We’ve looked at matches across Italy, Germany and England ready for Sunday’s televised matches. The Bundesliga has resumed after the World Cup followed by a winter break for the players. Bayern kicked off proceedings against Leipzig on Friday night but there is another big clash to look forward to on Sunday as Monchengladbach host Leverkusen.
Serie A is also hotting up with off the field issues threatening to have a huge say in European qualification. Juventus are no strangers to scandal and they were hit by a heavy points deduction. This comes just over a month after their entire board resigned.
Finally, we look to the Premier League. Leeds will want to end their poor run of form as they host Brentford.
Sampdoria v Udinese
Sampdoria, currently 19th in the Serie A table and seven points away from safety, are facing a difficult task as they struggle to turn their fortunes around under coach Dejan Stankovic, who has only secured two wins in his 10 games in charge. The team needs to make a quick turnaround if they wish to avoid the drop this season. On the other hand, Udinese, sitting in 8th place and nine points behind the pack chasing European football, are also facing a crisis as they have not won in their last ten league matches and recent results have been a source of frustration for the team.
One aspect that sets Sampdoria apart from the rest of the teams in the Serie A is their status as the most fouled team in the league this season, with their opponents averaging 15.67 fouls per game, significantly more than the second most fouled team Monza, who force an average of 14.44 fouls per game. When these teams last met in March, Udinese made 20 fouls in the match and in the other encounter that season, I Bianconeri made 15 fouls.
In Sampdoria’s last four league matches, the opposition left-back or left centre-back has been carded, and with Udogie set to start at left wing-back for Udinese, he should be busy down that flank. He has picked up the joint second-most bookings for Udinese this season, receiving four yellow cards. As the teams gear up for their next match, it remains to be seen if Udinese can end their winless streak and if Sampdoria can make a comeback to avoid the drop. The poor form of both teams makes this game an interesting one in terms of cards.
Leeds v Brentford
Despite Jesse Marsch’s success in steering Leeds away from trouble last season, the team finds themselves in a precarious position once again, just two points clear of the drop zone in the midst of a relegation scrap. With only two wins in their last 15 Premier League matches, patience among fans is running thin.
On the other hand, Brentford, under the leadership of Thomas Frank, have secured an impressive 29 points this season and are in no danger of relegation. Notable victories over Manchester United and Liverpool have solidified their position and they now set their sights on challenging for European football.
Leeds have committed 13.22 fouls per game this season. This is the most in the Premier League. They look destined for another fight against relegation and I expect them to get stuck in against a Brentford side that are flying high.
Tyler Adams has committed 14 fouls in his last 5 Premier League starts for Leeds United and he is in the top 10 for most fouls committed in the league this season. Brentford beat Leeds 5-2 earlier in the season so the home side will be out for revenge this time out. Expect the fans to be right up for this one. This should ensure fiery players like Adams get stuck in
Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen
Leverkusen made a poor start to the season and are languishing in 12th heading into the weekend. They are four points behind Sunday’s opponents in the table and will be hoping to climb into the European places in the second half of the season.
Marcus Thuram will start as the central striker for the home side. He has flourished in that role this season, scoring 10 goals in 15 Bundesliga games. The attacker had played out wide or in tandem with Breel Embolo in recent seasons but he has taken to being the lone striker.
The French international is averaging 3.7 shots per game in the Bundesliga and an average of two shots on target per game. In the final league game before the World Cup, Thuram found the net against Borussia Dortmund and had two shots on target.
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Spezia v Roma
Spezia are in 15th place and are nine points clear of the relegation zone. Avoiding the drop would be seen as a successful season for Luca Gotti’s men. They are unbeaten in their last five Serie A matches and will be looking to extend that run on Sunday.
Roma are currently on 34 points, three points off the Champions League places. They could be handed a boost in their pursuit of European football with Juventus facing a 15 point deduction. Mourinho’s side have beaten Bologna and Fiorentina in their three league matches in 2023 so far. They also fought back from 2-0 down to draw with AC Milan.
Mbala has committed 38 fouls this season; the most in Serie A. He is 8 fouls clear of second on the list and the abundance of infringements is surprising for a striker. He has also picked up four yellow cards in the process.
In this fixture last season, Spezia picked up four yellows and a red card. Roma’s recent matches have also been card friendly. Their three league matches since the World Cup have seen an average of 7.33 cards per game. Mourinho’s sides are often known for their gamesmanship. It will be an interesting battle between the Roma defence and frequent fouling forward.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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