The weekend is here, and there are some colossal encounters going down — and we’ve got a handy guide to the biggest of them all, so you don’t miss a thing.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
The North London Derby is an infamous fixture due to the fierce rivalry between Arsenal and Spurs. In years gone by, the advantage leant heavily in Arsenal’s favour, but due to the fantastic management of Spurs, both financially and in terms of their football, the tables have turned in recent seasons. Spurs are confident in defence as well as attack, while Arsenal have a fragile defence behind a competent attack. The home-field advantage may help the Gunners get a positive result, but Spurs have fantastic away form this season, so they’re likely favourites to take the points.
Predicted Result: Arsenal 0 – 2 Spurs
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid
Atletico’s rise through Spanish football over the last few seasons has been highly impressive. Their success culminated in a La Liga title and appearing in two Champion’s League finals, both against this weekend’s opponents, Real Madrid. Both Madrid clubs have had some difficulties this season though, and stand on exactly 23 points each. Being on equal points gives both sides additional impetus to get a win because it will open up some space in the table, as well as giving them city bragging rights. Real have suffered two defeats in their last six, while Atletico are unbeaten in that same period, but with only two victories. This is likely to be a tetchy fixture, as neither side will want to concede sloppy goals, so the result is difficult to call.
Predicted Result: Atletico Madrid 1 – 1 Real Madrid
England v Wallabies
England had a good start to their fixture list with a strong win over Argentina, while the Wallabies looked solid against Wales in Cardiff, so this encounter should prove to be an interesting northern vs. southern hemisphere arm-wrestle. Australia has evolved their attacking game considerably, but still leak soft tries. England are becoming a much tighter and more clinical side with every game, and should have enough tactical prowess to keep Australia at bay.
Predicted Result: England by 3.
Leicester City v Manchester City
Since their amazing title-win a couple of seasons ago, Leicester have failed to reach those same heights in the subsequent seasons. Despite that they’ve shown a significant uptick in form in the last six fixtures in all competitions, remaining unbeaten and getting three wins, so it’s likely that their confidence is high. Unfortunately, they’re going to face off against the best attack in the league when they host City this weekend. It doesn’t look like anyone is going to stand in City’s way as they lay waste to all the opponents they’ve faced so far, but if it’s going to happen, it’s going to have to start happening soon or they’re going to run away with the title.
Predicted Result: Leicester City 1 – 4 Manchester City
France v Springboks
Following the forgettable performance against the Irish a week ago, the Springboks have seen some changes to the starting lineup, with Handre Pollard, Duane Vermeulen and Francois Venter being called into the starting lineup. That said, it seems like the damage has been done to the Springbok morale, and they’ll need a huge motivational performance in order to rectify their tour. The French, on the other hand, had a lacklustre first half, but pushed the All Blacks in the second in their end-of-year opener. The French are desperate for a big Southern Hemisphere scalp in 2017, and unfortunately, the Boks may be the likely victims.
Predicted Result: France by 5.
What are your predictions for this weekend? Which teams will come out on top in the respective encounters? Let us know by tweeting us @MenStuffZA!