We’re heading into the final stretch of the European football season, but because of an international break coming up to prep for the World Cup the Premier League’s full roster isn’t in action this weekend. There’s still a lot of action to look forward to across the biggest leagues, though!
Stormers v Blues
The Stormers have had a less-than-successful tour of Australia and New Zealand over the past few weeks; so will be glad to know they’ll be back in the comfort of their home-ground this weekend when they take on the Blues, who managed an impressive comeback-win over the Lions in Joburg a week ago. There’s no denying that the Blues are a dangerous machine just ready to click into gear, but are struggling to find their early gears in matches. However, the Stormers, despite being over-coached, are packed with exciting talent that should have the firepower and grunt to grab a home win.
Predicted result: Stormers by 5.
England v Ireland
Ireland’s Six Nations win can go unblemished when they take on England at Twickenham in the final match of the already-decided Northern Hemisphere tournament. Eddie Jones’ England were toppled Scotland and France in previous weeks, but will dare not lose a third in front of their own supporters; however, if there is a team that’s got the best chance to do it, it’s Ireland. England have made a heap of changes to their side that lost last weekend, while Ireland have opted for consistency and picked essentially the same team. It’s a difficult one to call, England with their backs against the wall are always a tough ask, but Ireland’s momentum is looking like it can’t be stopped.
Predicted result: Ireland by 3.
Liverpool v Watford
After their defeat at the hands of Manchester United last weekend, Liverpool will be looking to bounce back and get all three points, but they face a potentially tenacious Watford side on Saturday. Watford has earned a combative reputation since their return to the Premier League, reserving a lot of their energy and fight for the league’s big sides. They’ve managed to take points off the top six quite frequently over the past two seasons, so Liverpool won’t have the luxury of allowing the loss to United to play on their minds too much. If Watford keep the Reds at bay defensively, they could get some joy from the game, but an early Liverpool goal would force the visitors to open up and result in a flurry of goals for the hosts.
Predicted Result: Liverpool 3 – 0 Watford
Villarreal v Atletico Madrid
Atletico are still chasing league-leaders Barcelona, but have a difficult task ahead of them with a gap of 8 points between the two. Villarreal currently sit in sixth place, but they have a decent defensive record and are particularly resilient at home. Atletico enjoyed an impeccable game performance away in the Europa League, scoring five goals, but the travel time between the two fixtures means the squad is likely to be fatigued and lack some sharpness. Villarreal might manage to take advantage of that fatigue, and a resulting loss or draw would damage Atletico’s prospects of staying as close to Barcelona as possible, and also means city rivals Real Madrid could make up ground on them.
Predicted Result: Villarreal 1 – 3 Atletico Madrid
RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich
The Bundesliga is busy playing out one of its most competitive seasons when it comes to the number of teams vying for the coveted Champions League positions. RB Leipzig sit in sixth place, and although it sounds like that means they’re far from truly contesting for the top four spots, they’re actually only six points away from second place. Schalke are on 46 points, Borussia Dortmund on 45, Bayer Leverkusen on 44, Eintracht Frankfurt on 42 – and finally RB Leipzig on 40. This narrowly contest cluster of teams can all, theoretically, still compete for that Champions League place. Leipzig will need to overturn their poor form against the league leaders Bayern, though, which is a tough task as the Bavarians only conceded 18 goals all season, almost half as much as the team with the next best defensive record.
Predicted Result: RB Leipzig 0 – 3 Bayern Munich