MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Sporting Kansas City
Venue: BMO Field – Friday, March 31 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST) 
Match Odds: Toronto 4/5 – Draw 5/2 – SKC 16/5

Match Preview

Toronto welcome Sporting Kansas City to BMO Field on Friday night in what will be their first home game of the season. It’s the second season in a row the TFC faithful have had to wait for their home campaign to get underway, so there will certainly be a buzz around the place.

Greg Vanney’s side have started the 2017 regular season in impressive form considering all their games have been away and they remain unbeaten.

Toronto come into this one having won 2-0 at Vancouver. Their hard work was rewarded late on as they scored twice in the space of four minutes, something their opponents are going to have to be aware of this season as they showed great desire to push on for a win when many would have settled for a draw on the road.

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Sporting Kansas City have the exact same form as Toronto coming into this game, drawing twice and winning once. They sit 5th in the Western Conference.

Despite not losing so far this season there are concerns around SKC’s offence, as they have scored just twice in three games. They are going to have to show great defensive resilience if that is to be a feature of their style of play throughout the campaign.

Peter Vermes will be feeling confident of facing Toronto as SKC have had a great run of form against the Eastern Conference side over the last four years. They’re unbeaten in seven games and have won six, all in Major League Soccer. However, previous form against Toronto will not guarantee they will come away with points

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Team News

Toronto are hopeful that talisman Sebastian Giovinco will be ready to take part in this one following his injury lay off. Ashtone Morgan remains out. Both Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are returning from international duty, the duo may feel a little less fresh than the rest of the squad having played as recently as Tuesday for USMNT.

Sporting Kansas City are expecting Diego Rubio to remain out, while Saad Abdul-Salaam, Cameron Iwasa and Erik Palmer-Brown are all questionable. There are concerns over Benny Feilhaber, who is reported to be carrying a leg injury, he would be a huge miss for SKC.

Key Points

Toronto’s form: D/D/W

Sporting Kansas City’s form: D/D/W

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City have not lost to Toronto in their last seven games, winning six.

Key Player: Justin Morrow – Morrow has been impressive so far this season. He has been an integral part of a Toronto defence that has conceded just two goals in three games and is capable of popping up with an important goal, as he’s already shown early on this term.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 1-1 Sporting Kansas City – The points look set to be shared here. Both sides have looked incredibly tight defensively and will not look to leave themselves open at the back. SKC would take a point away from home but know they are facing up to a Toronto side who will be going all out to give their fans something to cheer about in their home opener. We see this ending in a draw with Sporting Kansas City set to continue their unbeaten run.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, March 11 – 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT)
Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Colorado Rapids 16/5

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome the Colorado Rapids to Red Bull Arena as their first visitors of the new MLS season. Both sides will feel positive going into the game after wins in week one, Colorado beating New England Revolution 1-0 and the hosts seeing off MLS new boys Atlanta United 2-1.

The Red Bulls gave up the majority of possession in last weeks clash in Atlanta, as they earned a hard-fought three points after coming from behind late on. We expect them to enjoy the majority of the possession this week as they settle into their home schedule against a resolute Rapids side.

From first glance at the Dax McCarty-less Red Bulls, it is clear they will struggle more often than not to control games without his calming and experienced presence in the middle. It will be interesting to see how the midfield battle pans out in this one as Michael Azira and Sam Cronin both possess experience in dominating that area of the field for Colorado.

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The visitors come into their first road trip off the back of an impressive 2016 season and the start of this season has already proven very little has changed. They saw off a gutsy New England side who marginally won the battle for possession and had more attempts on goal, but still fell short of earning any points in last Saturday’s season opener.

Colorado will want to follow up last season with a strong run into the playoffs, and after narrowly missing out on the Western Conference title last term, they will want to go one better in 2017.

The Rapids picked up 19 points on the road in the 2016 campaign. If they can improve on that tally this term they will be in a great position to challenge for silverware in 2017.

