The penultimate round of fixtures in the biggest leagues in Europe takes place this coming weekend, with some teams still desperately needing the points to secure their targets for the season. But, which soccer picks should gamblers be making for the games this weekend?
Manchester United vs Liverpool
Before we even get to the weekend, there is one of the biggest games in Europe taking place on Thursday evening. Manchester United’s clash with Liverpool was called off a couple of weeks ago after protests surrounding the ownership of the Red Devils.
The match being cancelled a couple of weeks ago had left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a headache, as this game will now be the final of four in a seven-day spell. The Norwegian angered Liverpool fans on Tuesday evening, as he made ten changes in a fixture against Leicester City. United ended up losing that game 2-1, which now leaves Liverpool seven points adrift of fourth with four games remaining. Mason Greenwood scored for United in the game against the Foxes, which was his fifth goal in five league games. Solskjaer may field a slightly stronger team on Thursday, but he will still have one eye on United’s showdown with Villarreal in the Europa League final at the end of the month.
Liverpool’s disastrous title defence looks as though it will end with the Reds outside of the top four. Jurgen Klopp’s side are seven points away from Chelsea at this late stage of the campaign. Defeat for the Reds at Old Trafford would almost certainly end their hopes of playing in the Champions League next season, and they could instead be playing on Thursday nights in the Europa League.
Despite both sides not being in the hunt for the Premier League title, this remains the biggest game of the season. It looks difficult to separate the sides, which means a draw could be the most likely result.
Juventus vs Inter Milan
Juventus’ stranglehold on the Serie A title has finally gone after nine seasons. They will welcome the newly crowned Italian champions to Turin this weekend, as they search for vital points to finish in the Champions League places.
Finishing outside of the top four would have huge consequences for Juventus, and it could spell the end to Andrea Pirlo’s reign as manager. There could also be a mass exodus at the Allianz Stadium, as the vast majority of players would Champions League football. The Old Lady’s battle will go down to the final day, as AC Milan, Atalanta and Napoli look to ensure that they are the teams that will be playing in the elite European competition next season.
As for Inter, their job is already complete this season. The only question that still hangs over them is the margin between themselves and second-place in the league standings. Inter will be keen to end the season in strong fashion, as they have lost the fewest games in Europe’s top leagues this season. Inter have been beaten on just two occasions, and have been in excellent form throughout the second half of the campaign.
This will be a chance for Inter to put the cherry on top of the cake, as they could embarrass the former champions in their own backyard. Inter won’t be short on motivation this weekend, and we could see them getting the win to pile the pressure on Pirlo and Juventus.
RB Leipzig vs Wolfsburg
Bayern Munich were crowned champions of the Bundesliga last weekend, which means that the battle between the sides below them will now focus on the side that can end the season as the runners-up.
Leipzig could secure that position this weekend if they can get a win against Wolfsburg, but their recent form hasn’t been consistent. They have won just once in four league games, and have been beaten twice during the same run. Leipzig’s gap to Wolfsburg has diminished to just four points, despite being in excellent form throughout the first half of the season.
Wolfsburg wouldn’t have been aiming for second this season, as they would have considered a Champions League finish as a huge achievement. Their chances of finishing in the top four is in their hands, as they can effectively seal their spot with a win in Leipzig. They are currently three points clear of Eintracht Frankfurt, but do boast a better goal difference. Wolfsburg’s form has taken a hit over recent weeks, as they have lost three of their previous five.
There will be huge stakes for both sides this weekend, and the fact that neither side will want to lose the game could be crucial. A point for both isn’t the worst result, which means it could be the most likely outcome.
Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid
The LaLiga title race is almost certainly going to go down to the final day of the league season. The top three have stuttered over the past couple of weeks, which means no side have been able to move into a strong position.
Real Madrid could be in the best form of the three, as they are unbeaten in their last six. However, Zinedine Zidane’s side have found wins harder to come by, which means they are travelling at a snail’s pace towards the points total that Atletico are currently on. Madrid struggled to a draw against Sevilla last weekend, as Eden Hazard scored a rare goal in the final minute. That point could yet be decisive, but they must win this weekend to stay in touch.
Bilbao are going to finish outside of the European places this season, but they have been in better form over recent weeks. However, like Madrid, they do draw a lot of games, and have found wins harder to come by. They have picked up four draws in their last seven games. However, a win this weekend could highlight that brighter things could be on the horizon in 2021-22.
Real Madrid are a hard team to predict this season, as you never really know what you’re going to get from them. However, this weekend is huge for their chances of winning the league, and we expect them to grind out a win.