TOP 5 LEAGUES PREVIEW – IT’S GETTING DICIER

The Top 5 Leagues are getting even more competitive as the struggle for European berths and the quest to redeem themselves from relegation gets even more heated. Soccavilla takes a look at how things stand going into the next match day in all centers across the Top 5 Leagues.

  • ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

The EPL looks heated up as it looks like it would go down the wire with Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all looking to fight till the end. Arsenal still lead the proceedings with 2 points albeit a game in hand while Manchester United are just 3 points behind the defending champions. Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers kickoff on Friday with Fulham heading into the fixture with a 5 match unbeaten run in all competitions and face a Wolves side who seem to have found their way past relegation already. Saturday ushers in a huge fixture grind with as many as 6 matches with Newcastle’s home clash with Brighton postponed because of their Cup Final clash with Manchester United. Everton take on Aston Villa with a new look Sean Dyche’s Everton team looking to get out of the relegation after two wins in their last three EPL games with wins against Arsenal and Leeds United looking to put ‘The Toffees’ back on track. It is a major relegation battle between Leeds United and Southampton as the last two teams look to gain maximum points that would aid their relegation fight.

League leaders Arsenal take on Leicester City as they hope to maintain their stance on the league table with closest rivals Manchester City playing at the same time away to Bournemouth as Pep Guardiola look to put away the disappointment of last week’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest. David Moyes take on Nottingham Forest as they seek to avoid the relegation zone and a win would guarantee them leave that zone and would be wary of the threat Nottingham Forest pose. Saturday night sees Liverpool make the trip to Selhurst Park as they hope to continue their league form after their disappointing UCL round of 16 home loss to Real Madrid. Sunday sees the perfect match ensue with two top London teams taking the stage in what would be a great close to this match week with Antonio Conte and underfire Graham Potter locking heads in what would be a truly scintillating encounter.

  • SPANISH LA LIGA

Barcelona still maintain a healthy 8 point lead over Real Madrid as they seek to win back the La liga trophy that has evaded them since two seasons. Elche and Real Betis start off proceedings on Friday night with the team who have only 1 win all season take on UCL hopefuls Real Betis in what would be an intriguing clash. Saturday sees Espanyol and RCD Mallorca take on each other with Mallorca chasing an European spot and a win at the RCDE stadium enough to take them into the zone. On form team Rayo Vallecano seek to to make it two out of two wins against Cadiz CF who they beat 5-1 in the reverse fixture in October and a win could trigger their stance for a European berth next season. The Spanish Capital Derby kicks off on Saturday evening with Real Madrid looking to maintain their form against their Atlético Madrid counterparts and a win for Carlo Ancelotti and his boys could see them 5 points behind Barcelona. Valencia CF are winless in their last 9 league games as the team plunges deep into the relegation waters and find themselves in 19th position and face a very strong Real Sociedad side and have to be at their best to go through unscathed.

Athletic Club Bilbao start off Sunday’s La Liga fixtures as they host Girona at the ‘San Mames’ with Ernesto Valverde keen on making sure his team maintain their stride as they stroll towards an European place next season. Celta Vigo and Real Valladolid would seek to remove the disappointment of last week when they both lost their matches last week, only one victor has emerged in the last 5 meetings between these sides with four ending in a draw and Real Valladolid’s 4-1 win this season at the Jose Zorilla stadium the most recent win between both sides. Xavi Hernandez would be looking to remove the disappointment of their UEL loss to Manchester United when they engage UD Almeria in the league on Sunday, and pending what they pans out in the derby, they could be 11 points ahead of their fiercest rivals by the end of this match week. Sunday’s last match sees in form Sevilla take on Osasuna as Jorge Sampioli continues the revamp of the Seville based team that had endured a difficult start to the season and a win would put them just 2 points away from a mid table position. Villarreal and Getafe pull the curtains on a matchday 23 with Villarreal enduring a torrid run that has seen them lose 4 of their last 5 league games as their hope for an European place looking in jeopardy and dropping points against a depleted Getafe side would definitely add more to their troubles.

  • ITALIAN SERIE A

SSC Napoli look unstoppable as they march on their first Serie A title since 1990 with the team opening a 15 point gap over closest rivals Inter Milan, they open proceedings on match day 24 in the league when they play Empoli and a win could see them 18 points clear for at least 24 hours with the team hoping to look on to impressive duo of Victor Osimhen and Kvicha Kvaratshelia for the victory. Lecce face Sassuolo in the other game on Saturday, Lecce hope to improve on their form as they have gone unbeaten in their last 3 games with the team looking to put more touching distance between them and the relegation worries. Inter Milan would hope their impressive run continues and would bask in the confidence of their most recent UCL exploits that saw them take a 1-0 win to the second leg, they play Bologna next in the league in a match they know they cannot afford to drop points with Napoli already 15 points ahead(could be 18 by Sunday) them in the League. Udinese would hope to rekindle the sort of rom they had in the beginning of the season that saw them maintain a Top four place in the league, they play a Spezia team that they have failed to win in the league since the 2020/2021 season.

