Five Games to Watch

Five Games to Watch: England's greatest rivalry, and a cracker in Germany

Plus a top-of-the table clash in Sweden and Manchester City look to get back to winning ways.

 
12:55pm on Thursday 17th October 2019
By
Martin Macdonald

Liverpool" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/premier-league-manchester-united-fc-Liverpool-fc/preview/1643688">

MANCHESTER UNITED v Liverpool

Over the past few years, the trajectories of Man Utd and Liverpool couldn't be more different, with the Red Devils spiralling into mediocrity while the Anfield side pursues excellence under Jurgen Klopp. However, despite the chasm in quality, which continues to grow, the recent fixtures between the two sides have been relatively even. Over the last five games, they have each won one, with three draws spread in between. Indeed, the last encounter was a dull 0-0 at Old Trafford last season. United are on the precipice of a major crisis, though, with the future of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer likely dependant on the quality of results before Christmas, or perhaps even before. Their last game was a new low, being defeated 1-0 by Steve Bruce's Newcastle. Liverpool, meanwhile, will be motivated by Manchester City dropping points against Wolves as they look to maintain, or even extend, their lead at the top of the Premier League.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Sadio Mané
Sadio Mané W, AM (L)
SEN
W, AM (L)
27
16(1)
1432
11(1)
2
2
2
0
1.5
2.5
1.9/1.1
-
0.7
0.3
0.1
-
55.8
33.4
80%
19.3
1.7
14.1
2.3
1.3
0.2
5.6
0.1
0.3
0.1
2
35%
-
0.7
0
0
94
Extra note text etc..

The lightning-quick forward is Liverpool's top goalscorer in the league this season, and has established himself as on-par with Mohamed Salah in terms of importance for that energetic front three.

Dortmund v BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/Bundesliga-bv-borussia-09-Dortmund-borussia-monchengladbach/preview/1669548">

BORUSSIA Dortmund v BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH

It was meant to be different for Dortmund this season. With Bayern failing to acquire some primary transfer targets and with doubts remaining over Niko Kovac, BVB were set to put in a major challenge for the Bundesliga. It hasn't happened yet, as they are down in eighth. The pace-setters aren't Bayern, though, but Gladbach, who have been hugely impressive under new coach Marco Rose, topping the table. There is only four points separating the two, though, so a win for Dortmund would further squeeze the teams together up top. The recent fixtures have been all-Dortmund, as they have won the past five, including a huge 6-1 humbling of BMG in 2017.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Marco Reus
Marco Reus AM, S (C)
DEU
AM, S (C)
30
11
967
5(0)
0
1
0
0
1.0
0.6
1.4/0.8
-
0.4
1.7
-
-
53.9
37.3
81%
19.2
2.4
11.9
2.9
1.6
0.5
5.6
-
-
-
0
45%
-
1.0
0
0
92
Extra note text etc..

The Dortmund captain recently spoke out defending his team after accusations that they were 'too soft' after numerous games in which they failed to defend a lead. Against his former club, he may come out all guns blazing.

Hammarby v MALMO" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/Allsvenskan-Hammarby-fotboll-malmo-ff/preview/1491623">

Hammarby v MALMO

The Swedish Allsvenskan, although 27 games in already, represents one of the tightest championship races in Europe. The leaders, Malmo, are on 59 points alongside Djurgaarden, with Hammarby and AIK in behind on 56 points. This is the second top-of-the-table clash in a row in the Allsvenskan, as before the international break Hammarby defeated Djurgaarden 2-1 away from home. Hammarby and Malmo have already played each other this season, at the end of April, and on that occasion it finished 4-1 to the latter. Whatever the result at the Tele2 Arena on Sunday, it will have title ramifications.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Markus Rosenberg
SWE
ST (C)
37
27(5)
2432
17(1)
6
3
7
0
1.6
1.5
0.6/0.4
-
0.4
1.1
-
-
41.7
24.6
61%
16.7
1.6
15.7
3.9
1.3
1.1
5.6
0.2
0.2
-
0
50%
-
0.7
1
0
64
Extra note text etc..

37-year-old Markus Rosenberg is enjoying the twilight of his career with Malmo after famously failing to score a single competitive goal for West Brom all those years ago. This season, he has 11, and could be vital for Malmo if they are to maintain their top spot.

Atletico Madrid v Valencia" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/primera-division-club-atletico-de-madrid-Valencia-cf/preview/1696453">

Atletico Madrid v Valencia

Diego Simeone's men have been fortunate that both Barcelona and Real Madrid, too, have suffered abject form in the league this season. Atleti may have lost just once this season, but they simply cannot score goals, having netted a fairly pathetic seven times in their opening eight matches. They may have lost Antoine Griezmann in the summer, but they still should have enough firepower through the likes of Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata, and Joao Felix to make up for the absence of the Frenchman. Valencia have had an even more tumultuous 2019 campaign, sacking head coach Marcelino to bring in the untested Albert Celades. Some players revolted, and the fans weren't happy either. Los Che could go level on points with Atleti should they win at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, but they'll need to improve on their last outing, as they lost 3-2 there in April.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
João Félix
PRT
ST (C)
19
10
754
3(0)
1
0
1
0
1.1
2.0
0.5/0.2
-
0.8
0.2
-
-
37.8
23.0
78%
10.1
0.5
10.4
2.9
1.1
0.5
3.9
0.1
0.1
-
1
70%
-
0.5
0
0
80
Extra note text etc..

Despite some flashes of brilliance, the Portuguese wonderkid is yet to set La Liga alight, but with his best obviously yet to come for Los Colchoneros, Valencia should be wary of his presence as a match winner.

Crystal Palace v MANCHESTER CITY" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/premier-league-crystal-palace-fc-manchester-city-fc/preview/1643685">

Crystal Palace v MANCHESTER CITY

Be afraid, Palace, be very afraid. Pep Guardiola's side are coming off a surprising, damaging 2-0 loss at home to Wolves in the Premier League which saw them lose potentially vital ground to Liverpool in the title race. The issue for Palace, is that the last time this happened to City - when they lost at Norwich - they won the next game no less than 8-0 against Watford in what was a statement to the rest of the league. If the champions are in a similarly defiant mood at Selhurst Park, it could be a long 90 minutes for Roy Hodgson's men. Palace or no mugs, though, and currently sit sixth in the table, so it will likely not be as easy an afternoon for City as it was against Watford. City may have won the last game against Palace 3-1, but the fixture before that saw the Londoners emerge victorious with a 3-2 result at the Etihad in a game memorable for Andros Townsend's incredible 35-yard volley.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Raheem Sterling
GBR
W (LR)
24
10(1)
913
9(0)
2
1
2
0
0.9
1.0
1.6/1.0
-
0.3
0.2
-
-
56.1
35.6
80%
20.4
0.7
15.2
3.4
1.7
1.1
9.2
0.2
0.3
-
0
45%
-
1.0
0
0
98
Extra note text etc..

The England winger is coming off another match in which he suffered abhorrent racist abuse, this time against Bulgaria in Euro Qualifying. He still managed to score two in that match, though, so back on home turf, he could be even more potent against Palace.

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