Welcome back from the International break. Two weeks ago I predicted four selected games in the English premier league and the Nigerian premier league managed by the League management company. So how did I perform, let’s check it out together;
England (Result): Everton 2-0 Mancity, Swansea 0-2 Arsenal, Aston Villa 3-2 QPR, Chelsea 2-0 Westham. My predictions: Everton 2-1 Mancity, Swansea 1-1 Arsenal, Aston Villa 2-2 QPR, Chelsea 1-0 Westham. So, it’s two correct results here
Nigeria (Result): Enyimba 1-0 Nasarawa, Kwara 1-1 Sunshine, Dolphin 1-0 3SC, Gombe 1-0 ABS. My predictions: Everton 2-0 Nasarawa, Kwara 1-1 Sunshine, Dolphin 2-1 3SC, Gombe 1-0 ABS. Four correct results and two perfect score.
Now let’s hit the ground running with this week top 4 selected predictions from various leagues across the world.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
Sunderland VS Manchester United (1:30pm)
Martin O’niell and his boys welcome league leaders to the stadium of light as they battle to maintain their premier league status. Sunderland sits 15th with 31points, lost 3 and drawn 2 of their last five games while Manchester United has won all of their last 5 games in the EPL scoring 10 goals without conceding.
Sir Alex Ferguson said he will be delighted if his team can match Chelsea’s historic 95points haul in 2005 under Coach Jose Mourinho but can they achieve it or win the league by 18points gap like they achieved in 2000? Let’s wait and see. Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United
Manchester City VS Newcastle (4pm)
Roberto Mancini refused to honour his post-match press conference after the defeat to Everton before the International break because that defeat meant they dropped 15points behind Manchester united with nine games to go.
Newcastle are enjoying a revitalization after the January influx of French league players especially Moussa Sissoko who has come in with strength, pace, and goals.
Also the return to form of Cisse, Cabaye, and Tiote has been massive as they now occupy the 13th spot with 33points. ManCity may welcome captain Vincent Kompany and Sergio Kun Aguero back from injury as they hope to increase their point haul of 59points just 4points ahead of 3rd placed Chelsea. Prediction: ManCity 2-2 Newcastle
Arsenal VS Reading (4:00pm)
Arsenal are facing some major injury worries as they go into battle at the Emirates against Reading who appointed former Southampton handler Nigel Adkins as their new manager.
Diaby is out for 9months, Wilshere 2weeks, and Theo Walcott may likely miss the Reading game if he fails a late fitness test. Fabianski has done well in goal and should continue while Arteta, Carzola, and Ramsey are expected to start at the middle but the effect of a new manager may just inspire Reading to an unlikely victory. Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Reading
Swansea VS Tottenham (4:00pm)
Spurs have gone from 12 victories in a role to 2 consecutive defeats which leave them 5points behind Mancity in 2nd and 1point behind Chelsea in 3rd but lead their fierce rival Arsenal with 4points in 5th.
Swansea also hasn’t enjoyed the best of form since winning the capital one cup in a majestic fashion.
Both teams lost their matches coming into this fixture but Spurs are desperate for a Champions league berth and knowing that Chelsea travel to a difficult ground to play Southampton with the ManUtd FA cup reply at the back of their minds, AVB and his boys may just feel this is the best time to go back to third place. Prediction: Swasea 1-2 Tottenham
NIGERIAN PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Dolphin VS Sharks
Bottom placed Sharks entertain 14th placed Dolphin as they look to start their climb up the league table. Dolphin is one of the well packaged team in the league and recently launched Dolphin TV on youtube but their league form has not reflected it so far, maybe it’s too early to judge. For league fans in Port Harcourt, go to the stadium and be part of the action because it is a local derby that promises to be beautiful. Prediction: Sharks 2-1 Dolphin
Rangers VS Kwara
Undoubtedly the star match for this weekend across the world alongside the Inter vs Juventus, and Athletico Madrid vs Valencia games. Rangers, Sunshine stars, and Kwara united are yet to lose a game after four matches in the hardest league in the world. The Aforja warriors as Kwara united are fondly called travel to Enugu to face Rangers, both teams sit 3rd and 4th respectively with two wins and two draws each. It promises to be explosive and a great advertisement for Nigerian football. Prediction: Rangers 1-0 Kwara United
Enyimba VS Warri Wolves
Warri Wolves are described as the Manchester City of the Nigerian league because of how they take care of their players but so far after four games they sit in 18th place with just 3points and travel to Aba to face 6th placed Enyimba with last season’s top scorer Sibi Gwar looking to open his account this season. Enyimba look good to take this one as they hope to make a strong impression in this year’s league. Prediction: Enyimba 2-0 Warri Wolves
ABS VS Kano pillars
