Friday February 27 2015

Vanquished Man City, Arsenal to bounce back

City skipper Vincent Kompany (R)

City skipper Vincent Kompany (R) struggled against Barca. PHOTO BY AFP 

By Mark Ssali

Premiership

Liverpool vs. Man City
Liverpool are expected to have rotated their squad for the Europa League game against Besiktas in Turkey Thursday night, but they will still feel the effects of midweek action a little more than Man City who played at home 24 hours earlier and will also have a well rested Yaya Toure to add to proceedings. Although even at City’s best Liverpool have played better against them than the rest of the Premiership, in this game of two passing sides in good form I see a few advantages for the champions who know that victory piles more pressure on league leaders Chelsea whose focus will be on the Capital One final. Away win

Man United vs. Sunderland
Like Roberto Martinez, Gus Poyet knows how to set up for the big games and has troubled stronger opposition many a time. Sunderland are battlers all over the pitch, will have John O’Shea and Wes Brown inspired as they were against David Moyes last season, and have added firepower in the name of Jermain Defoe.

United and Van Gaal might be under scrutiny and pressure Sunderland can exploit, but they do have the second best home record in the league after Chelsea, and are fancied to conjure up something despites so many odds stacked against them. Home win

Arsenal vs. Everton
Having got a handsome away win in Europa last week, Everton were expected to have the luxury of resting a few key players against Young Boys Thursday and negating the 24hour advantage Arsenal should have from having faced Monaco a day earlier.
Despite all his struggles, Roberto Martinez is good at preparing and setting his team up for the big ones, and has had some success against Arsene Wenger.

But at the moment Everton, led by Romelu Lukuka, are hesitant and profligate, a far cry from a clinical and ruthless Arsenal. They will go toe-to-toe elsewhere on the pitch except in front of goal. Home win

Chelsea vs. Spurs
Mauricio Pochettino has done a great job with Spurs, and they currently have great balance with Lee Mason and Nabil Bentaleb operating as an effective, mobile double pivot, Moussa Dembele back in his element in front of them, two of Erik Lamela, Andros Townsend and Nasser Chadli superb in wide support roles, and the brilliant Harry Kane leading the line. But, rotate though they will have, Spurs will have fatigue issues from Europa League action on Thursday, and away from the media furore deliberated sparked by Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese will have prepared his team meticulously. Chelsea to win.

Bundesliga

Bayern vs. Cologne
Home win & Over

Dortmund vs. Schalke: Draw

Bremen vs. Wolfsburg: Away win

Leverkusen vs. Freiburg
Home win & Over
Monchengladbach vs. Paderborn
Home win

Leverkusen vs. Freiburg
Home win & Over

Monchengladbach vs. Paderborn
Home win

SERIE A

Roma vs. Juventus: Away win
Torino vs. Napoli: Away win
Inter vs. Fiorentinai: Home win
Chievo vs. AC Milan: Draw

LA LIGA

Madrid vs. Villarreal: Home win

Granada vs. Bara: Away win

Val’cia vs. Sociedad: Home win

LIGUE 1

Monaco vs. PSG: Away win

Lille vs. Lyon: Draw

Marseille vs. Caen: Home win

ssalimark@gmail.com, @markssali on twitter