Футбол. LaLiga Spain
Barcelona – Osasuna
Прогноз: Total over 2,5
The «Blaugrana» have performed well only in the Champions League, although they did suffer a setback against Shakhtar Donetsk. In other competitions, they have struggled. The Spanish Super Cup was particularly disappointing, where they were defeated convincingly by Real Madrid 1-4. In the Copa del Rey, another «El Clásico» against Athletic Club ended in defeat in extra time. In La Liga, they’ve encountered difficulties as well. For instance, they allowed Real Betis to come back from 0-2 down, with Isco scoring a brace, and only managed to secure victory in added time. However, they suffered a 3-5 defeat against Villarreal at home. Following these challenges, Xavi announced that he would continue as coach until the summer, after which he would step down. It remains to be seen how this decision will affect the team.
The team, managed by Jagoba Arrasate, has worked its way up from the Segunda Division and has become a solid presence in the top flight. The players are focused on playing football rather than resorting to brute force tactics. Last season, they even reached the final of the Copa del Rey and finished seventh in La Liga. However, their current season seems to be a regression. They were eliminated from the UEFA Europa Conference League qualifiers by Club Brugge and suffered a 0-2 defeat to Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey. In La Liga, despite Budimir’s goal-scoring prowess, they have slipped down to the middle of the table. After a 1-1 draw with Sevilla, the team currently sits in twelfth place.
Previous encounters between the two teams have all resulted in victories for Barcelona. In January, they defeated Osasuna 2-0 in the Spanish Super Cup.
Футбол. Premier League England
Tottenham – Brentford
“The Spurs” surprised everyone with an incredibly confident start. This is despite the fact that the team that finished the previous season only in 5th place still sent Harry Kane to Bayern, and Postecoglou, an experienced specialist who had not worked with the giants or in the Premier League, became its mentor. Ange became the “manager of the month” already in August, and his wards got 26 points in the first 10 matches. Still, then there was only 1 draw and 5 defeats. The things improved in the winter and the team moved closer to the top quartet – although 3 points behind the closest neighbour “from above” and the main enemy, Arsenal. Speaking about the cup battle against Manchester City, there was a real struggle, but Ake scored the only goal in the 88th minute of the game.
“The Bees”, entering their third year in the Premier League for the first time, faced noticeable troubles. The team, which had already begun to earn a reputation as a distinctive middle peasant, and had not started this season hopelessly, suddenly found itself in a decline, losing 7 out of 8 Premier League matches. Taking into account 5 previous opponents in a row, it had not been possible even to catch a draw. For instance, the team played that way in the cup confrontation with Wolverhampton, but lost to that rival in the replay. And it, only after the match with Nottingham Forest, was able to “exhale”: this shoot-out brought the long-awaited victory – 3-2. Moreover, Toney, who had been waiting for such a long time from disqualification, marked his return with a cunning goal from the penalty spot.
Speaking about the Premier League, the results are identical: each club took 1 victory in 5 matches, moreover, the opponents finished the game in August with a 2-2 score. And it is reasonable to mention that “the Hotspurs” were stronger in the cup in 2021.
Футбол. Premier League England
Manchester City – Burnley
“The City” achieved a treble in the previous season – Pep Guardiola’s many years of work in the Foggy Albion were transformed into victory in the Champions League. This is the first euro cup for the British grandee, which, after the summer holidays, was followed by victories in the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Championship. At the same time, the favourite quickly lost in the Super Cup and the League Cup at the inner arena. And then the state of things became worse – the specialist spelt in the Premier League, losing the lead. Thus, even several successes did not help, and the team is behind Liverpool – the classic race has resumed. At the same time, it, having put the finishing touches on Tottenham, continues to fight in the cup tournament.
“The Clarets”, after the end of Sean Dyche’s era and after having fallen into the Championship, made a bet on Kompany that surprised many, although his results as a coach in his native Anderlecht were not impressive. Still, Vincent gave a convincing result, winning 1st place in that division ahead of schedule with his new wards, in England. As for the Premier League level, neither the young coach nor his players can pull it off. They couldn’t even beat Luton at the home arena; they conceded in the 90th+ minute of the game. It is noteworthy that the Belgian mentor is not being fired, preferring to strengthen the squad, including through the signing of David Fofana, for now.
“The City” won the lion’s share of matches against “the Clarets” with Kompany in the line-up. And they have already managed to defeat Vincent as a manager twice: a 6-0 score in the cup confrontation and a 3-0 result in the Premier League.
