Manchester and Tyne-Wear Derbies plus relegation battles

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

Sunday, March 20th at 12:00 pm EST on NBC

The Manchester Derby takes place this weekend and both of the teams come in a bit of a slump to this game.  Manchester City advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, but failed to score in their home leg against Dynamo Kyiv.  Manchester United was eliminated by their rivals Liverpool in the Europa League.  In the Premier League, both teams have been up and down and sit in the middle section of the form table.  United has won only 3 of their last 6 matches.  City meanwhile have only won 2.  The title seems out of reach for both as City sits in fourth place 12 points behind Leicester.  United is in 6th and is 4 points behind City.  Both teams come into the derby with lengthy injury lists.  De Bruyne and Delph are still out.  Kompany was injured against Kyiv during the week.  Nasri just returned to training so he will also miss out.  Otamendi was also injured in the game against Kyiv, but he might be fit for this one.  For United, they are still without Shaw, Young, Jones, and Rooney.  They have all been injured for a while now.  Herrera is a doubt due to his groin injury.  Rashford and Martial vs Aguero and Silva.  Whoever is more clinical will win the game.

Betting Odds

Match Result – City 5/6, United 15/4, Draw 11/4

First Goalscorer – Aguero 3/1, Iheanacho 9/2, Bony 5/1

Predictions

My Pick – City 2, United 1: Goals by Aguero, Sterling, and Martial

James’ Pick – City 2, United 1: Goals by Aguero, Toure, and Martial

  1. Real Madrid vs. Sevilla ~ Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

Sunday, March 20th at 3:330 pm EST on beIN Sports USA

My favorite stat from the season so far is that Sevilla is 5th in the table despite not winning a single game on the road all season.  That trend is likely to continue as they face Real Madrid.  Real Madrid is the third best home team in the league behind Barcelona and, not surprisingly, Sevilla.  I mean, they have to be great at home if they are winless on the road.  Meanwhile, Sevilla is the only team in the league that has not won on the road.  Yes even Sporting Gijon (3 wins), Levante (1), and Granada (3) have won on the road and they are the bottom 3 in the league.  Real Madrid has won 3 straight but the league title seems well out of reach since they are 12 points behind Barcelona.  Sevilla, meanwhile, is on the hunt for 4th place.  They are just 5 points behind Villarreal and any points on the road will be massive for them.  Pepe and Ramos are both suspended for Real Madrid.  That means Nacho and Varane will partner in the back.  Casemiro might keep his place in the side as well.  Ever Banega is suspended for Sevilla.  They are without Konoplyanka, N’Zonzi, Vitolo, Andreolli, and Pareja because of injury.  Krohn-Deli faces a late fitness test.  This will be a tough one for Sevilla to get their first road win, but it is bound to happen someday soon.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Real Madrid 4/11, Sevilla 7/1, Draw 17/4

First Goalscorer – Ronaldo 9/4, Benzema 15/4, Jese 4/1

Predictions

My Pick – Real Madrid 2, Sevilla 2: Goals by Ronaldo, Bale, Gameiro, and Reyes

James’ Pick – Real Madrid 3, Sevilla 2: Goals by Ronaldo (2), Benzema, Gameiro

  1. Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Hannover ~ Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt

Saturday, March 19th at 1:30 pm EST on Fox

This is a huge relegation 6 pointer this weekend.  Eintracht Frankfurt is currently in the relegation playoff spot, 7 points above Hannover.  They are level on points with Hoffenheim, who is in the first relegation place.  Hannover sits on the bottom of the table.  They are in big trouble, but a win this weekend could give them a glimmer of hope.  Hoffenheim will be watching this match closely as they will hope to get a point and climb up the table in their game.  Eintracht is winless in their last 8 games.  Hannover has failed to win their last 3 and in fact have lost 11 of their last 12.  Frankfurt is without Anderson, Flum, and Gacinovic.  Meier is a doubt.  Hanover is without Andreasen, Benschop, Bech, and Felipe.  Milosevic is a doubt.  Frankfurt will hope that Hannover can end their bad run and give them some breathing room at the bottom.  This could be a very tight race at the bottom of the German table.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Frankfurt 5/6, Hannover 10/3, Draw 13/5

First Goalscorer – Castaignos 5/1, Seferovic 5/1, Waldschmidt 6/1

Predictions

My Pick – Frankfurt 2, Hannover 1: Goals by Seferovic, Castaignos, and Kiyotake

James’ Pick – Frankfurt 2, Hannover 1: Goals by Seferovic, Stendera, and Kiyotake

  1. Roma vs. Internazionale ~ Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Saturday, March 19th at 3:45 pm EST on beIN Sports

I have really enjoyed watching Roma lately so of course I am going to pick their game against Inter Milan.  Roma has won 8 straight.  They are on top of the form table and are trying to catch up with Napoli and Juventus.  They are currently in 3rd place and 5 points behind Napoli.  They also have a 5 point lead on Fiorentina and Inter Milan.  Inter comes in on the back of 2 straight wins.  They are now level on points with Fiorentina and a win can see them jump above Fiorentina and within touching distance of Roma.  Roma is finally healthy and playing some great soccer.  They are only missing Norbert Gyomber.  With all of their midfielders healthy, they might go with a midfield 3 of Naingolan, De Rossi, and Pjanic finally.  This is the midfield three that all Roma fans have been craving for a while.  It might also mean that Edin Dzeko sits on the bench due to the great form of Perotti, Salah, and Shaarawy.  Inter Milan is without Stevan Jovetic and Rodrigo Palacio.  Palacio is suspended.  Mauro Icardi is a doubt for this game which means that Eder will lead the line for Inter.  Roma has been great lately and that looks set to continue, especially since they have won 20 of their last 26 Serie A home fixtures.

