While the holiday season is underway for most people, footballers do not really boast of such things. They have some days off, understandably so, with Christmas done and New Year’s around the corner, but the action does not stop. The ISL and the English Premier League will both see some mouth-watering clashes this week.
In the ISL, the action begins in the new decade or new year, whatever floats your boat, with Bengaluru FC taking on FC Goa with the other fixtures being Mumbai City FC vs ATK and Kerala Blasters FC vs Hyderabad FC.
It was a tough pick among the first two matches mentioned but we go with the former.
Bengaluru FC vs FC Goa
A clash between two top teams is always hotly anticipated and this time, the case is even more so given the history of this fixture. For context, Bengaluru FC won the title last season in extra-time against their next opponents, and FC Goa will not want to go through that again.
They have already faced each other once this season, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw, which again saw a last-minute goal, albeit by FC Goa. Bengaluru FC have won four of the six clashes, including last season’s final, with FC Goa only emerging victorious once. However, this time they are on a five-game unbeaten streak, winning four of those.
Watch out for:
Ferran Corominas: The Spanish striker is in phenomenal form, having scored seven goals in seven games, with one assist to go with it. He has scored five in his last four games, playing a big part in FC Goa’s winning run, with his strike proving to be the winner in a thriller against Chennaiyin FC.
Arsenal vs Manchester United
A clash of the titans, a match between two of the world’s legacy football clubs, incident-filled - but all of this was true a decade ago. Arsenal have been on a freefall since 2006 and Manchester United, since 2013.
However, the English Premier League fixture still does have the vibe of a big game and Manchester United look good to win it. They ended the year with consecutive wins against Newcastle United and Burnley and are currently fifth on the table.
Arsenal are undergoing multiple changes, with the arrival of Arteta as manager and are languishing in the bottom-half. They are desperately in need of some wins and cannot be discounted entirely because they epitomise the state of a wounded lion currently.
Watch out for:
Marcus Rashford: The English striker is enjoying the best goal-scoring season of his career in the top-flight so far despite playing on the left-wing, and has scored in each of his last two games. He also likes Arsenal a bit (remember the two goals and an assist in 2016?)
Wondering what to do next? Head to Sportsbet.io to select your picks.
Featured image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis