Football Matches You Just Can’t Miss this Weekend

Football Matches You Just Can’t Miss this Weekend

Weekend and nailbiting football matches – the ultimate stressbuster in existence. After a gloomy, and practically never-ending week; we are finally here, hours away from kicking off this weekend’s scheduled, unadulterated action.

With a host of football matches to choose from, picking just the right one can often be a hectic task. So, we have taken it upon ourselves to help fellow fanatics out.

Here are the five football matches you can’t miss, this weekend:

Arsenal vs Southampton (Sunday, 7:35 PM) 

Unai Emery’s Arsenal will look to climb back into top-four when they welcome Southampton to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. 

The Gunners currently sit fifth in the Premier League table, only a point adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United. The 2018/19 Premier League campaign hasn’t been very kind on the Gunners, but they should not find it difficult against a relegation-threatened side, which haven’t picked up all three points in their last three outings. 

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Southampton

Fiorentina vs Inter Milan (Monday, 1:15 AM) 

Eighth-placed Fiorentina will look to pull off an upset when they host a high-flying Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday night. 

These two decorated Italian clubs have produced some enticing fixtures over the years and look all set to produce something similar this Sunday. Over their past ten league clashes, Fiorentina have been the better team —  5 wins, 1 draw, and 4 losses — but Inter, who won the reverse fixture 2-1, will fancy themselves to get the job done in Florence. 

Prediction: Fiorentina 1-1 Inter

Levante vs Real Madrid (Monday, 1:15 AM)

Real Madrid will look to return to winning ways when they make the trip to Levante in La Liga on Sunday night. 

Santiago Solari’s men succumbed to a shock 2-1 home defeat against Girona, last weekend. The gut-wrenching defeat landed a sucker punch to their title aspirations, but Los Blancos have never been very fond of staying down. Having conceded 43 goals, Levante, officially, have the worst defense in the division, but Real Madrid’s unpredictability in front of goal makes this an interesting contest. 

Prediction: Levante 2-3 Real Madrid

Sevilla vs Barcelona (Saturday, 8:45 PM)

La Liga leaders, Barcelona, will need to be at their very best if they are to get something out of their trip to Sevilla, this Saturday.

This fixture has a knack for being painfully unpredictable, and we expect the trend to continue this weekend. Fourth-placed Sevilla are coming into the match on the back of a comfortable 2-0 Europa League last-32 win over Lazio and will fancy themselves to take the game to their lofty rivals. Barcelona, on the other hand, were held to a goalless draw at Lyon in the Champions League and will look for a response at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium. 

Prediction: Sevilla 2-2 Barcelona

Manchester United vs Liverpool (Sunday, 7:35 PM)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rejuvenated Manchester United welcome Jurgen Klopp’s leaders to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon for an eagerly anticipated Premier League showdown. 

No match on earth that can match the allure of this fixture, not even the great El Clasico. The two iconic and most successful clubs in England are all set to add a new chapter to their fabled rivalry this Sunday, and the stakes, as always, are sky-high. While Liverpool need all three points to keep Manchester City at Bay, United are required to bag maximum spoils to stay alive in the top-four race. An unpredictable and nail-biting evening awaits. 

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool 

Also Read: Everything you need to know about United vs Liverpool rivalry

Italian Football Federation takes rigid steps to fight racism

Italian Football Federation takes rigid steps to fight racism

Footballers are now directed to gather in the middle of the pitch in case of racist cries. And in case of repeated incident of the same kind, they will have to return to the dressing room. 

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced a simplification and tightening of the procedure implemented in case of racist cries in the stadiums, after the complications caused by recent incidents. From now on, in the event of such cries or racist behaviour reported by the federal delegates or law enforcement officials, the match will be immediately stopped temporarily and the players must gather in the middle of the field. An announcement will then be made by the stadium announcer. Upon a second warning, players will return to the changing rooms and a security official will then decide whether to call off the game.

Real football can triumph

Previously, the suspension of the match could intervene only after three announcements made by the speaker. The president of the Italian federation Gabriele Gravina recalled that

“The hypothesis of a suspension created a prejudice of image for the Italian football and for the true supporters.”

