Manchester City come into this encounter riding high on form and confidence after a thrashing 5-1 victory over Leicester City which will give particularly Sergio Aguero a big boost ahead of this game. City overall have been in great form and know that this is the one competition where they haven’t performed well and will feel repreived to have a good draw coming into this knockout stages. City have been undefeated in 6 straight games and only lost 2 games all season in competitive football which will give Guardiola particular confidence that he can go out and beat the Swiss champions. City had scored 13 goals in 5 games leading up to that final game which they didn’t bother to win; and they are the heavy favorites to win.
Palermo suffered quite heavy and a bit unexpected defeat last time out, as the side visited Empoli and got destroyed with a 4:0 result. It was their first defeat after eight matches in Serie B, with the team being in more than fine form recording five victories and three draws in between.
However, must be said that the things didn’t look like one sided ones as the result says – on contrary, the visiting side even had more chances created and have held the ball more, however hosts were doing the things that are counting – at were deadly seriously every time with the ball to their feet.
Thanks to three goals from Caputo and one from Brighi, they managed to seal the victory in a great fashion, while the visitors have every reason to feel frustrated with how the things developed since it simply wasn’t their day at all.
The side now stands at third position having three points less than leading duo from Empoli and Frosinone and surely that a victory here is their only target as they need to recover badly in that race for direct promotion positions. Home side will miss defenders Struna (22/0) and Morganella (10/0).
AZ Alkmaar had generally more difficult game than what the final result shows, as the side visited Twente last Wednesday evening and managed to walk away with a 4:0 result, but the game was far away from a walkover.
They did take the lead in tenth minute, from a penalty kick taken by Jahanbakhsh, but the hosts were playing some really decent football for the most of the clash. Second halftime was especially an open one, with both teams having their chances, but once Twente stood playing with a man less, in 73rd minute it was easier for the visiting team.
Even though they played with a man less, they tried to risk as much as possible and paid the price for it in the end, since the hosts conceded three goals in last few minutes of the clash for the final 4:0 result (two goals from Weghorst and second from Jahanbakhsh).
With this victory players of AZ Alkmaar managed to make amends after their setback against Roda at home, keeping the third position with five points less than second placed Ajax, therefore remaining in a must win situation.
Hosts continue to miss midfielders Jeremy Helmer (9/1), Marko Vejinovic (7/0), offensive Oussama Idrissi (15/4) and forward Calvin Stengs (1/0).
Millwall is in a really good form at the moment, coming from fourth consecutive game without defeat and a victory away from home against Reading with a 2:0 result last Saturday afternoon.
They weren’t set as favorites away to Reading, however the side proved to be simply way more concrete with the ball to their feet, against the home team that had more of the ball possession but looked quite clueless with it.
Guests were the ones who looked better and more concrete, probably deserving to take the lead already in the first halftime, but the goals came in second halftime within three minutes, in 70th via an own goal and a goal from Gregory three minutes later. Overall, Reading played bit better in second, once again having much more of the ball possession but without being decently threatening overall.
Millwall now stands at fourteenth position probably with their doubts about relegation troubles being removed since they have twelve points more than relegating placed Hull, however far below the play-off zone as well, having thirteen points less than sixth placed Bristol City heading towards rest of the season in a bit more relaxed way.
Forward Tim Cahill is not fit yet in order to play and should be involved in U23 matches in next couple of weeks before playing for the first team. Injured and sidelined should be central defender Byron Webster (10/0), left midfielder Shane Ferguson (22/0) and offensive Aiden O’Brien (26/4).
Den Haag continued their winless streak in Eredivisie last Saturday evening as the side took a point in a 1:1 draw away from home against Heracles. They are without a victory in last three rounds, taking a point against Venlo and losing away to Feyenoord, but the side still can regard this outcome as a positive one.
Players of Heracles were slight favorites before the clash, however guests were the ones who looked better in the first halftime, simply being more concrete overall on the field and taking the lead in 21st minute via Johnsen. However, once the second halftime has started, players of Heracles showed their quality and were way more serious with the ball to their feet.
