Can Manchester United halt Liverpool’s title challenge?
The match-week 22 of the English Premier league had the fans on the edge of their seats as there were some surprising results, with Southampton beating Leicester City 2-1 away from home, while Wolves were held by an injury-hit Newcastle United.
Back over to the Italian shores, Antonio Conte’s Inter were dealt with a major blow as Atalanta held them to a 1-1 draw, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped AC Milan to get back to the winning ways.
The Indian Super League, on the other hand, saw FC Goa stretching their lead, while a win for Odisha FC over Mumbai City FC meant there were some significant changes in the league standing. As things stand, the spectators are up for some of the most awe-inspiring footballing spectacles during the week, and here are two fixtures you need to keep a keen eye on for a safer approach.
ATK vs FC Goa
Two of the best attacking forces of the Indian Super League - in ATK and FC Goa - are scheduled to square off on January 18 at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata. ATK – the two-time ISL champions – are still unbeaten at home, but the fact remains that there is nothing to separate these two powerhouses. Both ATK and Goa have played 13 league games between them and both of them have won three games each, meaning that there have been as many as seven draws.
Having scored first in nine of the 11 games so far, odds that they are most likely to strike early than Goa. Furthermore, Antonio Habas’ men averages 2.75 goals per game at home this season and concede just 0.75 compared to Goa’s away scoring record of 1.83.
Regardless of their last meeting, where Goa emerged 2-1 victorious, ATK are tipped to run riot this time, with the likes of Roy Krishna and David Williams expected to wreak havoc. All is not gloomy for Goa though given that they have won three of their last five meetings against ATK, including a 5-1 drubbing back in February 2018.
Watch out for:
Ferran Corominas: For someone who shares the top spot of highest-scorers with Roy Krishna and Sunil Chhetri, this fixture is of utmost importance. It was, in fact, Corominas’ goal which made all the difference the last time these two sides met this season. The 27-year-old Spaniard has scored five goals in his last five appearances and has an impressive goal conversion ratio of 40% this season. As far as ATK are concerned, they remain his favourite prey as he has scored in four of his last five meetings against them.
Liverpool vs Manchester United
Regardless of the recent low-scoring affairs, Liverpool taking on Manchester United is guaranteed to produce fireworks. Liverpool, having won 61 points in the Premier League in 2019-20 season - the most any side has ever registered after 21 games in a single season across Europe's big five leagues, are odds on favourites given their perfect home record in the Premier League which stretches way back to April 2017.
104 - @LFC have accrued 104 points across their last 38 Premier League matches (W33 D5 L0); this is a record total by any team across a 38-match spell in the competition’s history, overtaking 102-point stretches by Man City (ending in 2018) and Chelsea (2005). Juggernaut. pic.twitter.com/r8PLzorzhJ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 11, 2020
For United, finding the back of the net is going to be as audacious as it can get because Liverpool have kept most home clean sheets (15) in the Premier League since the start of last season. A further bifurcation in the statistics sees the Reds creating 2.67 chances per game and scoring an average of 2.38 goals this season compared to United’s 1.64 goals out of 1.14 chances.
Watch out for:
Marcus Rashford: Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is on an absolute scoring spree this season. Having scored 14 goals so far, it is safe to say he will be looking to add more to his already illustrious tally. The England striker has scored five goals in has last six appearances in all competition, including a recent brace against Norwich, and carries an up to snuff record against Liverpool as well. He scored a brace the last time Manchester United defeated Liverpool – in 2018 – and was on the scoresheet once again when his team held the Reds to a 1-1 in October 2019, which actually is the only time Liverpool dropped points this season.
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Feature image courtesy: AFP / Oli Scarff