Wins for Chelsea, PSG and ‘Over’ for Man City

Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) and Marco Verratti celebrate a goal against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Tuesday. The Swede will be instrumental when PSG visit Toulouse in the French Ligue One. PHOTO BY AFP

PREMIERSHIP

Man City vs Stoke
They lost to Barcelona but feel they didn’t deserve to, so someone must pay. That someone is Stoke, poor them. Mark Hughes and his troops have done relatively well in recent times, but I feel they would be up against it even if City were to lose a Demichelis or whoever. ‘Over’

Arsenal vs Sunderland
Another backlash looms here. Ten-man Arsenal got done by Bayern in midweek, but in the Premiership they usually keep eleven men and in fact it is Sunderland with the knack for getting men sent off this season. Cards or not however, the writing is on the wall. Home win

Chelsea vs Everton
Every time I watch Everton play I marvel at Roberto Martinez’s philosophy and tactical nous, as well as his ability to get his teams to play his way. Chelsea cannot afford to allow recent lapses to creep into this game, or they will have to relinquish table leadership. Home win

Liverpool vs Swansea
Results have improved, but when I watch Swansea I still can’t help but feel that the sacking of Michael Laudrup was a bad judgment call. They will still play exciting open-ended football, but will play right into Liverpool’s hands in the process. ‘Over’

Crystal Palace vs Man United
A friend joked the other day that United had gone unbeaten for more than a week! At this season’s rate, it looks like United’s best bet to not lose a game is to not play one. They are well rested and re-energised this time though, against a team in form and in the mood too. ‘Over’

SERIE A

Juventus vs Torino
The gap between the two Turin clubs is as wide as it has ever been, but a derby is a derby and Torino will get their tails up for this one. However, unless there are more moments of madness than the average dosage for a derby, Juve’s quality will ultimately prevail. Home win

Bologna vs Roma
I have a weakness for Roma football, I just love the way De Rossi, Strootman, Pjanic, Destro, Totti, Gervinho and company move the ball forward with obvious intent. Score I always believe they will, and score they almost always do. Away win.

BUNDESLIGA
Hannover vs Bayern Munich
Did the trip to Arsenal tire them? Physically perhaps, but mentally it only served to whet their appetite even more. They can be overwhelming and should be again, and if Hannover contribute to the party like I expect they will, it should translate into goals. ‘Over’

Hamburg vs Dortmund
Impending Champions League action will be playing tricks on Dortmund’s minds, but since they are not guaranteed a place in next year’s competition, they know they have important work to do at home. And if they put their minds to it, they should get it done. Away win

LIGUE ONE
Monaco vs Reims
No Falcao and no Berbatov, but still Monaco have goals among the ranks, from Emmanuel Rieviere through James Rodriguez to Joao Moutinho. It is a talented and versatile crop that has impressed by hanging around and not falling away badly. ‘Over’

Toulouse vs PSG
For someone so arrogant and conceited, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a hard worker who shows up in the mood every weekend. Clearly the stats are important to him. That in effect challenges his teammates and keeps teams focused, boosting their fortunes. Away win.

LA LIGA

Real Madrid vs Elche
The three title contenders are all on alert, waiting to see which one blinks first. The rotation they would usually do before and in between Champions League matches is thus not quite there, with every game having a must-win Cup feel to it. Two will eventually blink, but for now … ‘Over’

Sociedad vs Barca
Unlike Real Madrid who play next week, Barcelona have fatigue issues from that trip to Arsenal. And they go to a team with the attacking quality to hurt any in La Liga on a good day. But this is when well-rested Pedro, Song and Adriano come in handy, as too the returning Neymar. ‘Over’

Osasuna vs Atletico Madrid
Here is the third of the title contenders, the team I have reason to suspect will blink first. The much smaller squad than the other two is visibly feeling the heat, more so after the energy-sapping heroics in Milan in midweek. Draw

Valencia vs Granada
Home win

Vallecano vs Sevilla
Away win

Betis vs Bilbao
Away win

[email protected], @markssali on twitter

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