Five Games to Watch

Five Games to Watch: Intercontinental Derby and Chelsea take on Spurs

The latest edition of the Eternal Rivalry takes place at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium

 
10:00am on Friday 21st February 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

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FENERBAHCE v Galatasaray

Sunday 23rd February, 1600 GMT

One of the biggest and most ferocious derbies in the world takes place this weekend as Fenerbahce host Galatasaray for the Intercontinental Derby.

For this edition of the Eternal Rivalry, Galatasaray enter it still with high hopes of securing the championship as they are currently in third place two points behind leaders, Trabzonspor, while Fenerbahce are down in sixth. Ersun Yanal's side could move within a point of their city rivals should they win this game, though.

Over the turn of the year, Fenerbahce were on a run of three straight victories, but that has been followed up by two losses and a draw, with them losing their last game 2-1 against MKE Ankaragucu. Galatasaray, meanwhile, have won seven out of their last eight.

As if things couldn't be tense enough between these two, club presidents Mustafa Cengiz and Ali Koc have exchanged some heated words recently over things such as the appointment of referees, and indeed the fact that Koc has not personally greeted Cengiz in the last two years worth of Fenerbahce home games in the derby! Talk about petty...

PLAYER TO WATCH

84
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1890
Played matches
21
Saves P90
3.10
Touches P90
42.10
Clearances P90
0.76
Man of the match
3
Goals Conceded P90
0.76
Error lead to goal
0.00

Galatasaray have the best defensive record in the league with just 17 goals conceded so far, and a lot of that can be attributed to Fernando Muslera between the sticks. He has been their standout performer this season, and will likely be called into action in the derby.

Chelsea v Tottenham" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/premier-league-Chelsea-fc-Tottenham-hotspur-fc/preview/1643864">

Chelsea v Tottenham

Saturday 22nd February, 1230 GMT

Both Chelsea and Spurs, the latter especially, have arguably had disappointing campaigns so far. However, they both find themselves still in with a great shout of making the top four, with Frank Lampard's men in fourth and Jose Mourinho's charges in fifth.

There is just one point between the pair at the moment, and even though the points gained or lost in this one could prove vital, there is no guarantee that either side won't go and drop points in the next game, such as their sketchy form.

Spurs are unbeaten in four, but this came after two losses against Southampton and Liverpool, while Chelsea were defeated 2-0 at home by Man Utd in their last game, which was preceded by a draw against Leicester.

One major narrative that this fixture will have is the 'master versus apprentice' element as Lampard attempts to outwit his former mentor, Mourinho.

Chelsea's leading scorer in their history has lost five home games out of 13 so far at Stamford Bridge as head coach. The Special One, however, took 107 games to lose five.

PLAYER TO WATCH

23 yrs - AM, M (C) - Tottenham
85
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1572
Played matches
19
7
3
Shots P90
1.95
Shots On target P90
0.92
Successful passing %
77%
Final third passes P90
15.92

Dele Alli has found a rich vein of form under Mourinho, and with Son Heung-min now out of the season along with Harry Kane, the onus will be further on him to affect play in the final third.

Leicester City v MANCHESTER CITY" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/premier-league-leicester-city-fc-manchester-city-fc/preview/1643866">

Leicester City v MANCHESTER CITY

Saturday 22nd February, 1730 GMT

Just above the battle for fourth is the battle for second between Leicester and Man City, as the Foxes host Pep Guardiola's men at the King Power.

With Liverpool running, very far, away with the Premier League, the secondary battle in the English top-flight is between these two until the end of ths season. City hold the advantage currently and are four points ahead after Leicester's abject run of three wins out of their last 10 games.

The reigning champions, of course, received the news this week that they are banned from European competition for two years, so it remains to be seen how much stock they will put into the league between now and the end of the campaign knowing finishing in the top four may mean nothing.

The last game between the pair ended 3-1 at the Etihad, with Riyad Mahrez opening the scoring against his former side.

PLAYER TO WATCH

33 yrs - S (C) - Leicester City
88
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
2103
Played matches
24
17
4
Shots P90
2.27
Shots On target P90
1.41
Successful passing %
71%
Final third passes P90
6.16

The Englishman is the Premier League's top scorer and remains Leicester's best hope of winning this one, with his pace in behind sure to cause the shaky City defence issues.

Celta v LEGANES" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/primera-division-rc-Celta-de-vigo-cd-leganes/preview/1696617">

Celta v LEGANES

Saturday 22nd February, 1200 GMT

In what was one of the most ridiculous, distasteful, and outright wrong stories of the season, Barcelona were allowed to sign Leganes star striker Martin Braithwaite as an emergency transfer due to being low on strikers.

Leganes, meanwhile, were not allowed to sign a replacement, according to La Liga rules.

They are currently 19th in the Spanish Primera Division table and have just lost a vital player, further denting their hopes of avoiding relegation.

The loss of Braithwaite couldn't have happened at a worse time, too, as this weekend they take on Celta in the proverbial relegation six-pointer.

Celta have been buoyed by their last couple of results to take them out of the bottom three, as they beat Sevilla before earning a brilliant draw against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

PLAYER TO WATCH

26 yrs - M (LC) - Celta
77
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1248
Played matches
19
1
3
Shots P90
1.15
Shots On target P90
0.50
Successful passing %
82%
Final third passes P90
18.75

Denis Suarez pulled off one of the best assists of the season against Madrid last week, setting up Santi Mina. His creativity and ability to provide ammunition for the strikers should make him a marking priority for Leganes.

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ATLETICO v Villarreal

Sunday 23rd February, 2000 GMT

Doubt Atletico Madrid at your peril. That is the message which European football received during the week as Diego Simeone's side earned a 1-0 home win against seemingly unbeatable Liverpool.

It was a defensive masterclass, but getting back to league duty, they will need to start finding the back of the net more if they are to even make it into the Champions League next season. They currently sit in fourth, but are level on points with Sevilla, while Villarreal could overtake them from sixth if they win at the Wanda Metropolitano.

In terms of goalscoring, they have the 13th worst attack in the league.

The last time the two met was back in December and was one of Atletico's many, many draws this season, as it ended 0-0.

PLAYER TO WATCH

27 yrs - ST (C) - Atletico Madrid
84
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1410
Played matches
20
7
1
Shots P90
3.19
Shots On target P90
1.47
Successful passing %
68%
Final third passes P90
9.33

Alvaro Morata's relentless hard work contributed to Atletico's win against Liverpool and proved he can get in among the best defenders in the world. If he can convert better performances into goals, he could allow Los Colchoneros to finish the campaign strongly.

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