Fiorentina vs AC Milan Serie A Preview: Can Allegri’s men make it five straight wins?

Niang and Pazzini

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

FIORENTINA

Viviano
Tomovic, Savic, Compper, Pasqual
Aquilani, Pizarro, Valero
Ljajic, Toni, Cuadrado
AC MILAN

Abbiati
Abate, Mexes, Zapata, De Sciglio
Flamini, Montolivo, Muntari
Boateng, Balotelli, El Shaarawy

It seemed unthinkable prior to Christmas, but victory over Fiorentina on Sunday will effectively see AC Milan book their place in next season’s Champions League and tighten their increasingly-firm grip on third spot.

The Rossoneri have won their last four Serie A games and kept clean sheets in all of those encounters, a run of form which sees them six points ahead of fourth-placed Viola and two adrift of Napoli in second spot.

Nigel de Jong is the only unavailable player in Massimiliano Allegri’s first-team squad as he continues his recovery from a long term Achilles injury.

The home side have greater cause for concern, however, with Matias Fernandez, Ahmed Hegazy, Giuseppe Rossi, Michele Camporese and star man Stevan Jovetic all injured, while Gonzalo Rodriguez misses out through suspension.

  • AC Milan’s attacking trio of Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng are all one booking away from suspension.
  • The Rossoneri will move nine points clear of Fiorentina if they win on Sunday.
  • Giampaolo Pazzini  Milan’s second top goalscorer with 13 strikes to his name, should return to the first-team squad for the trip to Florence.
  • Massimiliano Allegri’s side have led at half-time and full-time in each of their last four Serie A games.
  • Fiorentina will have to do without main man Stevan Jovetic on Sunday through injury – the forward has found the back of the net 12 times this season.
  • The Viola have scored at least two goals in nine of their last 11 Serie A games.
  • Vincenzo Montella’s side have won their last four home games.

Inter vs Atalanta Serie A Preview: Injury-riddled Nerazzurri looking to build on midweek win

Cambiasso and Cassano

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

INTER

Handanovic
Ranocchia, Samuel, Juan Jesus
Zanetti, Kovacic, Cambiasso, Pereira
Guarin
Cassano, Rocchi
ATALANTA

Polito
Raimondi, Stendardo, Canini, Grosso 
Giorgi, Cigarini, Biondini, Bonaventura
Livaja, Denis

As if losing Diego Milito for the rest of the season wasn’t enough, late this week Inter learned that striker Rodrigo Palacio—who scored twice against Sampdoria on Wednesday—could miss up to three weeks after picking up a muscle injury.

Midfielder Dejan Stankovic, who has barely featured this campaign, remains sidelined with an ankle problem while Gaby Mudingayi, Luca Castellazzi and Joel Obi are all long-term injury concerns for Andrea Stramaccioni.

The Inter coach will, however, have Esteban Cambiasso available for selection after the Argentine served a one-match ban against Sampdoria, and Walter Samuel—who was rested midweek—will slot back into the centre of defence.

Atalanta striker Marko Livaja, on loan from Inter, will regain his spot in the attack after missing last weekend’s scoreless draw with Sampdoria due to disciplinary reasons. But defender Stefano Lucchini and goalkeeper Andrea Consigli are suspended and will be replaced by Michele Canini and Ciro Polito, respectively.

Boss Stefano Colantuono will also be without defender Gianpaolo Bellini, who has an adductor problem, and striker Guido Marilungo, who is recovering after suffering a serious cruciate ligament injury.

  • With both Diego Milito and Rodrigo Palacio sidelined, Inter’s highest scorer in Serie A is Antonio Cassano with seven goals.
  • Of Inter’s six remaining matches only one (Napoli) is against a side higher than them in the table.
  • Inter’s 2-0 win over Sampdoria represented just their second clean sheet in 10 Serie A matches.
  • Inter last beat Atalanta in April 2010. Since then the two sides have drawn twice, with Atalanta winning their previous match this season in November.
  • Atalanta are presently 16th in Serie A, but had they not been handed a two-point deduction as a result of last season’s corruption scandal they would be 14th in the Italian top flight.
  • German Denis, 31, leads Atalanta in both goals (12) and assists (4) this season.

