Weekend Football Preview
“A wounded lion shall return” a saying that’s been used to console defeat.
Champions Leicester City welcome Manchester City to the King Power on Saturday in a game that sees both teams desperately needing a victory.
Leicester City were defeated by fellow strugglers Sunderland in their last Premier League outing at the Stadium of Light. The champions are now in a relegation battle after losing three times in their last five games. Claudio Ranieri’s charges are now 16th on the table, just two points above the drop.
The Foxes’ form in the Premier League is contrary to their European performances. They have qualified for round 16 of UEFA's premium club competition by topping their group with only one defeat. With the Champions League on hold until February, Leicester must focus on improving their league performances to avoid further misery.
After their 3-1 defeat at the hands of champions elect Chelsea, Man City will look to bounce back to close the gap from their fellow title rivals. The Sky Blues are fourth on the log standings, four points behind leaders Chelsea.
One could say Pep Guardiola doesn’t know his starting 11, having made 46 changes to his squad on match days. The Cityzens have a good record away from home, winning three out of three.
Manchester City will be without Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho, both are suspended after receiving red cards against Chelsea last weekend.
“Manchester United is the unluckiest team in the Premier League”, the famous words by Man U manager Jose Mourinho will be put firmly to the test as they lock horns with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho bemoans the chances his team aren’t converting to kill games off. The Red Devils have drawn four games, with three from winning positions. They are playing brilliant football, attacking and keeping possession but lack the killer instinct. Although it looks unlikely for them to win the league this season, a Champions League spot is what they’ll be looking to achieve come the end of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur are in fine form after beating Swansea 5-0 last time out. Spurs have only lost one game this season, the defeat coming at Chelsea after an impressive first half at Stamford Bridge. Good news for the Lilly Whites as Toby Alderweireld makes a comeback from a knee injury.
Following their 3-1 victory in the Champions League last game against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, Pochettino’s side will head to The Theatre of Dreams in high spirits.
Liverpool vs West Ham United
After capitulating against Bournemouth on Sunday, Jürgen Klopp will want to reassure the Liverpool faithful that they are still in the running for the top prize. The Reds are unbeaten at home.
Last Sunday’s away defeat was a sign that Liverpool cannot manage games from winning positions. At 3-1 the Reds could have protected what they had, dictate proceedings and close off the game. Klopp’s side do not have a leader on the field.
Sadio Mane’s availability will be a much-needed boost after an injury scare. Adam Lallana will be key in the team after losing Coutinho for five weeks.
West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is a relieved man, following a meeting with the club’s co-owners. It is reported that the owners have given Bilic their backing to turn things around after their poor form this campaign.
The Hammers go to Anfield wounded from their 5-1 thumping from Arsenal. Bilic questioned the commitment from some of his players. West Ham have a tough task ahead this weekend. They must be resolute and disciplined to come out with something from the game.
The Blue Brigade
Following their victory at Manchester City, Chelsea hosts West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Antonio Conte’s side are enjoying their best run since 2010, after winning eight games in a row. When the Blues won eight games on the spin, they ended the season as champions. Will history repeat itself?
The Baggies are 7th on the log. Tony Pulis’ men find themselves in unfamiliar territory as they are enjoying their best run this season.
It’s going to be a tantalising affair at Stamford Bridge.
TKO Final Preview
Football fans are in for a treat this weekend as the PSL takes a break and all eyes will be on the TKO final, where two teams will meet for the first time. This promises to be a pulsating encounter.
Cape Town City eyeing first trophy
The new boys in the top-flight head to the Telkom Knockout final with nothing but victory on sight. Eric Tinkler’s troops face SuperSport United at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.
Cape Town City are enjoying life in the Absa Premiership by leading the pack in the big division. City have won eight of their last nine games and they will want to replicate their league form coming into their first cup final.
City Skipper Lebogang Manyama has been a revelation. He is the team’s top goal scorer in the league with seven goals just four behind Orlando Pirates’ Tendai Ndoro. Manyama will hope to use his scoring boots once again coming to the final. He has won the Telkom Knockout trophy with SuperSport United in 2014.
Cape Town City were formed in July after owner John Comitis bought the club status from Mpumalanga Black Aces. City can make history by winning their first trophy just after six months of their formation.
Eric Tinkler is in line to win his first trophy as a head coach.
Matsatsantsa a Pitori
Stuart Baxter’s men are having a fine season in the league. They are second placed just three points behind their cup final opponents. United’s talisman this season is Thabo Mnyamane who is in great form and has already scored against Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates this season.
Stuart Baxter will be in the history books if he wins the Telkom knockout final. He will become only the second coach after Pitso Mosimane to win every trophy offered in the PSL cup competitions.
The Pretoria based side are heading back to Peter Mokaba Stadium where they defeated Orlando Pirates last season to clinch the Nedbank Cup. Baxter will hope for the same fortune.
SuperSport United come into the final on a superb run of 14 games unbeaten. United are appearing for the second time in the TKO final in 10 years.
The match is scheduled to kick off Sat, 10 Dec at 18:00.