Weekly Predictions: Forecasting Newcastle vs Man City, Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona & More

We’ve got another big weekend in European football coming up.

Title races throughout the continent are hotting up, with sides like Liverpool, Barcelona, Borussia Monchengladbach and ​Juventus currently leading their respective leagues.

So, wanna hear what the 90min editors think will happen in games like Newcastle vs Manchester City, Manchester United vs Aston Villa and Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona? Of course you do!


Alaves vs Real Madrid

Saturday 30/11 – 12:00

Zinedine Zidane

By ​Chris Deeley

Are Real Madrid back? No idea. But they’re looked really good for a few weeks now, and were just a couple of late lapses away from following up a very strong win over La Real with victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

Alaves, meanwhile, have been far from spectacular this season – but are at least quite solid at the back. They haven’t faced Karim Benzema yet though, and the Frenchman will tear their little faces off. 

Editor Prediction
Scott 1-3
Chris 0-2
Andy 0-2
Jack 0-1
Jude 1-2
Toby 1-1
Krishan 0-2
Sean 0-3

General Consensus: Real Madrid Win


Newcastle vs Manchester City 

Saturday 30/11 – 12:30

Pep Guardiola,Steve Bruce

By ​Jude Summerfield

Newcastle seem to be discovering what they’re all about after an indifferent start to the season.

Prior their loss to Aston Villa, the Magpies had gone three games without defeat, winning two of those to put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three.

However, it’s hard to see Newcastle getting back to winning ways in Saturday’s early kick off when they host Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s side will be without Sergio Aguero, but Gabriel Jesus is a more than capable replacement and he’ll be able to fire the Premier League champions to victory.

Editor Prediction
Scott 0-2
Chris 1-3
Andy 0-3
Jack 0-3
Jude 1-3
Toby 0-2
Krishan 1-4
Sean 0-3

General Consensus: Manchester City Win


Chelsea vs West Ham

Saturday 30/11 – 15:00

Frank Lampard

By ​Toby Cudworth

If you looked at this fixture out of context, you’d probably expect Chelsea to run out comfortable winners against West Ham.

Look at it in context and you expect Chelsea to absolutely batter the Hammers at Stamford Bridge. That’s because Frank Lampard’s side are good, Manuel Pellegrini’s side are bad and the form table suggests that anything other than a comfortable home victory would be staggering.

History will also tell you that Saturday’s game will be anything but fun for West Ham – they are winless at Chelsea in 13 attempts, last running out winners in 2002 during a Paolo Di Canio-inspired 3-2 win. Yuck.

Editor Prediction
Scott 2-0
Chris 3-0
Andy 2-0
Jack 4-1
Jude 2-0
Toby 3-1
Krishan 3-1
Sean 4-1

General Consensus: Chelsea Win


Bayern Munich vs Bayer Leverkusen 

Saturday 30/11 – 17:30

Robert Lewandowski

By ​Krishan Davis

Bayern since Nice Kovac was sacked in the aftermath of a 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on 2 November? Goals, goals, goals – and none conceded. The Bavarian giants have netted 16 times without reply in just four games since Hans-Dieter Fick was installed as interim head coach, all of which were scored by Robert Lewandowski (probably). 

While Leverkusen are on something of an decent run, it is difficult to see them halting the Munich juggernaut – especially at the Allianz.

Editor Prediction
Scott 3-0
Chris 4-0
Andy 2-1
Jack 3-0
Jude 4-0
Toby 5-1
Krishan 3-0
Sean 3-1

General Consensus: Bayern Munich Win


Juventus vs Sassuolo

Sunday 1/12 – 11:30

Paulo Dybala

By ​Jack Gallagher

Juventus will beat Sassuolo, for one simple reason: Maurizio Sarri’s men are number one in this week’s Definitive European Power Rankings, and Sassuolo aren’t even it. They never have been. They probably never will be.

​Editor Prediction
Scott 2-0
Chris 3-1
Andy 3-0
Jack 3-1
Jude 2-0
Toby 2-0
Krishan 3-0
Sean 2-0

General Consensus: Juventus Win


Norwich vs Arsenal

Sunday 1/12 – 14:00

Freddie Ljungberg

By Sean Walsh

Another week, another high profile sacking in north London, with Unai Emery finally leaving Arsenal after a disastrous start to the season. 

