February gets underway with some massive fixtures around Europe, with teams fighting at the top of all major leagues. But, which soccer predictions could be the most accurate for games taking place this week?
Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea
There will be a huge London derby taking place on Thursday evening in the Premier League, as Jose Mourinho welcomes his former side to the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It will be Thomas Tuchel’s first away game at Chelsea boss, and the Blues will be looking to build on their recent win.
Frank Lampard’s departure as Chelsea boss was met with mixed responses by fans, as some understood that it was the right time for the legend to move on, while others felt that he deserved more time. The board wasted little time in finding a replacement for the former coach, as former PSG coach, Tuchel was brought in. He didn’t get off to the best of starts with a lacklustre 0-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, he needed to wait just a few days longer to get a first win with his new club. Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso scored the goals to secure the German his first victory as Chelsea boss, as the full-backs scored the goals in a 2-0 win over Burnley.
It wasn’t too long ago that Tottenham were being muted as possible Premier League contenders this season. However, Mourinho will be aware that there will be a bigger challenge to get the club into the top-four this season. Spurs are six points behind Leicester City at present and they have lost back-to-back games in the league. The most recent of those defeats came against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Spurs will need to deal without Harry Kane for the next couple of weeks, which will mean added pressure on Heung Min-Son to score the goals. Chelsea’s confidence from their first win under Tuchel will be decisive as they claim an away win against their local rivals.
Juventus vs Roma
Juventus will still be confident that they can regain their Serie A title this season, but they are in an unusual position where they will be relying on the sides above them to drop points. The Old Lady are currently in fourth in the league table, but have won their last two.
Andrea Pirlo’s side have certainly looked more focused over recent weeks, as they have won their last four in all competitions. Furthermore, they have kept clean sheets in all of those fixtures. Juventus managed to keep pace with the top two by beating Sampdoria last time out. Federico Chiesa opened the scoring before half-time, before Aaron Ramsey extended the lead in second half injury time.
Champions League qualification is the aim for Roma this season, and they look good value for that judging from their performances in the first half of the season. Roma have lost just four games so far this term, and are just six points off the top of the league. They remained above Juventus after picking up a win in their last league fixture against Hellas Verona. Gianluca Mancini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Borja Mayoral scored the goals for Roma.
The Old Lady will need to keep winning games to put pressure on the top two in the league table, which means they can’t afford anything other than three points from this game. That pressure will spur them on for maximum points.
Liverpool vs Manchester City
One of the biggest fixtures of any Premier League season takes place on Sunday, as the two sides that have contested the title race in the previous three seasons meet at the Etihad. City will go into the game as the league leaders, while Liverpool will be looking to continue their recent resurgence to close the gap.
Many people were writing off Jurgen Klopp’s defending champions a couple of weeks ago, but they have been able to bounce back to silence their doubters. Four points will likely be the difference between the sides before the game, which means a win for the hosts could close the gap to just the one point. Liverpool’s long scoreless and winless run has been brought to an end over recent weeks with wins against Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham. Mohamed Salah’s form has also improved, as he scored twice in that recent win against the Hammers.
City have enjoyed 12 wins on the bounce in all competitions since the end of last year, and are looking to move further clear with a win at Anfield. Pep Guardiola’s side were also written off this season, but their recent form has made a mockery of those claims. This City side may not be as entertaining in the attacking third, but they are certainly better defensively.
They have kept clean sheets in their last five league games, and another clean sheet against the Reds will lead them to maximum points.
Real Betis vs Barcelona
Barcelona look to have emerged as the leading side to contest the LaLiga title over recent weeks. Ronald Koeman’s team have won their last five, but winning the title may still be too big of an ask. There is a ten-point difference between themselves and Atletico Madrid coming into this game, but their form has seen them overtake Real Madrid in the league table.
Barcelona showed their character in their last outing, as they managed to score late to secure a 2-1 win against Athletic Bilbao. Lionel Messi was in the headlines before the game, as his contract was reportedly leaked to a Spanish newspaper. However, he was in the headlines for the right reasons after the game, as he scored the opener. Antoine Griezmann scored his sixth goal of the season in the final 20 minutes to seal the win.
Real Betis have been a tough side to beat in recent weeks, as they have lost in four. That run of form has ensured that Europa League football could be attainable this term. To achieve that goal they must make up the five-point difference between themselves and Real Sociedad. They certainly have the quality and experience to trouble Barcelona this weekend.
Barcelona’s form is hard to look past, which means an away win could be the most secure bet to make.