The boredom of international football is over at last, and club football is back again to bless our weekend. There is so much footballing fun for the next 2 days to turn you into a couch potato. We bring you the best around the world, plus our analyses and predictions (free of charge, of course).
Federations cup Final (Sunday 4:00pm): Lobi Stars vs Akwa United
The FA cup final is here again. The final contest is between Lobi Stars and Akwa united for the male category, and Sunshine Queens vs Bayelsa Babes for the female. This year’s FA cup promises to be interesting because both Lobi stars and Akwa United finished in the bottom half of the table, 14th and 15th position – 47 points each, with Lobi stars just edging out Akwa united on goal difference.
Lobi Stars won this competition 12 years ago, beating Port Harcourt Sharks 2:0 in the final. Since then, they have gotten to the final twice, losing on both occasions in 2005 and 2012 to Enyimba and Heartland respectively. They beat Enugu Rangers 1:0 to get to the final. As for Akwa United, this is their first attempt at the trophy, beating Nasarawa United 1:0 to get there.
To spice up the final, the Governor of Akwa Ibom state has approved the release of N100 million to the team and has also promised to come cheer them up.
The match will be interesting because the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is planning to honour Nigeria’s football heroes like Rashidi Yekini, Baba Otu, Best Ogedegbe, Friday Ekpo just to mention a few. Best of all, the final is free for all, but the fun doesn’t stop there, as N200,000 will be given out via a raffle draw, courtesy of the NFF and the Lagos State Sports Commission. So, if you have the chance, you might not want to miss it.
El Classico (Saturday 6:00pm): Real Madrid vs Barcelona
This is arguably the biggest game in Football this weekend. The game will be seen by over 50 million people worldwide. This always promises everything you can expect from a football match; goals, dribbles, best players on the planet (C. Ronaldo, Neymar, Messi, Suarez to name a few), cards, and lots more.
Barcelona – Messi is available for this one. He has been out for 54 days and Barcelona have been doing well without him with Neymar and Suarez scoring 17 Goals in 7 games between them. It is likely he starts from the bench. Rafinha is out for the season and Rakitic is doubtful.
Real Madrid – The good news for Madrid is that Bale and Ronaldo have not been away with their national sides nor has Sergio Ramos, who has a painful shoulder injury. He gets a painkiller before game and that could limit him a bit, but he will play, making the defence more solid. Karim Benzema is the only doubt. He has been out for longer and it would be a risk to play him, so he might be on the bench.
There will be many battles all over the pitch. One we will love to see is Luis Suarez Vs Sergio Ramos. Another key battle will be on the right side between the 2 Brazilians Marcelo and Dani Alves. Marcelo is under appreciated by some, but he is one of the most creative players in Madrid. He might cause problems for Dani.
Barcelona have only conceded 1 goal in their last 6 matches. Neymar and Suarez have both made sure that Barcelona didn’t miss Messi. It always difficult to predict a match, but we foresee a high scoring game with Barcelona taking the day.
Manchester city Vs Liverpool (Saturday 6:00pm)
With Liverpool having 11 players on their injury list, it will come as a good news to see their talisman Daniel Sturridge back to fitness, although he has not played under the new manager and has just managed 242 minutes of football all season because of his problem.
Liverpool are winless in their last 6 premier league games away to man city (drew 2, lost 4). Their last win was as far back as 2008, and they have scored 23 goals between them with Liverpool scoring 11 and city scoring 12.
Man-city have drawn 2 of their last games after a run of 60 games without goalless draw, city have also won 12 of their last 13 premier home games.
A victory for Liverpool will see them win an away game back-back in top flight football for the first time since March. The Reds, with 13 goals from their opening 12 games, is their joint lowest at this stage of a premier league season.
With both Man-city and Liverpool, hoping their midfield come out on top in the battle for supremacy, the key players in that battle will be city’s Yaya Toure and Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva, Man-city had it tough last season because Yaya dropped in form, however he seems to have rediscovered it. Toure has had 35 attempts on goal this season only topped by Liverpool’s Philippe Couthinho with 52.
Players to Look Out For
Sergio Aguero has scored in all 3 of his premier league appearances against Liverpool at Etihad, and the good news for city is that he is back.
Raheem Sterling would want to get 1 over his formal club Liverpool, his trickery and pace will be much for Liverpool defence to handle.
Philippe Couthinho has scored 3 goals in 4 premier league appearances against Man-city.
Though the odds favour Manchester-city, there is the feeling that this game might end in a draw.
Juventus Vs Ac Milan (Saturday 8:45 pm)
Saturday’s meeting between Italy’s biggest clubs has more riding on it than usual, given the sides’ disappointing starts to the season. Neither side have looked convincing defensively this season, which means we should see a more open game than usual at the Juventus stadium.
Milan has recorded 3 wins and 2 draws in their last 5 matches to move up to 6th on the table. They are a place and 2 points above Juventus, defending champions who have dominated the Scudetto for the last 5 years, but who this season have struggled in a way few thought possible.
It’s worth remembering that Juve remains extremely hard to beat at home where they have lost just 1 league game in their last 53 encounters.
In the past, these 2 sides have been home to some of world best defensive players, yet this season, neither has convinced at the back, Juve and Milan have played 12 matches in the Serie A this term during which time both teams have kept 2 clean sheets each, a surprising record.
To this end, we see both teams to scoring, considering that this has happened in 4 of the last 5 meeting between the sides in Turin. Juve has only failed to score once in their last 56 home games, while Milan have a decent scoring record at the Juventus Stadium, meaning goals at both ends look like a shrewd option.
A decision you won’t get wrong, however, is choosing the best seat around the house this weekend, in preparation for a bumper Saturday evening.