The Spaniard was reportedly expecting to take charge at Norwich on Sunday, but instead Freddie Ljungberg will be on the touchline barking all the orders at Carrow Road. 

Liberated by the departure of a man no one found popular, the New Manager Bounce™ should help Arsenal over the line here, though not without still exposing their glaring defensive issues.

Editor Prediction
Scott 2-3
Chris 0-4
Andy 1-1
Jack 1-3
Jude 2-1
Toby 2-2
Krishan 1-3
Sean 2-3

General Consensus: Arsenal Win


Manchester United vs Aston Villa 

Sunday 1/12 – 16:30

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By Jude Summerfield

Ole Gunnar opted to field the weans on Thursday night, but he had idea that the weans would turn against by full time, Manchester United eventually succumbing to a 2-1 loss at Astana.

However, it’ll be a totally different team that will take to the Old Trafford turf on Sunday when they face Aston Villa, and they should have enough firepower in attack to take them past the Villans.

Don’t be surprised if Dean Smith’s side get on the scoresheet, but United ought to edge this tight encounter.

Editor Prediction
Scott 2-1
Chris 2-0
Andy 1-0
Jack 1-1
Jude 2-0
Toby 2-1
Krishan 2-1
Sean 1-0

General Consensus: Manchester United Win


Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona 

Sunday 1/12 – 20:00

Ivan Rakitic,Lionel Messi,Luis Suarez,Antoine Griezmann

By Chris Deeley

It took Barcelona five attempts to win on the road this season, and they didn’t look good last weekend at Leganes (or in their previous trip, away at the start of the month, when they lost to Levante). However. Ernesto Valverde’s side have won five of their last six on the road, and are building something that looks suspiciously like momentum. 

Atleti…aren’t. They’ve won three of ten, or five of 15. They’ve even conceded in six straight games, which is so out of character for a Diego Simeone side. This is far, far from a vintage Atletico Madrid side, to the point that predicting them to lose this weekend is not even a little bit bold. 

We hear north London’s nice, Diego…

Editor Prediction
Scott 1-1
Chris 0-1
Andy 1-2
Jack 1-1
Jude 1-2
Toby 1-1
Krishan 0-1
Sean 0-0

General Consensus: Split Between Draw and Barcelona Win

Let’

Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Comparing Key Stats After 700 Club Games

​Lionel Messi did what Lionel Messi does best on Wednesday night, as the Argentine maestro put on a show-stopping display in Barcelona’s 3-1 victory against Borussia Dortmund.

He lit up the Camp Nou on a landmark evening, the clash with BVB taking the 32-year-old to 700 appearances for La Blaugrana. In the vast majority of those matches, Messi has been unplayable.

Lionel Messi,Mats Hummels

That ability to produce moments of magic on the regular has caused endless conflict, with countless fans arguing over whether he’s the greatest footballer the planet has ever seen. 

Before people claim Messi is the finest in the world, they must first prove he’s the best player of his generation. Unfortunately for fierce rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the stats don’t lie, and they highlight the superior powers of the ​Barça icon.

Here’s a comparison of their club careers up to and including their 700th appearance.


Goals

Antoine Griezmann,Lionel Messi

Messi: 613

Ronaldo: 504

During GOAT-related debates, it’s not uncommon to hear people say Messi is the more rounded player, but Ronaldo is the more accomplished goalscorer. But according to this particular star, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Portuguese had struck on 504 occasions when he hit 700 club games, leaving him 109 off the tally of his counterpart. On top of that, a larger percentage of the ​Juventus superstar’s goals have come from the penalty spot.

Messi also scores a wider variety of goals, whereas Ronaldo tends to rely on his poacher instincts, with most of his efforts coming inside the box. 

Of course, clinical finishing is nothing to be sniffed at, yet his foe has provided that and plenty more during his 18 years in Catalonia.


Assists

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Messi: 237

Ronaldo: 185

Once again, Messi has a healthy lead over Ronaldo in this category. The former has collected 237 assists for La Blaugrana, while the latter had amassed 185 by the time he faced Valencia on 22 February 2017 in game 700.

The Barcelona legend showcased his remarkable playmaking skills as he added two more to his haul during the triumph over ​Dortmund.

Messi had already set up Luis Suarez for what looked like the opener, only for the linesman to raise his flag. It mattered not as a deft ball through to the Uruguayan allowed him to break the deadlock with an unerring finish.

