Five Games to Watch

Five Games to Watch: Copa Libertadores final, and Mourinho is back

Flamengo face River Plate on Saturday evening, as The Special One takes the reigns of Spurs against West Ham.

 
9:00am on Friday 22nd November 2019
By
Martin Macdonald

West Ham v Tottenham" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/premier-league-west-ham-united-fc-Tottenham-hotspur-fc/preview/1643731">

West Ham v Tottenham

There is no love lost between West Ham and Tottenham due to London derby status of the fixture, but this one has been given an injection of spice due to one man - Jose Mourinho. During the week, Spurs, surprisingly to some, parted company with popular boss Mauricio Pochettino to bring in the controversial 'Special One' to recover their dismal domestic campaign so far. West Ham, too, are doing poorly, with head coach Manuel Pellegrini also under significant pressure, so this has suddenly become a game with sub-plots aplenty. Last season, the away team emerged victorious in both games, as Spurs won 1-0 at the London Stadium in October, followed by West Ham winning 1-0 at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in April.

PLAYER TO WATCH

26 yrs - S (C) - Tottenham
99
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
985
Played matches
11
6
1
Shots P90
2.74
Shots On target P90
0.91
Successful passing %
68%
Final third passes P90
9.23

When Mourinho was appointed as boss, one of the questions that sprung to mind was how the players would react. Kane, as club captain, could represent an initial feeling towards the Portuguese coach from his team-mates.

Chelsea" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/premier-league-manchester-city-fc-Chelsea-fc/preview/1643728">

MANCHESTER CITY v Chelsea

All of a sudden, Chelsea are ahead of Manchester City in the Premier League table, which adds more importance to this fixture than some would have predicted in the first few weeks of the campaign. Pep Guardiola and his men now need to deal with getting back into second place ahead of Chelsea and Leicester before they can even think of taking on Liverpool for the top spot. Frank Lampard's outfit have been in superb form recently, but face their toughest test of his tenure yet when they travel to the Etihad. Unfortunately for Chelsea, the last time they played City in the league, they were demolished 6-0.

PLAYER TO WATCH

28 yrs - M (C) - Man City
96
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
877
Played matches
11
3
8
Shots P90
2.77
Shots On target P90
0.41
Successful passing %
83%
Final third passes P90
30.48

The midfield maestro was in scintillating form for Belgium over the international break, scoring two goals and playing a part in another two in the win over Cyprus. If City are to recover from the loss against Liverpool, they'll need him firing.

Atalanta v Juventus" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/serie-a-Atalanta-bc-Juventus-fc/preview/1744703">

Atalanta v Juventus

Atalanta's form has dipped slightly from the start of the season as they have only won one of their last five Serie A games, albeit a 7-1 drubbing of Udinese. If they have hopes of getting back into the top four quickly, they could be doing with a result against the champions, Juventus. The Bianconeri have certainly not been spectacular under new coach Maurizio Sarri, but just keep winning games, usually by a single goal, as has been the case in their last three league games. Juve will be out for some revenge in this fixture, as although both Serie A fixtures ended as draws last season, they were eliminated from the Coppa Italia by Atalanta after a 3-0 loss in January.

PLAYER TO WATCH

34 yrs - F (CL) - Juventus
98
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
865
Played matches
10
5
1
Shots P90
5.93
Shots On target P90
2.50
Successful passing %
81%
Final third passes P90
20.08

Ronaldo may not have scored since the end of October for Juve, but he was in magnificent form for Portugal over the international break, scoring four. That could just present the return to form he needs.

Palmeiras v GREMIO" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/serie-a-se-Palmeiras-gremio-fbpa/preview/1587747">

Palmeiras v GREMIO

With Flamengo having already played their league fixture due to galivanting away at the Copa Libertadores final, Palmeiras have the opportunity to bridge the gap between themselves and the runaway Serie A leaders to 10 points. They take on fourth-placed Gremio, whose impressive run of wins came to an end at the hands of Flamengo last week. With just five games of the regular season remaining, time is running out for Palmeiras to make good on their slim chances of overtaking the Libertadores finalists. The last league match between Palmeiras and Gremio ended 1-1 at the Arena do Gremio.

PLAYER TO WATCH

30 yrs - DM (C) - Palmeiras
79
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
2543
Played matches
30
9
1
Shots P90
1.84
Shots On target P90
0.62
Successful passing %
89%
Final third passes P90
15.45

The Palmeiras captain is also their top scorer this season, and has recently vowed to keep fighting for the title even after his wife was actually attacked by some of the team's own fans.

Flamengo v River Plate" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/copa-libertadores-cr-Flamengo-ca-river-plate/preview/1789001">

Flamengo v River Plate

The Copa Libertadores final takes place this weekend in Lima, and features teams from Brazil and Argentina respectively in the form of Flamengo and last year's winners, River. The former are going for their second tournament win in their history, withe previous coming in 1981, while La Banda are hoping to seal their fifth after defeating Superclasico rivals Boca in the 2018 final. The pair faced each other in last year's competition, with only away goals sending River through after the legs finished 2-2 and 0-0 respectively. With not much between them a year ago, this promises to be another tight affair in what is the first final in tournament history which will be decided over one leg.

PLAYER TO WATCH

23 yrs - S (C) - Flamengo
88
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
2277
Played matches
26
21
8
Shots P90
4.03
Shots On target P90
2.06
Successful passing %
80%
Final third passes P90
13.80

Inter loanee Gabigol has been in superb goalscoring form this season, hitting 29 goals in 37 appearances for Flamengo so far. With the Brazilian side putting plenty of onus on attacking football, he could just get enough chances to light up this final.

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