The countdown begins in earnest in Round 26 as we enter the final ten rounds of Season 3 for FIFA World Leagues Predictor. This week’s menu includes derbies in Russia and the Netherlands, a crucial game in Spain and exciting encounters in Argentina and Singapore.
Match of the week
Things have not been fairing too well for usually unstoppable Barcelona, who now sit in second place on the La Liga table. They face third-placed Valencia on Sunday without coach Pep Guardiola and Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who are both serving one-match suspensions after picking up red cards against Almeria. With Real Madrid leading the table by goal difference, Barcelona can’t afford to drop any points if they want to hold on to their league title. A Valencia win at the Camp Nou would return over 90 points, a risk many backers may be willing to take.
Spartak Moscow-Dynamo Moscow (Russia)
A new season of the Russian Football Premier League kicks off this weekend with a Moscow derby on the menu. Last season Spartak Moscow lost 2-0 at home to Dynamo Moscow, with the rivals drawing 1-1 at Dynamo. Backing Dynamo could yield big returns, while playing it safe and betting on the home side could be the sensible option.
Ajax-PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)
As has been the case for the past few years, rivals Ajax and PSV are battling out it in the upper echelons of the Eredivisie table. Third-placed Ajax trail PSV by four points but enjoy home advantage this weekend. Games between the rivals have produced massive scorelines in the past two years. In the 2008/09 season PSV beat Ajax 6-2 at home, while Ajax beat PSV 4-1. In their most recent league encounter PSV edged out Ajax 4-3. Predicting how this Klassieker will end could prove key to winning Round 26.
Chacarita Juniors-Independiente (Argentina)
Chacarita Juniors take on league leaders Independiente this weekend. Juniors have suffered two consecutive defeats at home of late. Counting in their favour is the fact that Independiente's strong start to the season is more a result of their home than away form. On the road, the leaders have won only one in four, drawing two and losing one.
New faces in Asia
Home United-Etoile (Singapore)
Just days after winning the Singapore League Cup, Etoile FC travel to Home United. The two teams are undefeated in their opening two games of the season. Etoile, which consists entirely of French nationals, is the 8th foreign team to join the S-League; the European side seem set to make their presence felt in their maiden S-League season. An Etoile win would return over 80 points while victory for the home side is likely to be worth half the amount.