Is Sarri’s time at Chelsea about to go up in smoke?
It is a good job that Chelsea are a club renowned for their patience and long-term outlook, otherwise, Maurizio Sarri would really be fearing for his job around now.
Defeat by Manchester United, who since Jose Mourinho’s departure have ditched the identical but non-football playing twins of Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba and returned the real duo to the side, could spell the end for the Italian chain-smoker, who has become so stressed by his team’s performances that he has taken to eating cigarettes on the touchline.
With these two teams moving in opposite directions, back the visitors to emerge triumphant on Monday night at 3.35.
Atalanta vs Milan (Serie A)
The world is a highly uncertain place at the moment. President Trump’s presidency continues to divide the United States. The future of the European Union is unclear as the United Kingdom prepares to leave. And Milan appears to have finally stumbled upon the formula for consistency.
Indeed, the Rossoneri currently occupy fourth spot in Serie A following a run of six games without defeat, but a trip to fifth-placed Atalanta – who have beaten Inter, Lazio and Juventus on their own patch in 2018/19 – will be far from easy.
Saint-Etienne vs Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1)
There is a bit of a crisis at the Parc des Princes right now: Neymar and Edinson Cavani are both injured, and they only beat Bordeaux 1-0 last weekend.
We stand with fans of the capital club at this difficult time, and we really do hope they are able to come to terms with the fact that they are only 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with two games in hand.
Real Madrid vs Girona (La Liga)
The aforementioned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not the only interim manager doing a fantastic job at one of Europe’s heavyweight clubs.
Last weekend’s 3-1 defeat of rivals Atletico Madrid was the fifth match in a row Real Madrid have won in La Liga, and fans of los Blancos will now be dreaming of the title, with
Barcelona’s stuttering form meaning that Madrid are somehow just six points off the summit.
Girona have lost their last four and will probably offer little resistance here – back the hosts to win to nil at 1.95.
Newport County vs Manchester City (FA Cup)
Domestic cup competitions are all about fairytales, lower-league sides who are able to upset the odds and slay one of the country’s biggest giants.
Sadly, Manchester City have not really bought into that narrative this season. After smashing Burton Albion 9-0 in the League Cup and Rotherham United 7-0 in the FA Cup, Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut now have their blood-thirsty eyes firmly focused on Newport County, a club who play their home games at a stadium owned by the Welsh Rugby Union.
The League Two team have shocked Leicester City and Middlesbrough already, but this will be a bridge too far – back over 2.5 goals and ‘no’ on both teams to score at 2.20.
Kilmarnock vs Celtic (Scottish Premiership)
A few weeks ago, Kilmarnock fans were dreaming of the club’s first ever top-flight title, but normal service has since been resumed.
Celtic are top, Rangers are second and Scottish football is irritatingly predictable once more. Or is it? Maybe Killie will pull off a shock against Brendan Rodgers’ Bhoys – but they probably will not.
Go for an away triumph at a -1 handicap at odds of 2.25.
By Greg Lea
After many years of sports writing with an emphasis on football, including a stint at Sky Sports, Greg is here to help you with betting tips. Follow him on Twitter @greglea to get the latest updates before placing your bets.