Celta Vigo vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid may have got the boost in confidence they needed by beating their bitter rivals in a tense Champions League tie, with an unlikely hero in the form of Javier Hernandez. He got criticized by Thierry Henry for his celebrations, but what I saw was a player who has had a frustrating time on the bench finally making a difference on the biggest stage of European football. His overall performance showed that he is capable of causing problems and his movement is a joy for the creative players behind him. Overall, Celta Vigo are safely positioned in the league but will be up for a game on home soil against the European champions. However, with the league title in sight, I expect Real Madrid to be dominant.
Espanyol vs Barcelona
Barcelona have turned their season around. Before the new year, Barcelona seemed to be a team in relative decline, with pundits writing them off as Real Madrid looked unbeatable in La Liga. However, now they stand as favourites for both La Liga and the Champions League, and credit is due to their manager Luis Enrique. Unfortunately for Espanyol, I think Barcelona will beat anyone in the world right now and will run riot against their Catalan rivals. My money is on a comfortable win to nil.
PSG vs Lille
Another year goes by with PSG owners left frustrated at their lack of progression in the Champions League. As seen with both Manchester City and PSG, spending is not the only deciding factor and a number of areas need improving from the top to the bottom of the club. The most difficult hurdle is rising to the Champions League standard after playing week in week out in a lower quality league when compared to La liga and the Premiership. However, this is down to effective management and Blanc will be the one to answer for their failings. They are still in good position to win the League, and will be top if they win their game in hand. Lille will be a solid opponent but PSG will now focus all their attention on the league and get back to winning ways.
Stade Reims vs Lyon
Lyon play after PSG this weekend, therefore will probably need a win to get back to the top of the table. Hubert Fournier will be confident his side can beat PSG to the gain their first league title in 7 years. The deciding factor will be based on how PSG react to their champions league elimination. Overall, I expect Lyon to keep the pressure on till the last day, starting with a win against Stade Reims who still find themselves in danger of drifting back into the relegation zone. The form of Lacazette will be crucial and he is the sort of player who can inspire his side to the title. This title race is far from over and I hope Lyon keep up their charge with a win against Stade Reims.
Atletico Madrid vs Elche
Unfortunately for Diego Simeone, he was not quite able to reach the heights of last season. His side seem to be safely stuck in 3rd position with no realistic prospect of moving up or down the table. Considering their formidable opponents they have still had a solid season, especially when considering the vastly lower budget and income. Their loss against Real Madrid following a curious red card to Ardan Turan would have been a huge blow as they would have felt they could have reached their second Champions League final in a row. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be but they will bounce back and give their home fans something to cheer about.