“Responsibilities must be individual and not collective, but something must be done so that real football can triumph, and we have to go beyond these incidents with a healthy supporter,” Gravina said in a statement from the FIGC.

New rules are ‘wise’

Raffaele Cantone, the chief of Italy’s anti-corruption agency, said the new rules were ‘wise’.

“What happened to Koulibaly was scandalous. I’m convinced that if the referee calls players to the centre of the pitch, maybe [the racism] will stop. But you also need a burst of pride from the other spectators to show they have nothing to do with these idiots.”

Racism and hooliganism have long infected Italian football. In recent years the Italy international Mario Balotelli has been a persistent target of abuse. Italian football hooligans, knowns as ultras, tend to be well-organised, extremely violent and racist. Last year Daniele De Santis, a notorious ultra, was jailed for 16 years for the murder of a Napoli fan, Ciro Esposito, before the 2014 Italian Cup final game against Fiorentina.

Also Read: How Saurez can solve Arsenal’s final third issue 

The most recent: Kalidou Koulibaly

Image Credit: AP

On December 26, the French-Senegalese defender of Naples, Kalidou Koulibaly, was targeted by monkey chants several times during a match played in Milan against Inter, especially at the time of his expulsion for a second yellow card.
After the match, however, Ancelotti was focused on the treatment his star defender received from the San Siro crowd.

“There was a strange atmosphere, as we asked three times for play to be suspended, they had announcements with the speaker three times,” the Napoli manager said.

“Koulibaly was certainly irritable. Usually, he is very calm and professional, but he was subjected to monkey noises throughout the game,” Ancelotti added.

“We asked three times for some action to be taken, but the match continued. We keep being told play can be halted, but when? After four or five announcements?”

A recurring phenomenon in Italian football, the cries of monkey that targeted Koulibaly at the San Siro stadium rarely give rise to other punishments than fines or stadium closures or suspended tribunes. But this time, Inter had been punished more harshly to stop these types of unwanted incidents inside the stadium.

The possible destinations of Jose Mourinho after United exit

The possible destinations of Jose Mourinho after United exit

Manchester United and Jose Mourinho have broken their contractual relationship after a few months full of controversy and with the team 19 points behind Liverpool and 11 from the Champions League zone. Now, the English club have to pay a record compensation to the Portuguese, that run out of equipment in the middle of the season. 

With this scenario, speculations about the new destination of the always controversial coach are inevitable. Some of the possibilities that gain more strength go through are the return of the Portuguese to one of his previous teams. The great stage experienced by Inter Milan with Mourinho in command and the footprint left in a Real Madrid adrift until his arrival could be the conditions for Mou to return to one of these two clubs in search of his best level in the benches.


Real Madrid: A door that never closed
Jose Mourinho was coach of Real Madrid for three seasons, from 2010 to 2013. His time in the white club was not far from the dream but Florentino Perez has not forgotten him. After the dismissal of Julen Lopetegui last October, and with the team breaking negative records, all the rumors pointed towards Jose and his possible return to the Spanish capital, with the help of Xabi Alonso. The multimillion-dollar compensation demanded by United distanced that possibility, which vanished when Madrid made official the continuity of Santiago Solari as the head of the team.
However, the results are only raising doubts about the continuity of the Argentine, who, despite having a contract until 2021, still looks like a mere formality. This, added to the hard hand that seems to need the white template before a more than obvious lack of attitude, could make Jose Mourinho return to the Bernabeu in summer.


Inter Milan: Go Back to the top
Inter Milan is another big European team that could seek his coaching because of their delicate situation. The Italians have taken a major disappointment to be eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League and Spalletti could have his days counted.
This has led to the name of Jose Mourinho resounding again between the stands of Giuseppe Meazza, a stadium in which the technician signed his best stage.
Mou arrived in Milan in June 2008, signing a contract for three seasons. Inter was proclaimed champion of the Supercup of Italy in 2008 against Roma and champion of Serie A 2008/09 with Mourinho.
But the next campaign would reach its peak, as Jose Mourinho won the treble with the Italian team in 2009/10 winning the Serie A Scudetto, the Coppa Italia, and the Champions League (eliminating Barcelona, who were the current champion).
Since his departure, Inter has hardly returned to have relevance in Europe, so the return of the Portuguese coach could mean the return to the elite of the club, as the coach himself.


