Saturday 10th December
17.30 GMT – Leicester v Man City (Premier League)
Leicester are struggling big time, and do indeed find themselves in a relegation battle. However, they started to hit their stride in December last year as they got some good wins. Their home form is still formidable with just one defeat in the last 22 games at the KP Stadium.
For City, they need a response from their defeat to Chelsea, but the repercussions of that game hit them hard, as they are without Aguero, Fernandinho and Otamendi for this game due to suspension (Otamendi for accumulating 5 yellows). Iheanacho will deputise for Aguero, and is a striker who will be able to exploit Leicester’s lack of pace defensively.
Prediction: With most of Leicester’s key players rested during the week, and Ranieri wanting a reaction, there is a solid chance of Leicester getting a decent result here. City have enough quality to get a draw though, and I’m backing them do that. Leicester 2-2 City
Sunday 11th December
14.15 GMT – Man United v Tottenham (Premier League)
The second big clash in the Premier League this weekend sees Spurs travelling to a struggling Man United side with a 6 point gap already separating the sides. United normally don’t lose against Spurs at home, with just 2 defeats in their last 21 home games against Pochettino’s side, but haven’t won back to back games since September.
Spurs are starting to rediscover their form after a bit of a rough patch, and got their first Wembley win in the CL (albeit too late) in the week. That should give them a shot of confidence, especially as they played pretty well.
Prediction: Spurs are tough to beat in the league, with just 1 defeat in their 14 games so far but with 6 draws as well. United have also managed 6 draws in the league, and struggle to convert their chances into goals. The logical bet is to say this will be a draw, and I can unfortunately see it being United 0-0 Tottenham.
16.30 GMT – Schalke v Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga)
With European adventures on hold for now, both of these sides will be wanting to take the opportunity to push on in the league as they sit 8th and 9th respectively. Schalke seem to have found a good balance to their side, but their injury problems are persistent – Benedikt Höwedes the latest injury.
Leverkusen are being too inconsistent in the league at the moment, and have injury problems of their own. They have more depth in their squad, but need their fringe players to provide more service to Javier Hernandez. If they can do that, he can fire them back up the table.
Prediction: This should be a great game, and I can see Bayer Leverkusen getting a rare away win. Schalke 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen
18.00 GMT – Benfica v Sporting Lisbon (Liga NOS)
We won’t often cover the Portuguese league, but this is a massive meeting of two of the top three sides in Portugal – they currently occupy the top two spots in the league with Benfica 2 points ahead of their Lisbon rivals.
Both sides come into this on the back of defeats in Europe, with Sporting’s significantly more damaging and unexpected – leaving them completely out of Europe for another season. A defeat for Sporting here would surely have them out of title contention, and Jorge Jesus would be under serious pressure to keep his job.
Prediction: Benfica have a formidable home record in the league, and should have enough about them to see off their cross-town rivals. Benfica 2-1 Sporting Lisbon
19.45 GMT – PSG v Nice (Ligue 1)
It really hasn’t been a good week for PSG – their heaviest loss since 2011 in the league followed by a calamitous 2-2 draw against Ludogorets in the Champions League has really put the pressure onto Unai Emery. Something tells me that if he doesn’t get a positive result here, he might not even make it to the January window…
Despite Nice being top of the league at the moment, they have an absolutely appalling recent record against PSG with 8 straight defeats against their opponents. Add to that the fact that Balotelli should be OK to return for this game – the type he normally self-destructs in, and it’s hard to see Nice doing well.
Prediction: There’s simply too much pressure on PSG for Nice to do well here. At least they’ll stay above the Parisiens. PSG 3-0 Nice