Chelsea vs. United plus Le Classique

This weekend we take a look at two of the giants who are struggling in England, a top four matchup in Germany, Le Classique in France, a top 2 matchup in England, and two struggling sides in Spain.

  1. Chelsea vs. Manchester United ~ Stamford Bridge, London

Sunday, February 7th at 11:00 am EST on NBCSN

This weekend two of the England giants face off, but this year has not been as great as they both would have hoped.  Both teams enter this match outside of the top 4 and having very disappointing campaigns.  Chelsea is in 13th place and have been flirting with being in the relegation fight this season.  United has struggled recently and dropped to 5th in the table, 5 points behind Arsenal in 4th.  Chelsea is in the middle of a nice unbeaten run that has seen them move slightly up the table, as they are unbeaten in their last 8.  United won their last game out but have been very hot and cold.  New signing, Alexandre Pato, might find a place on the bench but he is a long way away from being match fit according to his manager.  Look for Obi Mikel and Matic to partner in the midfield two with Willian, Fabregas, and Hazard in front of them.  United could name an unchanged eleven following their 3-0 win over Stoke.  Only change possible could be Schneiderlin for Fellaini.  Martial, Mata, and Rooney seem to be firing on all cylinders right now.  They may be the difference, but do not count out Chelsea and Costa for some drama.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Chelsea 23/20, United 29/10, Draw 23/10

First Goalscorer – Costa 9/2, Remy 11/2, Pato 11/2, Hazard 11/2

Predictions

My Pick – Chelsea 1, United 1: Goals by Costa and Martial

James’ Pick – Chelsea 1, United 2: Goals by Costa, Rooney, and Martial

  1. Marseille vs. Paris Saint-Germain ~ Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Sunday, February 7th at 3:00 pm EST on beIN Sports Connect

This weekend is Le Classique, as the teams from the two largest cities in France face off.  Olympique de Marseille will host Paris Saint-Germain.  This is a matchup that pits the center of French style and society against the working class port city.  In most years, these teams are very close in the standings and have a lot to play for.  This year however, the title race is all but over.  PSG have played 24 games and has not lost once.  They have a 24 point lead on their nearest rivals Monaco and are looking to wrap up the title by March.  Marseille, meanwhile, has been hot and cold in the congested table.  They sit just 5 points out of a Champions League spot and are only 9 above the relegation zone.  However, they are currently on the second longest unbeaten run in the league, behind PSG of course.  They are unbeaten in their last 11 matches.  Marseille will have Michy Batshuayi and Abdelaziz Barrada back from suspension but will be without Thauvin through suspension.  Mendy, Ocampos, and Diaby are all out as well.  Meanwhile, PSG are still without Van der Wiel and Verratti.  Pastore is a doubt for the game.  Look for either Adrien Rabiot or Benjamin Stambouli to start in his place.  This is a big rivalry game and Marseille could end the unbeaten run, but PSG will want to keep their hopes of an unbeaten season alive.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Marseille 17/4, PSG 8/11, Draw 13/5

First Goalscorer – Ibrahimovic 3/1, Cavani 15/4, Batshuayi 5/1

Prediction

My Pick – Marseille 1, PSG 3: Goals by Batshuayi, Ibrahimovic (2), and Di Maria

James’ Pick – Marseille 0, PSG 3: Goals by Ibrahimovic (2), and Di Maria

  1. Hertha Berlin vs. Borussia Dortmund ~ Olympiastadion Berlin, Berlin

Saturday, February 6th at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

This weekend in Germany sees third place, Hertha Berlin, host second place, Borussia Dortmund.  The two teams have been two of the more fun teams to watch this season and could provide some fireworks.  Hertha Berlin has been the somewhat surprise story of the season as they finished in 15th last season and are now fighting for a Champions League spot.  Meanwhile, Dortmund has played wonderful football this year and has the highest scoring offense in the league led by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.  However, they are 8 points behind the leaders in Munich.  They do have a massive 10 point lead on Hertha and look all but certain to finish second in the league.  Hertha, meanwhile, are in a pretty tight race for a top four spot.  They are 3 points above Leverkusen.  The difference between Leverkusen in 4th and Monchengladbach in 6th is just 2 points, so this race could tighten up this weekend.  Hertha comes into the match with good health.  Allagui has been out for a while now and the only other name to miss is Skjelbred due to suspension.  Dortmund is also healthy with just Sahin and Bender out injured.  Look for Gundogan to return to the lineup and play alongside either Kagawa or Castro.  Reus should start on the left wing.  Hertha needs this win and will try to pull themselves closer to the top 2.  They will have to overcome the pressure that Dortmund will put on them if they are to win.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Hertha 11/2, Dortmund 1/2, Draw 10/3