Lucien Favre and his recruits were finally put out of their misery after the restart when an immaculate pass from the little wizard carved BVB open, allowing Antoine Griezmann to round off the scoring in emphatic style.


Ballon d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo

Messi: 5

Ronaldo: 4

Following his sparkling displays for Barça in 2019, it should be of little surprise to see Messi as the bookies’ favourite to earn the Ballon d’Or, which would take him to six.

Ronaldo has now been handed the award on five occasions, though one of those came after he reached 700 club appearances in Real Madrid’s 2-1 loss at the Mestalla.

So, the £100m Juve forward is level with Messi as things stand, but both age and the odds are in Messi’s favour as he seeks to become the outright record-holder for Ballon d’Or victories.


Hat-Tricks


Messi: 46

Ronaldo: 41

It should be increasingly obvious that Messi is a level above Ronaldo. There isn’t an enormous difference between the pair, yet it’s still enough to separate them. After all, that’s what the people want – a firm decision one way or the other.

Well, the fact Messi has fired home 46 hat-tricks during his Barça career should help clarify which of the duo is better, with that tally meaning he’s five ahead of Ronaldo at this stage.

What’s more, the Argentine’s trebles are rarely dull. His hat-trick versus Sevilla in 2014 was certainly a memorable one, though a four-goal annihilation of ​Arsenal during the 2009/10 campaign may be the finest example of Messi’s work.


League Titles

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Messi: 10

Ronaldo: 4

Messi may have 10 league compared to Ronaldo’s four, but this stat doesn’t tell us a great deal about who’s the stronger player.

Barcelona won both the 2004/05 and 2005/06 La Liga titles with the South American in their senior squad, yet he didn’t contribute a huge amount. 

Messi scored seven goals across the two campaign, whereas Samuel Eto’o and Ronaldinho hit 77 between them. 

It’s also worth considering who’s been lining up alongside him in Catalonia. Messi has been joined by the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and the aforementioned two – he was destined to rack up the trophies.


Champions League Titles

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Messi: 4

Ronaldo: 3

This is another statistic that’s slightly misleading. As we’ve already addressed, team honours don’t necessarily reflect the abilities of the individual, though that’s not the only reason this one is deceptive.

Ronaldo would go on to win the ​Champions League in 2017 and 2018 with Real, his sublime showing against Juventus in the former seeing him named as Man of the Match.

Furthermore, he added four European Cups to his trophy cabinet in the space of five seasons. He was instrumental in Los Blancos taking a stranglehold on the continent, and the minute he left for Turin, his old club began to crumble.


Other Trophies

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Messi: 20

Ronaldo: 14

Ronaldo made the decision to sample life in four European countries during his career, which has seen him win a wide variety of trophies. 

Messi, on the other hand, chose to remain loyal to his boyhood side. He’d collected six different major honours with Barcelona, tasting glory more often than his foe.

So, the mini magician takes the victory in yet another category, thereby officially sealing his status as the greatest of all time.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

Let’

Thomas Meunier Admits Eden Hazard Is the ‘One Player He Really Didn’t Want to Injure’

Paris Saint-Germain star Thomas Meunier has revealed his ‘sadness’ at injuring Eden Hazard in his side’s 2-2 draw with Real Madrid on Tuesday night, suggesting his Belgium teammate is the one player who he really wouldn’t want to hurt.

Hazard was forced off midway through the second half with what appeared to be an ankle injury, after a collision with Meunier.

Reports suggest that ​the attacker will only be out for around 10 days, potentially sidelining him for ​Madrid’s La Liga clashes with Alaves and Espanyol but no more, as the first Clásico of the season approaches on 18 December.

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One man not affiliated with Real Madrid who will be relieved to hear that Hazard’s injury isn’t serious is Meunier who told La Dernière Heure (via ​Get French Football News) of his remorse over the incident.

He is quoted as saying post-match: “I am honestly sad. I tried to contact him directly after the match, but I couldn’t reach him. 

“Aside from that, I saw two or three of his teammates who said that he had taken quite a hit. I cross my fingers that it is not too bad. If there is one player who I really don’t want to injure, it’s Eden.”

The draw at Santiago Bernabeu confirmed PSG will qualify to the last 16 of the Champions League as Group A winners, while Real Madrid go through as runners up.