League leagues Kano pillars travel to 16th placed ABS after a flawless performance against 3SC in midweek where Gambo Mohammed scored a braced in their 2-0 win. Kano Pillars have been scoring with relative ease in the African champions’ league but has not found the same ease in the domestic front although they’ve been grinding out results. Illorin may just prove too difficult for pillars to get a win as ABS seeks their second win in the league. Prediction: ABS 1-0 Kano pillars
ITALIAN SERIE A
Inter Milan VS Juventus
I get the feeling that Juventus are still hurt from conceding their 49 unbeaten run to Inter even as they lead the log with 65points, 9 ahead of second placed Napoli. Inter have missed the services of Diego Milito since he was ruled out of the season due to injury, so the goal scoring burden will rest on Palacio and Cassano for this game while old war horse Cambiaso and Javier Zanetti will need to put in some good shift against Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal, and Marchisio in midfield. Prediction: Inter 0-0 Juventus
Palermo VS Roma
Palermo are shockingly bottom of the league and looks destined for relegation. Few years ago they had Pastore and everyone was looking forward to them playing in the champions league but the very talented Pastore moved to france with PSG and a Roman Abramovic style management by Palermo’s president Maurizio Zamparini has left the club on the verge of relegation. 5th place Roma led by Francesco Totti dispatched Parma last week 2-0 and will be happy to play Palermo at this time as they still hope to nick a champions league qualification. Prediction: Palermo 0-2 Roma
Chievo VS Ac Milan
Stephen El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli, and Kevin Prince Boateng are perhaps the most exciting forward line in the serie A and perhaps if you throw in fit again Robinho then you get a fearsome quartet.
Milan travel to 14th placed Chievo hoping to get a win that will take them to second above Napoli and closer to Juventus, both play away to Torino and Inter respectively. Prediction: Chievo 1-3 Ac Milan
Torino VS Napoli
Torino are having a decent season and currently sits 11th as they host Napoli who are desperate to maintain their 2nd position on the league table and build on last week’s 3-2 win over Atlanta.
Edinson Cavani is the league top scorer and there have been talks of him moving out to England or Spain so if there is a gift he will like to give the fans before he leaves like Lavezzi did last year it will be a Champions league spot or help wrestle the league title away from Juventus. Prediction: Totino 1-1 Napoli
LA LIGA (Saturday)
Celta Vigo VS Barcelona
It may sound insane but I feel Celta Vigo can get something out of this fixture.
I say this because most Barcelona players were very involved during the international break and Messi was even reported sick while on the pitch playing against Bolivia.
I know Celta are coming into this one at the back of two defeats and sits 19th with 23 points but in football crazy things happen that is why we love the game. Prediction: Celta Vigo 1-1 Barcelona
Real Zaragoza VS Real Madrid
Real Madrid go into this fixture against 17th place Zaragoza 13 points behind Barcelona and with their mind set on next week’s champions league game against Galatasary.
A victory for Zaragoza is likely against mourinho’s men who like the Barcelona players were heavily involved during the international break. Prediction: Real Zaragoza 1-2 Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid VS Valencia
This is a battle between 3rd and 5th definitely the star match in spain this weekend and one of the 3 star games across the world together with Inter vs Juventus and Rangers vs Kwara United. Both teams are in a very rich vein of form going into this tie and coach Simione will try to push his team to secure second place finish ahead of Real Madrid since they have no European cup games to focus on while Madrid has the distraction of the champion’s league. Prediction: Atletico Madrid 3-1 Valencia
Espanyol VS Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad are the surprise package in spain this season like Malaga was last season. They are currently 4th with 47 points and travel to 12th placed Espanyol as they look to secure a champions league qualification. Influential Sociedad captain Xabi Prieto will urge his team mates on to get the job done as the season enters its final round of matches. Prediction: Espanyol 1-1 Real Sociedad
ENGLISH FA CUP REPLAY
Chelsea VS Manchester
Chelsea forced a replay at old Trafford after they came back from a 2 goal deficit to draw 2-2. Based on that I expect Chelsea to play with confidence at the bridge and possibly win but their fixture congestion is a big worry, they play Southampton on Saturday, Manchester United on Easter Monday, and a crucial Europa cup game on Thursday. Manchester United has a bigger squad and sit comfortably at the top of the EPL table.
So United can afford to rest and keep players fresh for their Monday game against Chelsea and stay on course to win a double this season. Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United
Chijioke CeeJay Ezeali is an intelligent and a creative football writer who have calved his niche in what he loves doing best. He is also a sport pundit on Superscreen television and Channels television.