Naldo’s exceptional season crucial to Schalke’s success


At the ripe old age of 35, it’s been remarkable to observe what a magnificent season the well travelled Naldo is having for high flying Schalke.

Indeed, the man who’s incredibly three years younger than his masterful manager, Domenico Tedesco, has been superb at the heart of defence, with his leadership and calming influence proving vital in his team’s wonderful campaign so far.

Currently sitting second in the Bundesliga, Schalke have only conceded 30 goals in their 27 matches, a number that is the second best in the division, and Naldo, who’s played in every league game, has been instrumental towards this. Continue reading

La Liga exit to trigger Las Palmas sales

Las Palmas

Las Palmas has been a hot bed of inconsistency this season, with issues on and off the field leaving the Canary Island club on the brink of La Liga relegation.

With no win in their last seven La Liga games, Paco Jemez’s side are six points from safety, with nine games remaining.

This run of form has them facing a return to the Segunda Division for the first time since 2015, and the situation could be made worse by some key exits if relegation is confirmed.

Sales have become part of Las Palmas’ strategy since their return to the top flight, selling players each season to balance the books.

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Goal shy Sampdoria suffer Serie A slide


The final permutations of the Serie A season are beginning to form, and there is real interest in who will finish where between now and May.

The title looks to be a straight shoot out between Juventus and Napoli, with Roma, Inter Milan, Lazio and AC Milan in the reckoning for a Champions League qualification spot.

Two of those sides will drop into the 5th-7th places, with one more slot available for Europa League football in the 2018-19 season.

Atalanta, currently in 7th, are the hot favourites to finish the season there, with Fiorentina in close attendance, in 9th.

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Roma face Bologna in pivotal showdown


Roma travel to Emilia-Romagna this weekend to face Bologna in a pivotal Serie A showdown with Champions League place implications. As it stands, Roma currently occupy the third place in the Serie A table with 59 points while Inter, who have a match in hand, have 55 points with Lazio just behind at 54 points. Given that the latter two have relatively easy match ups this weekend, against Verona and Benevento respectively, the Giallorossi find themselves in a must-win situation against the Rossoblu.

Bologna are in decent form as they’ve won two of their previous five matches and are coming off a good result against Lazio, who they drew 1-1 at the Stadio Olimpico before the international break. Roma, meanwhile, have won four of their previous five away matches in Serie A and find themselves in the midst of arguably their best form of the entire season.

However, with next week’s Champions League showdown against Barcelona on the horizon, Roma find themselves with a prototypical “trap” match at their feet as Bologna could potentially nab points off the Giallorossi should they overlook Roberto Donadoni’s side.

Key Matchup’s

Bologna’s weakest area of the pitch is undoubtedly their midfield. Roberto Donadoni does not have much individual quality at his disposal for the middle of the pitch; however, as a unit they tend to make up for each other’s individual deficiencies.

Roma’s midfield, though, has been on fire as of late and has been one of the main reasons for their recent successes. One of the standouts over the course of the last month has been captain Daniele De Rossi. Danielino has rolled back the clock and has been, perhaps, the best performer for the Giallorossi recently. He will likely find himself up against Bologna’s Andrea Poli in the middle of the pitch and will be tasked with trying to cut off the supply to Rossoblu’s attack.

The Giallorossi will also have to be stout in defence, particularly on the flanks. Bologna right winger Simone Verdi has been in great form all season as he’s the top scorer for the mid-table side. His performances have even caught the interest of several big clubs across Europe, including Roma and Napoli. Verdi will undoubtedly prove to be the greatest scoring threat to the Giallorossi, so left back Aleksandar Kolarov, who isn’t shy of venturing forward in attack, will have to be attentive in defence and cannot afford to be caught out of position.

Probable formations

Roma (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; De Rossi, Strootman; Perotti, Nainggolan, El Shaarawy; Dzeko

Bologna (4-3-3): Santurro; Torosidis, Gonzalez, Helander, Masina; Poli, Pulgar, Dzemaili; Verdi, Destro, Palacio


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Serie A Player Status Updates – Round 30


The international break was not that beneficiary for injury recoveries: here are the latest updates.

Juventus: Alex Sandro and Sami Khedira got hurt with their national teams: the muscular injury of the Brazilian left back is believed to be more serious and he will miss the Milan game, while the midfielder has a bruised knee, but he is availableJuan Cuadrado will return on the bench after sports hernia surgery, while Federico Bernardeschi will be available next week and he will not require knee surgery. Mario Mandzukic did not make the squad list due to a last-minute contusion. 

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Serie A Probable Lineups – Round 30


Here are the expected XIs for the next Serie A round.


Bologna XI: 4-3-3 Santurro; Mbaye, Gonzalez, De Maio, Masina; Poli, Pulgar, Dzemaili; Verdi, Palacio, Di Francesco.

