Bournemouth will host Manchester City at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, April 2. The Citizens will go into this fixture at the back of a loss against city rivals Manchester United almost a fortnight ago. The home team also suffered a loss to title chasers Tottenham Hotspur in their last encounter and will be hoping to pull a surprise of their own in this match.
West Ham United will host Crystal Palace at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday afternoon, April 2. The Hammers have a slight advantage over their counterparts and may as well claim a victory as they continue to fight for a UEFA Champions League spot.
Bayer Leverkusen are at home to Wolfsburg in a German Bundesliga fixture on Friday, April 1. Leverkusen will be hoping for their third win on the trot, while their visitors will look to get maximum points at their third attempt.
Arsenal will host strugglers Watford on Saturday, April 2, at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners - who are third-placed with 11 points behind league leaders Leicester City, will be hoping to reduce the gap to just eight points as the title race heats up.
Liverpool face EPL title hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, April 2, at Anfield in what promises to be a highly contested league affair. The Reds will aim to bounce back after suffering a 3-2 come-from behind defeat away to Southampton. Spurs on the other hand are still brimming with confidence after thrashing Bournemouth 3-0 last time out.
Barcelona entertain their biggest Spanish La Liga arch-rivals Real Madrid in the El Classico at Camp Nou on Saturday, April 2. The home team are currently on top of the log with 10 points differentiating them against their visitors, who are placed third. Luis Enrique's charges will look to bounce back to winning form after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Villareal in their last league match. Madrid on the other hand were in rampant mood as they cruised past Sevilla with a 4-0 scoreline and are hoping to replicate the same form.
Serie A table toppers Juventus will host 11th-placed Empoli in a league encounter at the Juventus Stadium. The home team could open up a 10 point lead at the summit if they get past their opponents and, rivals Napoli lose ground in their match away against Udinese. Massimiliano Allegri's charges humbled Torino with a 4-1 thrashing on their own turf in their last league match while Empoli could only manage a 0-0 draw against Palermo.
If you are a betting person, here are tips ahead of the fixtures brought to you by Soccer 6 and Polokwane City defender, Gert Barends.
Bournemouth v Man City (Premier League)
League rankings: Bournemouth 13th & Man City 4th
Useful facts: In their only meeting earlier this season, Man City came away with a 5-1 win, but form is not in the Sky Blues favour, with just one win and four losses in their last six outings. Bournemouth were on a three-game winning streak before their loss to Tottenham on the last matchday. At least three goals have been scored in total in each of Bournemouth’s last three games, so Sergio Aguero (16 goals) and David Silva (10 assists) will be the combination that Bournemouth will look to neutralise.
Gert Barends: Man City will win this.
West Ham v Crystal Palace (Premier League)
League rankings: West Ham 5th & Crystal Palace 16th
Useful facts: While West Ham are fighting for a finish amongst the Champions League placings, Palace are fighting for survival. Palace’s record against the Hammers, however, reads in their favour, with three wins from their last six against the East Londoners. West Ham are undefeated in five, while Crystal Palace have lost four of their last six and haven’t managed a single win. West Ham are also undefeated in 12 home games and have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven matches at the Boleyn Ground, whereas Crystal Palace have lost nine of their last 11 Premier League matches. West Ham’s Dimitri Payet’s eight goals and eight assists this season make him the player to watch.
Gert Barends: I call a draw here.
Bayer Leverkusen v VfL Wolfsburg (Bundesliga)
League rankings: Bayer Leverkusen 6th & VfL Wolfsburg 8th
Useful facts: Head-to-head, Wolfsburg have the advantage with four wins to Leverkusen’s one. Both sides have only two wins from their last six.
Gert Barends: A win for Wolfsburg.
Arsenal v Watford (Premier League)
League rankings: Arsenal 3rd & Watford 14th
Useful facts: Arsenal have won five of their last six against Watford and, with three wins in their last six, are on a better run of form, as Watford are on a three-game losing streak. Arsenal have scored at least twice in five of their last six games, while Watford have lost by a one goal margin in all of their last three fixtures. Odian Ighalo has scored 14 times this season, as opposed to Arsenal’s highest scorer, Olivier Giroud, who has 12 goals. However, Mesut Ozil’s 18 assists this season will make him a key figure.
Gert Barends: Arsenal will take this.
Liverpool v Tottenham (Premier League)
League rankings: Liverpool 9th & Tottenham 2nd
Useful facts: In their last six meetings, Liverpool have five wins against Spurs and the title hopefuls haven’t won any. Form wise, Tottenham have the advantage, with four wins in their last six as opposed to three in the same timeframe for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Liverpool have scored at least twice in each of their last five Premier League matches, while Tottenham boast at least two goals per game in five of their last six. Harry Kane will also be out to improve his standing at the top of the Golden Boot rankings with 21 goals so far this season. Roberto Firmino will be the danger man for the Reds, with eight goals this season and seven assists.
Gert Barends: This will be a draw.
Barcelona v Real Madrid (La Liga)
FIFA rankings: Barcelona 1st & Real Madrid 3rd
League facts: Barcelona are at an advantage in the upcoming El Clasico, with four wins in the last six clashes against their eternal rivals. Real Madrid won the other two and there have been no draws recently. Form wise, Barcelona are in better form, with five wins from their last six, as opposed to four for Zinedine Zidane’s side. Barcelona have also scored at least two goals in each of their last 14 home matches and are now on a streak of 23 matches without loss. Meanwhile, Real Madrid have scored at least three goals in 12 of their last 15 La Liga games. Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Karim Benzema will all be looking to improve their goal returns with 28, 26, 22, 21 and 20 goals to their names respectively, so this match may significantly influence the race for this season’s Pichichi and European Golden Boot race.
Gert Barends: Barcelona will win this.
Juventus v Empoli (Serie A)
League rankings: Juventus 1st & Empoli 10th
Useful facts: Juventus have won four of their last six against Empoli and are on a 20-match unbeaten streak, while Empoli are winless in 11. Juventus have also won 19 of their last 20 matches in the Serie A and have kept a clean sheet in each of their last six home games.
Gert Barends: I’ll go for a Juventus win.