Tottenham vs Everton EPL Preview: Champions League-chasing pair after vital victory

Scott Parker

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Lloris
Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto
Sigurdsson, Parker, Livermore, Dembele
Holtby
  
Adebayor
EVERTON

Howard
 Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin
Coleman, Gibson, Mirallas, Osman, Baines
Anichebe, Jelavic

Andre Villas-Boas will be without key man Gareth Bale, who sustained an ankle injury during the club’s Europa League draw with Basel and is expected to miss the next two games at a minimum.

The Spurs manager is likely to also contend with the absences of Aaron Lennon (knee) and William Gallas (calf) who also suffered injuries during Thursday’s clash at White Hart Lane.

England international Jermain Defoe is still two weeks away from returning from a groin injury, whilst Younes Kaboul (knee) has only returned returned to first-team training following a seven-month absence and Sandro (knee) is ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Everton manager David Moyes will again prepare his team without right-back Tony Hibbert who misses out with a calf injury, whilst Kevin Mirallas is hoping to shake off a groin problem.

Midfield pairing Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar are set to complete two-match bans and will return for the home tie with QPR the following week.

  • Tottenham have lost more Premier League matches in the month of April than any other team – 35 in total.
  • Andre Villas-Boas  is two wins games away from his 100th career victory in management.
  • Along with Swansea City, Tottenham are the only side in the league not to score a goal from a penalty kick.
  • Spurs have scored at least two goals in five of their last six Premier League games.
  • Everton are currently on a run which has seen them win three consecutive league games for the first time since January 2010.
  • David Moyes’ side have been leading at half-time in each of their last three wins, but are looking to claim victory at White Hart Lane for the first time since 2008.
  • If the Toffees claim victory on Sunday, it will be their 600th away win in league football.

Liverpool vs West Ham EPL Preview: Hosts look to continue unlikely Champions League bid

Suarez and Downing

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 


LIVERPOOL


Reina
Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique
Gerrard, Lucas
Coutinho, Henderson, Downing
Suarez

WEST HAM
West Ham
Jaaskelainen
Demel, Reid, Collins, O’Brien
Diame, O’Neil
Jarvis, Nolan, Vaz Te
Cole

Brendan Rodgers has no fresh injury worries for Liverpool’s clash with West Ham at Anfield on Sunday, with only long-term absentees Martin Kelly (knee), Joe Allen and Fabio Borini (both shoulder) unavailable.

The visitors will be without the ineligible Andy Carroll, who can not play against his parent club.

Midfielder Mark Noble (shoulder) and defender George McCartney (knee) are unlikely to play again this season, but Joe Cole (hamstring) could make a return to the Hammers’ squad against his former side.

  • Liverpool have won five of their last six matches at Anfield, with just a 2-0 defeat to West Brom spoling that sequence. 
  • Reds striker Luis Suarez , the Premier League’s top goalscorer with 22 strikes, has won more penalties (five) than anyone else in the top flight this season.
  • Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is just one of three outfield players to have played every minute of every game in the Premier League this season (Leighton Baines and Matthew Lowton are the others).
  • West Ham have scored just nine goals on the road in the Premier League this season, the joint lowest tally along with Stoke City.
  • Only bottom of the table Reading have lost more away games (13) than West Ham’s 10, a record they share with Newcastle and QPR.
  • Hammers midfielder Joe Cole scored in the last league meeting between these sides – when he was a Liverpool player. He has scored three times against the Reds in the Premier League era, which is more than he has managed against any other side.
  • Andy Carroll netted six goals in his 44 appearances for Liverpool, but already has five for the Irons in 17 appearances. He is unable to play against his parent club on Sunday.

West Brom vs Arsenal EPL Preview: Visitors without Wilshere and Walcott as they continue top-four push

Arteta battling

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

WEST BROM
West Bromwich Albion
Foster
Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell
Dorrans, Morrison, Yacob, Brunt
Long, Lukaku


ARSENAL


Fabianski
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Arteta, Rosicky
Gervinho, Cazorla, Podolski
Giroud

 

Steve Clarke will have to make do without the services of Youssouf Mulumbu after the midfielder was sent off against West Ham last weekend, meaning he will join long-term absentees George Thorne and Zoltan Gera (both knee) watching from the stands.

James Morrison (hamstring) may pass a late fitness test after sitting out at Upton Park.

Arsenal assistant boss Steve Bould has definitively ruled out Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Theo Walcott (groin) for the trip to the Hawthorns, though the England duo are expected to return against Norwich next week.

