Draws for Man City, United and Arsenal

Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (L) vies with Southampton’s Jack Cork during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday. Southhampton host Manchester United hoping to stop the 20-times champions from making it five wins in a row. AFP PHOTO

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But having lost to Man City here last weekend and then to Arsenal at the Emirates in midweek, the hosts are bound to bite back defiantly, and have proved they possess the quality to hurt anyone if they are up for it.


Newcastle vs Chelsea
The Premiership’s festive feast is upon all you fans and betting types, and I don’t envy you one bit as you try and sift through the mayhem and figure out who is going to get what. I don’t fancy too many of the top sides getting maximum points this weekend for one, but I reckon Chelsea will be one of the few to manage that however tough this trip might be, largely because of Newcastle’s defensive wobbles and the absence of Tim Krul. Away win

Man City vs Everton
The champions have the most lethal finisher in the Premeirship in Sergio Aguero, and such drive from a midfield that is likely to be further boosted by the return of David Silva after a long layoff. Yet I believe that Roberto Martinez can produce a disciplined tactical display to thwart them, while posing a threat of his own. Points to honours even here. Draw

Southampton vs Man United
Man United have won four on the bounce and early season high-flyers Southampton have run into a tough fixture pile-up, giving the visitors a slight edge momentum-wise. But having lost to Man City here last weekend and then to Arsenal at the Emirates in midweek, the hosts are bound to bite back defiantly, and have proved they possess the quality to hurt anyone if they are up for it. Sort of cancels out, doesn’t it? Draw

Stoke vs Arsenal
Like Southampton, Stoke have run into an unenviable fixture mire and were unlucky to leave Anfield and Old Trafford without the rewards their efforts evidently deserved. It doesn’t get any easier with a resurgent Arsenal up next, but back home at the Brittannia they could be a little more fortunate. Just a little. Arsenal’s persistence is a great newfound quality helping them win games late, but Stoke have the size (Diouf, Crouch, Nzonzi), and technique (Bojan, Arnautovic) to breach them too. Draw

Liverpool vs Sunderland
The battling qualities that saw Sunderland stage a most remarkable survival miracle at the back end of last season are slowing beginning to emerge again. But they run into a Liverpool side in midst of a revival of their own, and at Anfield they will be passionately urged on by a loyal following. Home win


Dortmund vs Hoffenheim
Finally a game Dortmund can and should win, right? Don’t count on it or on me, for I have miserably failed where Jurgen Klopp’s men are concerned, again and again. On this one I come with that huge disclaimer, because my gut feeling tells me they will win and yet my sensible head says the safe thing to do is go for the Over, which is almost a given for every Hoffenheim game regardless of opposition. Home win

Bayern vs Leverkusen
One of the better tests Bayern are bound to get at the Allianz Arena all season, with Leverkusen playing a high-intensity pressing game and some brilliant counter-attacking football under Roger Schmidt. As is expected with this quality of opposition, Pep Guardiola and his charges will rise up to the challenge at both a tactical and technical level, and their better overall quality should prevail. Home win


Fiorentina vs Juventus
Juventus are so dominant in Italy it is freakish, with a formation which gives them solidity at the back, midfielders who are so complimentary and compatible, wing backs who have mastered the art of bombing forward, and forwards who are in the habit of bombing at goal. But Fiorentna have been good over their last three games, and possess one of the few venues that can get the old Lady nervous. Draw

Roma vs Sassuolo
Home win

Napoli vs Empoli
Home win

Genoa vs AC Milan
Away win

Inter vs Udinese
Home win


Barcelona vs Espanyol
One of several derbies in Europe that are suffering as spectacles because of the gulf in class currently exaggerated by financial muscle (think Juventus vs Torino). Barcelona might have arguably the world’s best academy, but each of Luis Suarez and Neymar cost more than the entire Espanyol squad. I only see the Catalunya derby going one way. Home win

Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo
Home win & Over

Elche vs Atletico Madrid
Away win

Bilbao vs Cordoba
Home win


PSG vs Nantes
Home win

Toulouse vs Monaco
Away win

Bordeaux vs Lorient
Home win

Marseille vs Metz
Home win

Evian vs Lyon
Away win

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