Preview: Two London sides desperate for a win
Fulham and Tottenham will both be looking to put an end to their winless streaks when they meet each other at the Craven Cottage on Wednesday. The Cottagers have lost all of their last four matches in the league and five in all competitions, their antics have resulted in Fulham dropping down into the relegation zone. The inevitable sacking of Martin Jol resulted in former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen appointed as the manager of Fulham and the Dutchman is set to take charge of an English team for the first time in the match against Tottenham.
Even though the manager might have changed, the players are the same and Meulensteen will have some task at hand to motivate players who have tasted defeat in five consecutive matches. But the former Man United coach has insisted that his experience with his former club has allowed him to gain the necessary attributes to deal with such challenges.
Preview: Is another tense derby on the horizon?
Bayern has put away most opponents with little trouble this season. Their results have progressively improved against Augsburg. In their final meeting in the 2010-11 season, Bayern beat Augsburg 2-1. The first meeting of the 2011-12 season finished 2-1 as well in favor of the European Champions. They went on to beat Augsburg 0-2 in the DFB Pokal and won their next meeting in the league 0-2.Both meetings in the current calendar years concluded with 3-0 home wins at the Allianz Arena.
In the most recent meeting, Jerome Boateng opened the scoring with a superb goal from a very narrow angle. Franck Ribery added the second from a free-kick. Thomas Müller added a gloss on the score when he converted a penalty in the 90th minute. One of the scorers from that day, Ribery's availability will depend on a late fitness test. Bastian Schweinsteiger, captain Philipp Lahm, Claudio Pizarro, Xherdan Shaqiri and Holger Badstuber will all be unavailable though. For Augsburg, Panagiotis Vlachodimos is starting to recover from tendon problems. Dominik Reinhardt has a hand injury. Jan-Ingwer Callsen Bracken and Jan Moravek are doubtful for the match.
Preview: Chelsea poised to continue fine form against Sunderland
After disappointing showings in consecutive games against Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea have finally returned to winning ways scoring back to back victories over West Ham and Southampton. They now face Sunderland, a side Chelsea have performed remarkably well against with the Blues having won their last eight top flight games against the Black cats.
Sunderland have seemed like an improved side under the management of Gus Poyet but are still in 19th place just one point adrift of table bottomers Crystal Palace and Chelsea will surely be looking to take advantage of their misery. The London side have an easy run of games and will be hoping to take it to their advantage by closing the gap between themselves and league leaders Arsenal. Away trips to Sunderland and Stoke will be followed by a home fixture against Crystal Palace and Chelsea will be disappointed not to pick nine points from their next three games.
Preview: Spotlight on Martinez, Moyes and Fellaini
It will be an emotional reunion between current Manchester United manager David Moyes and his former beloved club, Everton. But during the 90 minutes, friendship will not count as both teams will do their best to beat each other.
Interestingly, the Toffees rank above the Red Devils in the English Premier League standings. The Liverpool-based side has only lost once in the campaign and counts 24 points, two more than Man United. A few days after recording an emphatic 4-0 victory at home to Stoke City, Roberto Martinez will be looking to embarrass his predecessor at the Theatre of Dreams.
Preview: Both sides enter this match off motivating victories
Few people would have expected Arsenal to be top of the Premier League table after 13 matches, but the truth is that they have deserved it thus far. Great collective play, fighting spirit, and five cleansheets in their last six matches have contributed to their brilliant start.
Despite their injury concerns, the Gunners have managed to remain competitive. The absences of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain were just three of the injuries Arsene Wenger has had to deal with.
Preview: Liverpool poised to get back on track
The Merseyside Reds had an off day last Sunday. They underperformed and were punished by Hull City, losing 3-1 in the end. Key player Glen Johnson did not win a single tackle in the match while Luis Suarez seemed to miss his partnership with injured forward Daniel Sturridge. Manager Brendan Rodgers was left in shock by the defeat.
“If we were going to lose a game in that run of five, I wouldn't have expected it to be at Hull. That's no disrespect to them but this was a game where we should come and do much better,” the ex-Swansea boss told Sky Sports on Monday.
Preview: City looking to improve away form in the league
The Citizens have climbed up to the third spot in the league thanks to two consecutive league wins which has seen them score nine goals without conceding any. Much for their dominant performances at the Etihad, City have not been the same side away from home winning just a single of the six away games they have played so far.
French playmaker Samir Nasri, who has blossomed this season under the tutelage of Manuel Pellegrini scoring twice in City’s last outing against Swansea lamented his team’s away form and insisted that it must improve if they are to emerge as title contenders this season.
Preview: Dortmund aiming to overcome further injuries
Jürgen Klopp rightly bemoaned his side’s luck this week, though in a rather sarcastic manner. The comment was perhaps slightly insensitive towards Saarbrücken but served as a reminder of Dortmund’s problems after the Mainz game:
"We are so nice that we injure ourselves down to Saarbrücken's level."
For the first time in his time as a Dortmund manager, Klopp made three substitutions prior to half-time in the Bundesliga. Nuri Sahin came in for Sven Bender when Dortmund was struggling to live up to Mainz’s pressing during the weekend. Jakub Blaszczykowski went off due to muscular problems at half-time and on captain Sebastian Kehl. Marco Reus, who is currently struggling to be fit for the Saarbrücken match, went off for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Shrugging off the controversy off the pitch, following the topsy-turvy esque nature of Adriano Galliani’s resignation, Milan players picked up a desperately needed 3-1 win at Catania on Sunday.
It was great to see the Rossoneri replicate their performance from the Champions League win over Celtic to Serie A and it seems that Massimiliano Allegri has finally turned the corner following a poor start to the new campaign.
