Predictions: City win Premier League and Juventus end slump at Roma
For the football faithful, this week had been one to savour. After one of the best Champions League semi-finals ever, the Europa League witnessed its fair share of riveting action. Now, it’s time to gear up for a drama-filled weekend of domestic action and here we preview some of the top matches across the elite leagues.
It’s Judgement Day in England as Premier League teams will play out their final game of the season. For title-chasing clubs, Manchester City and Liverpool, who are currently separated by a solo point, a slip-up in their final fixtures will prove to be decisive. With Brighton and Wolverhampton Wanderers up against them on Matchday 38, respectively, we will get to know who etch their name on the coveted trophy in this fascinating English top-flight race.
The rest of the top six sides will be gunning for maximum points to ensure their season ends on a positive note. While the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have assured themselves Champions League football next season, Arsenal are eyeing a win in order to keep their slender hopes of a top-four finish alive. Manchester United, meanwhile, need to avoid a disappointing result at home to stay in contention for European football next year.
In the La Liga, Barcelona squares off against Champions League hopefuls Getafe at the Camp Nou on Sunday. The Catalans resume domestic duties after a shock European exit at the hands of Liverpool and will target a win over Azulones to return to winning ways. Having said that, Jose Bordalas’ men are playing out their best campaign in Spanish top-flight football and are hopeful of troubling the wounded hosts in their own yard.
Getafe’s neighbours Atletico and Real Madrid play contrasting fixtures that could make or break their focus for the season’s final two games. While Zidane’s Los Blancos travel to Real Sociedad, a depleted Atletico entertain Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano. Diego Simeone will be without three first-choice defenders and will look up to captain Diego Godin to help Los Rojiblancos remain unscathed.
Over to Italy, Serie A champions Juventus travel to the capital to take on AS Roma. The Bianconeri have played out consecutive draws against Inter Milan and Torino since retaining the Scudetto and need a match-winning performance to shrug off their recent slump. Roma, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last six outings and will be the slightest favourites to record their first win over the Old Lady since 2017. But looking at the Giallorossi’s tendency to drop points, Claudio Ranieri needs his team to be more astute in the final three games of the season.
Other interesting games to watch out for are AC Milan’s trip to Fiorentina and fourth-placed Atalanta crossing swords with Genoa. With both teams chasing Champions League football for the next campaign, Gennaro Gattuso’s Rossoneri and Gian Piero Gasperini’s Rossoblu know that there is no room for error. Any slip-ups in the remaining fixtures will certainly deal a blow to their European hopes.
Finally, Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich hope to wrap up their title challenge when they go away to RB Leipzig on Saturday. Niko Kovac’s men are four points clear at the summit of the points table and need a win to confirm their status as champions for the seventh year in a row. Leipzig can be party spoiler for the Bavarians but knowing what is at stake, Bayern would want to avoid taking the title race to the final match day.
Borussia Dortmund, who are still hopeful of eclipsing Bayern to the title, host Fortuna Dusseldorf at the Signal Iduna Park. After dropping points in their last two games, Die Borussen are four points adrift of the top spot and know the threat Fortuna pose, as the mid-table club handed Lucien Favre’s men their first defeat of the current campaign. With the contest expected to be a free-scoring one, a defeat for Dortmund will surely end their challenge for the title.
Words: William Paul