PSG: The European Objective
The objective of the French team is to achieve the Champions League. Despite the arrival of Thomas Tuchel and a possible new league championship to win, the chances in Europe are further complicated by teams like Real Madrid, Juventus, and Barcelona in the tournament. Therefore, in Paris, they are preparing for next year and the Portuguese coach can calmly be the man who needs this team to achieve what the Arab sheiks so much want.


Juventus: A reunion with Ronaldo

The future of Massimiliano Allegri is unknown. He was among Real Madrid’s plans in the summer, a possibility that seduced him enough to put his future in Juventus in doubt. While the chances are right to win his fifth consecutive league with the Vecchia Signora, he could see an exit in the next summer transfer in search of new challenges. There goes the name of Mourinho as a possible candidate.

UEFA Champions League | Matchday highlights

UEFA Champions League | Matchday highlights

As half the fixtures of matchday 4, there were as many as 22 goals, a big upset and some outstanding goalkeeping. Some teams, missed great opportunities, while others didn’t create them enough but all in all it was a matchday that had plenty to talk about. 


Monaco 0 – 4 Club Brugge 

Red Star 2 – 0 Liverpool

Atletico Madrid 2 – 0 Dortmund

Tottenham 2 – 1 PSV

Napoli 1 – 1 PSG

Inter Milan 1 – 1 Barcelona

Liverpool miss golden chance to take the top spot

In the shock result, Red Star scored two early first-half goals, that gave them a 2 – 0 victory against Liverpool. The result means that Liverpool have missed an opportunity to take command of Group C with two matches left in the Champions League group stages. Liverpool mustered a total of 23 shots but only four of them hit the target, a performance which was undoubtedly the worst thus far this season. Luckily for the Reds from Merseyside, PSG and Napoli played out a 1 – 1 draw later on, which meant that they still had a good chance of progressing from this tough group. Liverpool will require a victory when they travel to Paris next matchday to qualify for the next round. Even if they fail to get the result there, they will have to beat Napoli at Anfield by a clear margin of two goals, with the goal difference on their side, Liverpool need the win to progress. 

Atletico hands Dortmund their first Loss

Atletico Madrid handed Dortmund their first loss this Champions League campaign as Saul and Griezmann were on the mark. Although Dortmund dominated the possession, Atletico were clearly the better team attacking wise. They mustered a total of 15 shots, out of which 7 were on target. On the other hand Dortmund managed only four and none of them on target. The result means that Dortmund are at the top of the table with 9 points, ahead of Atletico on goal difference. 

Inter – Barca play out a draw, as Spurs win

Late goals from Malcolm and Icardi saw Barca and Inter share the spoils. Barca were the better team, but the result seemed like a fair one, looking at the way the game played out. Although Tottenham came from behind to get the three points, courtesy one mister Harry Kane, the draw was a good enough result for both Inter and Barca. Inter Milan are three points clear on the second place while Barcelona have all but already secured a spot in the next round of the competition. 

As things heat up in the UEFA Champions League, the upcoming matches of the above teams will be keenly watched as qualifying to the next round seems like an eternity away. As Liverpool travel to Paris and Tottenham lock horns with Inter Milan, both teams will be vying for a spot in the next round of the most coveted, UEFA Champions League. 

Lazio 0 – 3 Inter Milan | Icardi scores a double

Lazio 0 - 3 Inter Milan | Icardi scores a double

Serie A Highlights: Icardi brace helps impressive Inter beat Lazio 3 – 0 away from home to secure their sixth straight win in the Serie A this season.

Marcelo Brozovic‘s goal sandwiched between two Mauro Icardi goals helped Inter to a comfortable 3 – 0 victory over Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico. The result stands testament to Inter’s revival from their shaky start to the season, which included shock defeats to Sassuolo and Parma

Luciano Spalletti made 3 changes from the side that lost to Barcelona in the Champions League. Vrsaljko, Politano and Mario replaced D’Ambrosio, Candreva and Valero. Meanwhile, Simone Inzaghi also makes three changes to his side that beat Marseille in the Europa League. Wallace, Caceres and Leiva made way for Felipe, Badelj and Marusic.