Once again, Milan were left chasing the game but like the Milan sides of yesteryears, they rallied towards a very important win that could define their season.
Preview: Barcelona will want to bounce back after their mid-week defeat
It is not often that Barcelona lose, and when they do, fans will sit and pick apart that defeat, in order to figure out what caused it. The Blaugrana's mid-week match against Ajax did not go well, as the Spanish side came up short, but the defeat was well deserved.
That defeat can come as somewhat of a wake-up call for Tata Martino's men.
Preview: Saints looking to take advantage of inconsistent Chelsea
Southampton will be looking to justify their top four credentials with a strong performance against Chelsea. The Saints have performed admirably under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino and have begun the new season strongly. Their antics have earned them a place in the top five and the residents of St Mary’s stadium are just two points behind Chelsea, which means that a win will allow them to leapfrog the London side into the top four.
The Saints have produced excellent performances against big teams, picking up points from matches against Liverpool and Manchester United. However Southampton failed to do the same when they clashed against Arsenal at the Emirates last time out. Even though they played admirably throughout the match, they were unlucky to concede two foolish goals courtesy of a horror from goalkeeper Artur Boruc who gifted Olivier Giroud possession in front of the goal before Jose Fonte needlessly pulled Per Mertesacker’s shirt inside the box to gift the Gunners a penalty and thus another goal.
Preview: Bianconeri aiming to end the week on a high
Antonio Conte is one happy coach. Unlike Rafael Benitez and Max Allegri, his squad has been getting good and consistent results on all fronts since back to back defeats in late October—to Fiorientina in the Serie A and Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.
The Old Lady jumped a big hurdle in midweek by beating Copenhagen. They eventually finished the night above losers Galatasaray. In Europe, Juventus hold their destiny in their own hands. A draw on Matchday 6 could be enough to see them join Group B winners Real Madrid into the Round of 16.
Preview: Citizens looking to extend perfect home run
The Sky Blues have been impeccable at home this season having scored 26 goals in the six games they have played at home turf this season and was it not for their disastrous away form, City would definitely be higher up in the table.
The Citizens have scored goals for fun this season and Premier League’s top scorers have notched ten goals in the last two matches something the Swansea defence should be wary of. In their last Premier League outing City ran riot scoring six goals against a Tottenham side which prior to their match against the Etihad side had only conceded six goals in 11 games.
Preview: Spurs and United both fresh from midweek wins
This game is coming at the perfect time. Spurs will be out to prove that they have totally recovered – tactically and mentally – from their miserable 6-0 beating at the Etihad Stadium on Matchday 12. They used Thursday’s Europa League encounter away to Tromsø as an opportunity to boost their confidence.
This 2-0 way in Norway should help them to get back on track by avoiding a third straight loss in the English Premier League. Andre Villas-Boas sounded confident in his interview with Sky Sports.
Preview: Reds looking for a big win against the Tigers
Brendan Rodger’s men have pulled off an unexpected start to the season and currently find themselves second in the league table just four points behind leaders Arsenal, a difference they will be hoping to narrow down on Sunday.
The Reds possess one of the most potent attacks in England’s top tier league and with both Suarez and Sturridge in the form of their lives, the Hull City defense will have to be at their very best to gain anything out of this match.
Preview: Pressure still on for Allegri after five winless Serie A matches
The last time AC Milan won a Serie A match seems so long ago. A 1-0 victory over Udinese at the San Siro on October 19 was the last time the Rossoneri claimed three points in the domestic campaign.
With pressure mounting on Allegri and Galliani's departure, Milan are almost forced to emerge victorious on Sunday, when they take on last placed Catania.
Preview: Another chance for Real to improve without Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo will not play, Ancelotti has confirmed. According to the Real Madrid manager, the Portuguese talisman has recovered from last weekend’s thigh injury against Almeria but remains uncomfortable. As a result, Angel Di Maria will be given a rare start in the starting XI. The Argentine winger is reportedly feeling ousted by impressive summer signing Gareth Bale.
In Ronaldo’s absence, Los Blancos will aim to build on the great performance they put in against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League in midweek. Team effort, marked by the brilliance of Isco, Bale and Arbeloa, proved that Real Madrid have strength in depth and can cope without their number 7 superstar.
Schalke’s 0-0 draw against Steaua Bucharest in the UEFA Champions League in midweek left plenty to be desired. The Blues have made rather hard work of a simple group. They have their fate…
Preview: Arsenal out to gun down the Blue Birds
Arsenal will travel to Wales to take on Cardiff City, in a match that will have some significant meaning for Aaron Ramsey. The Welsh captain spent all of his youth career at the club, as well as two seasons at the senior level before he was transferred to Arsenal in June of 2008.
He will now get a chance to showcase his talent, and the timing could not be better. Ramsey is off to a flying start, as he has already scored 11 goals in 20 appearances for Arsenal this season.
Preview: Pep Guardiola wary of a Bayern upset
FC Bayern barely have enough players to compete for spots in the lineup. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Claudio Pizarro, Xherdan Shaqiri, Franck Ribery and Holger Badstuber are out for this one. In midweek, Philipp Lahm added himself to the injury list when he hurt his thigh. He has been ruled out for the next two matches at least. Bayern made little work of CSKA Moskva in midweek.
They put three past the Russians in a clinical display. The defense did not have a good day but Manuel Neuer did. Keisuke Honda had a few chances to score but did not take them. Eventually, a handball by Dante resulted in a rather harsh penalty decision. Honda halved the deficit from the spot; Arjen Robben and Mario Götze had earlier given Bayern a 0-2 lead. A few minutes after Honda’s penalty, Robben earned Bayern a penalty at the opposite end which Thomas Müller converted.