Pre-match Predictions by Emile Heskey – 7 May 2018

As the domestic football seasons in Europe slowly draws to a close, we could be witnessing new teams joining the fray on the European stage next season – or even miss out.

 

None will be more exciting than the current state of affairs where ‘fairytale’ Roma try to reinstate themselves into the Champions League while Juventus attempt to run away with the Serie A title. With that, here are the top games to catch this week:

 

UEFA Europa League 2017/18 Final

Marseille vs Atletico Madrid

Competition : UEFA Europa League
Date : Thursday, 17 May 2018
Kick-off : 2:45am (GMT +8)
Venue : Groupama Stadium (Décines-Charpieu)

However, Simeone’s forces will be boosted by a very strong defence in the form of the stable Godin and Oblak, a reliable pair of hands in between the posts. What puts the Spanish side a mark above Marseille is Costa.It will be a showcase of France’s best players when these two teams clash in the Europa League Final. Marseille have Thauvin and the electric Payet, while Atletico are bolstered by Griezmann.

This striker will be a key deciding factor in this fixture, and with no second leg to hope for, the Garcia’s frail defence could be exposed. And also doesn’t help that Haidara will be missing the final after he was sent off in the semi-final second leg.

Prediction: Marseille 1-2 Atletico Madrid

 

 

 

EPL 2017/18 Week 38

Manchester United vs Watford

Competition : Premier League
Date : Sunday, 13 May 2018
Game week : 38
Kick-off : 10:00pm (GMT +8)
Venue : Old Trafford (Manchester)

Could we see Mourinho slip up once again? Manchester United were in prime position to lock down a second-place finish in the Premier League last week during their trip to Brighton, but they failed miserably.

Without the likes of Sanchez and Lukaku, the Red Devils were simply toothless in front of goal. The attacking duo could very feature in this tie after missing out on the action last week, and if they do, Man Utd could seal a victory with ease.

Watford may have survived the drop this season, but with United having a point to prove, it will be tougher for them to come away with a result. Expect an ultra-attacking approach from the Red Devils and perhaps more goals than the usual Premier League game.

Prediction: Manchester United 4-0 Watford

 

 

Newcastle vs Chelsea

Competition : Premier League
Date : Sunday, 13 May 2018
Game week : 38
Kick-off : 10:00pm (GMT +8)
Venue : St. James’ Park (Newcastle upon Tyne)

The Magpies may have secured Premier League football next season, but Chelsea are still hot on Tottenham and Liverpool’s coat tails to cement a top-4 finish. Conte’s Blues were determined and capable enought to overcome the Reds’ onslaught last week and this would serve them well against a side that aren’t solid – defensively at least.

Benitez has done well to survive in the Premier League with the quality of players that he has in the Newcastle squad, but to stop Chelsea in the current form their in, it’s nearly impossible. The Magpies have to apply a defensive strategy, perhaps a 4-5-1, and find a way to muscle down Giroud. If they can do that, Newcastle may be able to get a point.

But if you consider how Chelsea have won this fixture 4 times in the last 5, there’s a high chance that the Blues would bag all 3 points.

Prediction: Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea

 

 

 

La Liga 2017/18 Week 37

Real Madrid vs Celta de Vigo

Competition : La Liga
Date : Sunday, 13 May 2018
Game week : 37
Kick-off : 2:45am (GMT +8)
Venue : Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)

It may not seem like it, but Real Madrid are in trouble. They couldn’t beat a team with 10 men last week, and now, Ronaldo remains doubtful after spraining his ankle in the 2-2 against Barcelona. Not that Zidane’s Los Blancos cannot get the three points when they host Celta Vigo this week, but the state of affairs in the dressing room is alarming.

They have secured a top-4 finish, but what they truly want is domination when facing inferior teams and a positive momentum leading up to the Champions League Final. Furthermore, Real Madrid would like nothing better than to end the La Liga season ahead of city rivals Atletico Madrid.

What we could see happen in this tie is, Ronaldo taking a backseat, while Zidane tries an attacking lineup with Bale and Benzema. Asensio could also get a nod to start this game.

Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Celta de Vigo

 

 

Levante vs Barcelona

Competition : La Liga
Date : Monday, 14 May 2018
Game week : 37
Kick-off : 2:45am (GMT +8)
Venue : Estadio Ciudad de Valencia (Valencia)

If there’s a team that can beat Barcelona right now, they are probably not playing in La Liga. Barca’s continuous domination of the league sees no end as they were able to remain undefeated while playing with 10 men against a gutsy Real Madrid side last week. Any other team would have been thoroughly thrashed.