Thomas Meunier

Karim Benzema scored the opened on the night after 17 minutes, and looked to have sealed the victory when he doubled his tally with ten minutes left to play.

However, the Ligue 1 Champions came storming back to snatch a point, through goals from Kylian Mbappé and Spanish midfielder Pablo Sarabia. 

The result raises further questions about the future of manager Zinedine Zidane, who has come under increased pressure in recent weeks after an indifferent start to the season. 

Let’

The 4 English Players Who Have Scored a Champions League Goal Against Barcelona at Camp Nou

​In the end it proved little more than a consolation goal, but Jadon Sancho’s strike in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-1 defeat to Barcelona was a historic one.

Sancho became only the fourth different Englishman to score a Champions League goal against Barcelona at Camp Nou – joining some pretty esteemed company – and he is only 19 years old. 

Seen as the height of footballing stardom, Camp Nou has only ever been silenced by four English players in Europe’s elite competition. 

So without further ado, here they are:


Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

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The 19-year-old English winger is quickly establishing himself as one of the hottest prospects in world football, and a goal in front of the Catalan crowd doesn’t do him any harm.

It was a cracker too. The ball played into him by Julian Brandt, Sancho swivelled, took two more touches and fired high into the ​Barça net from just inside the box, leaving the keeper helpless. 

While it proved to be somewhat of a meaningless goal for ​Borussia Dortmund, there is no doubt that it will be one of Sancho’s finest footballing memories for years to come.


Andy Cole (Manchester United)

Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

At a ground synonymous with lovely passing moves, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole taught Barca a thing or two in ​Man Utd’s 3-3 ​draw at Camp Nou in 1999 – with the latter grabbing a vital goal.

On the way to lifting the trophy, Cole and Yorke combined to score one of the goals of the competition when Yorke’s dummy, followed by a swift one-two, was coolly converted by Cole in a thrilling encounter.

Man United went on to win the ​Champions League that year following a stunning final victory over Bayern Munich where two injury-time goals saw the Red Devils pull off one of Europe’s greatest comebacks.


Steve McManaman (Real Madrid)

Barcelona v Real X

McManaman is loved on Merseyside and in Madrid,​ and that’s in no small part (for the latter fanbase at least) down to the fact that he scored in one of Los Blancos’ great victories over rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou.

In the first leg of the 2001/02 Champions League semi-final, Spain’s fiercest competitors faced one another, with a place in the final to boast. McManaman’s sumptuous chip, added to the effort already scored by current ​Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, saw the visitors triumph 2-0. 

Following McManaman’s goal, Madrid found their way to the final and beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 to lift the trophy.

It’s looking good for Sancho this year, isn’t it?


Frank Lampard (Chelsea)

Chelsea's Frank Lampard (R) is chased by

On Halloween 2006, we witnessed something rather scary and rather spectacular at Camp Nou. No it wasn’t ​Lionel Messi, or Xavi, or Andres Iniesta…it was Frank Lampard.

The English midfielder and current Chelsea boss scored a sublime chip from the byline, lofted over the head of Victor Valdes and stunning Barcelona. It was one of the greatest goals (if he meant it…which he claims he did) in Champions League history and helped the Blues earn a 2-2 draw against the Catalan side.

​Chelsea didn’t go on to win the competition though. Sorry Sancho.


Let’

Federico Valverde Agrees New Real Madrid Contract as Reward for Outstanding Form

​Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde is understood to have agreed a new five-year contract at the club as a reward for his immense form this season.

After a slow start to the campaign, the 21-year-old has played his way into Zinedine Zidane’s starting lineup, and he has enjoyed a fantastic few months in the team. He recently netted his first two goals for the club and looks to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Federico Valverde

As a reward for his fantastic performances, ​Marca claim that Valverde has penned a new deal at the club until 2025, which contains a release clause standing at a whopping €750m.

This is yet to be confirmed by the ​Real, but it appears as though it is just a matter of time before they do.

Zidane and the rest of the club’s hierarchy are understood to be completely supportive of the Uruguayan, who they see as a potential superstar in the team. They have regularly told Valverde of their admiration for him, and he now looks to have earned himself a nice pay rise.

Federico Valverde

The €750m release clause is a sign that Real feel Valverde could blossom into one of the finest midfielders in the world. They do not even want to humour offers from any other sides, and that release clause will certainly scare everyone off.

