Marseille are looking to pile on the pressure on Bordeaux and Lyon who are just 2 points ahead of them in the race for the Europa League spot heading into this encounter. Marseille have been on a great run of form heading into this game with an 8 match unbeaten streak. They will know they need to make home advantage count in this encounter against Nice, who themselves are fighting for the automatic qualification spot in the Champions League. Marseille head into this game on the back of a 5-1 beating of Caen and with the form that Gomis and Thauvin are showing netting 32 goals between them. They also have a great supporting cast with the likes of Lopez, Payet, N’Jie and Cabella who have been chipping in with the goals as well as the assists to help them out.
Monaco will look to put a disappointment and almost near certain elimination from the UEFA Champions League behind them as they go in search of 3 points against Nancy to maintain their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table. Victory against Nancy will see them maintain their 3 point lead over PSG (or maybe six points) with a game still in hand over their rivals. Monaco will look to put out a strong team in this encounter as they aim to secure the victory especially against a relegation threatened side in Nancy. Mbappe, Falcao, Germain, Lemar will all have a point to prove to the world and to the plentiful scouts who showed up to watch their game last time against Juventus that they are extremely talented and will look to deliver the Ligue 1 title this season.
Cologne will be mighty disappointed by their recent performances that saw them occupy Europa League spots and have now slipped down to 8th spot in the table, 3 points behind Bremen who occupy the last Europa League spot. Cologne have infant now won a game since a month now, losing to Gladbach and Augsburg while drawing with Hoffenheim and Dortmund, which is the main reason for setting them back. Defensively they have been quite poor conceding in 11 out of their last 13 games in the Bundesliga while also conceding in 5 out of the last 6 encounters at home. Cologne however still boast a great attacking threat in Modeste who has scored 23 goals in 31 games. His struggle to score over the last 3 games has been a major factor on their poor showing, so they will definitely need him to step up in the coming encounter. The supporting cast of Osako, Rudnevs, Jojic and Zoller have to definitely lend a helping hand.
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.