All of Valverde’s key players are healthy, and that includes Suarez, Messi, Coutinho and the outgoing Iniesta, who’s looking to make history and be the first team to finish the season with an undefeated run in La Liga. Looking at how these two teams have fared in recent run-ins, Barca are clear favourites to come out winners. Expect a win for Barcelona, with at least a 2-goal margin ­– could be more.

Prediction: Levante 0-3 Barcelona

 

 

 

Bundesliga 2017/18 Week 34

Bayern Munich vs Stuttgart

Competition : Bundesliga
Date : Saturday, 12 May 2018
Game week : 34
Kick-off : 9:30pm (GMT +8)
Venue : Allianz Arena (München)

The only result that matters here is whether or not Stuttgart can somehow weasel their way into the Europa League next season. They are currently 1 point behind Eintracht, and they need to win at Bayern while hoping that Eintracht draw or lose.

Although it’s quite likely that Schalke will defeat Eintracht on the final day of the Bundesliga season, the likeliness for Stuttgart to overcome the German champions is very low. Bayern have nothing to play for except for pride – and surely they wouldn’t want to lose to a team that haven’t beaten them since 2014.

The Bavarians will field second-string players, but if push comes to shove, the Bayern faithful can be assured of a victory.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 4-0 Stuttgart

 

 

 

Ligue 1 2017/18 Week 37

PSG vs Rennes

Competition : Ligue 1
Date : Sunday, 13 May 2018
Game week : 37
Kick-off : 3:00am (GMT +8)
Venue : Parc des Princes (Paris)

The outcome of this match will not alter anything for PSG, who have been Ligue 1 champions for weeks now, but for Rennes, it could affect their chances for European competition next season. The Parisians may have dominated the league since day one, but the moment they picked up the trophy, Emery’s men simply took their feet off the pedal.

This was more apparent when they were kicked out of the Champions League. The last time we saw the “real” PSG was when they trampled over Monaco 7-1 in the top-of-the-table clash mid-May. We haven’t seen a championship-worthy performance since then and if Guingamp and Amiens can escape with a point when they confronted PSG, Rennes can too.

And while Emery would have completed a rout of the domestic trophies in France, he will surely give opportunities to the substitutes in this match.

Prediction: PSG 1-1 Rennes

 

 

 

Serie A 2017/18 Week 37

AS Roma vs Juventus

Competition : Serie A
Date : Monday, 14 May 2018
Game week : 37
Kick-off : 2:45am (GMT +8)
Venue : Stadio Olimpico (Roma)

Napoli’s recent slip ups have done Juventus favours, and now, the Bianconeri are figuratively Serie A champions for the 34th time. Technically, the Partenopei can still win the title, but they have to win their last two games and score at least 16 goals – that is if they don’t concede and Juventus don’t score more goals.

But the moment Allegri’s men win or draw in the last two gameweeks, the title goes to the Allianz Stadium. However, this match has ramifications for Roma, who are still chasing for that elusive top-4 finish to play in the Champions League again next season.

Both teams will be putting out their best 11, and while Roma and Juve have a good run of form as of late, this match could be rather cagey with most of the battles taking place in the middle of the park. A draw could be on the cards at the end of the day.

Prediction: AS Roma 0-0 Juvetus

 

 

 

Coppa Italia 2017/18

Juventus vs AC Milan

Competition : Coppa Italia
Date : Thursday, 10 May 2018
Kick-off : 3:00am (GMT +8)
Venue : Stadio Olimpico (Roma)

The Milan of yesteryear is long gone – how much do we miss Seedorf, Nesta, Maldini, Pirlo and Kaka? Juventus are on course for another Serie A title after Napoli slipped up, and they are not about to let a disappointing Champions League campaign hold them back.

The Bianconeri will be bolstered by Higuain, Costa, Dybala & the living legend, Buffon, and a win here will make it 4 Coppa Italia titles in a row for Juve. Milan’s Calhanoglu & Cutrone on the other hand, have shown their prowess to link up well upfront, and if there is a pairing that could stop them, it would be them.

Allegri always had Gattuso’s number on the manager front of things, and it doesn’t look good for Milan right now. Just look at the last five times these two met ­- Juventus have won 4!

Prediction: Juventus 2-0 AC Milan

 

 

 

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