This weekend sees the good ole Clasico play out once again, while the Premier League and Super Rugby continues to roll forth with some big encounters! But in terms of the best of the best, which ones should you watch?
Hurricanes v Lions (Super Rugby)
The Lions continue their tour with a huge encounter at Westpac Stadium this weekend against the Hurricanes. The Joburg side weren’t in great form last weekend, losing to a spirited Reds side who had a point to prove, therefore the Lions will need to drastically improve if they’re to fend off the 2016 champions, who have been on a roll as of late. This will be a crucial game for either side aiming for a conference-topping position, but may just be too big of an ask for a Lions side suffering with a growing injury-list.
Predicted Result: Hurricanes by 6.
Stormers v Bulls (Super Rugby)
The Stormers managed a decent win over the Rebels last weekend, but in all honesty, their Australian counterparts didn’t put up too much of a fight. The real test comes this weekend when the Cape side host the Bulls, who are in an ever-improving form. While there’s no denying there are some talented players floating around the Stormers squad, their big-names appear to struggle against organised defences and attacks, which are two things the Bulls have acquired this season.
Predicted Result: Bulls by 10.
Sharks v Highlanders (Super Rugby)
The Sharks have been the most inconsistent team in the competition so far, and will have to endure a Highlanders side who have shown composure irrespective of the venue and occasion. If the Highlanders’ last-gasp win over the Bulls was anything to go by, the Sharks may be in for a difficult time on Saturday.
Predicted Result: Highlanders by 5.
Scarlets v Cheetahs (Pro 14 semi-final)
The Cheetahs, in their maiden Pro 14 season, have found themselves in the playoff stage, taking on the Scarlets in the second of the semi-finals to be played this weekend. Both sides, known for their counter-attacking and offloading ability, will undoubtedly deliver a spectacle for fans, but with the Cheetahs notching 609 points versus the Scarlets’ 528 this season, we’d have to back the attacking flair from the Bloemfontein side to see them through.
Predicted Result: Cheetahs by 7.
Manchester City v Huddersfield
Manchester City made light work of collecting this year’s Premier League title – but their work isn’t quite done yet. Guardiola’s side has been so prolific in attack that they’ve got the opportunity to break a few records this weekend. The biggest of the bunch are the all time points and all time goals records, which currently stand at 95 and 102 respectively. So long as City win the match and score more than a single goal they’ll shatter both of those records, both of which are currently held by Chelsea. Huddersfield will be motivated to put up a fight since they’re embroiled in the dramatic relegation battle, but there’s little chance they’re going to best the new champions.
Predicted Result: Manchester City 4 – 0 Huddersfield
Chelsea v Liverpool
Chelsea are still narrowly in contention for a top 4 place, assuming Tottenham suffers a few losses in their next three matches. Their first priority, though, will be trying to get three points from Liverpool in what will be an extremely challenging match considering the form Liverpool’s attack is in. That being said, Chelsea have registered four wins in a row, although they lost their last match against a top 6 side against Spurs. Although Conte still has a lot of talent in his team, Chelsea’s mentality and form this season has been highly disappointing, so facing a Liverpool side boasting the league’s leading scorer won’t fill them with confidence. Liverpool may rest some players after their grueling match against Roma in midweek, so Chelsea could have an outside hope, but chances are good the Reds will put Chelsea to the sword.
Predicted Result: Chelsea 1 – 2 Liverpool
Barcelona v Real Madrid
Barcelona have already secured their league title, which takes some of the drama out of this match, but considering Real’s underperformance this they’ll still want to get one over on Barcelona. Barcelona have been solid this season, but they’ve depended a lot on Messi to bail them out when the rest of the team hasn’t managed to pull their weight. In all likelihood a similar game plan will unfold against Madrid, who are a vastly improved side since these two teams last met and Barcelona took all three points. Both defenses have been inconsistent lately, so the gifted set of attackers on either side will likely get ample opportunity to score.
Predicted Result: Barcelona 3 – 2 Real Madrid