Top 4 in England, Top 2 In Italy

This weekend, we focus on the Premier League as the top four teams all face each other.  In Italy, the top two teams meet.  In Spain, the Capital vs the Basques is our matchup.  Lastly, we look at the bottom of the table in France.

  1. Arsenal vs. Leicester City ~ Emirates Stadium, London

Sunday, February 14th at 7:00 am EST on NBCSN

This weekend the top four teams in England all meet.  In our first featured matchup, the hottest team in England faces off with the team that everyone thinks this is their best chance to win it all.  Leicester City travels to London to face off with the Arsenal.  Leicester is looking for a second straight win against a title rival and their fourth in a row.  They are unbeaten in their last 7.  Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrezz seem to be scoring for fun.  Leicester is the story of the season and we will see how long this fairy tale can last.  A win this weekend puts Leicester as serious contenders for runaway champions.  A win for Arsenal puts them right back into the race.  The good news for Arsenal is that they are finally starting to get healthy.  Coquelin should return to the starting eleven this weekend.  Welbeck, Cazorla, and Wilshere are all getting closer but still out.  Look for Gabriel to start instead of Per due to pace.  Oxlade-Chamberlain could also start.  Ranieri should name the exact same 11 as last time.  This game will have goals in it.  Look for both teams to go for the win and the Leicester players to have fun.  A point is all Leicester needs this weekend.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Arsenal 4/6, Leicester 15/4, Draw 11/4

First Goalscorer – Giroud 4/1, Sanchez 9/2, Walcott 5/1

Predictions

My Pick – Arsenal 2, Leicester 2: Goals by Giroud, Sanchez, Vardy, and Mahrez

James’ Pick – Arsenal 2, Leicester 2: Goals by Giroud, Sanchez, Vardy, and Mahrez

  1. Juventus vs. Napoli ~ Juventus Stadium, Turin

Saturday, February 13th at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports

While the top four in England meet, the top two in Italy, and arguably the hottest two teams in the world, meet in Turin.  Juventus brings their 14 game winning run and Napoli brings an 8 game win streak.  These two teams are looking to stay at the top of the table and give themselves some breathing room.  Whoever wins this game will be on top of the table at the end of the weekend.  This should be an absolutely fantastic game and probably one of the best games on the season.  Juventus will be without their defensive leader as Chiellini is out injured.  This could lead to a shift to four at the back with Barzagli and Bonucci in the back with Evra and Lichtsteiner.  Mandzukic, Caceres, and Asamoah are all out injured.  Khedira is a doubt for the game.  Dybala and Morata will be leading the line and are a dynamic attack.  Napoli is only without Alberto Grassi.  This will leave them with their normal starting 11 that includes the best striker in the league in Gonzalo Higuain.  An interesting tid bit about this game is that there is some rumbling in the press that maybe a foreign referee should officiate this match due to the hype and importance.  It should be a thriller that could send the defending champions back on top, or end their massively impressive run.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Juventus 21/20, Napoli 14/5, Draw 23/10

First Goalscorer – Dybala 5/1, Higuain 5/1, Morata 6/1

Predictions

My Pick – Juventus 1, Napoli 2: Goals by Dybala, Higuain, and Insigne

James’ Pick – Juventus 3, Napoli 2: Goals by Dybala (2), Pogba, Higuain (2)

  1. Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao ~ Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

Saturday, February 13th at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports

This weekend in Spain, two teams that have never been relegated from the top flight meet.  Both of these teams started the year with high hopes of a great season and are now adjusting those goals a little.  Madrid has a new manager in Zidane and Bilbao is trying to climb up the table.  Real Madrid is in the midst of an 8 game unbeaten run but see themselves four points behind the leaders and 1 point behind their city rivals Atletico Madrid.  Athletic Club meanwhile is coming in on a 3 game unbeaten run, but they are 10 points behind fourth place Villarreal.  If they want to make it to the Champions League, 3 points this weekend is a must.  Bale, Pepe, and Marcelo are all out for this game.  Look for Kovacic to come into the midfield for Isco this weekend.   Bilbao is without San Jose and Inaki Williams due to suspension.  Raul Garcia and Ibai Gomez are out injured.  Etxeita and Susaeta are doubts.  This game could be very tight or Real could run away with it.  If Bilbao can find the form that saw them hammer Barcelona at the start of the season, we could be in for a great game.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Real Madrid 3/10, Bilbao 9/1, Draw 19/4