The renewal is said to have taken just a few meetings, with Valverde’s humility and loyalty thought to have impressed Real even more.

Zinedine Zidane,Federico Valverde

Club officials hope to see Valverde push on and continue his development. He has made 12 appearances already this season, starting seven of the last eight ​La Liga fixtures.

Zidane has rotated both ​Luka Modrić and ​Toni Kroos, but Valverde has been a near-permanent fixture in Real’s midfield. He has helped keep them level with ​Barcelona at the top of the league table, and will be hoping to give his side the edge in El Clásico on 18 December.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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Eden Hazard Tipped for 10 Days Out After Real Madrid Release Statement Following Tests

​Real Madrid have been handed an injury boost with the news that Eden Hazard will only be out of action for around ten days, after the Belgian star limped off against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday evening. 

Hazard was fouled by international teammate Thomas Meunier and took a heavy blow to his right ankle, the same one which was operated on in 2017. The 28-year-old was forced to leave the field after 68 minutes in his side’s 2-2 draw with PSG, and there were serious concerns over the extent of the injury. 

In the aftermath of the game, manager Zinedine Zidane called the injury ‘more than a knock’ and revealed that the player would undergo tests to assess the damage.

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Real Madrid have since released a brief statement on Hazard’s status, confirming only bruising rather than anything more serious.

The statement on the ​club’s official website reads: “After the tests carried out today on our player Eden Hazard by the Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with an external bruise on his right leg. His recovery will continue to be assessed.”

While there are no dates mentioned, Spanish programme ​El Chiringuito TV claim that Hazard will only be sidelined for around ten days, which (if true) will come as a great relief to Zidane, who has an upcoming Clásico to plan for.

The ​ex-Chelsea star struggled to adapt to life in Spain following his €100m move from the Blues, but he has begun to recapture the scintillating form which convinced ​Madrid to splash the cash this summer. 

This latest setback means ​Hazard will miss this weekend’s clash with Alavés, but he may be back in contention for Los Blancos’ home match against Espanyol on the following Saturday. 

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Zidane’s men are joint-top with ​Barcelona in the La Liga standings, but both side’s have made indifferent starts to the new season by their own high standards. The French boss has found himself under pressure in recent weeks, and the Madrid faithful will have been frustrated by their side surrendering a two-goal lead over PSG on Tuesday. 

Star striker ​Karim Benzema opened the scoring after 17 minutes, and looked to have sealed the victory when he doubled his tally with ten minutes left to play. 

The Ligue 1 Champions came storming back to snatch a point however, through goals from Madrid target ​Kylian Mbappé and Spanish midfielder Pablo Sarabia. 

Let’

Real Madrid 2-2 PSG: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Quickfire Double Seals Group Win for Visitors

Real Madrid saw a two-goal lead vanish to PSG in the space of three second half minutes in a dramatic Champions League night at the Santiago Bernabeu.

A Karim Benzema brace looked to have sealed a win for Zinedine Zidane’s men but Kylian Mbappe grabbed a goal back before Pablo Sarabia came back to haunt his former club with a dramatic equaliser, earning the visitors a 2-2 draw.

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain"


The hosts were at their fluid best and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 16th minute. Eden Hazard, Federico Valverde, Dani Carvajal were all involved, but it was Benzema who was on hand to turn home after Isco’s shot had cannoned off the woodwork.

Keylor Navas was impressive in the visitors goal, but the real talking point of the game came when Mauro Icardi was hauled down by Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian was shown a red card and a penalty was awarded, only for VAR to overturn the decision after a foul in the build-up by Idrissa Gueye on Marcelo. 

Pantomime villains Neymar and Gareth Bale both appeared from the substitutes bench for their sides, before Real made it two through Benzema again – this time Marcelo providing the assist after receiving the ball from Luka Modric.

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But before the Bernabeu could retake their seats, PSG struck. A lapse in concentration at the back for Madrid led to a mix-up between Raphael Varane and Courtois, gifting Kylian Mbappe an easy tap in.

Just moments later, it was unthinkably all square – as Neymar’s good work eventually saw the ball break to Sarabia, who curled home into the top corner. Bale almost won it in stoppage time as he hit the woodwork, but PSG clung on to seal top spot in Group A, leaving Real to settle for a place in second.

Here’s 90min‘s breakdown of the game.