After a commanding start, Inter went ahead through skipper Mauro Icardi in the 28th minute. It was a messy goal as Lazio missed several chances to clear before the Argentinean striker scored from close range with a typical striker’s finish. Ciro Immobile gets booked, losing his cool minutes later after he made a poor tackle near the halfway line. Just a couple of minutes later, Milan Badlej is forced to come off after what seems to be a woeful injury.

Matias Vecino almost makes it 2-0 to Inter not once but twice in a span of four minutes, initially firing a great shot and forcing an even better save from Lazio stopper Thomas Strakosha and then drawing another save from the goalkeeper just minutes later before Marcelo Brozovic finally gave his side a two-goal cushion with a low driven shot from the edge of the box beating Strakosha with the help of the slippery surface five minutes before the break.

Lazio exhibited little sign of a passion after the break and Icardi ultimately put the game to bed in the 70th minute. The Argentine latched onto a Borja Valero through ball, cut inside Senad Lulic before firing a low shot past Thomas Strakosha to get his second of the game

The result put Inter in the second place in the Serie A table, level with Napoli and six points behind league leaders Juventus.

Inter Milan now host Genoa in the Serie A on Saturday, 3rd November before hosting Barcelona for the return leg of the Champions League tie on Wednesday, 7th November. Meanwhile, Lazio host SPAL in the same competition on Sunday, 4th November before hosting Marseille for the return leg of the Europa League fixture on Thursday, 8th November.

Barcelona 2 – 0 Inter | Champions League Results

Barcelona 2 - 0 Inter | UEFA Champions League

Rafinha and Jordi Alba lead Barcelona to a comfortable victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League while injured Lionel Messi watched from the stands.

Barcelona stand at the top of Group B in the UEFA Champions League, three points ahead of second-placed Inter Milan after strikes from Rafinha and Jordi Alba delivered a 2-0 victory over Inter.

Barcelona started the game softly and exhibited some signs of early nerves. Ivan Perisic almost opened the scoring for Inter as he fired a threatening shot from range in the opening minutes of the game as he attempted to profit from a sparse clearance from Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Again, in the 25th minute, in-form striker Mauro Icardi tried to create space for himself to pull the trigger but slipped before he could get the shot away.

However, as time passed, Barcelona grew in confidence and managed to open the scoring through Rafinha. The Brazilian, who replaced injured Lionel Messi, received Suarez’s flawlessly executed pass into the box and places the ball calmly into the net in the 32nd minute.

Just before the break, Inter almost cut the deficit through Vecino’s powerful half-volley from outside the box which went over the bar. The Italian side did have opportunities to equalize, with their best opportunities landing to Matteo Politano, who has been the in-form attacker for Inter this season, after replacing Antonio Candreva in the second half. The Sassuolo loanee revitalized Inter’s attack. His tricky cross into the box which curved towards the goal was saved brilliantly by Barcelona keeper Ter Stegen. The Italian winger came close to open the scoring for Inter again just moments later after new signing Arthur lost the ball sloppily, giving Politano a great chance to level things up, which he failed to take.

In the 66th minute of the match, there was a humorous yet ingenious move by Brozovic who slid down beyond the Inter wall to block Suarez’s low driven freekick. A move which Lionel Messi seemed to enjoy from the stands.

Despite Inter’s efforts to find the equalizer, Barcelona reacted confidently with Suarez and Lenglet both forcing Handanovic into a series of excellent saves before Philippe Coutinho hit the woodwork in the 69th minute. And with the Spanish champions’ continuous pressure, they finally got their winning goal through Spanish veteran Jordi Alba in the 83rd minute when Rakitic played a perfect pass to find the Barca left-back who then tucks the ball neatly into the bottom corner.

Barcelona now prepare for El Classico without Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since 11 years. The most anticipated match is set to take place on at the Camp Nou on Sunday, 28th October.