First Goalscorer – Ronaldo 11/5, Benzema 15/4, Jese 4/1

Predictions

My Pick – Real 3, Bilbao 1: Goals Modric, Benzema (2), Aduriz

James’ Pick – Real 3, Bilbao 1: Goals by Ronaldo (2), Benzema, Aduriz

  1. Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur ~ Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Sunday, February 14th at 11:15 am EST on NBCSN

This is the other top four showdown in England this weekend as Manchester City hosts Tottenham Hotspur.  Tottenham currently sits in second place, 5 points behind Leicester.  Manchester City is in fourth place, a point behind Tottenham.  Tottenham is currently second in the form table as well having won their last four games.  City, meanwhile, lost big last weekend against Leicester City.  This game will feature two teams that with a win can make a serious title chase.  A loss for either side is not the end of their title hopes but is a serious dent.  Nasri, Mangala, Bony, De Bruyne, Navas, and Delph are all out with injury.  Silva is facing a later fitness test.  Vincent Kompany is also due for a late fitness test which could be a good or bad thing for City.  Kelechi Iheanacho might be in line for another start alongside Aguero.  Tottenham are just without N’Jie and Vertonghen.  Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier are expected to continue to start.  This will be a very tight game and could go either way.  Will the pending arrival of Pep Guardiola still impact Manchester City?

Betting Odds

Match Result – Mancehster City 1/1, Tottenham 27/10, Draw 13/5

First Goalscorer – Aguero 7/2, Iheanacho 5/1, Kane 5/1

Predictions

My Pick – Manchester City 1, Tottenham 2: Goals by Aguero, Kane, and Chadli

James’ Pick – Manchester City 1, Tottenham 2: Goals by Aguero, Kane, and Alli

  1. Montpellier vs. Toulouse ~ Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier

Saturday, February 13th at 2:00 pm EST

This game has taken on new meaning lately, as Ligue 1 has decided to reverse its decision to relegate only 2 teams and go back to 3 teams getting relegated.  This means that Montpellier is now in the relegation zone.  They are in 18th place in the table and have 26 points.  They sit just 1 point behind GFC Ajaccio and safety.  This game could send Montpellier to safety if they are able to win.  A loss would mean that they are in for a tough fight to escape their new relegation spot.  Toulouse, meanwhile, is hoping that they can start their climb out of the bottom 3.  They lost 4 in a row before drawing last weekend with Nantes.  This game is a showdown at the bottom of the table and a look at some new teams in Ligue 1.  Montpellier has a rich history and won the title just a few years ago.  Their leading goal scorer is Casimir Ninga.  Their major playmakers are Bryan Dabo and Ryad Boudebouz.  Wissam Ben Yedder is the leading goal scorer for Toulouse.  Their top playmaker is Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro.  This will be a big game for both sides and both teams will look to get a vital 3 points.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Montpellier 11/10, Toulouse 14/5, Draw 11/5

First Goalscorer – Berigaud 6/1, Braithwaite 6/1, No Goalscorer 13/2

Predictions

My Pick – Montpellier 1, Toulouse 1: Goals by Boudebouz and Yedder

James’ Pick – Montpellier 1, Toulouse 1: Goals by Ninga and Yedder

Other Games on TV This Weekend

England – Premier League

Sunderland vs. Manchester United – Saturday at 7:45 am EST on NBCSN

Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on NBCSN

Norwich City vs. West Ham United – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on USA

Chelsea vs. Newcastle United – Saturday at 12:30 pm EST on NBCSN

Aston Villa vs. Liverpool – Sunday at 9:05 am EST on NBCSN

Spain – La Liga

Getafe vs. Atletico Madrid – Sunday at 12:15 pm EST on beIN Sports

Italy – Serie A

Milan vs. Genoa – Sunday at 6:30 am EST on beIN Sports

Fiorentina vs. Internazionale – Sunday at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports

Germany – Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund vs. Hannover 96 – Saturday at 9:30 am EST in Fox Sports 2

Darmstadt 98 vs. Bayer Leverkusen – Saturday at 9:30 am EST in Fox Soccer Plus

Koln vs. Eintracht Frankfurt – Saturday at 12:30 pm EST in Fox Sports 2

Hamburger SV vs. Borussia Monchengladbach – Sunday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

Augsburg vs. Bayern Munchen – Sunday at 11:30 am EST on Fox Sports 2

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