Preview of selected weekend matches


Birmingham City vs. Arsenal

Arsenal would look to bounce back from 2 disappointing results by winning in Birmingham to maintain their 5 point gap or even increase their lead at the top.

Birmingham would feel that if they could get a draw at the Emirates they could get the same result or pull off an upset against the league leaders, but it wouldn’t be easy.

Arsenal should win this goal with some difficulty.

Liverpool vs. Middlesboro

You never know what you are going to get from Liverpool and especially from their manager. The only thing you know you’re not going to get is the same team that beat Inter Milan on Tuesday. Middlesboro haven’t lost a game this year and would like to keep that streak going, but if Liverpool play to their full potential they should win. I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends in a draw, but I really hope Liverpool do with this game.

Newcastle United vs. Manchester United

Newcastle are winless under Kevin Keegan and after tomorrow I expect that record to continue as anything other than a Manchester United win would be a complete surprise.

They wouldn’t lose 6-0 like they did at Old Trafford, but I still expect them to lose to a team that would be buoyant after decent results against Arsenal and Lyon in the Champions League.

The only saving grace for Newcastle is that Manchester United don’t always play well immediately after a Champions League tie, but unfortunately Newcastle don’t have the desired quality to upset the champions. They got an unlikely draw against Manchester United last season and Keegan always wants to beat Ferguson so he never knows.

Carling Cup Final

Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspurs

Juande Ramos is a master of winning cup finals but I can’t see them beating Chelsea on Sunday considering they played 2 days after Chelsea in the middle of the week and also how well organized Chelsea are defensively.

If Ledley King plays Spurs would have a slim chance as he gives them so much defensive prowess but if he doesn’t then I don’t give them a chance.

Spurs have all the flair and attacking prowess but Chelsea are a tough nut to crack and Tottenham have to score first to have any chance.

I’d like to see Spurs win the cup, but I can’t see past Chelsea winning it.

A series

Rome vs. Fiorentina

This is the game of the weekend in Italy and it pits 2 of the hottest teams against each other.

Roma managed to beat Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday and that would have boosted their confidence after some shaky results, while Fiorentina defeated Rosenborg to progress to the next stage of the UEFA Cup last night.

The fact that Fiorentina plays 2 days later and doesn’t exactly have a very good record away from home makes me strongly opt for Roma.

Sampdoria vs Inter Milan

Inter would be looking to put their first loss in 5 months behind them against Liverpool and I would really like them to beat Sampdoria in Genoa.

Sampdoria, inspired by Antonio Cassano, did well to defeat city rivals Genoa last weekend, but I don’t see them repeating the trick against Inter unless Inter decide to implode by sending off a man early again.

Inter have problems at the back, although Iván Córdoba is ruled out for the season and joins Walter Samuel as casualties for the season.

Regina vs Juventus

Juventus are coming off 2 excellent results and would be brimming with confidence when they take on relegation-threatened Reginna on Saturday night, knowing full well that a win would catapult them into second place, if only for a few hours.

This would not be easy as Juventus have shown this season that they tend not to win the games you expect and have drawn many games that they were expected to win. But I do think they would win this game, just not very comfortably.

Milan vs Palermo

Like Liverpool, you never know what you’re going to get and this is not an easy game to match. You’d think Milan should win this game, but they’ve drawn too many home games to consider any game a home banker.

Pato and Kaká are back so that should help and they would also be buoyed by their midweek performance at Arsenal.

I expect a very narrow victory for the rossoneri.

the league

Seville vs Zaragoza

Sevilla are pretty formidable at home and Zaragoza are inconsistent everywhere, so I expect Sevilla to win this game.

Barcelona vs Levante

It looked as though Barcelona were returning to some semblance of form with a number of key players performing well against Celtic including Ronaldinho, Deco, Thierry Henry and most notably Lionel Messi.

Samuel Etoo has also returned and Levante, which is possibly the poorest team in LaLiga this season, does not have a prayer.

Real Madrid vs Getafe

This is a local derby with the added spice of Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster taking on his former club and Getafe manager Michael Laudrup, who is up against a team he has honored so well as a player.

Real were unlucky to be beaten in Rome and have a 100% home record in La Liga this season. They also have the added boost of Robinho returning to the fold, so I expect them to be too strong for a Getafe side who played in the UEFA Cup yesterday beating AEK Athens 3-0.

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