Soccer

Juventus, Man United and Bayern assured of wins

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Lazio will be wary of Juventus and Sebastian

Lazio will be wary of Juventus and Sebastian Giovinco AFP PHOTO  

By Mark Ssali

Posted  Friday, January 24   2014 at  02:00

In Summary

There is no better time for Rafa Benitez’s men to return to form than now however, on home turf in Naples.

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PREMIER LEAGUE

Chelsea vs West Ham
Big Sam is under the cosh as West Ham spiral towards the Championship yet again. And just as he welcomes Andy Carroll and the much needed size upfront, he loses his best performing midfielder Mohammed Diame to injury. Yet Chelsea are getting stronger with each game, especially at home as they eye the title. West Ham will scrap as it is a London derby, but to no avail. Home win

Tottenham vs Man. City
Away to Swansea Tim Sherwood showed that he could switch from the 4-4-2 formation that had left Spurs exposed against Arsenal in the FA Cup, to a tighter setup in midfield. Just as well, with Man City visiting the Lane, because if he were to stick to the open format he would be ripped apart by the league’s most surgical operators. It will be closer, but City will still find a way. Away win

Southampton vs Arsenal
This season, home or away, Arsenal have developed the relentlessness and persistence to put away teams however resilient they might prove to be. In seasons gone by the beautiful football would not be enough for certain outings, and this is potentially one, but the Gunners have added that little bit extra. Southampton are due a result however after some undeserved reversals, and this could be it. Draw

Man United vs Cardiff
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to walk out onto the Old Trafford pitch to a hero’s welcome, and then proceed to prove he is a better tactician than David Moyes with the way he sets up his team. Cardiff will be tough to break down and dangerous on the break and at set pieces, but by sheer will, and due to the likely presence of Juan Mata (playing or not), Man United will just about pull through. Home win

Serie A

Lazio vs Juventus
Lazio is one of just a handful of teams capable of taking something off Juventus on a good day, and playing at home in Rome they will be up for the challenge and will perhaps be desperate to emulate the midweek feat of their cross-town rivals Roma who knocked the Old Lady out of the Coppa Italia with a solitary goal. I don’t see Juve losing two on the bounce though. Away win

Napoli vs Chievo
Napoli have gone off the boil lately, posting some unexpected results at home and on their travels, with the season perhaps taking its toll on their thin squad. There is no better time for Rafa Benitez’s men to return to form than now however, on home turf in Naples. After all, they have a starting eleven that can beat any in the Serie A. Home win

Hellas Verona vs Roma
They might have pulled off a great result in beating the mighty Juventus in the Coppa in midweek, but Roma are going to find this one a different ball game altogether. Hellas Verona are a plucky prospect to say the least, especially at home. There should be some goals whatever the outcome however, and I fancy this as a rare Serie A.
‘Over’

BUNDESLIGA

Monchengladbach vs Bayern
Manchester United manager David Moyes will be a focal point in the crowd, his focus apparently on midfielder Patrick Hermann and striker Max Kruse who have brought the good old days back to Monchengladbach. They used to be and still occasionally are Bayern’s bogey side, but the champions have used the winter break well and will be in form. Away win

Dortmund vs Augsburg
Dortmund needed that winter break more than any other, having gone through a rough time with results and injuries towards Christmas. They seem to have recharged their batteries well, and in a midweek friendly in Duisburg they put six past their opponents thanks to Lewandowski, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Schieber. Sounds like the Dortmund we know, so beware Augsburg. ‘Over’

LIGUE ONE

Guingamp vs PSG
Both sides are capable of scoring in this one, the visitors perhaps more than their hosts. Don’t let the Coupe loss to Montpellier fool you, PSG are hot on the trail of another league title and are fast becoming one of the most feared teams in Europe thanks to their firepower. Barring some major offensive collapse from them and to a lesser extent Guingamp, this should produce an ‘Over’

Monaco vs Marseille
This should be a thriller in the Principality, with catchy talent on display centered on the little playmakers Joao Moutinho and Florian Thauvin. Falcao got injured in midweek but other strikers are available for Monaco, as is Andre Pierre Gignac on the other side. Sometimes they turn out to be anticlimaxes, but I feel this will defy the trend and provide us with goals. ‘Over’

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