5 Games to Watch This Weekend

As the Champions League group stage comes to a close, the race for a spot in next year’s competition is heating up.  This week we look at the surprise top team in England hosting the defending champions of England.  In Spain two of the oldest clubs face off as it is the capital vs. the Basque Country.  In Germany, we examine one of the hottest teams in Germany travel to a rival for the last Champions League place.  In Italy, we shift our focus back to the reigning champions as they host one of their title rivals.  Lastly is France, we will preview what should have been a title 6 pointer but really is just to see how far ahead PSG really are.

  1. Leicester City vs. Chelsea, King Power Stadium ~ Leicester, England

Monday, December 14th – 3:00 pm EST on NBCSN

When the schedule came out last summer many would have thought that this would be a matchup between the top team in England and a team near the relegation zone.  However, no one would have said it would be Leicester at the top.  Leicester has only lost one game all season.  Chelsea, meanwhile, is having a miserable league season and a top four finish seems a long way away.  Both teams are very healthy and should be ready to go.  Jamie Vardy saw his goal streak end last weekend, but can he start another one this weekend? A win will keep Leicester at the top of the table.  Look for Chelsea to park the bus and try to defend at all costs.  Points are vital now for Mourinho.  Leicester has been one of the best second half teams this season and Chelsea has struggled during the end of games.  Are we going to get another late winner?

Betting Odds

Match Result – Leicester 11/5, Chelsea 27/20, Draw 5/2

First Goalscorer – Eden Hazard 4/1, Jamie Vardy 9/2, Diego Costa 5/1

Predications

My Pick – Leicester 2, Chelsea 1: Goals by Mahrez, Vardy and Willian

James’ Pick – Leicester 3, Chelsea 2: Goals by Vardy, Mahrez (2), Costa, Willian

  1. Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao, Estadio Vicente Calderon ~ Madrid, Spain

Sunday December 13th – 12:15 pm EST on beIN Sports CONNECT

Atletico Madrid is one of the hottest teams on the planet right now that no one knows about.  They have quietly been just humming along winning and picking up points here and there.  They have won four straight league games and are unbeaten in their last 13 games in all competitions.  Bilbao enters the game in the midst of a 5 game unbeaten run in all competitions but has drawn their last two.  Atletico Madrid has the best defense and should show their strength this weekend.  Expect them to show good discipline and score a couple on the break.  Bilbao seems to have some form back, but Madrid is on fire.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Atletico Madrid 4/7, Athletic Bilbao 6/1, Draw 11/4

First Goalscorer – Griezmann 11/4, Vietto 4/1, Martinez 4/1

Predictions

My Pick – Madrid 2, Bilbao 0: Goals by Griezmann and Niguez

James’ Pick – Madrid 2, Bilbao 1: Goals by Aduriz, Griezmann (2)

  1. Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Monchengladbach, BayArena ~ Leverkusen, Germany

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

Both of these two teams were knocked out of the Champions League this week.  Monchengladbach is done with European play for the rest of the season.  Leverkusen will now play in the Europa League.  Leverkusen looked really good against Barcelona during the week.  They have, however, struggled as they are winless in their last two Bundesliga games.  Monchengladbach on the other hand is unbeaten in 10 games and just beat Bayern Munich last weekend.  Andre Schubert has had a great impact since he took charge.  Watch for his team to be full of confidence and go on the attack.  If you have watched any games in the Bundesliga then you know they have a tendency to be very open and have lots of chances at both ends.  This could be a high scoring affair, look for both teams to create chances.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Leverkusen 19/20, Monchengladbach 11/4, Draw 11/4

First Goalscorer – Kiessling 4/1, Hernandez 9/2, Mehmedi 11/2

Predictions

My Pick – Leverkusen 1, Monchengladbach 2: Goals by Hernandez, Stindl, and Johnson

James’ Pick – Leverkusen 1, Monchengladbach 2: Goals by Hernandez, Raffael, and Stindl

  1. Juventus vs. Fiorentina, Juventus Stadium ~ Turin, Italy

Sunday, December 13th – 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports (Delayed at 7:30 pm)

Both of these teams come into this game on nice unbeaten runs.  Fiorentina is unbeaten in their last 6 league games and Juventus has won 5 straight league games.  Fiorentina is making a serious title challenge this year as they sit 2nd in the table, but this week will be a big step for them.  Fiorentina has scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches and could be a threat to defending champions.  They have come to Turin before in good form and struggled, so the question is can they this year?  Fiorentina has only won 2 of their last 18 games against Juventus.  For Juventus, this is a chance to move up into the top 4 and just 2 points behind La Viola.  I anticipate both teams wil create chances and substitutes to play a big role (Morata?).

Betting Odds

Match Result – Juventus 4/6, Fiorentina 9/2, Draw 11/4

First Goalscorer – Mandzukic 15/4, Morselli 9/2, Dybala 9/2

Predictions

My Pick – Juventus 2, Fiorentina 1: Goals by Dybala, Morata, and Kalinic

James’ Pick – Juventus 3, Fiorentina 1: Goals by Dybala, Mandzukic, Cuadrado, Kalinic

  1. PSG vs. Lyon, Parc des Princes ~ Paris, France

Sunday, December 13th – 3:00 pm EST on beIN Sports CONNECT

At the start of the season, this game had huge potential for what should have been a title clash.  A battle between the top two teams in France.  In the league table, PSG have a very comfortable lead on the rest of the table, as they sit 15 points above Angers and 19 points above Lyon.  PSG do have something to play for, as they are currently unbeaten in the league this season.  They were able to rest some of their players during the week and should be ready to go. Lyon took a big blow this week when they went out of the Champions League and lost striker Alexandre Lacazette for the rest of the year.  This was a bad time for both of these.  I believe PSG will dominate and run away from Lyon and the rest of the French League.

Betting Odds

Match Result – PSG 1/4, Lyon 12/1, Draw 9/2

First Goalscorer – Ibrahimovic 11/4, Cavani 3/1, Moura 9/2

Predictions

My Pick – PSG 3, Lyon 0: Goals by Moura, Cavani, and Di Maria

James’ Pick – PSG 3, Lyon 0: Goals by Ibrahimovic (2), Cavani

 

Tomorrow is the draw for the European Championships.  Look for a preview of those groups and follow the twitter account for some updates on the draw @SoccerPond

England – Premier League

Norwich City vs. Everton – Saturday at 7:45 am EST on NBCSN

Crystal Palace vs. Southampton – Saturday 10:00 am EST on USA

Manchester City vs. Swansea City – Saturday 10:00 am EST on NBCSN

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

Aston Villa vs. Arsenal – Sunday at 8:30 am EST on NBCSN

Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion – Sunday at 11:00 am EST on NBCSN

Spain – La Liga

Barcelona vs. Deportivo La Coruna – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Villarreal vs. Real Madrid – Sunday at 2:30 pm EST on beIN Sports

Italy – Serie A

Sassuolo vs. Torino – Saturday at 12:00 pm EST on beIN Sports

Udinese vs. Internazionale – Saturday at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports

Milan vs. Hellas Verona – Sunday at 9:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Napoli vs. Roma – Sunday at 12:00 pm EST on beIN Sports

Germany – Bundesliga

Bayern Munchen vs. Ingolstadt – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 2

Augsburg vs. Schalke 04 – Sunday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

Borussia Dortmund vs. Eintracht Frankfurt – Sunday at 11:30 am EST on Fox Sports 2

FIFA Club World Cup

America vs. Guangzhou Evergrande – Sunday at 2:00 am EST on Fox Sports 2

TP Mazembe vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima – Sunday at 5:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

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