Three consecutive wins have seen AC Milan poor run of form end and would hope to maintain that run when they face Atalanta in the league in a match that would surely spark fireworks and with just 3 points separating both teams, we may be looking at a potential UCL qualifying decider match ensuing between these two. Hellas Verona would hope to return back to winning ways after their loss to AS Roma last time out in the league and welcome a Fiorentina team fresh from European engagement as they continue their fight to avoid relegation. UC Sampdoria’s terrible season continued when they lost at home to Bologna and their fixture schedule doesn’t get better as they travel to the Stadio Olimpicio where they face in form and UCL qualification hopefuls SS Lazio in a match that would surely be hard to get maximum points from. Monday night sees AS Roma take on still winless Cremonese in the league as they seek to revenge the loss they faced in the hands of the same team in the Cup earlier this month, a win for the Jose Mourinho led team could see his team level on points with Inter Milan provided the Milan based outfit lose their away fixture a day prior. Juventus and Torino play the last match of the match day 24 at the Allianz Stadium as Juventus continue their stride as they eye a champions league berth despite their 15 point deduction this season.

  • GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

Things look pretty heated up iin the German Bundesliga as the Top 6 are only separated by 5 points and we could be looking at one of the closest league finale runs in a while. Mainz and Monchengladbach start off things when they clash on Friday night with both teams locked on 29 points and one eye at an European berth for either team within their sights. 5 matches play at the same time on Saturday afternoon with Hertha Berlin keen to rob off points off Augsburg with Hertha Berlin languishing deep in the relegation zone and only a win could help turn around their season. Borussia Dortmund would hope to make it as many wins as matches played in 2023 when they travel to the Rhein-Neckar-Arena to take on TSG Hoffenheim where a win could see them top the league before Bayern Munich plays later on Sunday. FC Koln would be looking to pounce on the poor form of VFL Wolfsburg when they clash on Saturday afternoon as a win would seem them just 1 point behind their opponents. RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt face off in a match that could prove pivotal to either team’s season with a win enough to shoot them into the Top 4. Werder Bremen and VFL Bochum would be playing the last game on Saturday afternoon with Werder Bremen favorites heading into the game with Bochum winning only 1 away game this season of the 13 they have played.

Schalke 04 would be hoping their draws turn into the wins as the team, though unbeaten in their last 4 games have drawn each of them and know they have to start picking up maximum points if they hope to remain in the German Bundesliga come next season and face Stuttgart who have been dropping points as of late with the team just 6 points above the relegation zone. Bayern Munich and Union Berlin square off in the biggest game of match day 22 with a win from either team enough to send them to the top with 3 teams locked on the same 43 points this season. Freiburg engage in a huge clash when they face Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen side in what would be a heated challenge between both sides as Freiburg maintain a steady course towards European football next season.

  • FRENCH LIGUE 1

Paris Saint Germain still maintain a healthy 5 point lead over Olympique Marseille and despite recent slip ups, they continue to march on to yet another title and would be facing second placed Marseille in a match that could define the League season for both teams as they hope not to slip up in the match. Lille and Brest begin things on Friday with Lille still gutted by their last minute loss to PSG last time out in the league and would be hoping to continue their quest for a return to the UCL with a home win. Olympique Lyonnais take on SCO Angers in a heated league encounter as they kick off events on Saturday with the team hoping to put away their disappointing loss last week to relegation threatened Auxerre. The last match of Saturday sees European hopefuls RC Lens take on SCO Montpellier in a match that would prove difficult for the away side with Montpellier coming into this match with a good run of form.

Sunday sees 5 matches played in the afternoon as all teams strive to shape their season, Lorient and Auxerre play in a match where Auxerre would be brimming with confidence after their win over Lyon in the last matchday but know they are up against a strong Lorient side and would have to be at their absolute best if they hope to take all maximum points in this match. AC Ajaccio and Troyes square off in a relegation battle match that could prove big for either teams if they can manage to get all points from the match in what has been a difficult season for both sides. Strasbourg travel to Clermont Foot hoping to add more misery to the side who have failed to pick up a win in any of their last 6 league games. Fresh from European obligations this Thursday is Nantes and Rennes who clash in what would be a huge match between both sides as Nantes seek to find their way back up the table after enduring a difficult start to the season. 10th and 11th placed Stade Reims and Toulouse face off in the last match slated for the afternoon fixture rush of the French Ligue 1 as Reims continue their incredulous run of form that has seen them lose only once in over 15 league matches. AS Monaco would hope to continue their recent dominance of the League when they paly another in form team in OGC Nice who have picked up 13 points from their last 5 games and would provide a very strong defiance to Monaco who seek to make an UCL spot this season.

  • RIDDLER.

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