Another spellbinding week of intriguing footballing action brings international fixtures being lined up ahead of the domestic leagues, which is set to return over the weekend. With the European as well as the FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers in the last stage, players around the globe will move their heads towards club football, which is usually the point of extremity for the fantasy gamers.
With all these fixtures stringed in a week’s time, expect fatigue to play its part when the players return to their respective clubs. This brings us to the question of whether individual performances will be affected? Maybe so. Given the vigour this week’s action brings, we signal out two fixtures from your calendar, which will ensure you have a rather easy-going week on the fantasy front.
Bengaluru FC vs Kerala Blasters
The Indian Super League returns to action on Saturday, with defending champions, Bengaluru FC scheduled to welcome Kerala Blasters at Sree Kanteerava Stadium. With only two points separating the teams on the league table, expect the game to be a fiery encounter. Bengaluru, who won their first game of the season on November 10 – a 3-0 rout of Chennaiyin FC – are riding high on confidence, while Kerala are without a win in their last three games and will be hoping to salvage at least a point against the defending champions.
History, however, suggests that it will be an uphill task for Eelco Schattorie’s men given that they are yet to register a win over Bengaluru in their last four appearances (three defeats, one draw). Furthermore, Bengaluru have scored at least two goals in all of those four fixtures. Everything is perfectly aligned in favour of the Blues given that Kerala are more likely to concede, while Bengaluru have better chances of scoring.
WATCH OUT FOR
Sunil Chhetri: Bengaluru captain, Sunil Chhetri is yet to make an impact in ISL this season given that he has a solitary goal at his name so far. But given Kerala’s leaky defence, which has conceded more goals than the team has scored, Chhetri is expected to make a telling impact on the night. The 35-year-old, in fact, is doom for Kerala given that he has scored three goals in his last four appearances against the Yellow brigade, including the 85th-minute equalizer in a 2-2 draw in February this year.
Manchester City vs Chelsea
A 3-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool at Anfield has left Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City stranded in the Premier League standings. From being tipped as one of the title challengers of the season, City’s stocks have fallen to a great extent. So as the 13th round of the league awaits, City will be hoping to get over the ghosts of the past as Frank Lampard visits the Etihad with his young Chelsea team on Saturday.
City taking on Chelsea is all about goals, goals and goals given that their last 0-0 draw in the league came way back in 2012. In fact, the teams have never played a stalemate at City’s turf since the inception of the Premier League. As far as goals are concerned, there have been as many as 13 goals in their last five meetings, with the last being a 6-0 thrashing of the Blues at the Etihad in February this year.
WATCH OUT FOR
Sergio Aguero: Amidst all the drama surrounding Raheem Sterling’s antics of late, it is, in fact, Sergio Aguero who loves scoring against Chelsea, as the South American was amongst goals – scored a hat-trick – in their last Premier League meeting which ended in a 6-0 rout. Moreover, back during the 2015-16 Premier League campaign when City completed a double over the Blues, Aguero had as many as four goals in two games in his kitty.
The 31-year-old, who has scored nine league goals so far, is more lethal at home, given that five of those strikes have been at the Etihad so far. Manchester City, with 35 goals in 12 League games, are the top scorers of the league, and it is safe to say a young Chelsea defence is up for their toughest test of the league.
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Feature image courtesy: AFP / Oli Scarff