The Rome derby is the pick of the games, with Lazio keen to extend their winning run and signal their intent to challenge for the Serie A title.
Elsewhere Barcelona’s new manager Quique Setien will be looking to build on his debut win at Valencia while PSG travel to Lille in a deceptively tough fixture for the French leaders.
Roma v Lazio
Sunday, 26/01/20, 17:00
Almost unseen, Lazio are creeping up the Serie A table and now find themselves just six points behind leaders Juventus with a game in hand – and they’re doing it playing wonderful football, winning each of their last 14 domestic matches. That presents a daunting prospect for Roma ahead of this weekend’s big derby, especially when you consider their recent home form.
Roma have lost twice in a row in the nation’s capital, to Juventus and Torino, which has left them hanging onto their place within the top four. Chris Smalling and Gianluca Mancini played badly in both of those games, and so the Roma centre-back partnership is likely to come unstuck against the in-form Ciro Immobile – scorer of a hat-trick last time out.
Napoli v Juventus
Sunday, 26/01/20, 19:45
Napoli have seriously fallen apart this season, sinking into midtable obscurity after a series of embarrassing defeats. They have lost four of the last five, but even worse than that sit 16th in the table on home form. It seems highly likely Juventus will extend Napoli’s losing streak in Naples to five.
Juve have certainly stabilised recently under Maurizio Sarri as his ideas finally take hold in Turin. Cristiano Ronaldo, a player who many doubted could fit in under Sarri, has been in sensational form of late, bagging six goals in his last three games. The lack of confidence in the Napoli camp suggests Ronaldo will lead his team to a simple win.
Valencia v Barcelona
Saturday, 25/01/20, 15:00
QuiQue Setien might not have set the world alight in his first game as Barcelona manager, a 1-0 victory over Granada, but there were glimmers of the aesthetic football and commitment to Guardiola’s legacy in the fluency of their possession. There is no doubt they will hog the ball at Valencia this weekend – but having had little time with their new manager, they will probably again struggle to turn this into creating chances.
That hands Valencia a good chance of causing an upset. The hosts are yet to lose on home soil in La Liga this season while Barca have collected a measly 15 points from 10 away games; Valencia will happily absorb pressure, and in doing so can spoil Setien’s honeymoon period by eking out a point.
Lille v PSG
Sunday, 26/01/20, 20:00
Games don’t get any harder than this for a club who have monopolised their domestic league. Paris Saint-Germain are eight points top of Ligue Un and yet that does not guarantee success against Lille, who are unbeaten at home this season and have dropped just four points. They play defensively resilient football, conceding rarely on home soil.
That’s a problem for PSG given they still don’t look fluid in attack, especially not when tasked with breaking down a well-drilled unit. However, the front four of Neymar, Angel di Maria, Kylian Mbappe, and Edinson Cavani have been performing better recently – while Lille lost 5-1 at Monaco last time out. PSG will score at least once and win this.
Southampton v Tottenham
Saturday, 25/01/20, 15:00
The form guide tells us to expect a cup shock on Saturday. Jose Mourniho’s project isn’t going very well so far, with Tottenham struggling to find creative fluency as they meander clumsily between the high pressing game under Mauricio Pochettino and the new manager’s approach. They are no more organised than in those final months before Jose arrived.
That should mean the renewed defensive rigour seen at Southampton recently gives them the platform to victory. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s 4-4-2 gives a simple structure, allowing Nathan Redmond and Danny Ings to counter-attack effectively. They should be in full force against a hesitant Spurs back line.
Bayern Munich v Schalke 04
Saturday, 25/01/20, 17:30
Generally speaking new manager hans-Dieter Flick has done a good job at Bayern Munich, aside from losing consecutive league matches to Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach. Bayern have won each of their last four, scoring 15 goals in the process. Unfortunately for them, this weekend’s opponents play the sort of counter-attacking football that has proved Bayern’s undoing recently.
Schalke are fifth in the table and on a four-match unbeaten run, but more importantly consistently grind out points against the league’s best performers. They beat Monchengladbach 2-0 last weekend, building on a 0-0 draw with Dortmund earlier in the season. They have the resilience to keep Bayern at bay.