Betting Odds

Match Result – Roma 8/11, Inter 4/1, Draw 11/4

First Goalscorer – Dzeko 9/2, Totti 5/1, Pjanic 11/2

Predictions

My Pick – Roma 3, Inter 0: Goals by Salah, Pjanic, and Dzeko

James’ Pick – Roma 3, Inter 1: Goals by Salah, Pjanic, Shaaraway, and Icardi

  1. Newcastle united vs. Sunderland ~ St. James’ Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Sunday, March 20th at 9:30 am EST on NBCSN

This weekend is the second Tyne-Wear Derby of the season and this time it is Newcastle who changed their manager just before the game.  The last couple times, we have seen a Sunderland manager face Newcastle in their second game.  This time it is Rafa Bentiez.  It has worked for Sunderland in the past, will it work for Newcastle?  This derby also has new added meaning as both teams sit in the bottom 4 teams in the league.  The threat of relegation is very real and could be coming for one or both of these teams.  Newcastle sits in 19th place having lost four straight games.  Sunderland has one more point than Newcastle but is 2 places above them, just outside of the relegation zone.  They have drawn their last two games and would love another one this weekend.  Sunderland comes into this derby unbeaten in the last 8 Tyne-Wear derbies and having won 6 straight.  Newcastle might have the longest injury list in the league.  They have 11 first team players out injured, plus Mbemba is facing a late fitness test.  Sunderland meanwhile will have busy Physios as Khazri, Defoe, Lens, Eboue, and Cattermole all face late fitness tests.  They are without Duncan Watmore.  Will Newcastle be able to end the four year run without a league win over their biggest rivals?

Betting Odds

Match Result – Newcastle 11/10, Sunderland 14/5, Draw 5/2

First Goalscorer – Mitrovic 5/1, Doumbia 5/1, Riviere 11/2

Predictions

My Pick – Newcastle 2, Sunderland 1: Goals by Wijnaldum, Perez, and Borini

James’ Pick – Newcastle 1, Sunderland 2: Goals by Wijnaldum, Defoe, and N’Doye

Champions League Recap

Manchester City 0, Dynamo Kyiv 0 (3 – 1 aggregate score) – In what was a fairly boring game, Manchester City advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to their away win in Ukraine.  Kyiv had more possession in the game but both teams created little going forward.

Atletico Madrid 0, PSV Eindhoven 0 (0 – 0 aggregate score) (8 – 7 penalty) – This game was very much back and forth and the defense held out.  Atletico Madrid had plenty of chances but was not able to find the goal.  The game then went to penalties.  The first 14 players all scored their penalties.  Luciano Narsingh missed his penalty.  Juanfran stepped up and sent Atletico on to the quarterfinals.

Bayern Munchen 4, Juventus 2 AET (6 – 4 aggregate score) – This game was a fantastic match.  Juventus took a two goal lead thanks to a Manuel Neuer mistake gifted Pogba a 5th minute goal.  Cuadrado doubled the lead after 28 minutes.  They took this lead into halftime.  Lewandowski gave Munich a hope in the 73rd minute.  Then Muller completed the comeback in the first minute of additional time.  In extra time, Thigao Alcantara and Kingsley Coman both scored to send Munich on and Juventus home.

Barcelona 3, Arsenal 1 (5 – 1 aggregate score) – Barcelona dominated the game and easily advanced thanks to goals from MSN.  Neymar opened the scoring.  Mohamed Elneny leveled the score for Arsenal, but Luis Suarez and Messi ended the tie and won the game for Barcelona.

Champions League Draw

The draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League took place this morning, and the matchups look set to give us some epic semifinal matchups.  The matchups are…

Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid

Bayern Munich vs. Benfica

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City

Wolfsburg vs. Real Madrid

Europa League Draw

The draw for the Europa League was also today.  One matchup stand out above the rest as Borussia Dortmund faces off with their old coach, Jurgen Kloop.  Here are the quarterfinal matchups…

Villarreal vs. Sparta Prague

Braga vs. Shakthar Donetsk

Borussia Dortmund vs. Liverpool

Athletic Bilbao vs. Sevilla

Other Games on TV This Weekend

England – Premier League

Everton vs. Arsenal – Saturday at 8:45 am EST on NBCSN

Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City – Saturday at 11:00 am EST on NBCSN

Chelsea vs. West ham United – Saturday at 11:00 am EST on USA

Swansea City vs. Aston Villa – Saturday at 1:30 pm EST on NBCSN

Spain – La Liga

Sporting Gijon vs. Atletico Madrd – Saturday at 11:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Villarreal vs. Barcelona – Sunday at 11:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Italy – Serie A

Empoli vs. Palermo – Saturday at 1:00 pm EST on beIN Sports

Torino vs. Juventus – Sunday at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports

Germany – Bundesliga

Koln vs. Bayern Munchen – Saturday at 10:30 am EST on Fox Soccer Plus

Stuttgart vs. Bayer Leverkusen – Sunday at 10:30 am EST on Fox Sports 1

Augsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund – Sunday at 12:30 pm EST on Fox Soccer Plus

French – Ligue 1

PSG vs. Monaco – Sunday at 4:00 pm EST on beIN Sports

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