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Matthew Wallace – Welsh Premier League. Bangor vs The New Saints. Ko 3.45 Live on S4C
This is the battle between first and second in the Welsh Premier League and the reigning champions vs the former Champions. Bangor have home advantage and this is arguably their biggest game since moving away from Farrar Road in December. As it stands, Bangor are one point ahead of the Oswestry based team. They go into this game looking for their first win in 4 games following a league cup exit at the hands of Newtown and a shock 3-1 defeat to big spending Neath.Once again, Les Davies has proved a handful for defences to deal with this season and leads the scoring charts with 14 goals for the Citizens. He will be the man that TNS will have to keep quiet.
TNS (yes of Soccer Saturday fame) travel to North West Wales in a rich vein of form, having won five in succession in all competition including an impressive 2-0 victory away to Llanelli. The Saints seem to be coming into form at the right part of the season and the strike force of Alex Darlington and Greg Draper looks to be combining very well, scoring 30 between them this season.
I think that Nantporth has not become the fortress that Farrar Road was for Bangor yet and as such, I believe the Saints will come out victorious here. Bangor 1-3 TNS
Tanuj Lakhina - La Liga: Osasuna v Athletic Bilbao – Kick off at 2130 CET/2030 GMT on Sunday
Athletic gave a fantastic account of what they’re capable of at Old Trafford with a highly impressive 3-2 win in Europa League. On Sunday, things return to La Liga and the battle to qualify for Europa League and/or take the final qualification place for Champions League return as well. Osasuna host Athletic at home with Osasuna currently 7th with 35 points and Athletic 5th with 37 points so things would be pretty heated between the two sides in Pamplona.
Both teams enter the game with mixed numbers. Athletic under Bielsa have scored 18 goals in their last 8 games but lost two of their four away games recently. Osasuna aren’t the best team at home as they have won just two consecutive home games this season and it won’t get easy against Athletic.
Player to look out for: It would be difficult to pin point just one but based on recent form Markel Susaeta would be the player to watch out. He has scored for two league games in a row and plays a crucial role in attack building up chances for Llorente and Iker Muniain and having chances of his own as well.
Prediction: I believe Osasuna’s run of home wins ends this weekend and Athletic to win this 3-1.
Michel: Serie A. Genoa v Juventus. Ko 2 pm
Are Juventus giving up? The Old Lady has drawn four of their last five games and now they are second with the same number of games played as Milan.
Against Genoa it will be a decisive game, especially if Milan get the win against Lecce, who is currently in relegation zone.
Genoa has been struggling in the last games as well. They have not won any of their last five games. The reason might be that Alberto Gilardino has been out due to an injury. But the striker will be back on Sunday and Grifone’s fans hope for the best. Gilardino, with Rodrigo Palacio, look like a well-assembled duo: in four games together they have gathered seven goals and four assists.
Juventus will have to find a way to stop this duo and they will still have to do it without Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli, both out for injuries. On top of that the other centre back, Leonardo Bonucci is disqualified so Antonio Conto will probably move Vidal, a midfielder, to the centre of the defensive line.
Mirko Vucinic should start in front but once again we do not know who is partner will be.
Prediction: will Juventus be able to invert the trend? Hard to say. Genoa 2 Juventus 2
Nick: Wolves vs Blackburn, Premier League. Saturday 10th March
This game is the epitomy of the phrase ’6 pointer’. It’s going to be 3 teams relegated from 5 in the Premier League this season, and these are two of the teams fighting it out for survival. They currently both have 22 points, with only goal difference seperating the two, Wolves occupy the final relegation spot above Bolton and Wigan, whilst Blackburn sit just above the dreaded drop zone.
Wolves have been in free-fall over the past month, they sacked their manager Mick McCarthy to try and stem the problem but this has only served to make things worse, and after a fruitless attempt to recruit a new manager have been left with McCarthy’s assistant, Terry Connor, in charge until the end of the season. His first game at the helm saw an inspired second half fightback at Newcastle to gain a much needed point in a 2-2 draw, however his team were thrashed in their last Premier League outing, 5-0 at Fulham, and capitulated as the game went on. Connor is still looking for his first win as manager with Wolves, and will see his first home match at Molineux against a fellow relegation-fighting team as the perfect opportunity.
It’s been a strange season for Blackburn fans. New owners have seen a once steady mid-table Premier League team plunged into a relegation battle. The fans have been battling to get rid of rookie manager Steve Kean throughout the season, but have finally realised that he is the man who will lead them for the remainder of the season, whether they like it or not, and so in recent weeks have got behind him a little more. They’ve had a mixed last month, losing heavily against Arsenal and Manchester City, but getting a huge win against fellow strugglers QPR and a good point in their last game against Aston Villa. The players appear to be working for Kean and with Yakuba have a player that the other relegation threatened teams lack; a proven Premier League goalscorer.
Prediction: It’s going to be a tight, tense game, as all the games involving these two teams from now until the end of the season will be. Wolves are struggling for confidence and if they make a poor start to the game, the home fans will get on the player’s backs. Blackburn appear to have the better form at the minute and I think they will survive by the skin of their teeth this season, if Wolves lose this game I think they are doomed for relegation and Championship football next year.
Wolves 1 – 2 Blackburn