REAL MADRID

Key Talking Point

An extraordinary five minute spell saw Real Madrid throw away 80 minutes of hard work, but actually it was taking a two-goal lead that led to their downfall.

Complacency kicked in after the second goal had been scored, with a lapse in concentration from Varane and Sergio Ramos allowing Mbappe a simple finish.

Kylian Mbappe,Thibaut Courtois

For all of their attacking fluid football and swagger, Madrid came unstuck by lacklustre defending and will be left wondering what might have been. One positive, however, will have been the performance of Isco, who brushed off his lack of football with a composed performance.


Player Ratings

Starting XICourtois (5), Carvajal (7), Varane (6), Ramos (6), Marcelo (8); Valverde, (8) Casemiro, (7) Kroos (7); Isco (8), Hazard, (7) Benzema, (8) 

Substitutes: Bale (7), Modric (6), Rodrygo, (6)


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STAR MAN – The big news prior to kick-off was that Isco was included in the starting eleven, seemingly as Zidane tried to stop PSG being so dominant in the middle of the park. 

It proved to be a masterstroke as Madrid controlled the tempo, largely through the diminutive Spaniard. Isco had a hand in both of Madrid’s goals, putting in a majestic midfield performance.


PSG

Key Talking Point

Artur Dias,Thibaut Courtois

PSG will feel aggrieved by the decision towards the end of the first half that could have resulted in Madrid being down to ten-men and a penalty.

But, after initially giving Courtois his marching orders, the referee reviewed the decision and PSG ended up conceding a free-kick.

The visitors put that to one side eventually, though, fighting back from the brink of defeat thanks to goals from Mbappe and Sarabia, though they will perhaps be the first to admit that they were perhaps fortuitous to leave with a point, despite the penalty drama.


Player Ratings

Starting XINavas (8), Meunier (5), Silva (6), Kimpembe (6), Marquinhos (6), Bernat, (6),Gueye (5), Verratti (6), Di Maria (6), Icardi (6), Mbappe (7)

Substitutes: Neymar (7), Draxler (6), Sarabia, (7)


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STAR MAN – Keylor Navas was in inspired form as he tried to single-handedly keep his old team at bay. At times, he was on a one-man mission, foiling the efforts of Toni Kroos and co.

PSG allowed Real far too many efforts on goal, with Navas’ first half heroics contributing heavily towards the point that was eventually earned.


Looking Ahead

Real Madrid return to La Liga action when they travel to Alavés on Saturday. Los Blancos then host Espanyol in the league before rounding off the Champions League group stage with a trip to Club Brugge on matchday six.

PSG will hope to extend their lead over second-placed Marseille in Ligue 1 when they take on Monaco. The defending champions then tackle Nantes and Montpellier, before finishing their group stage campaign at home to Galatasaray.

Let’

Real Madrid v PSG: 7 Key Facts & Stats to Impress Your Mates Ahead of Champions League Clash

The standout fixture of the Champions League group stages this week has to be PSG’s visit to the Bernabeu for a heavyweight clash with Real Madrid.

While fixtures in other groups may hold greater significance in terms of qualification, the game in Madrid on Tuesday night will be far superior to the rest in terms of quality.

With PSG safely through to the last 16 and Real soon to follow, the only real question left in Group A is: who will finish top? If they want to leapfrog their French counterparts come the end of the group phase, Los Blancos will have to win their final two games and hope that PSG miraculously slip up at home to Galatasaray on matchday six.

Nevertheless, both sides will be coming into this one brimming with confidence. Luka Modric inspired Zinedine Zidane’s side to a 3-1 win over Real Sociedad on Saturday night, while goals from Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria helped Les Parisiens to a 2-0 home win over Lille.

So, in order to fully prepare yourself for this blockbuster clash, be sure to check out the stats – provided by the good people at Opta – down below. 


Real Dominance

Raphael Varane,Sergio Ramos,Karim Benzema,Cristiano Ronaldo,Carlos Casemiro

This will be the tenth competitive meeting between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, and the sixth in the UEFA Champions League. Overall, Real Madrid have won four times to PSG’s three (D2).

Los Blancos also enjoy a fine home record against the French superpower, having won three of their four previous home games against PSG in all competitions, losing the other clash in the Cup Winners’ Cup in March 1994 (0-1).

