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WEEKEND PREVIEW: The BIG 7

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Can Manchester United turn the tides with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United bade ye to the toxic, gloomy and relatively successful tenure of Jose Mourinho on Tuesday.

That dismissal was long overdue, Jose Mourinho had been extending his time at the club by virtue of his past achievements.

Following the hugely lopsided defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, a defeat that left United 19 points behind the leaders, the board decided it was best to end a relationship with the manager which was equally toxic with his players. Fair call.

In his stead, club hero Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed albeit on an interim basis.

The return of the “baby face assassin” as he was fondly called is expected to lift the spirit, and most will hope that it will be anywhere as good as Zinedine Zidane with Real Madrid.

Ironically, Solskjaer’s debut at the dugout will be against Cardiff city, the only team he had previously managed in Premier League.

That gig didn’t end well, Cardiff got relegated. One thing is certain, he won’t get Manchester United relegated.

Barca welcome nemesis Celta Vigo

This is the best time to face Barca, a team that hasn’t conceded a goal in the last three Primera Liga games and Lionel Messi in red hot form.

The mood of the mercurial  Argentine will determine a lot this weekend again. Having directly contributed to 18 goals in his 14 meetings against Celta, his presence is a plus and Barca will take full advantage of it before going on the winter break.

There has been at least four goals in each of the past five games involving both sides, and although Celts hold a very good record against Barca at Balaidos, they haven’t always left the Camp Nou with a favourable result in recent visits.

No time to cry as Dortmund face second-placed Borussia Monchengladbach

Who would have thought Borussia Dortmund’s first defeat of the season will come against 16th-placed Fortuna Dusseldorf, but that’s exactly where it happened.

But they’ll be unwise to let that disturb their brilliant start to the season and in fact, Dortmund should  be looking to end this year with a statement and how best to do that than to hand the second-placed team a beating?

Lyon vs Montpellier is perfect advert for French competitiveness

The battle for Champions League spot is closer than ever amidst the top four teams in France this year.

Scratch that, I mean between the second and fourth-placed teams and Lyon may find themselves out of Champions League places if Bruno Genesio’s men fail to find a string of consistency to their game.

Currently third on the log, three points behind Lille OSC albeit with a game in hand and two points above fourth-placed Montpellier, Lyon have little margin for error and it is in games like this they need to prove a point to other top four contenders.

Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora fight for British supremacy

By some stroke of luck, neither Deontay Wilder nor Tyson Fury can schedule a bout against World Undisputed champion Anthony Joshua, yet Dillian Whyte is lined up to face Anthony Joshua next. However, that won’t matter if he fails to put aside the obstacle called Dereck Chisora.

Since their brutal contest at the 02 Arenas two years ago which saw Dillian Whyte taking a slim 115-113, 114-115, and 115-114 victory both fighters had gone on to record major victories.

Since then, Whyte has won all four bouts he has been involved in including a points decision over Joseph Parker in July, while Chisora has won all but one of his, but notably stopped the sturdy Carlos Takam in eight rounds on the same card as Whyte-Parker.

The rivalry and animosity between these two goes way back, which is what positions Saturday’s bout as a cracker.

Real Madrid aim for easy third Club World Cup Final win

Easy ride for Real Madrid, eh? The only real challenge they were expected to get would have been Copa Libertadores winner River Plate, however, that won’t be the case.

So, Real Madrid may yet win another silverware this winter should they see off Al Ain this weekend, but it will not hide the fact they’re having a horrendous season and defeat should not be a surprise either.

Bear in mind that the finalists from UAE had defeated Team Wellington, Esperance de Tunis and River Plate, which should boost their confidence.

Spurs vs Rockets: Two trouble teams matchup

Two sides going through possibly their toughest years in recent history, but all of that is on hold now with a winning streak in the bag.

Spurs and Rockets occupy the final two playoffs spots in the Western conference and with Spurs’ miserable 5-10 away record, it’s easy to see where this one is going.

Indiana Pacers vs Nets

Pacers are one of the better performing teams in the East this season, but they are currently on a losing streak with a trip to the league’s most in-form side Brooklyn Nets enjoying a steward of their own: W-7.

The East has been just as competitive as the West, maybe not literally, but competitive enough. And for all of that hot streak, the Nets are still outside the playoff places. This is, perhaps, the perfect game to make an impression.

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