First Goalscorer – Aubameyang 10/3, Ducksch 9/2, Ramos 9/2

Predictions

My Pick – Hertha 2, Dortmund 3: Goals by Kalou, Ibisevic, Reus, and Aubameyang (2)

James’ Pick – Hertha 1, Dortmund 3: Goals by Kalou, Aubameyang (2), Mkhitaryan

  1. Manchester City vs. Leicester City ~ Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Saturday, February 6th at 7:45 am EST on NBCSN

One and Two meet in England this weekend and it is not the big match in London, but rather the other side of Manchester that will host this weekend.  Surprise team Leicester City sit atop the Barclay’s Premier League with a 3 point lead over Manchester City.  A win this weekend could open up a nice lead for Leicester, as they would be 6 points clear of City and at worst 5 points clear of Totttenham and Arsenal if they both win.  A win for City would send them to the top of the table, as they look to regain the title lead.  Both teams come in to the game on unbeaten runs.  Manchester City is unbeaten in their last 7 and Leicester in their last 6.  This will be a fascinating match.    Pellegrini has recently turned towards youngster Kelechi Iheanacho due to some injuries and it has been paying off.  The young striker has scored 8 goals all season including a hattrick last weekend in the FA Cup.  He should partner Aguero up front.  Pellegrini is going to be without Nasri, Mangala, Bony, De Bruyne, and Kompany for the match.  Delph and Navas are both a doubt.  Claudio Ranieri is expected to name the same lineup that defeated Liverpool on Tuesday.  Schlupp and James are still out injured and Amartey is unfit.  This is going to be Pellegrini’s last run in with Manchester City as it was announced that he is leaving at the end of the summer.  How will this impact his team?

Betting Odds

Match Result – City 8/13, Leicester 5/1, Draw 16/5

First Goalscorer – Aguero 3/1, Iheanacho 9/2, Sterling 9/2

Predictions

My Pick – City 2, Leicester 2: Goals by Aguero, Sterling, Vardy, and Drinkwater

James’ Pick – City 2, Leicester 1: Goals by Vardy, Aguero, and Iheanacho

  1. Real Betis vs. Valencia ~ Estadio Benito Villamarin, Sevilla

Sunday, February 7th at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports Connect

How could I avoid not picking a match involving Valencia this weekend?  The pressure on Gary Neville is mounting rapidly as he is still looking for his first league win and was just humiliated in the Copa del Rey, losing 7-0 to Barcelona in a match that could have been double digits if Barcelona had their shooting boots on.  Gary Neville could not have asked for a better opponent this weekend as they travel to Sevilla to face Real Betis.  Both teams are on long winless streaks with Betis at 9 games and Valencia at 11.  A loss for either side would see them slip into the relegation fight, as Betis is 2 points clear and Valencia is 5.  Juan Vargas returns from his ban this weekend to help Betis.  They will be without Piccini, Kadir, and Fabian through injury and Cejudo is suspended.  Portillo is facing a late fitness test.  Valencia is still without youngster Alcacer.  Perez and Fuego will face late fitness tests.  This is a must win for Valencia.  We will see how good he really is in the next couple weeks as he faces a tough couple weeks.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Betis 13/8, Valencia 15/8, Draw 21/10

First Goalscorer – Castro 9/2, Molina 5/1, Negredo 5/1

Predictions

My Pick – Betis 2, Valencia 2: Goals by Castro, Ceballos, Feghouli, and Parejo

James’ Pick – Betis 1, Valencia 1: Goals by Castro and Parejo

Other Games on TV This Weekend

England – Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on NBCSN

Liverpool vs. Sunderland – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on USA

Southampton vs. West Ham United – Saturday at 12:30 pm EST on NBC

AFC Bournemouth vs. Arsenal – Sunday at 8:30 am EST on NBCSN

Spain – La Liga

Atletico Madrid vs. Eibar – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Levante vs. Barcelona – Sunday at 6:00 am EST on beIN Sports

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

Italy – Serie A

Bologna vs. Fiorentina – Saturday at 12:00 pm EST on beIN Sports

Genoa vs. Lazio – Saturday at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports

Hellas Verona vs. Internazionale – Sunday at 6:30 am EST, starts at 7:55 am EST on beIN Sports

Napoli vs. Carpi – Sunday at 9:00 am EST on beIN Sports – Multi Game

Frosinone vs. Juventus – Sunday at 9:00 am EST on beIN Sports – Multi Game

Germany – Bundesliga

Schalke 04 vs. Wolfsburg – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 2

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Stuttgart – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Soccer Plus

Hamburger vs. Koln – Sunday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

Hoffenheim vs. Darmstadt 98 – Sunday at 11:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

 

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