If PSG are able to get the win on Tuesday night, it’ll be the first time they’ve won consecutive matches against Real since 1994 and only the second time in their history. Les Parisiens, of course, beat the Spaniards 3-0 on matchday one.


French Delight for Los Blancos

Cristiano Ronaldo - Soccer Player

Real Madrid have won eight and lost none of their 11 UEFA Champions League home matches against French opposition, winning the last five such games in a row by an aggregate score of 15-1.

PSG’s last visit to the Bernabeu came in the first leg of a round of 16 tie in 2018 – Real running out 3-1 winners. In fact, PSG have lost their last five Champions League away games against Spanish teams, their longest such losing run versus teams from a single nation in the competition.


Time to Take Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel,Zinedine Zidane

Zidane has a remarkable record as a manager with Real in Europe’s premier competition, winning the Champions League in back-to-back-to-back years between 2016 and 2018.

Out of the 18 managers, the Frenchman’s faced in the competition, he has registered at least one win over three of them – with PSG’s Thomas Tuchel being one of the three he hasn’t beaten (P3 W0 D2 L1).


Wrong to Let Keylor Go?

Keylor Navas

After leaving the Bernabeu in the summer, Keylor Navas is yet to concede a goal in the Champions League for PSG in four games. 

On only two previous occasions has a goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in his first five starts for a club in the competition – Navas himself for Real in 2015/16 (8) and Miguel Ángel Moyá for Atlético in 2014 (5).


Kroos Control

Toni Kroos

Apologies for the typical FIFA team name above, but Toni Kroos has been exceptional for Los Blancos in this competition up to this point.

No player has created more chances than the German in the group stages this season (15, joint with José Callejón), with the German also creating the most in the 2018/19 group stage (24). 

Kroos has also been involved in 37 open play sequences ending in a shot, more than any player in this season’s competition.


Hitting the Ground Running

Mauro Icardi

After arriving in a loan deal from Inter in the summer, Mauro Icardi has cemented his spot as PSG’s number nine this season – scoring ten times in all competitions this season.

The Argentine has scored eight goals in his ten Champions League appearances, scoring against five of the six teams he’s faced – the only team he’s failed to score against are Real Madrid. 

No player has ever faced as many as six teams and scored against every opponent, with the record currently held Milinko Pantic, who scored against all four opponents in 1996/97 for Atletico.


The Future Has Arrived 

Rodrygo

After arriving from Santos in the summer for a fee of around £40m, 18-year-old Rodrygo certainly made a name for himself in Real’s last European outing. 

The Brazilian became the second youngest ever Champions League hat-trick scorer (18y 301d) in their 6-0 win over Galatasaray, with only Raúl scoring one at a younger age (18y 113d for Real Madrid against Ferencvarosin 1995).


Real’s Lineup


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The Most Prolific Champions League Group Winners Since 2003/04 – And How Successful They Have Been

Winning the Champions League is pretty hard. 

We could have a debate over whether it’s more difficult to win Europe’s premier club competition or a top five league, but when you lump the 32 best teams in the continent together and ask them to fight to the death until there’s only one side remaining, that means the tournament is difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

Winning your group can make reaching the final easier, and Europe’s top dogs usually have no problem in breezing past the Genks, CSKA Moscows and Viktoria Plzeňs of the footballing world before the knockout stages.

So, fancy finding out who has won their group the most often in the Champions League since 2003/04? Hey, you’re in luck! It’s all below!


​4 – Atletico Madrid, Porto, Inter, Liverpool, Lyon, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain

Jurgen Klopp

All seven of the above teams have won their Champions League group four times each, but no side has gone on to win the competition during the season they topped a group. For example, Liverpool won last season’s Champions League after finishing below Paris Saint-Germain, and previously claimed the trophy in 2005 having come second behind Monaco.

The Reds have reached the final twice after winning their group, during the 2006/07 and 2017/18 seasons, while Monaco topped their set in 2003/04, but both sides would lose their respective finals.


5 – Borussia Dortmund, Milan

Filippo Inzaghi

Ah, finally, a team who won their group and went on to win the trophy!

Milan crowned themselves as Europe’s best team in 2006/07, pipping Lille and AEK Athens to top spot in Group H before beating Celtic, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and eventually Liverpool.