FC Barcelona VS Inter Milan | UCL Match Prediction

FC Barcelona VS Inter Milan | UCL Match Prediction

UEFA Champions League: FC Barcelona will be without their No. 10, Lionel Messi as they take on Inter Milan at Camp Nou. Will Icardi steal the show tonight?

On 24th October, Wednesday, FC Barcelona host Inter Milan for a mammoth Group B clash on matchday 3 of UEFA Champions League 2018/19. Both Internazionale and the Catalans boast a 100% record so far in Group B, which will be on the line as the two sides go head-on at Camp Nou.

Barcelona and Inter Milan have a rich history when it comes to European competitions. The Catalans have faced against the three-time European champions, Inter, 10 times, with Barça having registered 5 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses against the I Nerazzurri.

Inter are on fire, winning seven consecutive games in Italy and Europe and having just beaten their biggest rivals, AC Milan, with a last-minute goal on Sunday. As for Barcelona, a very solid performance and a great victory to reclaim the top of La Liga against Sevilla was spoiled by an injury to Lionel Messi last Sunday. However, Barca looks keen to make it 3 out of 3 against Inter, as they are sure to consider this clash as a warm-up to the El Classico this coming weekend.

Ernesto Valverde’s men looked in good spirits despite Messi’s absence and Barca full-back Jordi Alba is confident his side can come away with the three points nonetheless. ‘Inter are a very hard team to beat and they are playing well at the moment. But we think we can win this, especially with our fans behind us,’ he told the club’s official website. ‘His absence especially affects my own game’ he confessed. ‘But he’s important for all of us because he makes us all play better. We’ll have to do our very best, and I’m more than certain that we will.’

In Messi’s absence, Barcelona will start with Luis Suarez up front supported by Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele of either side. Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets will assume their traditional positions in the midfield alongside the heir to Xavi’s throne, Arthur who has made a big impression since arriving at the Nou Camp and will be trusted in the Champions League once again. Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are ruled out of the clash, meaning Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet will start in the heart of defence. Sergi Roberto will be preferred to Nelson Semedo at right-back, with Jordi Alba on the left side.

Inter have collected maximum points through two matches, topping Tottenham and PSV Eindhoven to open Champions League play in a difficult Group B. The Italian club topped Tottenham 2 – 1 at the San Siro to open the competition behind goals from Icardi and Matias Vencino before defeating PSV in the Netherlands by the same scoreline in their second match.

The man Barca should worry about is Inter’s Talisman Mauro Icardi who has scored six goals in nine games so far this season. Against AC Milan at the weekend, Mauro Icardi did not have the greatest game with fewer than 20 touches throughout the 90+ minutes. On Wednesday, Icardi is likely to once again spend large periods of time off the ball with Barcelona pressing, but he has shown he only needs one touch to score.

Inter has faced a tough start to the season as the I Nerazzurri remain 3rd in the Serie A. However, things are changing for the better at San Siro as Internazionale have recorded 7 wins in the last 7 games with their fine form starting with the win against Tottenham Hotspur in the first Matchday of this season’s Champions League. With this, Inter is sure to take the fight to Camp Nou as the fans will be gifted with an exciting fixture.

Inter Milan 1 – 0 AC Milan | Icardi scores last minute winner

Inter Milan 1 - 0 AC Milan | Mauro Icardi scores last minute winner

Serie A 2018/19 Highlights: Icardi late winner gives Inter win over rivals AC Milan.

Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi scored a late winner to hand them the bragging rights as they beat city rivals AC Milan at the San Siro in the Serie A on Monday. The 222nd Milan derby looked like it would end in a goalless draw after both sides missed a host of opportunities before Icardi scored a dramatic injury-time winner as he head in a Matias Vecino cross. Inter Milan were deserved winners but the game was a lackluster one. Inter Milan did all the early work as they looked to get a solid start early with Nainggolan and  Vecino pulling the strings from midfield but after Inter lost Nainggolan to a first-half injury, the game slowed down and both sides had minimal chances.

