One of the Premier League’s most intense derbies is being played out on Saturday, while some big rugby affairs are on the cards. We’ve rounded up the biggest must-watch games coming your way this weekend:
Manchester United v Liverpool (Premier League)
These two Premier League icons won’t be winning the league this season ‘round, but derby bragging rights can sometimes surpass the importance of silverware. What makes this one even more enticing is that the teams are a mere two points apart, with Manchester United enjoying a slight advantage over their rivals. Last time out Manchester United dragged the game out to a dreary 0-0 draw, but that Liverpool side didn’t have the attacking verve Klopp’s side currently possesses, so a draw seems highly unlikely. United have had some positive results of late, but their defence is dangerously inconsistent and could be picked apart by Liverpool’s prolific front three.
Predicted Result: Manchester United 1 – 2 Liverpool
Ireland v Scotland (Six Nations)
The two in-form teams of this season’s Six Nations tournament go head-to-head on Saturday as Ireland play host to Scotland in Dublin. Schmidt’s side are on a run of 10 straight victories stretching back to their win over England in March, equalling the previous best under the New Zealander. Ireland have also failed to lose a single Six Nations home game under Schmidt in five campaigns. Scotland put in an incredible performance against England, and will likely push hard to topple Ireland; however, the men in green have been incredibly consistent at home and will likely be able to absorb the pressure and secure a win.
Predicted Result: Ireland by 5.
Lions v Blues (Super Rugby)
Two teams on the opposite side of the form spectrum will face-off this weekend, but despite that, there’s no doubt it’ll be an entertaining affair. The table-topping Lions will face-off against the NZ conference dwellers the Blues in what should be a tough challenge for the South Africans, and a chance at redemption for the dangerous-when-down Blues. That said, the home side has the upper-hand here, and a full strength Lions side will likely run riot in the latter stages of the game.
Predicted Result: Lions by 12
Sevilla v Valencia (La Liga)
Near the start of the season Valencia capitalised on indifferent starts from the two Madrid sides, Real and Atletico, and up until recently appeared to be the only challengers to Barcelona’s title charge. Their poor form has dragged them to fourth in the standings, but with a healthy 8-point lead over fifth-placed Sevilla. With eleven games left in the season Valencia will need to make sure they snag a victory in this match to protect their fourth-place position, which guarantees a Champions League place. If they lose to Sevilla and the gap between the two slips to only five points Valencia will have to have a flawless end to the season to ensure they don’t concede their Champions League spot to Saturday’s hosts. Both sides have four wins in their last six matches, but Sevilla’s home-advantage may give them the push they need to take all three points.
Predicted Result: Sevilla 1 – 1 Valencia
Arsenal v Watford (Premier League)
After four successive away losses the situation in Arsenal’s dressing room and dugout seems to be reaching a breaking point, with Arsene Wenger’s future at the club becoming ever more tenuous. Watford has managed to dethrone a couple of Premier League heavyweights in their last couple of seasons, and their tenacity and willingness to fight for a result is the last thing Arsenal will want to face right now. The Gunners are deflated and seem unmotivated on the pitch, a fact that won’t go lost on the hard-working Hornets. Wenger leaving at the end of the season seems like a foregone conclusion at this stage, but with European football slipping further and further away another loss or two might mean the Arsenal board will wield the axe even sooner.
Predicted Result: Arsenal 0 – 1 Watford
Wits v UJ (Varsity Cup)
The Johannesburg Derby is set to ignite the City of Gold with the high-flying Wits taking on the in-form UJ. Wits have been surprisingly dominant this season, losing only one game while taking valuable scalps, beating UP-Tuks and UCT and claiming an impressive yet controversial draw with Maties. The boys from Braamfontein have based their game plan on their forwards providing a solid platform for their electric backline to launch searing attacks from. With Wits at second on the Varsity Cup log, UJ, who currently sit at fourth, will be keen to catch their Jozi rivals. UJ had a disappointing start to the competition after losing to Maties 31-3 in the first round. The men in orange have gone from strength-to-strength since their early hiccup and have put up some massive scores, including a 69-8 win over Madibaz and a 49-12 victory over Shimlas. It’s a contest that should go down to the wire with both teams playing for log points, but maybe more importantly, bragging rights.
Prediction: Wits by 8
For more on Varsity Cup:
- Daily updates on social media via the Varsity Cup Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #MakeTheTeam #FNBVarsityCup11
- For all FNB Varsity Cup fixtures, head over to the Varsity Cup site.