Dortmund went unbeaten during the 2012/13 group stage, picking up 14 points in a ridiculously tough group that featured Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City. They would reach the final that year after passing Shakhtar Donetsk, Malaga and Real, but Bayern Munich proved too strong for BVB in an all-German final at Wembley.


7 – Arsenal, Juventus

Mesut Oezil

And now it’s time for a few underachievers on the European scene. 

Given that both Arsenal and Juventus have won a group on seven occasions each, the fact that neither side has won the tournament since 2003/04 is a tad disappointing.

Both have reached a final during that time, things famously going wrong for Arsenal when they faced Barcelona in the 2005/06 showpiece as Jens Lehmann was sent off in just the 18th minute.

La Vecchia Signora are now widely regarded as one of Europe’s teams but came up against a generational Real Madrid side in Cardiff in 2017, being smashed 4-1 by Zinedine Zidane’s collection of all-stars.


9 – Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Real Madrid

Gareth Bale

It’s time for the big hitters!

Bayern, United and Real are serial group winners, and have all won the Champions League during a season when they topped their group, with Los Blancos having the best record of the three with two tournament triumphs in 2013/14 and 2015/16.

Bayern’s victory came in 2012/13 over Borussia Dortmund, but the current Bundesliga champions also lost in the final the season before to a Didier Drogba inspired Chelsea.

United came up short against Barcelona twice in finals having charged through the group stages, but did beat Chelsea on penalties in 2007/08. 


10 – Chelsea

Chelsea's British defender John Terry ce

Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea! And so on and so forth.

The Blues could add another group stage win to their tally if they manage to pip Ajax and Valencia to top spot this season, with each team currently on seven points.

During their victorious 2011/12 campaign they saw off Bayer Leverkusen, Valencia and Genk before overturning a first leg deficit against Napoli in the last 16 and seeing off Benfica in the quarters.

That legendary tie against Barcelona in the semis followed, before Drogba took centre stage at the Allianz Arena.

They reached the final in 2007/08, but lost to Manchester United on penalties.


13 – Barcelona

Champions League final - "Barcelona v Juventus"

Hardly surprising, is it?

Barcelona are good at steamrolling through opposition during the group stage. Their away record has been a little iffy over the last few years, but teams rarely leave Camp Nou victorious.

In fact, in the four seasons they’ve won the ​Champions League since 2003/04, they’ve won their group – although the only established European powerhouses they’ve pipped to top spot in that time is Paris Saint-Germain.

Still, teams like Manchester City, Bayern Munich and ​Real Madrid had to beaten in the knockout rounds during those campaigns, while ​Arsenal, ​Manchester United – twice – and ​Juventus have put up stern opposition during the finals.


For more from Jude Summerfield, follow him on Twitter!

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Zinedine Zidane Admits He Is ‘in Love With’ Real Madrid Transfer Target Kylian Mbappe

​Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has spoken of his ‘love’ for Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, who has been heavily linked with a world record move to the Bernabeu.

The two clubs meet on Tuesday night in the Champions League, and Les Parisiens would seal their place as top spot in Group A with a victory at the Bernabeu. 

It has been suggested Real could make a €400m bid for Mbappe next summer, with Zidane’s recent comments set to add more wood to the fire.

Kylian Mbappe

PSG are reportedly working to tie the 20-year-old down to a ​new contract at Parc des Princes, which would see him earn €30m-a-season plus bonuses.

Speaking ahead of the clash, Zidane said, as quoted by ​Marca: “You know that I’ve known him for a long time. I’m already in love with him as a person first, because he came here a long time ago for a trial. He’s the rival now, so I can’t say any more.”

In response to his praise for Mbappe, Thomas Tuchel stated (as quoted by journalist Arancha Rodriguez on ​Twitter): “I don’t know how or how much Zidane is in love with Kylian, but the important thing is that Mbappe is our player. Often, we fall in love with things we can’t have.”

Zidane’s praise for Mbappe comes a day after ​Real forward Eden Hazard ​admitted he wants the club to sign the France international, who has scored 69 goals in 98 games for the Ligue 1 champions.

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH61-FRA-BEL

The Madrid coach then gave an insight into his side’s approach to the match, explaining: “It’s the most important game of the season. We’ll be against a very good team and will have to be prepared.

“We need heart and head, but especially good football. We’ve changed and it’s not a rematch [of PSG’s 3-0 victory in September]. We want to play well and continue our form. It’s a game to confirm our turnaround.”


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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