THE WEEKEND TOP 5 LEAGUES PREVIEW

The 2022/2023 League season has past it’s half season mark in all Top 5 Leagues with unlikely teams currently leading the standings. Arsenal lead the English Premier League with a 5 point gap over defending champions – Manchester City, Napoli look on course for a first league title since their exploits of 1987 and 1990 and maintain a 13 point gap over 2nd placed Inter Milan with defending champions languishing in 6th position after a winless 5 game match run. Barcelona could make it 11 points on Sunday should they scale past their hurdle at the Estadio La Ceramica when they face Villarreal with closest rivals Real Madrid away on Club World Cup duty. In Germany, Bayern Munich seem to be below their best with the team just 4 points ahead of the 6th placed team and could be in for a long fight if they continue to drop points. Paris Saint Germain maintain an 8 point gap over second placed Olimpique De Marseille as they bid to make it their 11th trophy this term.

  • ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

The English Premier League enters her next stage with the stakes even higher than before. West Ham United welcome Chelsea to their home in the very first early kickoff of this matchday in what would be a heated London affair while the afternoon fixtures see league leaders Arsenal take on Thomas Frank’s Brentford who are unbeaten in their last 5 games, in form Tottenham Hotspur on the back of two wins in the league travel to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester City who still have a hard time configuring their season, Man on form Kaoru Mitoma travels with his Roberto De Zerbi Brighton side to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in what promises to be a cagey encounter.

Fulham face a Nottingham Forest side who have put the shadows of their poor early season behind them as they seek to bypass relegation. It looks to be most likely a relegation battle with Wolverhampton Wanderers welcoming struggling Southampton to the Molineux Stadium with Wolves keen on their run of form that has seen them pick up 2 wins from their last 3 league games. AFC Bournemouth face a team that has not lost in their last 17 games Newcastle United as they bid to gain access away from the relegation zone, Eddie Howe on the other hand would want to continue his team’s impressive form as they look to make an European berth next season. Sunday ushers in a chance for Manchester United to beat a Leeds United side they drew during the week at Old Trafford with the team knowing they cannot afford to slip up any more points as they continue their quest to return to the UCL competition, Later that same day it is Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City squad who would look to put the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the last match day behind them with the view of retaining the English Premier League title firmly in their sights. To round it up is a classic Merseyside derby as Liverpool welcome Everton to Anfield in a bid to take themselves off the 10th position.

  • SPANISH LA LIGA

Cadiz and Girona begin proceedings in the Spanish League with both teams having acquired the same number of points over the last 5 games would look to go head to head in this feisty encounter on Friday evening. Two teams who are having a poor run of form lately – Almeria and Real Betis open up festivities on Saturday in a match Manuel Pelligrini and his Betis team need to win to stay within touching distance of the Top 4. Sevilla continue their rejuvenation despite last week’s slump in their defeat to Barcelona, they face RCD Mallorca fresh from their 1-0 win over Real Madrid and have taken up 3 wins in their last 5 games and know they face a wary test when Mallorca visit the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Last game of Saturday sees struggling Valencia welcome Athletic Club to the Mestella in what promises to be a hardcore match between both sides with Valencia in deep worry of not falling into the relegation zone.

Sunday sees Getafe welcome high flying Rayo Vallecano to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez stadium as they seek to make their way out of the relegation zone whilst Rayo Vallecano hopes to continue her fine form and make it 4 wins in their last 5 games. Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid would resume hostilities when they square off in a game Diego Simeone and his team cannot afford to lose as they bid to close the gap between themselves and 3rd placed Real Sociedad. With back to back wins in League for Real Valladolid, they would look to make it 3/3 when they travel to Osasuna in a match that promises to bring up many fireworks. Barcelona close proceedings of Sunday when they travel to Villarreal in a match that promises to be heated and at the end of the day they could be 11 points ahead of Real Madrid who play in the League on Wednesday to Elche who just acquired their first win of the season.

  • ITALIAN SERIE A

AC Milan have to find answers to their lackluster season as their bid to defend their Serie A crown looks to be growing fader by the day as they find themselves 18 points behind runaway leaders Napoli and would seek to end 5 matches without a win when they host Torino on Friday in this match week opener, Empoli’s unbeaten run of 4 league games came to a halt when they faced AS Roma last timeout and would look to take all maximum points when they face a Spezia team that has lost each of their last 3 games in League. Jose Mourinho and his Roma team would look to make it as many as 4 wins in their last 6 league games with a trip to Lecce next on the cards for them as they seek to mount pressure on the second placed Inter Milan who are just 3 points ahead of them. Lazio and Atalanta would end proceedings on Saturday as both teams would look seek to get the win with just 1 point separating both teams.

