It is yet another exciting weekend of football across Europe and Apex Football is here to cover all the action so you do not miss anything. From Gerrard’s return to the hallowed grounds of Anfield to the Madrid derby, there is just so much to look forward to this weekend. Without further ado, let us look at some of the games.
FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL (BRENTFORD VS WATFORD):
The Game Week begins as London outfit Brentford welcomes Watford on Friday night. The Bees began the campaign in an impressive fashion but performances and results have stalled a bit and they will be disappointed with the late equalizer from Patrick Bamford which ensured Brentford played out a 2-2 draw with Leeds United at Elland Road last time out.
The Bees can take solace in the fact that Friday’s opponents Watford have been inconsistent themselves, and they present the best chance of scooping all three points this weekend. Failure to do so against a lesser light might make things difficult for themselves, as they play Manchester United next – which is almost guaranteed that there may not get anything from that fixture.
SATURDAY FRENZY (MAN CITY VS WOLVES, ARSENAL VS SOUTHAMPTON, CHELSEA VS LEEDS, LIVERPOOL VS ASTON VILLA, NORWICH VS MAN UTD):
Action on Saturday begins with an early lunchtime fixture between defending champions Manchester City against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Pep Guardiola’s men will be looking to bounce back, following their 2-1 loss away to RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, while Wolverhampton Wanderers have been impressive in recent weeks after a bad start to the season. Bruno Lage will be seeking to put a spanner in the wheels of the league leaders and propel themselves into contention for a Top Four placing on the standings.
Gunners vs Saints
North London outfit Arsenal will welcome Southampton to the Emirates Stadium, looking to return back to winning ways. The Gunners endured a disappointing 2-1 defeat away to Everton at Goodison Park last time out. Despite scoring first through Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard, they let their lead slip as Brazilian forward Richarlison and an injury-time effort from Demarai Gray helped seal the points for the Toffees while the Gunners failed to move up to fifth on the table as a result of the loss. Arsenal gaffer Mikel Arteta will be banking on home turf and hope that his players rise up to the occasion in their pursuit of European football next season.
As for West London side Chelsea, the pain of losing 3-2 away to fellow Londoners West Ham United last weekend will be fresh on their minds, as that loss saw them lose their grip at the top of the standings. The Blues also surrendered top spot to Italian Serie A giants Juventus in Group H of the UEFA Champions League round-robin stage, courtesy of a 3-3 draw away to Russian opposition Zenit St. Petersburg in midweek. Manager Thomas Tuchel will be looking to go back to what has made his team formidable since his arrival at Stamford Bridge which is – the solidification of the defence. Chelsea have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last four games across all competitions and have shipped in six goals in their last two matches, which isn’t encouraging coming into the tie with Leeds.
Homecoming for Steven Gerrard
Over at Merseyside, Liverpool will take on Aston Villa at Anfield. This tie is significant not because it is a domestic fixture but the Reds faithful will welcome one of their own in the person of former player and skipper Steven Gerrard – who is now the manager of Aston Villa. It has always been rumoured that Gerrard is the heir apparent to take over at Liverpool, once current boss Jurgen Klopp steps down from the role. But away from sentimental views, Liverpool look primed to continue their impressive run of form with Mo Salah being at the forefront of everything that is good for the Reds. Villa have not been bad either, they have won three out of four matches since Steven Gerrard took over from Dean Smith at Villa Park but the sheer firepower of Liverpool will be too much for the Villans to handle on Saturday.
Godfather at the wheel
Saturday’s fixture line-up will see a rejuvenated Manchester United visit Carrow Road to take on their hosts Norwich City. The Red Devils will fancy their chances against the Canaries who are currently locked in a battle to survive relegation in the ongoing campaign. Three points seem destined to go with United at the end of hostilities, as new interim boss Ralf Rangnick looks to continue his unbeaten run at the helm. In fact, the Red Devils are unbeaten since former coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was relieved of his duties – five matches in all across all competitions.
More Moyes Miracle?
Sunday’s fixture schedule will see Burnley tackle West Ham United. The Hammers will hope to continue their good form this season, which has seen them gate-crash the Top Four ahead of the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs. Coach David Moyes had the chance to rest his entire squad in their 1-0 home defeat to Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, having sealed progression into the knockout rounds and he hopes his trusted key players will do the job against a not too great Burnley side.
Pressure mounts on Leicester and Rogers
Elsewhere at the King Power Stadium, Leicester City plays host to Newcastle United. The Foxes have had an inconsistent campaign thus far compared to previous seasons but can use this game to launch their bid to qualify for continental football next season. Leicester have been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League, after losing 3-2 away to Italian outfit Napoli in Naples on Thursday but still have another crack at European football – this time in the UEFA Conference League Playoffs, having finished third in their group. Newcastle United, on the other hand, will be buoyed by their first win of the season last weekend and will be looking to continue the trend on Sunday, as they try to climb out of the drop zone.
Can Everton turn the tide?
Our final match preview will see Crystal Palace welcome Everton at Selhurst Park. Everton snapped their eight-game winless run with a hard-fought, come from behind 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Monday night and will hope that it will start the revival of their fortunes while relieving the pressure off manager Rafa Benitez. Meanwhile, Palace under the management and tutelage of Patrick Vieira will be aiming to continue their upward trajectory since the arrival of the Frenchman.
Which colour would rule MADRID?
Los Blancos have lost only once in their first 16 league matches and have opened up a commanding lead atop LaLiga, ahead of Sevilla by eight points, nine over Real Betis and 10 over Atleti and Real Sociedad. Real Madrid is currently the best attack in Spain courtesy of Carlo Ancelotti’s tactical genius. Diego Simeone on the other hand is trying to change his formation after sticking to 4-4-2 for a long time. We cannot wait to see how the game would unfold but the editors at Apex Football would be leaning towards a Real Madrid win.
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