Soccer Predictions This Weekend
EPL - Arsenal vs Tottenham Picks
The Gunners, who have been thoroughly dominated away from home by Liverpool and Manchester City this season, now get one of England's better sides on their home turf. Can it be different this weekend or will Arsenal's subpar performances against upper echelon opposition continue?
90 seconds into the match at the Etihad, Arsenal took a corner kick which Man City defended, made 2 passes and were up the field and Aguero had a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Most recently when Liverpool and Real Madrid went to Wembley they left their defenders isolated with lots of open space for Spurs to invade and it led to goal scoring opportunities on which they capitalized. If Arsenal, who have never learned their lesson in how to protect their back four, or three, leave the same open channels then Spurs will use the space to create the same types of opportunities.
With all else being equal, this is where the game game can be won for Tottenham, and lost for Arsenal; on the Spurs counter attack.
Another key for me in this game is the fact that while most stars from most other teams travelled somewhere and played in international friendlies or World Cup playoffs, Spurs were able to keep Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks home this past fortnight and rest them.
My guess is that all 3 suit up for this game and the time off will be evident in a positive way for Tottenham. The last 3 times these rivals have played at the Emirates have ended in 1-1 draws. Tottenham should expect at least a point this Saturday.
EPL - Manchester United vs Newcastle Picks
The last time Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez made the headlines together was when Rafa took over the Real Madrid job. In the introductory press conference Rafa's wife, who was there for some reason, stated that they were going to clean up "Jose Mourinho's mess".
This was a particulary odd comment because it was Carlo Ancelotti whom Rafa was replacing, not Mourinho. So it would have been understandable if that comment was ignored. Jose Mourinho tried to take the high road, but he doesn't know where it is.
Jose fired back. He pointed out that the last time Benitez succeeded him it was at Inter Milan where the Spaniard needed all of 6 months to ruin what Mourinho made the best team in Europe. He then told Mrs. Benitez that she should focus on her husband's weight rather than him.
Saturday these two old rivals crosspaths again. This game breaks down simply for me. Whether or not Paul Pogba returns, I think United's goal won't face much stress and Newcastle will park the bus and try to frustrate the home side.
United will huff and puff and eventually break the stubborn resistance. There is an outside chance that Rafa does a job on Mourinho, but I like them to score at some point.
La Liga - Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid Picks
Both Madrid sides are well off their targets for this season.
Both sit 8 points off of 1st place Barcelona in the table.
Real Madrid look to be ok to qualify to the knockout stages of the Champions League, while Atleti, who have been monsters in that competition over the last 4 seasons, shockingly, look like they are headed for the Europa League.
By their high standards, both teams are playing poorly. A win this Saturday in the Madrid Derby is the type of springboard frankly that each team needs, which is why it will be a hotly contested match and perhaps the most intriguing game of the weekend.
Ultimately I go DRAW here (+250) available at William Hill BUT keep in mind that in 4 league games at Atleti's new stadium there has only been a total of 7 goals scored.
This could be a perfect chance to grab some extra units by live betting the Under 2.5 goals if in the first 10-15 minutes it looks like a cagey affair.
You can follow me on twitter @zahir_gilani
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