Udinese start things off on Sunday when they play US Sassuolo fresh from beating AC Milan 5-2 at the San Siro and would be looking to make it a 4 game unbeaten run against an Udinese team that seems to have lost their flair from the beginning of the season. Bologna and AC Monza look to be high on form so far and would look to get the better of each other in this fierce Serie A encounter where a win from either team could boost their hopes of a European spot. Fiorentina have not been in the best of forms lately and would face a stern test when they travel to the Allianz Arena to play wounded lions Juventus who would seek to make up for their 15 point deduction and get to the UCL spot at least. League Leaders Napoli would look to make it 6/6 wins on the trot when they play winless Cremonese in the League, the same team which knocked them out of their cup tie earlier this year. Hellas Verona kick off one of the matches on Monday when they play US Salertinana as they seek to continue their fine run of form that has seen them lose just once in their last 5 games and the last game of the day sees Inter Milan travel to the Luigi Ferraris Stadium to take on UC Sampdoria in what would be a heated affair to bring down the curtains on what looks like a match week filled with drama.

  • GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

The first match of the game week sees Schalke 04 welcome Wolfsburg to the VELTINS-Arena as Wolfsburg look to remove the disappointment of losing their last 2 matches when they face 17th placed Schalke 04 on Friday. Borussia Dortmund has won each of their last 4 games and sit comfortably on third position with a win against Werder Bremen enough to move to second place especially if results in the Union Berlin match go their way as Union face a very tough test against RB Leipzig later that same day. Mainz and Augsburg go head to head as they seek to climb back up the league table in what would be a battle for supremacy between both sides. Bayern Munich ended a run of three consecutive draws in the league with a win over Wolfsburg in the last matchday and would hope to make it back to back wins when they play VFL Bochum to go 4 points clear.

Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen square off in a heated encounter with both teams bent on rediscovering their form after a torrid time thus far. SC Freiburg take on VFB Stuttgart who seem to be heading down the relegation zone and for Freiburg, a win for Freiburg could take them back to the Top 4 spot. Hertha Berlin face Borussia Mochengladbach in what would be a tightly contested fixture despite their differences in the League, with form looking to be a hard part for both teams. FC Koln and Eintracht Frankfurt would close proceedings on the day with both teams fresh off 3 draws in their last 5 games and would look to gather points if they seek to head further up the table.

  • FRENCH LIGUE 1

OGC Nice take on AC Ajaccio in the French Ligue 1 first match of matchday 23 as they seek to further push their claim for an European berth next season. Paris Saint Germain take on AS Monaco at the Stade Louis II as they miss several key players for this heated encounter and would seek to still maintain an 8 point lead at the top of the table. Olympique Marseille would look to maintain their pressure over PSG when they travel to Clermont Foot to take on a tricky clash with a win able to send them to 5 points behind the current league leaders. Rennes would hope to keeping mounting pressure on the Top 4 with a win over Toulouse in a match that could very well define their season which has gone well thus far as they kick off league proceedings on Sunday afternoon.

LOSC Lille Metropole take on Strasbourg in a very heated French Ligue 1 clash with a win able to take them into an European spot if Rennes fail to win their own match earlier that day. Two teams equal on 20 points square off in what could be a titanic match as Stade Brest would look to keep up their 5 game unbeaten run when they travel to the Stade de la Mosson to take on HSC Montpellier in a feisty French Afternoon encounter. AJ Auxerre and SCO Angers take on each other in a game that could pivotal to either team’s season especially if a winner emerges with both teams occupying the two last positions on the table. Stade Reims take on ESTAC Troyes as they seek to continue their impressive run in the league, a win could take William Still side to an incredible 13 game unbeaten run and 6 points shy of a fight for an European place next season. Lorient return to the league has seen the team maintain a consistent drive in their bid to avoid relegation and look set to even stay especially with their point haul this season, they square off against French Super Cup finalists – Nantes at the Beaujoire Stadium. Olympique Lyon know they face a hard time out when they welcome RC Lens to the Groupama Stadium as they square off the league’s third current best team.

— RIDDLER.

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