To the players and officials of Akwa United involved in the bus crash on Enugu Highway on their way to honouring their Matchday 15 away fixture against Jigawa Golden Stars in Kaduna, we say, “Keep your head up.” The NPFL can get better, these players deserve better.
A quick recap of sports happenings during the week saw ;-
Stephen Gerrard and Rangers of Glasgow sealing their first Scottish title over eternal city rivals, Celtics, after a 10-year wait. Roger Federer making a return to the Tennis court after 2 knee surgeries and a 14-month hiatus. Blake Griffin getting traded from Detroit Pistons to the already solid Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets already have Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, adding the former Clipper could make the Nets modern day Harlem Globetrotters. These guys will become “win-it-all-mentality-monsters” who’ll be ready for anyone…The Eastern Conference appeared sealed already.
And lastly Confederation of African Football (CAF) elected a new president, South African billionaire, Patrice Motsepe,. Hope he would bring his experience as a successful businessman to the table and his days as CAF president will usher in useful football administration reforms which will transform the African game for good.
So what are we looking forward to this weekend? Here are a few very good pick of games around the world of Football
Ligue 1 : Monaco vs Lille (Les Monégasques vs Les Dogues)
Le Parisien would be watching this game with keen interest of a scavenging vulture. Lille in first place, are 2 points ahead of PSG, any points dropped is to the Parisians advantage. They’re perching gingerly in top spot and would be hoping to hold onto 1st place for another weekend. Ambitious Monaco, on the other hand, are 5th with a game in hand and 5 points outside of Champions’ League qualifications. They wouldn’t want to slip too far behind Lyon in the race for the Top 3.
Lille slightly edge Monaco as the better team in the last 6 games. Monaco have been tenacious too and even got an away win at the Parc de Prince. A draw won’t be of any benefit to Lille, they will want the game more but should be wary of the slippery Monaco, the Municipality outfit could be full of surprises.
Both sides would likely approach the game with caution and respect in the first half before it explodes into a combustible affair. Monaco are almost touching Lyon’s coattails, they’d do anything to get back into European reckoning but beating Lille will be a huge task.
My verdict : There’s a strong chance the game will have more than 2 goals and Monaco getting 3 precious points.
(Image Credit – thechelseachronicles.com)
Serie A : – Napoli vs AC Milan (The Battle of Familiar Foes)
The last time Gennaro Gattuso’s job was on the line, Napoli beat Juventus. Rumours of Napoli approaching former boss, Mauricio Sarri, is swirling through the air and the injury-hit AC Milan ought to be wary of familiar foe, Gattuso. Both teams haven’t been in the best of forms, they’ve been winning and dropping points like a yo-yo in the Serie A.
2nd-placed AC Milan are hoping to prevent city rivals, Inter, from running away with the league. Should Milan drop points this weekend, Inter will open a 9-point gap if they run the gauntlet through Torino. If there’s a time to find there feet, the time is now for Milan. Juventus are 4 points away in 3rd and they have a game in hand.
For 6th-placed Napoli, Champions League qualification means everything and they will be going all-out for 3 points against Milan. The Naples outfit’s ambitions will be buoyed by the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu. Milan have beaten Napoli in 3 games and they Sky-blues will be hoping to maintain status quo.
My verdict : Either team can win this tie and they both will score.
(Image Credit – 90min.com )
Bundesliga : – RB Leipzig vs Eintracht Frankfurt
If Eintracht Frankfurt think RB Leipzip are ripe for the picking because of the midweek loss to Liverpool, they may have to have a huge rethink. 2nd-placed Leipzig are 2 points behind leaders, Bayern, and will like to keep it that way heading into the business end of the season.
High flying 2nd-placed Leipzig are going into this fixture on the back of 6 successive league wins and they don’t look like they want to slow down for anyone right now. They can’t afford to slip up if they want to give the Bavarians any challenge to the title. Julian Nagelsmann is on the cusp of history, he won’t let Frankfurt upset the cart.
Until the last 2 fixtures where 4th-placed Frankfurt slipped up, they were the envy of the league. Beating Bayern is no mean feat and they’re likely relishing the prospect of adding Leipzig to the list of growing victims. Beating Leipzip now is a way of Frankfurt creating a Rockstar status of their own. Collecting the Leipzip scalp is a must on Sunday if they want to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their club history.
My verdict : Leipzig won’t lose this one. Their worst result would be a scored draw…At least 3 goals in the game.
(Image Credit – sportsbeezer.com)
EPL : – The North-London Derby Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspurs – (The World’s Most Bitter Derby)
With 10 games to go, neither of these teams are with 3 points of the most coveted Top 4 places, that’s how long their stocks have fallen. However, the North-London derby has the reputation of being the most bitter derby and deserves a look-in.
The Jose Mourinho-led Spurs go into the derby 5 points behind Chelsea in 7th-place. They have the league’s best top 9 in Harry Kane and he’s been their most consistent performer. Difficult to pin down, when he’s not scoring, he’s assisting. He’s the one pulling all the attacking strings at Spurs and heading into the business end of the season the sharpest attacker in the league.
Mikel Arteta-led Arsenal go into this fixture in 10th place and boasting of the 2nd stingiest defence in the league (28 conceded behind Mancity’s 21). It took the resurgence of Aubameyang for Arsenal to bounce back into reckoning, and they look up to him going into this derby. If Auba is up for it, Arsenal might have a chance.
This is the weakest Mourinho could ever face Arsenal, if he doesn’t go ultra defensive in his formation, the Spurs forwards could cadge penalties off the error-prone Arsenal defence. Aubameyang has enough pace to bother the Spurs defence too, so we’re looking at two very balanced sides here.
My verdict : – I think with the form Kane, Son and Bale are in Spurs can snatch all 3 points at the Emirates. Tottenham have a decent chance, I’ll stick my neck out for them.
(Image Credit – cartilagefreecaptain.com)
Please don’t take my verdicts as football gospel this loaded weekend. What are yours? Let’s talk…