Second duel in the semifinal of the Champions League will see two European giants chasing their new records – in their quest for “La Decima”, Real will try to eliminate reigning European champions, while Bayern are keen to become the first club to defend title since 1990, when AC Milan did that.
Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich :
When Bavarian side wiped away all of their rivals in both Bundesliga and Champions League last season, nobody thought the arrival of Pep Guardiola will improve anything in their level of play. But Spanish coach implemented “Tiki-taka” and the results came at instant speed – club managed to secure title nearly a month ago and they will face their biggest opponent, Dortmund, in the final of the Deutsch Cup. In the Champions League, they are two steps away from third consecutive final and fourth in the past five seasons.
Same like their rivals, Real also secured one trophy in this season. They were still in the race for title in La Liga and seven days ago, they defeated Barcelona in a thrilling final of the Copa Del Rey. Without injured Ronaldo, Bale and Di Maria were key players in that victory and that was a great introduction for this match. This season, they are led by manager Ancelotti, specialist for Champion League, and the goal is to win tenth title in this competition.
This time, we expect thrilling match – last encounter between these two teams happened exactly two years ago in the same phase of Champions League. During the 180 minutes of regular game time, both teams claimed 2:1 victories. All this led to penalty shoot-out in which Bavarian players were more focused. Ahead of this game, both rivals won in their past two competitive games – like we mentioned, Los Blancos defeated Barcelona in the cup and after that Almeria in La Liga (4:0), while Bayern humiliated Kaiserslautern 5:1 in the semifinal of Cup and claim secure win against Braunschweig in Bundesliga (2:0).
As for the injured and suspended players, Bavarians will welcome back Neuer and Alaba, who missed previous games with injuries. Spanish club will start with the strongest lineup – Ronaldo and Bale both passed late fitness tests. Portuguese player was seen on the training on Monday, while Welsh winger trained with squad today. All this guarantees a spectacular match and another football classic between two European giants.
Arsenal vs Manchester United preview :
Liverpool crushed Arsenal in the Premier League‘s last meet and Manchester United failed to win against Fulham, who are the last placeholders in points table, with the last minute goal.
Arsenal is looking for their title after eight years of patience and has more threats from rivals Manchester City and Chelsea. The Gunners have been playing with good pace and game plan since this season started.
Arsene Wenger has improved the defensive side with extra effort and looking for a striker to share the burden with Olivier Giroud, who is the only striker for Arsenal now.
Title racehorses Manchester City and Chelsea are fighting for their silverware in the Premier League so Arsenal has no room for a single mistake in rest of the season. They have a big journey ahead of them in February.
This also one of the crucial match for the Gunners, but the defending champions Manchester United is not playing their natural games and waiting for a victory to regain their strength.
Manager David Moyes signed a big deal in January transfer window, but they are still struggling to stabilize their place.
Champions League place is a big question for the Red Devils because Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton are making good victory margin.
Juan Mata’s impact has gave positive support to the team and strikers Wayne Rooney and Van Persie are completely fit to start the matches.
United are strong in defensive, midfields and forward, but they were struggled with early stage injury hits. So far, this season is being a nightmare for Manchester United.
Moyes should come with miraculous game plan to defeat the Gunners.
Hull City vs Chelsea preview :
Jose Mourinho’s side faces Hull City in the upcoming game on Saturday. Chelsea, a strong team with quality midfielders and defenders but has been struggling on the goal scoring end. The club’s strikers, Torres, Demba Ba, and Eto’o have only scored a total of seven goals so far this season. Currently sitting third in the league, Chelsea is three points behind the league leaders Arsenal.
Blues will travel to the KC Stadium to face Hull City hoping to earn a solid victory against them. Hull City is currently ranked 10th with 23 points. The Blues have the likes of Oscar, Hazard and Willian, who are in impressive form at the moment.
Hull City hasn’t disappointed with their recent home with a 6-0 win against Fulham which is their biggest win in the premier league so far.
Hull City will be without the services of their defender Paul McShane who is suffering from an ankle injury. Winger Sone Aluko (Achilles) and Fryatt (Hamstring) will also be unable to make it to the team list.
Chelsea has Branislav Ivanovic and their midfield maestro Frank Lampard in the injured list. They will also travel without midfielder Marco Van Ginkel and Ryan Bertnard.
The last time Hull City won against Chelsea was a 3-0 victory in 1988. Blues won the home fixture which was the opening match of the current season and will therefore travel with only 3 points to gain as their top aim.
Roma vs Sampdoria preview :
Roma’s this year’s first hurdle is Sampdoria, after facing the challenge of bouncing back from their first loss under Rudi Garcia when Sampdoria visits them in the Coppa Italia on Thursday.