Potential Lineup Changes: Romagnoli for De Maio, Donsah for Dzemaili, Destro for Di Francesco.

Confirmed Out: Mirante (suspension), Krafth (back).

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Ligue 1 Picks for the week ahead

Thomas Lemar Monaco

The absence of PSG in the weeks fixture list means there are plenty of opportunities for the stars from the rest of the league to shine this weekend. Here are our picks for the upcoming games.

Anthony Lopes, Lyon – 37 points

Having been at Lyon for 18 years, Lopes is something of a legendary figure at the club nowadays.

The French-born Portuguese keeper will be hoping to add to a haul of ten clean sheets across the campaign as they take on strugglers Toulouse.

Adil Rami, Marseille – 54 points Continue reading

Premier League predictions


Check out the Euro Fantasy League predictions for the weekend ahead as Premier League football returns following the international break!

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool – away win

This tie sees two teams at opposite ends of the table come together in Saturday’s early kick off.

Whilst Crystal Palace have presented a robust challenge for the likes of Spurs and Man United in recent weeks, the like of Salah (156 points) points and Firmino (95) should prove too much for the hosts.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Leicester City – home win

Brighton have made the Amex a tough place to visit over the past few months and this game won’t be a ‘gimme’ for the visitors.

Whilst Leicester have been in good form, and players like Vardy  (53 points) have the capacity to hurt anyone, we’re tipping a home win here.

Manchester United vs Swansea City – home win

The atmosphere surrounding United it one of ill-ease in recent months yet they remain second in the league.

The form of players like Jordan Ayew (25 points) have made the Swans a tough team to face but wins at Old Trafford are tough to come by and it seems probable they will leave empty handed.

Newcastle United vs Huddersfield Town – home win.

After a dour first half to the campaign, the arrival of Kenedy on loan from Chelsea has sparked Newcastle United into life since January.

Dwight Gayle (24 goals) has also grown in form recently and the output of this attacking duo could prove too much for the visiting Terriers.

Watford vs. AFC Bournemouth – draw

Two sides that have blown hot and cold this season, it will be interesting to see whether either side can use the game as a platform too truly push on into the back end of the campaign.

Whilst Jordon Ibe (29 points) and Callum Wilson (34 points) have both shown good form as of recent, it would not be surprising to see this one end all-square.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Burnley – away win

Burnley’s form may have taken a dip in recent weeks but the Baggies’ is nothing short of woeful.

The likes of Tarkowski (10 clean sheets) and Pope (11 clean sheets) have delivered a solid defensive platform from which their game is built and expect them to use this to secure victory on Saturday.

West Ham United vs. Southampton – draw

Two sides in dire straits, there is a chance that a Sparky bounce could inspire a Soton win, but a draw would be an unsurprising outcome.

On the other side of the pitch, the Hammers will be counting on the form of Marco Arnautovic (seven goals and three assists) to inspire victory for them.

Everton vs Manchester City – away win

Guardiola’s men inch closure to the title and a win at Goodison Park will see them get ever closure to a first Premier League victory under the Spaniard.

Sergio Aguero will be hoping he can be the star man for the Citizens, as he looks to build on his 21 goals and remain in the fight for the Golden Boot.

Arsenal vs Stoke City – home win

For all of Arsenal’s woes in 2017/18, their form at the Emirates has remained exceptional.

Expect the likes of new boys Aubameyang (12 points) and Mkhitaryan (46 points) to prove too much for a relegation threatened Stoke.

Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur – Away win

This game could prove pivotal in deciding which team qualifies for the next season’s Champions League campaign.

The Blues may have a home advantage but the balance is probably tipped in the favour of the visitors, who are led by an in form Heung-Min Son who sits on 12 goals for the campaign – they will be hoping he can fill the void for a Harry Kane (98 points) that may not be fit enough to return at the Bridge.

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Premier League expected line-ups – Week 32

De Bruyne

Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1)

Wayne Hennessey; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Mamadou Sakho, James Tomkins, Patrick van Aanholt; Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur; Wilfried Zaha, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andros Townsend; Christian Benteke

Questionable: Jeffrey Schlupp, Alexander Sorloth, Joel Ward, Wilfried Zaha
Out: Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako, Julian Speroni, Connor Wickham Continue reading

Whats the point in keeping Richarlison?


Watford splashed out a bargain £11.2 million to Fluminense in the summer for Brazilian under-20 star Richarlison before the European transfer window went crazy in transfer fees. The 20-year-old had been scouted by a number of top European teams, including Manchester United and Chelsea, before the Hertfordshire-based club won the race for the attacking midfielder’s signature.

Richarlison made an instant impact at Vicarage Road. On his debut in their opening game of the season he came off the bench to be involved in Watford’s dramatic stoppage time equaliser against Liverpool in a thrilling 3-3 draw. The youngster would go on to score five goals and record three assists in his first 12 Premier League appearances – impressive given the size of the club, his age and his first venture in European football.

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