They leveled up in 54th minute with a goal from Niemeijer not being able to make that further extra step in overall fair outcome. The side is now at tenth position, having six points less than play-off placed sides and having one of last chances to get back into the battle for top seven positions.
Home side should be playing in a version of 4-2-3-1 formation with Johnsen as central striker, but also with Falkenburg, Khayati and Becker as offensive midfielders. Offensive midfielder Ricardo Kishna (2/0) is injured and out, as well as central defender Wilfried Kanon (11/1) and offensive Melvyn Lorenzen (14/1).
The last 5 rounds NAC Breda attack do not work properly at least not from the beginning of the season where and when they lost they at least scored a goal, the only exception is the victory over Utrecht with 3:1. And the problem is defense also where in the match against Ajax they left without Meijers and will be suspended for this match as well as Koch who is still strugling with injury while Haemhouts and Rommens are not so important because they are not in team from the beginning of the season regardless they were in starting line up last season.
NAC Breda have 70% of home matches over 2.5 goals with 3.5 goals per home match and against a team that did not concede a goal just in one match so far, even if they do not reach the points I believe that they will at least score a goal.
It could be said that the players of Partick pulled out a positive result last time out, as they took a point last Saturday afternoon when the team had a 1:1 draw away from home against Motherwell.
They were set as slight underdogs and it should be said that the players of the home team did have the upper hand during the match, but failed to take the lead in the first halftime even though they had some good chances and deserved it.
Instead of it, Partick took the lead bit against the flow of the match, with a goal from Dooland in 53rd minute, while the hosts managed to reply via Ciftci in 79th minute – without having that extra effort later on to completely revert the scoreline.
The side is now at tenth position with four points more than rock bottom placed Ross County, but also just five below play-off placed Kilmarnock on sixth position. Midfielder Steven Lawless (19/1) and defender Callum Booth (4/0) are both doubtful for this clash, while defender Christie Elliot (7/0) remains injured, as well as midfielders Gary Fraser (5/0) and Stuart Bannigan (6/0).
Numancia comes from yet another draw last Sunday afternoon, when the team visited Almeria and took a point in a goalless game, even though they were looking like favorites to score first on the field.
They had much more of the ball possession and looked more dominant, however failed to make more goal scoring chances against the hosts who did close to nothing in attack, especially in the second halftime.
It was their fourth draw in last six competitive matches, as the side remains without a victory in LaLiga2 in last four matches, being now at ninth position with just two points less than play-off zone placed sides and therefore, in a must win situation.
Home side will miss defender Luis Valcarce (5/0), but also midfielder Pablo Valcarce (17/2) and forward Higinio Marin (12/3) due injuries.
Hertha is far away from their best form, as the side still has no victory in 2018, coming from their third consecutive game in Bundesliga without three pointer. They firstly suffered defeat away to Stuttgart, took a point in a 1:1 draw at home against Dortmund, but also got just a draw last time out away to Werder Bremen in a goalless game.
However, this time they can be satisfied with a point taken, since the home team looked way better on the field and especially in the second halftime it looked like it was only a matter of time when they will score the leading goal.
In any way, Hertha is having far from impressive season all way long till now, having only twenty-six points earned which puts them on eleventh position only – already six points less than Europa League placed Leipzig.
Goalkeeper Rune Jarstein is doubtful and probably won’t be risked with him, while injured remain central defender Kari Rekik (16/2), midfielders Mitchell Weiser (18/1), Ondrej Duda (9/1) and couple of more who anyway didn’t perform this season.
Marseille and Metz will go head to head on Friday night at the Stade Velodrome to mark the opening of France Ligue 1 round 24.
The hosts, will enter this match in high spirit following a series of good results, being undefeated in their last 7 competitive games in all competitions, winning six of them. They are currently placed third with the same points as Lyon on the second. At Stade Velodrome they have been splendid so far, winning 5 of their last 7 games, allowing only 9 goals at home and scoring 25.
Meanwhile, the visitors even though have been improving significantly lately, they are still rock at the bottom of the table with 18 points after 23 games played, losing only once in their last 8 matches in all competitions. Anyhow, their bad start of the season losing 11 out of 12 matches have caused them to struggle at the bottom of the table, still five points behind the 19th placed Touluse.