As the season reaches the crunch period, now is the time to earn all-important points in domestic championships and grind out results in international competitions.
We are rapidly approaching a make-or-break part of the season, where every mistake can tip the scales in favour of others.
With March just around the corner, we have picked up six blockbuster contests that require special attention.
Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Anfield on March 4 for one of the most highly anticipated fixtures on the Premier League football schedule. The sides will face-off in contrasting circumstances. While the Blues enjoyed a renaissance under Thomas Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp’s men are in the midst of a severe crisis that has thrown their hopes of landing a top-four finish into a corridor of doubt. However, the reigning English champions have not lost any of their previous five top-flight home games against the London outfit, winning the last two (D3).
A mouth-watering contest between cross-town rivals Manchester City and Manchester United will take place at the Etihad Stadium on March 7. Although Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer both possess tremendous firepower up front, each of their last four competitive head-to-head meetings has seen one or both sides fail to get on the scoresheet. Given City’s supreme-power stature, it may come as some surprise that United ran out winners in two of the aforementioned four matches (D1, L1).
Wanda Metropolitano is the venue, as Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid come face-to-face in the 168th El Derbi in La Liga. The high-stake clash scheduled for March 7 will see Atletico chase their first top-flight victory against arch-rivals since 2015. Indeed, Diego Simeone’s men have lost four of their last nine league meetings with Zinedine Zidane’s side (D5), drawing a blank on six occasions over that stretch of games. Overall head-to-head record in La Liga heavily favours Los Blancos. Real have won 89 duels so far, compared to Los Rojiblancos’ 39 successes.
Familiar foes meet at the Allianz Stadium as Bayern Munich tackle Borussia Dortmund in a massive, heavyweight Bundesliga showdown. Free-scoring Bavarians have netted 13 goals in winning their last four top-flight fixtures versus fierce rivals. The visitors are already lagging behind the top-four and can ill afford to lose more ground when they take on a formidable opposition. Easier said than done, as Edin Terzic’s men have lost their last five Bundesliga trips to Munich by an aggregate score of 24-2. In fact, Dortmund have failed to score in each of their previous three league visits to the Allianz, conceding over 3.5 goals on each occasion.
The Serie A title is slipping through AC Milan’s fingers as the Rossoneri prepare to challenge Napoli at the San Siro. Stefano Pioli’s men have failed to beat the Partenopei in each of their last five league meetings on home soil (D3, L2), drawing a blank three times in the process. Interestingly, Milan’s last home victory against Gennaro Gattuso’s side dates back to 2014, with none of the players who performed for the Lombardian outfit at the time wearing the red-black jersey anymore.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain are on the verge of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the second season running, as they harbour a 4-1 advantage ahead of the second leg of their last-16 tie against Barcelona. The Catalans staged a stunning second-leg fightback on a memorable night at Camp Nou the last time these sides met in the Champions League knock-out stages. Lionel Messi and Co managed to overcome a 4-0 first-leg deficit with a remarkable 6-1 win at home to reach the competition’s quarter-finals back in the 2016/17 campaign.
Article by Marko Vrakela, football news correspondent for Sportslens.com.