Celta Vigo have only one focus this season with safety guaranteed for them in La Liga and that is winning the UEFA Europa League with the aim of qualifying for the Champions League. Celta Vigo come into this game boasting a strong bunch of young talent including the likes of Aspas (5 goals, 2 assists), Guidetti (4 goals, 2 assists) and Daniel Wass (2 goals, 1 assist) who have been leading their line to a string o strong performances. Celta Vigo had been doing well in the league but decided to put in full efforts in this competition once their safety was guaranteed. Celta Vigo have been dangerous at home scoring in 5 out of their 6 Europa League games, with only a loss to Shakhtar 1-0 stopped them from scoring. Their manager has developed them into a strong counter attacking side which has shown to help them score against many oppositions including their 4-3 win over Barcelona earlier in the season. Celta Vigo’s defense has been quite shaky conceding in 7 out of their last 8 contests against all opposition. Celta Vigo have one strong advantage coming into this game is that a lot of their starting XI have been quite well rested ahead of this game.
Torino and Sampdoria are sitting next to each other in the table, just 3 points separating them as both try to finish as high in the table as they can come end of this season. Torino have been the entertainers all season with their games seeing a glut of goals being scored at both ends, which sees Torino games seeing an average of 3.55 goals per game this campaign. In 33 games this season, they have scored 63 goals, which is almost an average of 2 per game. Their scoring efforts have been led by Belotti (25 goals), Falque (11 goals), Ljajic (8 goals), Benassi and Baselli (5 goals). On the defensive side, while they had signed England no.1 Joe Hart; goals have been conceded with relative easier most of their games as they have shipped 54 goals this season. Both teams have scored in 80% of their games including in 14 out of their last 15 games.
While many people including myself thought that Crystal Palace could barely get 9 points out of their last 10 games, they have seriously upset the odds. While they have already beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in their last 5 games; they are motivated to perform equally well in the home stretch to try and push for a top half finish. They even drew 2-2 with champions Leicester after coming back from behind and now are pumped and motivated that they can perform against most sides, even against the strong Tottenham team tonight. They went to Liverpool on the weekend and came back from a 1 goal deficit to win 2-1 led by strong performances by 2 goal Benteke and strong support from Cabaye, Zaha and Puncheon. They have struggled defensively, shipping goals in 4 out of their last 5 games against quality opposition and with Tottenham coming to town, it shouldn’t be easier.
Lyon can promise is an entertaining fixture, especially since they have struggled badly on the defensive end in recent games where they have conceded goals in 8 out of their last 11 games in all competitions. They have been shipping goals with regular ease conceding 7 goals in just their last 3 completed matches alone. Offensively, they will rely on the likes of Lacazette, Fekir, Cornet, Tolisso and Valbuena to pump the goals in order to help them qualify. They performed extremely well in their game against Besiktas and despite a hatful of chances, they were only able to put one past the Besiktas defense.
Borussia Dortmund come into this game after a narrow 3-2 loss to Monaco last week despite being 2-0 down at the end of the first half. Dortmund have started showing signs of their attacking instincts again as they scored 13 goals in their last 7 games. While Aubameyng has been leading the way, one cannot hide away from the contributions made by the likes of Schurrle, Dembele, Castro and Pulisic who have been creating and scoring goals with some regularity from the midfield. Dortmund’s problem in recent games has been keeping clean sheets as they have now leaked 10 goals in their last 8 games. They have not stopped conceding goals and their last 3 games have seen 14 goals in those encounters with 6 being scored by them only. This team have nothing to lose coming into this encounter, already down by 3 away goals; and will be going for the goals from the off-set in order to try and get back into this game.
Bayern Munich have been the kings of Germany for many years; but have failed to progress and take that elusive Champions League title over the last 3 years. They have already built a solid lead in the Bundesliga and didn’t bother too much with their 0-0 draw against Leverkusen this past weekend especially after last weeks thrashing of Dortmund by a 4-1 scoreline. Bayern have been in good form winning won 8 out of their last 11 in all competitions and are aiming for the treble with the goal to win the Champions League. Bayern have relied a lot on Lewandowski to deliver goals for them, with the Polish striker already netting 38 goals this season and will be aiming to add to his tally especially after missing last week’s encounter. Bayern’s defense in recent weeks has been a bit leaky and that was clearly evident from last week where they lost 2-1; but could have easily even been 3-1.
West Brom will look to the home faithful in order to support them in their quest for pushing up the table and sticking it to Liverpool as Tony Pulis’ side will aim for another victory at home this season. West Brom have made the Hawthorns stadium having the 7th best record in the league, while scoring 27 and conceding 19. Teams have come to try and dislodge them including Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham among the better teams and all found themselves failing to take 3 points back. West Brom will rely a lot on their counter attacking wingers in Brunt and Phillips to put balls into the box to give Rondon and Chadli as the furthest forward players to have a chance. West Brom are the most lethal team int he Premier League in scoring from set pieces with 18 out of their 39 goals coming from free-kicks and corners; which could trouble Liverpool today.
Juventus come into this encounter on some great form and will be extremely difficult to dislodge in front of their home fans where they have not lost a single game at the J Stadium going back to October 2015; which is a 46 game unbeaten run. So far Juventus have had an easier season with their only losses coming against teams away from home including Fiorentina, Milan, Inter, Genoa, this campaign. A lot of that form is due to the strong defense that Juventus’ boasts with only 8 goals conceded in the league in 15 home games. However, in the last few games they have shown some vulnerabilities conceding against Napoli (thrice), Milan, Udinese and Palermo in their last 10 games. When it comes to the attacking side, Higuain is in great form heading into this game with 4 goals in his last 2 games along with great support along the side from the likes of Dybala, Higuain, Cuadrado, Khedira and Pjanic who have also been chipping in with the goals.
Lazio come into this game with some good confidence and form on their side after qualifying in mid-week for the Coppa Italia Finals. While they lost that game, It was one where they had to just avoid losing by 2 goals. They had been undefeated in 10 games prior to that in a streak stretching to 31st January. They have now scored 23 goals in their last 11 games with an entire team effort contributing to those goals including the likes of Immobile, Keita, Parolo and Savic. Defensively, Lazio have seen to come short against good attacking teams where they at least 2 goals against Juventus, Milan, Roma, Pescara, Torino, Fiorentina, Atalanta in games played this season.
While Monaco had been on a good roll with a 6 match unbeaten run until the PSG game last weekend, but bounced back with a strong win over Lille in the French Cup in mid-week. Monaco will rely on a lot of their forwards to continue delivering the goals in order to have them maintain their lead at the top of the table. Mbappe, Falcao, Bernardo, Germain and Bakoyoko all delivering goals at critical times to see the side progress to this level of the competition. Monaco have been in goal scoring form netting 37 goals in their last 12 games in all competitions, and will aim to continue firing this goals in tonight. Defensively Monaco haven’t been great conceding goals in 9 out of their last 10 games. 83% of all Monaco’s games have seen over 2.5 goals lands including 11 out of their last 12 games.