Despite enjoying a 17-match unbeaten run before losing to Juventus, Roma head into the last-16 tie against Sampdoria having won just two of their last eight fixtures. With 3 major players, including two Midfielders Adem Ljajic, Daniele De Rossi and defender Leandro Castan suspended, Roma would no doubt considering competitive start.
Sampdoria, owners of one of the league’s best crests, sit at a healthy enough 14th place on the Seria A table, four points clear of the relegation zone and winners of two of their past four league matches. In terms of the Coppa Italia, however, the Thursday’s trip to the Olimpico will be their third tilt in this year’s tournament.
Despite of not judging Sampdoria, no matter what you do; they’ve taken three of the past six league matchups against Roma, after all. With only Pedro Obiang suspended, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side is going to take advantage over Roma.
Real Sociedad vs Villareal preview :
Spanish Copa Del Rey 1st Leg action on Thursday Night comes from the Anoeta Stadium where Villarreal travels Real Sociedad.
Real Sociedad having been in excellent form and with the club currently on a four game winning streak, the players and fans are undoubtedly confident of obtaining the right result in this important 1st leg affair.
Real Sociedad have been playing well recently and will be looking for their 5th straight victory on the bounce in this game having home advantage commanding on the recent form with managing to win 4 of their previous 5 matches played. Esteban Granero being unavailable for the hosts, manager Jagoba Arrasate will use Agirretxe for leading the attack up front with support in behind being provided by Vela, Prieto and Griezmann.
Villarreal heading into the game having only managed to win one of their last five games, this coming in the last round of this competition when beating Elche 1-0 away from home in the 2nd leg, but with their league form having also taken a dip in form of late Marcelino’s side will have to be at their very best to avoid defeat in this game, while managed to secure just 2 victories from their previous 5 games played They will have had their confidence restored having won their last game 2-5 away to Rayo Vallecano.
No major injuries or suspensions reported for the visitors so manager Marcelino to play his strongest line-up available here in what looks likely to be a 4-2-3-1 formation with Perbet leading the attack up front with support from midfield being provided by Uche, Gomez and Perez.
Real Madrid vs Osasuna preview :
Round 16 of Copa Del Rey cup commences this week as Spanish Giants welcome Javi Gracia’s Osasuna at Santiago Bernabéu on Thursday evening.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side is in tremendous form with 14 unbeaten games in all competition. Real Madrid is more likely to with start Iker Casillas in goal where Alvaro Morata could start up front, while Karim Benzema is expected to be rested. Gareth Bale, who came on as a substitute in Monday’s 3-0 win over Celta Vigo, may start on the right side of attack. As going with facts Real Madrid has won their last 7 home matches against Osasuna in all competitions while they are undefeated in their last 8 matches in the Copa Del Rey.
Javi Gracia’s Osasuna is likely to go with the same approach they displayed back in 2013 when both the teams last met, by defending tight and looking to hit on the counter-attack. Garcia could bring in Raoul Loe into central midfield to give a rest to Lolo. Sisi is sidelined through injury, while Emiliano Armenteros and Manuel Omwu are doubts for Osasuna.
Match Predictions by pundits are no doubt in Real Madrid’s favor with 3-1 win over Osasuna.
Real Madrid is probably forming with 4-2-3-1 by Iker Casillas, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Gareth Bale, Alvaro Morata
Whereas Osasuna also goes with 4-2-3-1
Manchester City vs West Ham :
After losing 5-0 to Nottingham Forest in FA Cup 3Rd Round on Sunday, East Londoners are all set to visit their next away game at Etihad Stadium against Manchester City for their first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final encounter.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side is in good form with unbeaten in 13 games in all competition are eagerly waiting to welcome Sam Allardyce’s Premier League strugglers.
West Ham United and getting confident of gaining an advantage over an Eastland side in the midst of an awful season. As Pellegrini is looking to clinch his first silverware as City’s manager, will no doubt selecting the strong team.
As Allardyce received a vote of confidence from the club’s hierarchy he commented the following about the upcoming fixture: “It’s a tough one, isn’t it? If it had been one leg and if it was a draw and it pulled out that it was at our place, not at theirs, it would have been nice.”
Going through the squad Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis, Micah Richards and Stevan Jovetic all remain injured for Manchester City while the London club will play without key players, including striker Andy Carroll and defenders James Tomkins and James Collins.
Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Nasri, Fernandinho, Toure, Navas; Negredo, Dzeko
West Ham: Jaaskelainen; Demel, McCartney, Rat, O’Brien; Diarra, Collison, Diame, Taylor, Cole; Maiga