Another intriguing week of football awaits fans as the Carabao cup returns in England, while the Spanish La Liga sees double headers lined up in what can be termed as a jam-packed week.
The former competition has as many as 11 Premier League sides in the round of 16. That followed by the 11th game-week of Premier League football over the weekend will further send the fantasy managers of Nostragamus users in a vicious circle.
In La Liga, the teams played their game-week 10 over the bygone weekend, and their resolution will be put to test in two days’ time as the action resumes from Tuesday onwards, stretching it until Thursday.
Come the weekend, the players will be on field once again for the third time in nine days.
That said, here are five safest bets you can picks to have a rather relaxed week.
Match: Barcelona vs Valladolid
Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi has been at his usual best after missing the early part of the season, having scored or marked an assist in each of his last five games in all competitions. As the Spanish champions set about defending their title, a visit by Valladolid gives Messi a great opportunity of elevating his tally of two goals and two assists in the league.
Days after that, Barcelona make a trip to Ciutat de Valencia to face a struggling Levante side, again a fixture where Messi can mark his authority in style.
Club: Manchester City
Match: Manchester City vs Southampton
Manchester City begin their Carabao Cup defence when they face a labored Southampton side on Tuesday (Wednesday, 1:15 am IST) in the round of 16 stage of the competition. The Saints, who suffered the biggest defeat in Premier League history against Leicester City on Saturday, not only lack confidence, but will also be on the backfoot for the majority of the game.
That said, a certain Raheem Sterling will look to add more goals to an already illustrious tally. If not in the Carabao Cup tie, his team face the same opponents at home on Saturday in the Premier League. Expect him to make a telling impact like he has done several times in the past.
Club: Leicester City
Match: Burton Albion vs Leicester City
Maddison, who scored the eighth goal in Leicester’s 9-0 triumph over Southampton last Saturday, has turned out to be an absolute revelation under Brendan Rodgers, scoring three goals and recording two assists in nine Premier League fixtures.
And as Leicester make an away trip to Burton for their league cup tie, expect Maddison to play a key role if the Foxes are to get anything positive from the game. The Carabao Cup game will soon be followed by another away game to Crystal Palace on Sunday, and judging by Leicester’s recent run of form, it could well and truly be an easy rout.
Match: Liverpool vs Arsenal
Table toppers Liverpool welcome Arsenal at home in the Carabao Cup, and this is certainly not going to be a battle of youth. And Robertson, who started the new campaign exactly where he had left last season, will be key to Liverpool’s approach.
Three days on and the Reds will pay a visit to Aston Villa in the Premier League; again a fixture where Robertson will look to assert his authority. Goals, assists, clean sheets, you name it and the Scot will give you bonuses.
Club: Inter Milan
Match: Inter Milan vs Brescia
New signing Romelu Lukaku has taken to Serie A like a duck takes to water. Having scored six goals in just eight appearances this season, the Belgian has found his groove under Antonio Conte, and will look to add more when Inter meet struggling Brescia on Tuesday (Wednesday, 1:30 am IST). The game will be followed by another away trip to face Bologna, who have won just one of their last five games.
Inter missed out on an opportunity of going on top of the Serie A table last weekend, but Conte will hope to make it up by going with a strong team in both the fixtures. And if that is the case, Lukaku is someone who should be in your team without doubt.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Josep Lago