The leagues around Europe are reaching the final stages of proceedings, which means that there are a number of vital games that could have huge implications on the battles for a European finish in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A. But, which teams should gamblers be wagering their money on this week? Here are our soccer tips and predictions for this week.
Arsenal vs Liverpool
The Premier League champions are back in action on Wednesday as they travel to the Emirates to take on an Arsenal side that will be looking to overcome their recent derby defeat against Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners were made to pay for defensive mistakes in that fixture, as they squandered an early 1-0 lead to go down 2-1. David Luiz was at fault for the first goal, while Toby Alderwiereld was able to get the win for Spurs with a free header.
Arsenal had turned a corner following consecutive defeats at the beginning of the restart, but their chances of a European finish are now out of their hands. The very least they can do is win all of their remaining games, and this could be a tricky start as they haven’t beaten Liverpool in any competition for five years.
Liverpool are also looking for three wins to end the season as they target the 100-point total that Jurgen Klopp craves. They will not end the season with a 100% record at Anfield as they were made to settle for a 1-1 draw in their last fixture, but they will likely bounce back to winning ways against an Arsenal side that have struggled against the Reds in recent seasons.
Sevilla vs Valencia
It promises to be a tense end to the season for Valencia, as they find themselves playing catch up in the race to finish in the Europa League spots. Valencia had been in a strong spot heading into the restart, but a run of four defeats in six has meant that they are now one point behind Athletic Bilbao. They have won just once in these six outings, with that recent victory coming against Osasuna.
Valencia are conceding too many goals at present, as they have conceded six in their last three, and eight in their last four away games. They haven’t won away from home in LaLiga this year, and have only won three of 18 on the road this season.
Sevilla have all but wrapped up their place in the Champions League next season, as they have a nine-point lead over Villarreal. They have been deserving of that finish as they have been in excellent form throughout the season. They have lost half the number of games that Villarreal have, and they will need just one more win to mathematically book their place in the competition next season. That crowning victory should come against Valencia this weekend.
AS Roma vs Inter Milan
Two sides that would have no doubt been disappointed with their seasons to this point will meet this weekend at the Stadio Olimpico. AS Roma still have a big fight on their hands to finish in the Europa League places as they look set to be chased to the wire by Napoli and AC Milan. Their run of three consecutive defeats at the beginning of the restart meant that their hopes of a top-four finish were effectively over. However, their downturn in form has also opened the door for AC Milan and Napoli to close the gap on them.
It will be a major disappointment for AS Roma if they miss out on European football altogether, but they will need to produce the same kind of performances as they have over recent weeks. They won their last game at home 2-1 against Parma, but they will need to be even better to beat Inter Milan.
Antonio Conte would be disappointed by his side’s performances over recent weeks as they have gone from targeting a title challenge to a team that is down in fourth. Inter will be keen to qualify automatically for the Champions League next season, as they will not want to qualify for the competition, which will be their situation if they finish fourth. However, the last four Serie A meetings between these sides have ended in draws, which means the preference would be for another draw.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City
The next two weeks will be huge for Leicester City, as they could potentially kick-off against Tottenham Hotspur in fifth spot and outside of the Champions League places. The ruling made on Monday morning regarding Manchester City’s Champions League ban means that only the top four in the Premier League will get into the top-tier competition, and Leicester now have their fate outside of their own hands.
The Foxes had looked nailed on for a spot in the top four, but a poor run of form since the restart has seen them continue to slip down the table. Leicester end the season against Manchester United, but if they lose their next two games, then their chances of finishing above the Red Devils could be gone before the final day. Leicester have won just once since the restart and endured an embarrassing previous outing on the road as relegation-threatened Bournemouth hammered them.
Spurs enjoyed an excellent North London derby win in their last home match against Arsenal, and Jose Mourinho will be hoping that his side maintains that level of intensity for the visit of the Foxes. Spurs will still be hoping for a Europa League finish themselves, but they will need to win all remaining games to have the best chance of achieving that. This should be an entertaining game with both sides hitting the back of the net. The preference is for the score draw.