Weekend 15 Preview

As we come to the first weekend in December, we start to see some separation in the leagues.  Some leagues are all but over in terms of the title race, whereas some are just heating up.  While the title race may be over for some, the race for Europe, or for survival, is really heating up.  This weekend we look at a mid-table battle in England, two teams fighting for Champions League in France, a team with a new manager looking to make a statement in Spain, a top four battle in Germany, and the Champions of Italy looking to continue their great form.

  1. Everton vs. Crystal Palace ~ Goodison Park, Liverpool

Monday, December 7th – 3:00 pm EST on NBCSN

In the first match for this weekend, two teams in the top half of the EPL table square off.  Their form recently has not been the best, with Everton going 2-2-2 in their last 6 games and Palace going 2-1-3 in their last 6.  However, both are coming off 6 goal thrillers as Everton drew 3-3 against Bournemouth and Palace dominated Newcastle 5-1.  Both of these teams thrive off counter attacks so it should be interesting to see who takes some initiative and goes for the win.  Palace scored 5 goals for the first time in the Premier League and will attempt to continue that streak.  Everton will look to continue the sparking form of Lukaku and Kone, while Cabaye will look to make the long passes to open up Everton’s defense.  It will be a tight game, as both teams focus on shoring up their defense.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Everton 1/1, Palace 13/5, Draw 5/2

First Goalscorer – Lukaku 15/4, Kone 13/2, Bamford 7/1

Predictions

My Pick – Everton 2, Crystal Palace 2: Goals by Lukaku, Kone, Bolasie(2)

James’ Pick – Everton 3, Crystal Palace 2: Goals by Lukaku (2), Barkley, Cabaye, Delaney

  1. Lyon vs. Angers ~ Stade de Gerland, Lyon

Saturday, December 5th – 11:00 am EST on beIN Sports CONNECT

In France, two of the coldest teams meet in Lyon when they hosts Angers.  Combined, both teams have 1 win in their last 3.  However, despite these poor runs of form, they are both in the top four of the Ligue 1 table.  Angers is coming off a midweek match with PSG where they drew 0-0 with the French leaders in Paris.  It was a great result for them and it may be a sign of them turning their form around, having earned at least a point in three straight games.  With a win, both teams could vault themselves into second place depending on how Caen does this weekend.  Either way, Angers is looking fairly good to stay in the league, so they may be happy with just a point.  Lyon will need their top men, Lacazette and Fekir, to start combining more.  New player Valbuena has not really settled all that well, but if they can find a way to get all three playing in form then Lyon should be in the top two.  Look for them to take the game to Angers and hope to put it out of sight by halftime, hopefully for Lyon.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Lyon 1/2, Angers 6/1, Draw 3/1

First Goalscorer – Lacazette 10/3, Beauvue 9/2, Valbuena 15/2

Predictions

My Pick – Lyon 2, Angers 1: Goals by Lacazette, Gonalons, and Camara

James’ Pick – Lyon 0, Angers 1: Goals by Ndoye

  1. Valencia vs. Barcelona ~ Mestalla Stadium, Valencia

Saturday, December 5th – 2:30 pm EST on beIN Sports

This game took an interesting turn this last weekend when Nuno resigned as manager of Valencia.  His successor has been named, but Gary Neville will not be in charge this weekend, as he will start next week.  Neville’s brother Phil has been in charge this week and will hopefully set up the Valencia side to get a result against one of the best sides in Europe.  Neymar and Suarez have been firing on all cylinders this year and now Messi is back.  Barcelona advanced in the Copa del Rey, despite making a top of changes to the side.  Sandro scored a hat trick and Munir added a brace.  They both are likely not to feature from the start this weekend but may see time off the bench.  Look for Barcelona to make it 7 wins in a row.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Valencia 8/1, Barcelona 3/10, Draw 5/1

First Goalscorer – Suarez 5/2, Neymar 5/2, Sandro 9/2

Predictions

My Pick – Valencia 1, Barcelona 4: Goals by Suarez, Neymar, Messi (2), and Alcacer

James’ Pick – Valencia 1, Barcelona 3: Goals by Suarez, Neymar, Messi, and Alcacer

  1. Wolfsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund ~ Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg

Saturday, December 5th – 12:30 pm EST on Fox Sports 2

The top four teams all meet this weekend in Germany and we are highlighting 2 versus 3 in Dortmund traveling to Wolfsburg.  These two teams are separated by 1 place in the table, but the gap is 7 points. To put that in perspective, the gap between Wolfsburg in 3rd and Ingolstadt in 11th is 6 points.  Wolfsburg has had a really good run of form lately, winning 4 of their last 6.  In fact, Wolfsburg is unbeaten in their last 29 Bundesliga home games.  Look for this game to be very back and forth with plenty of chances for both teams.  Dortmund should have the upper hand as they have a stronger squad, but home field could play a role.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Wolfsburg 16/5, Dortmund 4/5, Draw 3/1

First Goalscorer – Aubameyang 7/2, Reus 9/2, Ducksch 5/1

Predictions

My Pick – Wolfsburg 2, Dortmund 2: Goals by Schurrle, Dost, Aubameyang, and Reus

James’ Pick – Wolfsburg 3, Dortmund 2: Goals by Dost, Kruse (2), Aubameyang, and Reus

  1. Lazio vs. Juventus ~ Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Friday, December 4th – 2:34 pm EST on beIN Sports CONNECT

Juventus are back in business and this week they travel to Rome to face Lazio.  Lazio has really struggled lately, having only picked up 1 point in their last 4 games.  In that same stretch, Juve have picked up 12 points.  They are second in the form table behind Napoli and are sitting just outside the top 4.  A win for Juve on Friday will send a reminder to the rest of the title contenders, as it could send them into the top 4 and just 4 points behind Napoli in the table.  Lazio, meanwhile, will be trying to find something positive and will look to earn some points.  While they are right in the middle of the table, the hope was that they would challenge for the top 3 spots or at least a spot in Europe next season.  Look for Juventus to dominate possession and the game.  The only problem is that Pogba is out suspended and Pereyra, Hernanes, and Khedira are all injured.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Lazio 11/4, Juventus 11/10, Draw 9/4

First Goalscorer – Mandzukic 9/2, Dybala 11/2, Klose 13/2

Predictions

My Pick – Lazio 1, Juventus 2: Goals by Candreva, Dybala, and Sturaro

James’ Pick – Lazio 1, Juventus 2: Goals by Biglia, Dybala, and Mandzukic

Other Games on TV This Weekend

England – Premier League

Stoke City vs. Manchester City – Saturday at 7:45 am EST on NBCSN

Manchester United vs. West Ham United – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on NBCSN

Chelsea vs. Bournemouth – Saturday at 12:30 pm EST on NBC

Newcastle United vs. Liverpool – Sunday at 11:00 am EST on NBCSN

Spain – La Liga

Real Madrid vs. Getafe – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Espanyol vs. Levante – Monday at 2:30 pm EST on beIN Sports

Italy – Serie A

Bologna vs. Napoli – Sunday at 6:30 am EST on beIN Sports

Fiorentina vs. Udinese – Sunday at 9:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Carpi vs. Milan – Sunday at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports

Germany – Bundesliga

Schalke 04 vs. Hannover 96 – Friday at 2:45 pm EST on Fox Sports 1

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

Hertha Berlin vs. Bayer Leverkusen – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 2

Stuttgart vs. Werder Bremen – Sunday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports

France – Ligue 1

Nice vs. PSG – Friday at 2:30 pm EST on beIN Sports

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