Column by: Elias Sekkal, Aaron Kleiner, Manas Jain, Matthew Kleiner
Each week, The Echo’s own football pundits will discuss two of Europe’s biggest matches at the weekend and make their prediction.
Jose Mourinho’s first two years at Chelsea saw him continue his impressive managerial knack for winning trophies wherever he goes. In his return to the English football scene, the former Portugal international earned the The Blues a coveted Champions League spot and in the 2014-15 campaign brought the league title back to West London for the first time since 2010. So it comes as a shock to many to see “the special one’s” side sitting two spots above the relegation zone on matchday eleven of the current term. It seemed as if The Pensioners’ early struggles were behind them after a promising 2-0 victory over Arsenal in September, but one victory in the next four Premiership fixtures begged otherwise. Poor league results, coupled with horrifying performances in the Champions League and English League Cup, have pundits fixing the weekend’s matchup as a final chance for Mourinho to keep his spot at the club. This fixture also presents another current point of intrigue, this time from the visitors’ bench. Jurgen Klopp took charge of Liverpool on October 8, and is looking to revamp the Reds’ season after a dreadful start to the term under Brendan Rodgers. In a match that is sure to center on the decisions of both managers, two England’s perennial powers will look for a much-needed boost of confidence as October comes to an end.
Aaron: On the verge of being sacked, Mourinho will get the result he needs in order to stay at least a few more weeks. 2-1 Chelsea Wins
Elias: Liverpool and Chelsea have not been having the seasons they want, and this result will not help either campaign. 0-0
Manas: Mourinho’s horrendous season is bound to continue as Klopp’s Liverpool squad returns to form. 2-0 Liverpool Wins
Matthew: Both teams need a victory but neither will earn the three points. 1-1
The last four giornate of the Serie A have included a tie between the top two teams in the table. Matchday eleven continues the trend. Reminiscent of the scudetto battles of the late 2000s, sunday’s matchup pits this year’s current favorites for the Italian title against each other. Roma and Inter have experienced hiccups in the current campaign, but with 23 and 21 points respectively from the first ten league matches, Rudi Garcia’s and Roberto Mancini’s sides have not disappointed so far. With heavy preseason favorites Juventus still languishing in the mid table, the 15-16 Scudetto race looks to be the best in years. Roma brings the highest-scoring offense in the country to the San Siro Sunday and can easily take advantage of Inter’s shaky defense. On the other hand, i giallorossi have also shown some troubles sorting out their back line and it will be interesting to see if the recently struggling Stevan Jovetic and Mauro Icardi can return to their goalscoring ways. Both teams can feel Napoli and Fiorentina nipping at their heels, and could use an impressive performance at the weekend to silence critics and keep hopes alive of a championship run.
Aaron: Inter has been struggling recently, after a disappointing stretch against mediocre opponents, while Roma has been further extending its lead at the top. 2-0 Roma wins
Elias: Roma will not give up this opportunity to solidify their place at the top of the league. 3-1 Roma wins
Manas: Inter has not proven themselves against top teams thus far this season, while Roma continues to enjoy a successful run at the top of the table. 2-1 Roma Wins
Matthew: Inter has not managed a victory over a quality side yet this term. 3-1 Roma wins
World Football Weekly
1 point for correct result, 2 for correct scoreline