Super Sunday Preview : Real Madrid vs Barcelona, Carabao Cup final, Juve vs Inter and more
- Sunday 1 March
An incredible day of football across Europe on Sunday sees top of the table clashes in Spain, Italy and Netherlands, while we have a cup final to look forward to here in England.
Man City vs Aston Villa - EFL Cup final
Aston Villa are hoping to enjoy a big day out at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final this weekend, but it could be a chastening experience against the Premier League champions in north London.
Villa are 32 points and 15 places below City in the English top flight and have already played and lost to them twice in the Premier League this season, heavily. At the Etihad in October, City won 3-0, then they hammered the Villains 6-1 at Villa Park just last month.
Pep Guardiola’s side have previous for walloping teams in finals, smashing Watford 6-0 in last season’s FA Cup final and hammering Arsenal 3-0 in the previous campaign’s EFL Cup final.
Dean Smith’s team did brilliantly to beat Leicester in the semis to make the final, but they have been in poor form since and look to be in bother this Sunday.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona – La Liga
Neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona are at the peak of their powers at the minute in what is a lacklustre, but still very exciting La Liga title race. Both are dropping points at a rate neither are accustomed to, with Barca winning just 17 of their 25 league games so far and Real only picking up 15 victories.
Zinedine Zidane’s side were top last week before losing at Levante and Barca took advantage by battering Eibar 5-0 to retake the lead. Quique Setien’s team picked up a decent draw in Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday night, while Real host Manchester City in a tough contest on Wednesday.
Things are a bit closer this season than in previous years but Real really haven’t been faring well in El Clasico of late. They have won just two of their last 13 meetings with their bitter rivals, and none of the last seven. The December clash at the Nou Camp finished goalless, but they have not beaten Barca at the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga since 2014.
Barcelona are far from their best, but are still a fearsome proposition, with Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezeman both on the score sheet over the last couple of games. Zidane, rather than creating a blistering attack, has actually mustered up a sturdy defence, conceding just 17 goals in 25 league games. Like the last meeting, this one will be tight and edgy, but Real just cannot be trusted to win it. The double chance on Barcelona or draw is a slim price, but looks good nonetheless.
Juventus vs Inter – Serie A
Italian football is not the entirely cagey affair it was one known as, but this clash between two of the top teams in Serie A may well be this Sunday as Juventus host Inter Milan.
Juve are top of the table, and after a little stumble in form of late, Inter have dropped to third, six points behind their rivals but with a game in hand. Both teams are in European action in midweek, with Juventus facing a tricky Champions League trip to Lyon on Wednesday before Inter have an easier task at home to Lugogorets on Thursday.
Neither team will fresh after those efforts by Sunday evening and both would probably be not-displeased with a point. Maurizio Sarri will be happy to hold Inter at bay, while Antonio Conte will want to close the gap, but will know how a tough a win in Turin is to come by.
Inter have six draws to their name this season, with only six teams drawing more matches, so they are not unaccustomed to stalemates. Neither side score a huge amount of goals, while both have excellent defences, so a low-scoring draw seems very possible. The first meeting between the sides this season was a very narrow win for Juve in Milan, but even at home, there is less need for them to push for the three points.
Ajax vs AZ Alkmaar - Eredivisie
There is an intriguing title race in the Netherlands this season, with Ajax and AZ battling for dominance this Sunday in Amsterdam, although both are aware of the coming power of Feyenoord as well.
League leaders Ajax and their closest rivals, AZ, are not in their best form at the moment, Ajax losing their last two matches, very surprisingly to Heracles at the weekend. AZ won on Sunday, but were winless in their previous three outings, so are not exactly in rhythm.
However, AZ do boast a sensational defence this season, conceding just 17 goals in 23 games, which makes their five defeats really quite surprising. They have won a lot of games to nil, including in their home game with Ajax in December.
Both have tough tasks in the Europa League on Thursday – Ajax attempting to overturn a two-goal deficit at home to Getafe, while AZ go to Linz in Austria precarious at 1-1 – both teams will be weary.
AZ will be resolute, though, as they often are, and will make themselves extremely difficult to beat, against a team they have shown they can keep out. They are capable of making things quite negative and will be happy to do so, to try and pinch a win on the counter-attack or settle for a draw – something that is quite rare for either side.
Ajax are the better side generally, but not by a great deal and not in great form, and AZ or draw looks great value.
- Man City have won their last four games against Aston Villa, scoring 17 goals
- Man City have won the EFL Cup in both of the last two seasons
- Aston Villa last won the League Cup in 1996
- There has not been more than one goal between Inter Milan and Juventus in their last seven meetings
- Inter Milan have the best defence in Serie A this season
- AZ beat Ajax in the reverse fixture 1-0 in December
- AZ have conceded just 17 goals in 23 league games this season
- Real Madrid have not beaten Barcelona at home in La Liga since 2014
- Real Madrid have the best defence in La Liga, conceding 17 goals in 25 games
- Barcelona have scored 16 more goals than any other side in La Liga