Predicting the beautiful game can be a fool’s errand, but fortune favors the bold. Yahoo Soccer has run the stats and analyzed the form books for five of the biggest games this weekend …
Manchester City vs. Chelsea
The Premier League makes its welcome return this weekend and the headline fixture is the petrodollar-fuelled Nouveau Riche Derby: Manchester City versus Chelsea.
The incumbent champions are looking to bounce back from their defeat to Liverpool, but that will be no easy feat — Chelsea are a point ahead of them in the table, and seeking their seventh consecutive league win.
City will be buoyed by the potential returns of both Ederson and Benjamin Mendy, but Bernardo Silva is serving a single-game suspension and it is likely that Fernandinho will remain back in central defense. As noted in this parish, the Brazilian’s absence from defensive midfield has created a weakness throughout the spine of Pep Guardiola’s side.
Chelsea, meanwhile, should have Christian Pulisic available for selection. He will be aiming to become the first American to score in four consecutive Premier League games. Lampard also has an embarrassment of central midfield riches: Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount are all available.
One thing you can expect from this match is goals from two defenses that have certainly shown vulnerability. The Blues may not have scored in their last two visits to the Etihad Stadium, but they have scored 18 times on the road this season, which is more than any other side. Pep’s side lead the league for home goals scored with 19 (a tally padded out by their 8-0 demolition of Watford).
Despite Chelsea’s magnificent form and City’s run of two winless games in all competitions, the hosts are the heavy favorites to win. They have beaten Chelsea in five of their last six meetings, including a 6-0 drubbing the last time they met at the Etihad.
After their Liverpool humbling, City have a point to prove in this one. Expect them to leapfrog the Blues in the league table this weekend.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Chelsea
Best Bet: There’s not much value in the goal market (the bookies clearly don’t have faith in either defense) so back Sergio Aguero as first goalscorer at +300 with MGM. The Argentine has scored 10 times against Chelsea, which is more than any other active Premier League player. He has scored eight times in his last six meetings with Chelsea.
West Ham vs. Tottenham Hotspur
It will be worth setting your alarm clock for Saturday’s early kickoff in order to see Jose Mourinho’s return to Premier League sidelines. The Special One graced Tottenham with his presence this week, a move that has proved divisive among fans and pundits alike.
Mou will be looking to arrest Spurs’ dire away form: They are without a win on the road in 12 matches. The Hammers appear to be a suitable candidate to facilitate Mouirnho’s first Tottenham win, as they have claimed just one point in their last five league outings.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side became the first team to win at Tottenham’s new home in the league back in April, but it is typically the away team that wins this fixture. That has been the case in five of their last six meetings.
It’s also worth noting that Mourinho has won all three of his previous managerial debuts in England. With a squad of players looking to impress the new gaffer, it is unsurprising that the visitors are favorites in this one.
There’s no love lost between these London rivals, nor the two managers, and this fixture hasn’t been goalless in eight years. Expect a fiery start to Mourinho’s reign in North London.
Prediction: West Ham 0-2 Tottenham
Best Bet: Harry Kane has 28 goals in 45 league London derbies, and is well priced for first scorer at +300. However, there’s better value at MGM in a Tottenham win and under 2.5 goals at +475. Four of the last five league fixtures between these sides have featured two goals or fewer.
Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad
Real Madrid have the chance to return to the summit of La Liga this weekend as they welcome Real Sociedad to the Bernabeu. The best bet you can possibly make this weekend is that Gareth Bale will not feature in the match, given his contentious behavior while on international duty with Wales.
The most intriguing player news may come in the form of Martin Odegaard. The Norwegian prodigy has been loaned to Sociedad by Madrid this season and is fighting for fitness to make this fixture. He has been the Basque side’s star player in this campaign, but has assured the Spanish media that he will not celebrate if he scores.
Los Blancos are in a rich vein of scoring form, having put four past Eibar before the break. They have scored 15 times in their last four outings and have kept five consecutive clean sheets. Given their form — and the fact they are undefeated at home in all competitions this season — Madrid are the favorites.
However, don’t be hasty in backing Zidane’s side for the win, as Real Sociedad have been their Achilles heel in recent meetings.
The Basques won both league meetings last season, starting with a 2-0 win in January that represented their first victory at the Bernabeu in 15 years. They followed up with a 3-1 win at the Anoeta Stadium on the penultimate matchday of the campaign.
Sociedad have lost only one of their last five league outings, and have won their last two away trips. Given their form and the head-to-head, it stands to reason that they can hold Madrid to a draw at the Bernabeu, just as Real Betis did at the start of the month.
Prediction: Real Madrid 1-1 Real Sociedad
Best Bet: Rodrygo to score the first goal at +450. The much-hyped Brazilian has scored four times in his last two home matches.
Fortuna Dusseldorf vs. Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick will look to make it three wins from three this weekend as his side travel to Dusseldorf. Die Roten are fully revitalized since Niko Kovac’s departure, having scored six unanswered goals against Olympiacos and fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund.
All eyes will be on Robert Lewandowski, who has scored in every Bundesliga match this season. The Pole boasts 16 league goals and 23 in all competitions, which are truly incredible numbers to tally before Thanksgiving.
The man aiming to stop his scoring run will be United States No. 1 Zack Steffen. The Manchester City loanee has been crucial for Dusseldorf this season, making 43 total saves (the second-highest tally in the league).
Unfortunately for Steffen, it looks as if his net will be breached. Not only are the Bavarians on scoring form, but they have scored three goals or more in all four of their historic Bundesliga meetings with Fortuna Dusseldorf. In their most recent meeting at the Merkur Spielarena, in April, Bayern left with 4-1 victory and had 19 shots on goal.
Dusseldorf are in good form — they have scored seven in their last three matches — but a big Bayern win appears to be on the cards. And expect Lewandowski’s scoring streak to continue.
Prediction: Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-4 Bayern Munich
Best Bet: The best value in this match will be found in the scorecast markets. A 3-1 result with Lewandowski to score first comes in at +1600. The Pole has scored Bayern’s first goal in their last three matches and the Bavarians have never failed to score three goals against Dusseldorf.
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