Kieron Gibbs (illness) may be available for selection but it is likely Nacho Monreal (knee) will recover after being withdrawn against Reading last week with an injury sustained while clattering into the post.

Abou Diaby has been ruled for the rest of the calendar year after suffering a serious knee injury in training.

 

  • Only Manchester United and Manchester City have won more home games than West Brom this season.
  • However, since the turn of the year, the Bagges have, on average, picked up just one Premier League point per game.
  • Arsenal have been most prolific in the last 15 minutes of their matches this season, scoring 15 of their 59 goals in this period. This is also the period that West Brom have been most leaky, letting in 13.
  • The last time these two met, the noerth London side came out 2-0 victors thanks to two Mikel Arteta penalties.
  • Arsenal are undefeated in their last four visits to the Hawthorns.
  • The Gunners boast the league’s best defence away from home – conceding just 13 goals in 15 outings.
  • Arsenal have won five of their last six Premier League encounters.

Barcelona vs Mallorca Preview: Vilanova’s side seek return to winning ways without Messi

Villa and Messi

 

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has a hamstring strain and will miss the Primera Division encounter against Mallorca at Camp Nou.

Javier Mascherano is also out after picking up a knee injury in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Paris Saint-Germain, so youngster Marc Bartra is set to be handed a start alongside Gerard Pique in central defence.

Pedro is recovering from a calf problem and is unlikely to feature, while Victor Valdes serves the last of his four-game ban.

Mallorca defender Pedro Geromel is suspended after picking up his 10th booking of the season in the defeat against Deportivo La Coruna.

Pedro Bigas and Kevin Garcia are both poised to return to the starting XI for the 19th-placed visitors, who have no fresh injury concerns.

  • Barcelona are on a 10-match winning run at home in La Liga.
  • The Catalan side have won 13 and drawn one of the 14 matches they have played without Lionel Messi between 2010 and 2013.
  • Barcelona have won their last four meetings with Mallorca by an aggregate score of 14-2.
  • Mallorca have lost five of their last six away matches in La Liga.
  • Only bottom club Deportivo La Coruna (61) have conceded more goals in the Primera Division this season than Mallorca’s 58.
  • Alejandro Alfaro  has scored four goals in his last four appearances for Mallorca.

Borussia Dortmund vs Augsburg Bundesliga Preview: Hosts can strengthen grip on second

Reus celebrating

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

DORTMUND

Weidenfeller
Piszczek, Subotic, Santana, Schmelzer
Gundogan, Bender
Grosskreutz, Gotze, Reus
Lewandowski
AUGSBURG

Amsif
Verhaegh, C’sen-Bracker, Klavan, Ostrzolek 
Baier
Hahn, Vogt, Oehrl, Werner
Molders

Borussia Dortmund’s two-year grip on the title will likely be released on Saturday as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich need only a single point to clinch the championship. But with their Champions League aspirations still intact and an automatic berth in next year’s tournament yet to be clinched, the holders still have it all to play for as the season enters its home stretch.

Coach Jurgen Klopp will no doubt have Tuesday’s match against Malaga in mind when he names his team to face Augsburg at Signal Iduna Park, and to that end he’ll be unlikely to rush Jakub Blaszczykowski back into the line-up after the Poland captain was forced to miss Wednesday’s first leg with a groin injury.

Defender Mats Hummels is back in full training and has an outside chance of featuring, while left-back Marcel Schmelzer will once again wear a mask to protect a broken nose.

Augsburg, meanwhile, welcome midfielder Tobias Werner back from suspension but are still without goalkeepers Alex Manninger and Simon Jentzsch, who have Achilles and finger injuries, respectively.

The Bavarian side will also be missing defender Ronny Philip, who has a knee injury, and midfielder Koo Ja-Cheol, who has an abdominal strain.

  • Since losing the derby to Schalke, Borussia Dortmund have won their last two Bundesliga matches by a combined score of 7-2.
  • Dortmund have kept just a single clean sheet in their last eight Bundesliga matches.
  • Mainz and Bayern Munich are the only sides currently in the top six that Dortmund have yet to face between now and the end of the season.
  • It took until the third week of January—or 18 matches—for Augsburg to get their second victory this season. Their first came after seven matches.
  • Only once in their last nine matches have Augsburg managed more than a single goal.
  • Dortmund were 3-1 winners when last these sides met in October and won the corresponding match 4-0 last season.