The wheels of Football roll remorseless, and so it is that, over the next few days and nights, fixtures will be played in all of Europe’s big five leagues. Who will emerge triumphant and who will see their dreams crushed into the dirt? Only the football gods can decide.
Burnley v Manchester United, Kick-Off 1500hrs 20th January
Burnley and Manchester United are old rivals, being based in the North West of England. Of the two, Manchester United have had far more success over the years but a local derby is rarely a respecter of glamour. United lie second in the League, a full twelve points behind Manchester City, with fifty points, while Burnley are seventh, with thirty four.
Burnley have no outstanding striker but their main man in the league is Chris Wood, with four. Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes are just behind him with three each. For Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku has eleven goals, while Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial have seven goals and eight goals respectively.
When it comes to the two teams' last five meetings, United may feel some concern about the fact that they have won just two, with Burnley gaining a draw in the other three. However, Burnley are currently in poor form and have lost four out of their last six league games. Manchester United have won three out of six, with three draws. For gamblers, if Burnley go a goal up, it may be tempting to use a cash out option, if it’s offered.
Real Madrid v Deportivo de La Coruna, Kick-Off 1515hrs 21st January
Real Madrid are in a highly disappointing fourth place in the table, with thirty two points, almost twenty points behind old enemies Barcelona. But, if things are bad for them, they’re even worse for Deportivo who languish in the bottom three, on just sixteen points.
No one has been prolific for Real this season, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Isco and Marco Asensio all hold four league goals apiece. Meanwhile, Deportivo’s main threat may come from their top scorer Florin Andone who has five goals.
Real Madrid have won their six most recent meetings with Deportivo, collecting nineteen goals and conceding just four. Given such a statistic, and the fact that Deportivo are currently enduring a wretched run of form, this may be another game in which the cash out option becomes tempting should the underdog go ahead.
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Inter v Roma, Kick-Off 1945hrs 21st January
Inter and Roma are both in the top four of Italy’s Serie A, with Inter just three points ahead, in third place. Top scorer for Inter is Mauro Icardi with eighteen goals, while Roma will be looking to Edin Dzeko who has nine.
In the last five head-to-heads between the teams, both sides have won two, with the other game being a draw.
Bayern Munich v Werder Bremen, Kick-Off 1430hrs 21st January
Not for the first time in history, Bayern Munich sit comfortably clear at the top of the league, with forty four points, thirteen ahead of second placed RB Leipzig. Bremen, meanwhile, find themselves in eighteenth place, on just sixteen points.
The last five meetings between the teams have seen Bayern emerge victorious every time, gaining seventeen goals, with just three conceded. In terms of recent league form, Bremen have won a respectable three out of their last six games but Bayern have won all six of their last half-dozen games.
Bayern’s top scorer this season is Robert Lewandowski, with an impressive fifteen league goals. For Bremen, Max Kruse is top scorer, with just four goals.
Monaco v Nice, Kick-Off 2000hrs 16th January
Monaco are currently riding high in second place in the French league, while Nice lie twelve points behind them, in sixth. Monaco have won four of their last five games and drawn the other. Nice have won two, lost two and drawn one.
Monaco have won three of the two teams’ five most recent meetings, with Nice winning just one. Monaco’s main scoring threat looks to be Radamel Falcao, expected to make his return from injury. He’s notched up fifteen league goals this season, while Nice will be looking to Mario Balotelli who has bagged ten for them