Футбол. Championship England
Sheffield Wednesday – Watford
“The Owls” were English champions 4 times and won every other major local trophy. Still, now they can only watch as hated neighbours, United, are trying to survive in the Premier League. The team itself is doing the same: it was only in 3rd place in the League One, but won the play-offs for promotion, in the previous season. To be honest, the Championship seems too tough for the team so far. Only Rotherham has got worse statistics. At the turn of the years, it beat Preston and Hull, and then qualified for the Cup, defeating Cardiff with a 4-0 score. Those results were followed by the goalless draws in the confrontations with Southampton and Coventry. The team played with the latter mentioned opponent in the cup tournament – 1-1, so everything will be decided in a replay.
“The Hornets” are known for their persistent attempts to gain a foothold in the Premier League. They failed again in 2022, but were traditionally seen as the Championship favourites. It’s just that the team disappointed there, finishing outside the top 10 in the previous cycle. And even now, being under the leadership of Valerien Ismael, there are only slightly more victories than defeats – it’s even strange that the French specialist holds his position for so long with such statistics of his wards. Southampton lost for a long time in the cup battle, but eventually responded in the 89th minute of the game, and that 1-1 draw transfer the final outcome into a replay (this time, on the field of “the Saints”).
“The Hornets” have not lost for 6 matches in a row. And both previous confrontations, in 2021 and 2023, brought a 1-0 success on the native field.
Футбол. LaLiga Spain
Atletico Madrid – Rayo Vallecano
Прогноз: Total under 3,0
The «Mattress Makers» clashed twice this month in derbies against their neighbors and main rivals, Real Madrid. On both occasions, the matches ended in draws after regular time, but in the Super Cup, they conceded twice in extra time to Oblak. However, they managed to get revenge in the Copa del Rey, scoring a couple of goals past Lunin. Another notable match was against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey, which resulted in a challenging, even controversial, 1-0 victory for the favorites. More importantly, clashes with other significant opponents, Athletic Bilbao and Girona, pushed Diego Simeone’s team out of the top four in La Liga, so they need to secure victories to reclaim their position. «Dry» victories against Granada and Valencia significantly contributed to this effort.
The «Little Bees» were another example of a typical «coaching» team in Spanish football. Under the guidance of Andoni Iraola, a former proficient footballer but a novice coach, they rose from the Segunda Division to become a mid-table team in La Liga, finishing consecutively in the middle of the country’s top division. However, having built a reputation for himself, Iraola left for the English Championship, joining Bournemouth in the summer. He was replaced by Francisco, and while the transition was noticeable, the team managed to collect points quite steadily in the current season. Nevertheless, they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Girona, and in the league, they only secured a victory against Getafe in winter, following which they were defeated by Las Palmas. Against this backdrop, a 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad was seen as a decent improvement.
Previous encounters between the neighbors have overwhelmingly favored Atletico, with 8 wins out of 9 recent matches and only one draw. This season, they even achieved a resounding 7-0 victory.
Футбол. Premier League England
Liverpool – Chelsea
Прогноз: Win Liverpool
“The Reds”, after finishing the previous season in 5th place, have clearly worked to strengthen their squad by making a splash with the signings of Szoboszlai and Mac Allister. Still, then many desirable players, such as Caicedo, preferred other career development options, while a number of veterans, led by Henderson, left the project. However, now the team is showing such shape that it has crushed Bournemouth, confirming the right to be first in the table, without Salah and a bunch of other leaders. At the same time, there was a League Cup semi-final with Fulham – the club, not without difficulty, but overcame the opponent in the decisive round. Well, the team played in a similar format, but in the FA Cup, with Norwich, at the weekend – there was a 5-2 defeat. It was already known then that Klopp would leave in the summer – how will this fact affect the team?
“The Aristocrats” are well aware that their current progress, 9th place after 12th position in 2022/2023, will not satisfy anyone at all, neither the fans at Stamford Bridge nor Boehly. Still, Pochettino, who had arrived in the off-season, also understands that the top 4 of the Premier League is unattainable, and no one will give him 6th or 7th position. Mauricio doesn’t mind getting away with winning the trophy. His players, like “the Reds”, were the semi-finalists of the League Cup. And, having lost to Middlesbrough on the away field, Carrick’s wards, taking advantage of the opponent’s mistakes, defeated the Championship representative at the home arena. Three days later there was a new test in the form of Aston Villa in the FA Cup, it all ended in a goalless draw.
Pochettino and Klopp drew with a 1-1 score in August in London. This is the seventh head-to-head match in a row that did not bring a winner in regulation time.