While Congo Brazaville have already overachieved, the feeling that lingers is that the DR Congo can still do much better. This is a derby and they can be as unpredictable as they are explosive. Brazaville have been the more organised team, but I fancy the individualism of DR Congo to conjure up something special. . ‘Away’ Win
Tunisia vs Equatorial Guinea
I see extra time here, probably even a shootout, and eventual Tunisia victory. In betting terms however, that amounts to a Draw.
Ivory Coast vs Algeria
The Ivorians have got to raise their game a notch to compete here, defensively, in possession, and in front of goal against clinical and methodical opposition. ‘Away’ win
Arsenal vs Aston Villa
Football doesn’t always pan out that way, but Arsenal have the ‘easiest’ game of the all the big Premiership sides.
The team is on a great run, the individuals have stepped up their form and fitness, and Arsene Wenger is once again spoilt for choice. Can’t see anything else happening but a very handsome. Home win and Over
Man United vs Leicester
Going by their last FA Cup outings, Leicester were great and United struggled. But United are at home and with a score to settle after Leicester came from behind to beat them earlier in the season.
Fitness-wise and defensively United have improved since then, and if their forwards produce what they did that day it should be enough this time. Home win and Over
Liverpool vs West Ham
Liverpool are becoming increasingly hard to live with now that they have found their rhythm, and if you watched them in midweek you know that their long unbeaten run really should have extended beyond that Chelsea match.
But West Ham will provide a tough test, especially at the back, and this is a game Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing will be particularly keen on. Draw
Chelsea vs Man City
Chelsea are in much better form as City must have forgotten what it feels like to win a football game since Yaya Toure hopped onto a plane to Equatorial Guinea.
The nature of opposition and the stakes are bound to inspire an improvement in the champions from back to front however, and it will help if they don’t have to deal with Cesc Fabregas. Draw
SPANISH LA LIGA
Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad
Life will seem strange without World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo even for star-studded Madrid, against a side which loves to play against them. It will be tight, but eventually coach David Moyes will leave empty handed. Home win
Barcelona vs Villareal
Midweek Copa Del Rey chores will have worn Barca out, but thankfully even if Villarreal are very good they do play to a style the Camp Nou outfit fancies. And Messi is on fire right now. Home win
Eibar vs Atletico Madrid
That Copa Del Rey clash will have taken more out of Atletico than Barca, and the La Liga champions will have to dig deep into their reserves for this one. Away win
Wolfsburg vs Bayern Munich
There will be some rust after this long layoff, and yet we are thrust straight into a big one. I am quite speculative here, but if as expected both sides have lost a bit of rhythm then individuals might settle it. Both have very good ones, but Bayern’s are better overall. Away win
Leverkusen vs Dortmund
It might be wishful thinking on my side, but surely Dortmund needed the winter break more and are going to have a better second half of the season. Surely? They would have wished for a better fixture to kick-start things, but the right adjustments over the break will have given them a better fighting chance. Draw
Roma vs Empoli
Udinese vs Juventus
AC Milan vs Parma
Monaco vs Lyon
PSG vs Rennes
Home win and Over
Marseille vs Evian
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