League leaders Sevilla host struggling Barcelona

Sevilla play host to Barcelona on Tuesday evening having recorded three successive wins in La Liga, the most recent coming against Atletico Madrid.

Meanwhile, Barcelona make the trip to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on the back of a much-needed 3-2 victory over struggling Elche. Xavi has endured a difficult start to life back at his former club with Barcelona failing to win convincingly in any of his seven matches in all competitions.

Nevertheless, 10 points from a possible 15 is respectable enough when taking everything into consideration, and it has left the Catalan giants within touching distance of the top four. While Barcelona will feel like they are on a marginally upward curve, they now face three away games in succession, the first coming against opponents who have replaced them as Real Madrid’s main rivals for the title.

Sevilla have bowed out of the Champions League and only narrowly avoided a shock exit to Andratx in the Copa del Rey, but one cannot be overly satisfied with thei recent efforts.

Three victories in a row in the league – against Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid respectively – have created distance between themselves and the chasing pack.

Possessing the best defensive record in the league, Sevilla will be confident of recording another three points,



 Juventus to extend their unbeaten run against Cagliari

Seeking to stay in touch with Serie A’s top four ahead of the mid-season break, Juventus host lowly Cagliari in their final fixture of 2021 on Tuesday.

Dibala. Juventus

In contrasting form, the two sides convene in Turin, with Juve winning four of their last five games in all competitions and their visitors still searching for a first victory since October.

Continuing their run of games against some of Calcio’s lesser lights on Saturday, Juventus extended their unbeaten run to five matches, thanks to a goal in each half from Alvaro Morata and Juan Cuadrado against Bologna.

Juventus are the lowest-scoring team in the top half of the table, but their coach has intimated that no reinforcements will be added during the upcoming transfer window due to financial restrictions at the club.

In all, Juventus have won nine of their last 10 league matches against Cagliari – keeping seven clean sheets in that spell of dominance – so they now conclude 2021 with a match they start as overwhelming favourites. If Juve thought their lack of fluency in front of goal was troubling, then Mazzarri has every right to consider his team’s current penalty area malaise a full-blown crisis, as Cagliari have found the net at a rate of under one goal per game to date. Even if Juve have faltered against some of Serie A’s minnows during the last year or so, a routine win to end 2021 must surely be on the cards against Cagliari.



Wounded Atalanta face unimpressive Genoa

Aiming to rise to second place in the Italian Serie A table, Atalanta take a trip to the Luigi Ferraris Stadium to face Genoa on Tuesday.

Atalanta players

The hosts are without a win in any of their last 15 league outings and will head into the game aiming to end this horrid run. Genoa were sent crashing down to earth on their return to Serie A last Friday as they suffered a 3-1 defeat against Lazio.

Prior to that, Andriy Shevchenko’s men ended their 14-game losing streak courtesy of a 1-0 win over Salernitana in the last 16 of the Coppa Italia.

Genoa have now failed to taste victory since September’s 3-2 win over Cagliari and this poor run sees them occupy third place in the Serie A table.

Similarly, Atalanta failed to make it two wins from two last time out as they fell to a 4-1 loss against AS Roma. With 12 wins from the last 29 meetings between the sides, Atalanta head into Tuesday’s game as the superior side in the history of this fixture. Atalanta will be seeking to restore some pride following their humbling defeat at the hands of Roma last time out as they square off against a floundering Genoa side who are yet to hit their stride this season



In-form Villarreal welcome Alaves

In-form Villarreal welcome Alaves to Estadio de la Ceramica looking to pick up a fifth consecutive win across all competitions.

Meanwhile, the away side have failed to come out on top in any of their last four outings and will aim to put an end to this barren run of results.

Morena, Villarreal

Villarreal recorded their first away league victory of the campaign on Saturday courtesy of a 3-1 triumph over Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena. The Yellow Submarine are 11th in the table at the moment having amassed maximum points from each of their last two league matches.

Next up is the challenge of an opposing outfit against against whom they have a mixed record in recent seasons with the last eight meetings yielding four wins apiece for either side.

Seeking to round up the year in style, Tuesday’s hosts have an opportunity to climb into the top half of La Liga standings by securing all three points in this one.

Villarreal have struggled on home turf this term while Alaves have been abysmal on their travels. Expect a tightly-contested affair with a narrow victory for the hosts come the full-time whistle.



Udinese welcome bottom-club Salernitana

Seeking to extend their recent upturn in fortunes with a final win of 2021, Udinese welcome rock-bottom Salernitana to the Dacia Arena on Tuesday.

Udinese players

While the home side have enjoyed a ‘new-manager bounce’ to post back-to-back victories in league and cup, their southern visitors are still rooted to the foot of the table amid threats of expulsion from Serie A.

Amid a backdrop of speculation that they could be demoted to the amateur leagues due to an unresolved ownership issue, Salernitana have staggered from one bad result to another.

The Granata have now lost each of their last five games without finding the net – conceding 13 times in the process – following Saturday’s mauling by reigning champions Inter at Stadio Arechi.

Even in the spirit of the season, it is difficult to see Salernitana being gifted even a goal on Tuesday, let alone a point, as they slip further adrift of safety.

Udinese will regret the timing of the mid-season break given their recent improvement, but have time for one more home win, which they will seal due to their greater attacking confidence and the visitors’ ongoing defensive woes.



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