It could be said now that the form of Milan is going really in a nice direct, since the team managed to get a 2:1 victory over Lazio last weekend in front of own fans and prove that they know how to perform decently well in consecutive matches.
Their form was full of ups and downs in previous months, but now they have four matches without a defeat streak, drawing away to Fiorentina, but also three consecutive victories – firstly at home against Crotone and away to Cagliari. Plus, the side won over Inter in quarter-finals Coppa Italia game late in December after extra-time having now a decent chance to secure the European ticket via Cup, since their position at the table is still far away from perfect.
Despite three victories, the side is only at seventh position having three points less than Sampdoria on sixth position and moreover, they are already seven points below fifth placed Roma, making their Champions League position already lost now.
Calhanoglu, Cutrone and Suso should lead the attack of Milan in 4-3-3 formation. Central defender Leonardo Bonucci (20/1) is sidelined and won’t play, same as goalkeeper Marco Storari (no performance this season in Serie A) and right full back Andrea Conti (2/0).
Atalanta reacted well after their defeat in front of home crowd against Napoli, as the side visited Sassuolo and took quite impressive 3:0 victory on the road last Saturday afternoon. They are now just three points behind Europa League placed Sampdoria, surely wanting to keep the pace as long as possible.
Team from Bergamo probably deserved even bigger margin lead in the first halftime, but still took it via Massielo in 30th minute, while they continued dominating the second halftime as well. The side completely deserved the victory which could be even with a bigger margin, as they netted two more in 83rd via Cristante and three minutes later via Freuler.
Atalanta should continue in 3-4-2-1 formation with Petagna as central striker, plus Ilicic and Gomez as offensive midfielders. Etrit Berisha and Mattia Caldara are expected to be back in the team after being rested last weekend, while only doubtful concenrs remains midfielder Leonardo Spinazzola (13/0).
Twente had all the chances to walk away with something more in the previous Eredivisie game played last Saturday, but the side only took a point in a game away from home against Roda following 1:1 result.
Must be said that they were bit better at start and eventually took the lead in 53rd minute with a goal from midfielder Vuckic, however once they took the lead the side stood very defensive oriented. Their hosts had way better chances in the second halftime and actually dominated it – but were only able to level up the result towards the end of the clash via Schahin in 88th minute – almost surely deserving more in the process.
This was third consecutive draw for Twente, as the side remains also undefeated in last four Eredivisie matches, but still being only leveled up at sixteenth position (play-out position) at the table together with NAC Breda.
Hosts should be playing in 3-5-2 formation with Boere and Assaidi as forwards. They will miss central defender Stefan Thesker (11/3), but also defensive midfielder Danny Holla (14/2) and offensive midfielder Luciano Slagveer (13/1).
After a goalless draw in previous Championship game at home against Dundee United in one of promotional clashes this season, players of Dunfermline remained at the third position for the moment, having thirty-three points earned.
That’s seven points less than second placed Dundee United, being now with same number of points as fourth placed Livingston and with three less than fifth and sixth placed sides. As for the last weekend, they suffered exclusion from Morton in FA Cup game in front of own fans with a 1:2 result.
The side used a bit rotated squad and obviously all their efforts are set on promotional race, as they didn’t actually look that much interested into a match against and opponent they were actually favorites against. Oliver brought the guests into the lead in 24th minute, while McManus leveled up in 57th, but the guests were more decisive towards the end and got the victory via Quintongo in 85th minute. Central midfielder Aaron Splaine (7/0) miss due injury.
Utrecht actually surprised me a bit last time out, as the side managed to take a point in a 1:1 draw last Friday evening in front of own fans against AZ Alkmaar.
The game itself wasn’t as open as I expected, with the guests being better in the first halftime, but failed to take the lead which still happened in 55th minute via Svensson, while the hosts replied in 74th via Dessers, in overall much more open second halftime with the visitors surely being a bit closer to get the three pointer.
Even though it’s a decent result, the side remains without a victory in last three Eredivisie matches, but still being at high sixth position with two points more than out of play-off placed sides and surely need to get something out of this match.
Utrecht should be playing in a version of 4-3-1-2 formation with Kerk and Labyad as forwards. Offensive players Simon Makienok and Patrick Joosten are long term absentees without playins so far in Eredivisie, similar to injured defensive midfielder Anouar Kali (1/0) and forward Jean-Christophe Bahebeck (6/3).
