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Four matches to watch this weekend

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Liverpool v Leicester City @Anfield @8:15pm on November 22

This is surely Brendan Rodgers’ best opportunity to get one over his former club as Jurgen Klopp ponders a juggling act on his injury-decimated squad. The list reads: Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Joe Gomez, while there are doubts about the match fitness of Jordan Henderson, Thiago, and Rhys Williams.

The Foxes lead the EPL table by a point and have proven themselves to be adept travellers in the nine-week old 2020/21 season. They have won away at Manchester City, Arsenal, Leeds United and at West Bromwich Albion, scoring 13 goals and conceding just thrice. Liverpool have conceded first in their last three league matches even though they have come back to win and are unbeaten in their last 63 EPL matches at Anfield.

Will the Reds successfully stage a comeback if Leicester score the first goal on Sunday?

Current Form: Liverpool [D-W-W-W-W]; Leicester [W-W-W-W-W]

Head-to-head

26/12/19 PRL Leicester 0 – 4 Liverpool

05/10/19 PRL Liverpool 2 – 1 Leicester

30/01/19 PRL Liverpool 1 – 1 Leicester

01/09/18 PRL Leicester 1 – 2 Liverpool

30/12/17 PRL Liverpool 2 – 1 Leicester

Prediction: Liverpool 2-3 Leicester City

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Tottenham v Man. City @Tottenham Stadium @6:30 p.m. on November 21

If Manchester City had a bogey team, it would be Tottenham, and if City manager, Pep Guardiola had an arch-adversary, it must be Tottenham manager, Jose Mourinho. Preparing his team for the trip to London will not have been easy, but there will be more pep in his players’ steps after the announcement of a new two-year deal. Spurs hold a five-point lead over City, though they have a game in hand, but the absences of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero will hamper Guardiola’s overall tactics.

Phil Foden and Ferran Torres were great in the FIFA window and will seek to replicate their form. For Mourinho, getting over Guardiola is not the overriding aim but to lead Spurs to at least one trophy at the end of the 2020/21 season. Harry Kane is firing and supplying assists, though it is a prayer that EPL top scorer, Son Heung-min returns a negative COVID-19 test result after playing for South Korea.

Will City kick-start their season with goals at the Spurs Stadium, or will Mourinho win the battle in preparation for an assault on the EPL title?

Current Form: Tottenham [W-W-W-L-W]; Man. City [D-W-W-W-D]

Head-to-head

02/02/20 PRL Tottenham 2 – 0 Man. City

17/08/19 PRL Man. City 2 – 2 Tottenham

20/04/19 PRL Man. City 1 – 0 Tottenham

17/04/19 UCL Man. City 4 – 3 Tottenham

09/04/19 UCL Tottenham 1 – 0 Man. City

Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Man. City

Napoli v AC Milan @Stadio San Paolo @8:45pm on November 22

Napoli will be without the runs and energy of Victor Osimhen when they host the current Serie A leader, AC Milan in the late kickoff on Sunday. Napoli manager, Gennaro Gattuso, welcomes a team he served for 15 years, as a player and two years as manager, but those sentiments will be pushed aside as all three points will mean his side will take over top spot on the league table. AC Milan’s form has tailed off a bit in the last three weeks with a loss in the Europa League followed up with a lucky home draw against Verona.

And they will be without their manager, Stefano Pioli, who is self-isolating at home because of testing positive to COVID-19 while Rafael Leao is out with a thigh injury. Apart from Osimhen, Napoli will have to do without Elseid Hysaj, David Ospina, and Amir Rrahmani.

Will Napoli score the goals that will take them top or will Milan continue to rely on the saving powers of Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Current Form: Napoli [W-W-L-W-W]; AC Milan [D-L-W-W-D]

Head-to-head

12/07/20 SEA Napoli 2 – 2 AC Milan

23/11/19 SEA AC Milan 1 – 1 Napoli

29/01/19 COI AC Milan 2 – 0 Napoli

26/01/19 SEA AC Milan 0 – 0 Napoli

25/08/18 SEA Napoli 3 – 2 AC Milan

Prediction: Napoli 2-1 AC Milan

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona @Estadio Wanda Metropolitano @9pm on November 21

Barcelona are amid a civil war with many Barca fans believing Antoine Griezmann as undermining Lionel Messi’s influence. More importantly, Ronald Koeman has to find suitable substitutes for the injured duo of Sergio Busquets and Ansu Fati and Messi sitting out training on Thursday after arriving back in Spain on Wednesday.

Barca will also be spared the wrath of Luis Suarez, sidelined with COVID-19, as the third highest scorer in Barcelona’s history was hounded out of the Nou Camp during the last transfer window. Messi had said on arrival, “I’m tired of always being the problem for everything at the club.” Atletico are undefeated in their last 23 La Liga matches, but they have more losses to Barcelona than any other Spanish side. Diego Simeone could throw on Geoffrey Kondogbia, to anchor the midfield with Joao Felix expected to continue his fine scoring form.

Will Barcelona stop the rot or will the regression continue at the Wanda Metropolitano?

Current Form: Atletico Madrid [W-D-W-W-W]; Barcelona [W-W-D-W-L]

Head-to-head

30/06/20 LAL Barcelona 2 – 2 Atletico

09/01/20 SUC Barcelona 2 – 3 Atletico

01/12/19 LAL Atletico 0 – 1 Barcelona

06/04/19 LAL Barcelona 2 – 0 Atletico

24/11/18 LAL Atletico 1 – 1 Barcelona

Prediction: Atletico 2-2 Barcelona



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