blues brother! Now defending champions Chelsea and Norwich are, believe it or not; having a very similar season. Norwich are 15th in the log, a point ahead of Chelsea who are 17th. Chelsea have lost their last three matches; in fact they have lost six of their last ten matches! Jose Mourinho seems lost! I am certainly lost because I cannot explain their predicament. I don’t think even Mourinho can explain what’s happening to his club. It is inexplicable! Norwich boss Alex Neil will be confident going into this game. He won his last game before the international break, against Swansea; and he knows that everyone and their neighbour is grabbing points off Chelsea.


West Brom Vs Arsenal Today 6pm

My Prediction: West Brom 0-3 The Gunners

What is West Brom? Mathematics was far from my favourite subject in school but if football was maths, then Arsenal should win this game 5-0! Here’s my reason. We beat Man United 3-0 and they beat West Brom 2-0. Okay let me stop being simple minded and cheeky because football isn’t mathematics and rarely do stats or results make sense like that. West Brom are not an easy side to beat. Even though they’ve lost six out of their 12 games played; three of those defeats were 3-2 losses. Which means they do not have a problem with scoring goals. We all know that even though Arsenal are hanging in there; joint top with Man City, there have been moments where goal scoring was a problem. But I’m happy to say that we are coming back from the international break with no fresh injuries although I’m still concerned about when Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Theo Walcott will return. The good news is that right back Hector Bellerin should be in the starting line-up although Mathieu Debuchy was just beginning to regain his form. We have a decent side even with the injuries and Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud; with the able assistance from Mesut Ozil should be able to finish off this game in style. It won’t be a walk-over but we’ll definitely walk out victorious!


Manchester City Vs Liverpool Today 830pm

My prediction: The Citizens 2-2 The Reds

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’ll be on loan to Liverpool tonight because we need Man City to be stopped. Arsenal failed to take advantage of City slipping in their last game against Aston Villa of all teams, but then again Liverpool have a pretty tight in form squad at the moment so I’m not too worried. This is the game where the Gunners need City to fall considering we would already have secured our three points of the weekend. City’s biggest international set back is the injury to Samir Nasri, but we all know that City don’t always start him so they won’t really miss him that much. They have lots of midfield support not to worry about an injury to the Frenchman! The question is whether the German tactician Jurgen Klopp can overcome his biggest test since coming to the English league. Up until now he’s had relatively light opposition but he did get his first win in the league against defending champions Chelsea at the end of last month. That should have been his biggest test, but everyone is beating Chelsea nowadays! Somehow I have trust in Klopp’s ability to read games and change tactics as per the opposition. I saw the way Manuel Pellegrini’s side failed to score against Villa and if that’s what he’s bringing to the table today, then kudos Liverpool. And thank you for helping Arsenal remain top of the league!

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