Rotherham continued their good momentum last weekend, as the side welcomed Portsmouth and managed to fight out very important 1:0 victory on Saturday afternoon. Only goal was scored very late into the match, in first minute of additional time via Mattock.
Overall, the game looked like a balanced once, with the Pompeys also having their good chances created and probably a draw might have been a bit more fair outcome, as the side now continued good momentum having undefeated run of eight matches and standing just two points behind play-off zone placed Charlton, so a victory here remains a must thing for them.
Home side continues to miss forward Jamie Proctor (4/0) and midfielder Darren Potter (16/0).
Bradford, on the other side, comes from a 3:1 defeat away from home against Bristol Rovers last Saturday afternoon in a game where they had more chances to walk away with something than what the final result says.
Swansea actually surprised a bit last time out in Premier League, as the side managed to get a point away from home against Newcaslte last Saturday afternoon. Their hosts were better in the first halftime, but the goals came in second as the guests took the lead via Ayew in 60th minute.
Home team replied eight minutes later via Joselu, but must be said that the Swans were the ones who had more of the ball possession in the second halftime and better chances created overall – probably being a side who was close to get something more out of the match as well.
However, they continue to keep the rock bottom position with seventeen points so far, which is six points less than safely placed Stoke and their destiny is far away from a positive one, at least that’s how it looks for now. During the midweek, the side won over Wolves 2:1 in FA Cup match and progressed to the last 32 phase.
The Swans should continue in 4-4-2 formation with Bony and Ayew as forwards. Hosts will miss right back Angel Rangel (3/0) who is injured, while doubtful for this match remain midfielder Renato Sanches (12/0), central back MikeLiverpool, on the other side, surprised quite a lot previous weekend, as the side managed to win over Manchester City at home with a 4:3 result and are the first side who defeated the Citizens after twenty-three rounds in Premier League.
Schalke come into this encounter on the back of some struggling results in the Bundesliga; and the biggest reason has been their struggles on the defensive end. They have now conceded goals in each of their last 6 matches in the Bundesliga out of which they managed to draw 4, win 1 and lose 1 in that span. Coming back from the break they were beaten by a 3-1 scoreline by Leipzig last time around; and will want to reverse that form in this encounter. They will welcome back midfielder Leon Goretzka who will add some creative influence while turning to forwards Burgstaller, Di Santo, and new signing Marko Pjaca to add firepower to their scoring.
Hannover also come into this fixture with some struggling results in the Bundesliga where they have won just twice in their last 8 fixtures in the Bundesliga. The positive fact for Hannover has been that they have been able to score goals netting in 11 out of their last 12 encounters, and that along with a strong 3-2 win over Mainz last week after the winter break; will do them a world of good. Hannover will turn to 3 attackers Fullkrug, Harnik, and Bebou to On the defensive end they have conceded in 11 out of their last 12 games, conceding an average of 2 goals per game in those encounters.
Stoke are really playing bad, after losing at Old Trafford against Manchester United 3:0 now they will host Huddersfield at home. Huddersfield are coming off a big defeat to West Ham conceding 4 goals in a 1:4 home loss to Hammers. Huddersfield received only 1 yellow card in that 1:4 trashing with only Smith getting in the ref’s notepad. They were way too soft against West Ham and that costed them, a lot.
Now they will meet Stoke that lost last 4 games and also are not getting too many bookings, both of these teams should up their aggression in this game. Both Stoke and Huddersfield are in bad positions and coming off big defeats. Stoke must play sharper and show some passion at long last. Line for Huddersfield is too high and hosts are only set on 2 bookings for big odds, more than possible in this poor situation and losing streak. Tensions are high and supporters will expect more from Stoke.
Hertha Berlin and Borusia Dortmund will go head to head on Friday night for the Bundesliga week opener, where the new Borusia Dortmund coach Peter Stoger, will try to get back to wining ways away from home at the German Capital.
The host are placed 11th in the table after 18 games played with 24 points. They will enter this match after ending their three unbeaten streak last week being beaten 1-0 by Stuttgart. While the visitors are placed fourth in the table with 29 points they have gone now on three unbeaten streak with the new coach.
Even though the visitors have now three games being unbeaten, but starting 2018 with goalless draw at home against Wolfsburg was not the start they have been looking for and would be considered as disappointing start for BVB.
The visitors will travel to the German Capital without Guerreiro and Marko Reus due to injuries. While Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, who missed last weekend’s clash for “disciplinary reasons”, has not travelled with the team, but, with Gotze, Kagawa, Yormolenko and Pulisic, Dortmund have plenty of forces on the attack.