Handovic in the Inter goal hardly had any work to do through the game mainly due to the solid work of Skriniar and De Vrij ahead of him who kept Higuaín and co in check. Out of the 15 shots AC Milan had on goal only a solitary one was on target and that all in all summed up the night AC Milan were having in front of goal. Inter too weren’t the best going forward. They mustered a total of 18 shots out of which they managed just four on target. They, however, had the better share of possession and looked the better team throughout the game.

Mauro Icardi was the hero yet again as the Inter Milan captain scored a late winner, yet again and made sure the Inter fans left the San Siro with the joy of beating their bitter rival and a song to sing, one that they have most often than not. Icardi touched the ball only 15 times throughout the whole game but was in the right place at the right time, like all good strikers are meant to be and headed in the winning goal in the 93rd minute of the game after a goal he netted was rightly disallowed a few minutes earlier. The closest either side came before the Icardi winner was when Stefan De Vrij hit the post from close range, one that he should have buried in the back of the net. But the winner means that Inter Milan now move up to third place on the Serie A table, one point behind Napoli and one point ahead of Lazio. They have shown that they are capable of outstanding performances and are certainly a team to watch out in the Serie A this year.

Icardi and D’Ambrosio on score sheet as Inter Milan beat Fiorentina 2 – 1 | Serie A

Icardi and D'Ambrosio on score sheet as Inter Milan beat Fiorentina 2 - 1 | Serie A

Inter Milan beat a resilient Fiorentina side two goals to one in the San Siro yesterday, with Icardi and Danilo D ‘Ambrosio getting the goals. Inter have had many different goal scorers this season, other than the regulars and the latest one on the list being D ‘Ambrosio. Inter were not as convincing as they would have liked to be as they lost the ball multiple times in procession and gave the ball away cheaply on numerous occasions. Florentina did well to press early on and put the pressure on Inter which resulted in them playing aerial balls a lot, especially in the first half. Fiorentina caused a lot of problems to Inter mainly because of the press they maintained on Inter which resulted in them losing the ball numerous times with bad passes in the midfield, with Fiorentina giving them extremely less space to work the ball around in the midfield.

Icardi however, believes that they need to get the win out of their heads as soon as possible and look at the next game ahead when they face Cagliari. He believes that Inter needs to keep their heads down and get as many points as they can, every game they played and close the gap on the leaders as soon as possible and get their season back on track. He says that Inter needs to finish in the top four this season and that he and the players will give everything they can in their capacity to achieve this target. He also says that playing at the San Siro is a big boost for the team because of the tremendous support they get. He says he knows the difficulties that the fans face to come and support them in numbers and hence it becomes their responsibility to deliver to their incredible fans.

Inter Milan 1 – 0 Sampdoria | Serie A 2018/19

Inter Milan 1 - 0 Sampdoria | Serie A 2018/19

Inter Milan beat Sampdoria as an uber-dramatic match ended 1-0 in their favor in their Serie A tie on Sunday.

Marcelo Brozovic scored the winner and the only goal of the match deep into injury time in a match starring a number of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) controversies.

Inter boss Luciano Spalletti was under rising pressure after getting just one win in four league games. His side were utterly furious at their 1-0 defeat against Parma last week after the VAR was not consulted for a possible handball inside the box.

Inter and Sampdoria both began the match energetically, creating a number of opportunities each in the first half of the game before Radja Nainggolan had a goal disallowed for an offside from Mauro Icardi by VAR right before the break. The decision seemed harsh on Inter as it prevented them going into the second half with a deserved lead.

VAR came into action yet again as Kwadwo Asamoah also had a goal disallowed after a review, this time because the ball went out of play for a goal-kick in the 88th minute. Antonio Candreva and Mauro Icardi also had a couple of chances after the break but were unfortunate, not to find the net.

This time it was Sampdoria who were the side punished by VAR when Gregoire Defrel also had a goal disallowed for offside in the 91st minute. Just a few minutes later, when the match seemed stagnant, Marcelo Brozovic capitalized on a Sampdoria mistake and struck a low shot through the fingertips of Audero in the 94th minute to give his side the three points.

This was the second consecutive win, after their thrilling match against Tottenham. This result leaves them in the 9th place with 7 points from 5 games.

Inter are set to host third-placed Fiorentina in their next Serie A fixture on Wednesday, 26th September.