One of my least favorite points of the season is upon us. We are unfortunately in the international break period where numerous friendlies are played as coaches try to tweak their squads. This unfortunately means a pause in our regularly scheduled soccer games for the weekend. So instead of the usual post-match analysis, I will be delving into my predictive abilities to see if I can divine the results of the various matches coming next weekend.
Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (2-1): I fully believe that Manchester City, with a fully fit Yaya Toure playing at home in the Etihad stadium, would be able to hand Tottenham a firm thrashing. Unfortunately Toure is not yet showing his form of past seasons when he was called the “Elephant in Ballet Shoes” for his strength and skill on the ball. At the same time, the Hotspurs have been known to come up with a surprise or two and the enigmatic Emmanuel Adebayor always has a point to prove when he visits his old stomping grounds. He is coming off having played very well for his national team and breaking Uganda’s record unbeaten run at home. With the Hotspurs also undefeated away from home so far this season, this game has the looks of a possible upset. By all accounts this should be an extremely tight match.
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea (0-1): This is a slightly optimistic prediction for Crystal Palace, as while they do not have the ability to win the match, it is a noted fact that Palace has a very good defence and are well acquainted with the notion of parking the bus. But in the end very few defenses in the world could stop an attack comprised of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Cesc Febregas, Andr Schrrle and Oscar at their decadent best. A loss of 1-0 is the best Crystal Palace can currently hope for.
Queens Park Rangers vs. Liverpool (0-3): Raheem Sterling can’t seem to make the English press happy no matter what he does. He has played the third most minutes of any player on the England squad at the tender age of 19. He told his manager, Roy Hodgson, that he was frankly too tired to start the match and has since been crucified by the press. In all honesty Sterling is one of those rare talents with the speed, skills and footballing brains to become the essential nucleus of the Liverpool team. And with his normal partner Daniel Sturridge still not fully match fit, and Mario Balotelli finding it difficult to get off the mark, Sterling has carried the team on his back. With all this in consideration and the truly horrific season QPR are currently experiencing, I believe we are in for a treat where the full powers of Sterling will be unleashed with a large chip on his shoulder.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester United (0-2): Manchester United is a team on a mission. With their surprise rise to fourth position after the abysmal start to the season, they are trying to take advantage of their current momentum to leverage themselves to a solid position before the turn of the year. And with the defense having been granted the time needed for crucial recuperation by the international break, I see United coming out with a strong showing. With Falcao having also finally scored his first goal and the attack finally beginning the slow process of Gelling we might get to see some interesting link up play. Marouane Fellaini has been battling his way back to full fitness, and I believe him to be a very gifted player with immense physical ability. With the break having given him the time he so needed to recover he is ready to battle tooth and nail for his spot as Manchester United’s main Central Midfield Defender.
Barcelona vs. Eibar (4-0): Lionel Messi is two goals away from breaking the La Liga all-time scoring record of 251 held by Atletico Madrid legend Telmo Zarra. With this piece of history on his mind I expect Messi to be playing like a man possessed. This inspiration, in addition to his already formidable skills, will see Barcelona make quick work of Eibar.