First things first, congratulations to Leicester City's Jamie Vardy on breaking the Premier League record for consecutive games with a goal set by Ruud Van Nistelrooy. The Foxes striker has scored in 11 straight following Leicester's 1-1 draw with Manchester United (I predicted Leicester to win WOMP WOMP). While that may have been the battle of 1 vs 2, the biggest game of the weekend is coming up in about ten minutes. Chelsea and Tottenham will square off in yet another London derby. The last time these two clashed in the Premier League, Tottenham won a goalfest on New Year's Day by the score of 5-3. Even with Chelsea being habitual bus parkers, they get their scoring shoes on for this affair. But it isn't just England we're covering today, far from it. We start off in Switzerland as a current champion looks to bounce back from a snowy shock defeat.
SWISS SUPER LEAGUE
FC Basel 1893 vs FC Luzern (7:45 AM ET/beIN Sports 4)
Now I will readily admit that I am a bit out of my depth when it comes to Swiss football. But I'm learning and when one is learning mistakes will happen. Take last week's game between St. Gallen and FC Basel. I predicted a demolition of the underdogs, but a freak snow storm put the kibosh on that. St. Gallen used the weather to their advantage as the conditions was quite conducive to their style of defensive football. Now I sit here this week hoping to not make the same error in judgment again. Leaders Basel take on fourth placed Luzern (or Lucerne) today at St Jakob Park. As the sharks swarm around 18 year old striker Breel Embolo, Barcelona and three London clubs have all shown interest, Basel look to push themselves further ahead of second placed Grasshoppers. Grasshoppers play later this morning in the Zurich Derby. Luzern is your typical Swiss side. They score a lot but give up just as many. Unless we have ourselves another white pitch, which shouldn't happen though there might be precipitation (thanks Accuweather!), I think the styles in play favors Basel immensely. So why I didn't get my 4-1 result last week, there isn't no reason I won't get a 3-1 this Sunday.
PREDICTION: Basel 3 Luzern 1
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Swansea City FC vs Liverpool FC (11:15 AM ET/NBC Sports)
With Chelsea and Spurs already underway, I have been forced to go with the pick of the heart today as my beloved Liverpool take on Swansea City in the match formerly known as the Brendan Rodgers Derby. The two teams couldn't be in more contrasting form. Liverpool is on cloud nine after beating Manchester City last weekend and Bordeaux in the Europa League on Thursday. They take on a Swansea City side that have won just one of their last six, that being against bottom of the table Aston Villa. There won't be any shortage of attacking football in today's game as both Jurgen Klopp and Garry Monk will have their men bombing up and down the flanks looking to feed the middle. Klopp may have to use a bit of a roster rotation with the Europa League game, but the lineup will at least feature on Brazilian in smashing form. Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho were kindred spirits against City at the Etihad. The former was just as influential at Anfield in midweek. Coutinho wasn't even on the bench for the Europa League match, but will most likely feature today. For Swansea, Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis came out of the starting gates firing in goals and winning individual accolades. Since then, they've been bottled up with Ayew scoring just twice in a month and Gomis' last coming against Man U in August. I am going with the more in form side, even if I am deeply paranoid that by doing so will make me a gigantic jinx.
PREDICTION: Liverpool 3 Swansea City 1
Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs FC Schalke 04 (11:30 AM ET/Fox Sports 1)
If one is going to have a conversation about in form strikers, you mustn't neglect what Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is doing right now in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen. The Mexico international has scored 12 times in his last 16 appearances for the club and as per the usual with the goal poaching phenomenon the majority of those have been to either tie the game or take the lead. While Hernandez's run has been tremendous, the rest of Leverkusen's offense has been non-existent. The only thing keeping them ahead of their opponent today, Schalke, is two conceded goals. Schalke has been similarly disappointing this year as even with a deep talent pool they can only manage a place in the mid-table currently. Leverkusen normally would have the advantage at their home BayArena today, but they have nearly identical form on the road as they do at home. It just leaves my prediction down to this: if Chicharito scores, Bayer will win. If Schalke can keep him off the scoreboard then they will be victorious. So will he score?
PREDICTION: Bayer Leverkusen 2 Schalke 1
ITALIAN SERIE A
USC Palermo vs Juventus FC (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports)
We round up the day's action with a trip to Italy as Juventus continues their rapid ascent up the Serie A table. Left for dead by most after an inexplicably awful start to the season, Juventus now sit just two points off a Europa League spot ahead of today's trip to Palermo. They have won three games in Serie A in a row, the last against AC Milan, and need just a draw to top their Champions League group after defeating Manchester City during the week. As many of its other stars battle various ailments, Paulo Dybala has taken the mantle as main striker for the Old Lady. It will be a homecoming this afternoon for the Argentinian as he spent his first four years in Italy with Palermo, scoring 21 goals. The Bianconeri have been wary of lesser competition after it looked they took them for granted early on, and Palermo is just that. Juve hasn't lost to Palermo since 2011 and I don't think that will change today.
PREDICTION: Juventus 2 Palermo 0
Now there is plenty going on today to wet your football whistle. There are these fine games, plenty more matches from around the continent, the NFL if American football is more your cup of tea, and the second leg of the MLS Conference finals all go down today. So crack open a beer and make sure you give myself a follow @TREVORutley and the site @B3WHYC3 to follow along as I try to follow along with all the football lunacy with a wrestling show smashed right in the middle of it! Have at it folks