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Team News

New York Red Bulls only have two injury concerns at the moment with defender Connor Lade ruled out for a while with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, while Gonzalo Veron is a doubt with a minor hamstring issue.

Colorado Rapids will be without goalkeeper John Berner who is struggling with a wrist injury. Tim Howard is listed as questionable with an adductor injury but is back in training and could start here. Midfielder Shkelzen Gashi is a doubt as he is nursing an achilles problem.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls form: W (2-1 – Atlanta United (A)

Colorado Rapids form: W (1-0 – New England Revolution (H)

Key stat: Leaky – New York have conceded at least two goals in their last three home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The USMNT creator is the main supplier to star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips. Expect him to provide multiple chances for the Red Bulls here having already chalked up an assist on opening weekend.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Colorado Rapids – Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls will be made to work hard by the Rapids but we see them coming out on top with home comforts behind them in what is an intriguing early-season matchup between two sides expecting to challenge at the top end of the Supporters’ Shield standings again this season.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea

Venue: Selhurst Park – Saturday, December 17 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 17/4 – Draw 3/1 – Chelsea 8/13

Match Preview 

Crystal Palace welcome Chelsea to Selhurst Park on Saturday morning, with the London Derby being the first game of the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

Alan Pardew’s side come into this one off the back of their midweek defeat against United, a game full of controversy. It was a tough result for Palace to take but they have to pick themselves up and be ready for this tie.

Crystal Palace are just three points above the relegation zone and need to get on a run of form sharpish to ensure they’re not dragged into the battle to avoid the drop. A positive result here and stopping Chelsea’s winning run would do wonders for the confidence of both the players and fans.

Worryingly for Palace, they have won just one in their last ten Premier League games, picking up just five points from a possible 30.

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There is not much to say about Chelsea’s run of form that hasn’t already been said, however they are only six points clear at the top of the table and the Premier League throws up never ending surprise results.

Antonio Conte’s side have won their last ten games in a row but know they’re going to be in for another tough afternoon here. Chelsea will be expecting to remain tight at the back and clinical as they move forward.

Chelsea’s defensive displays have been resilient, especially in their last two one-nil wins. They have kept eight clean sheets in their run of ten wins and will be hoping to add another to that list this weekend.

Conte has strength in depth at his disposal, he has already started making more use of his squad, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas working his way back into the side, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another change in the middle for this tie.

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Team News

Crystal Palace are expecting to be without seven players for this London Derby as Papa Souare, Jonathan Benteke, Connor Wickham, Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins, Bakary Sakho and Loic Remy are all doubtful.

Chelsea’s injury list remains minimal, Kurt Zouma, John Terry and Marco van Ginkel are all still working their way back to fitness, while Oscar, Eden Hazard and John Obi Mikel are all doubts.

Key Points

Crystal Palace’s last five: L/L/W/D/L

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Emphatic – Chelsea have won their last ten Premier League games in a row. They are four games away from equalling the current record for most consecutive wins in the Premier League era.

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Spaniard is on fire. Chelsea’s run of form has been impressive but would probably not have been possible without Costa being as clinical in front of goal as he has been. Expect him to be in the thick of the action this weekend, he does however remain one booking away from suspension.

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Score Prediction

Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea – Another hard-fought game for both of these sides. Palace are expected to set up to frustrate Chelsea in this tie and it will be down to Conte’s men to break down a solid side once again.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, December 11 – 14:15 GMT (09:15 ET)

Match Odds: Manchester United 6/5 – Draw 23/10 – Spurs 23/10

Match Preview

Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford on Sunday in the standout fixture of the Premier League action this weekend.

United know they’ve got a game on their hands with the visit of Spurs, this meeting usually offers an exciting tie, but given recent league form for United a draw would be far from surprising.

Jose Mourinho’s side are frustrating their fans. They’re creating well in games but are missing hatfuls of chances and aren’t strong enough defensively to hold out when they take the lead.

Despite the negatives, United are unbeaten in five in the league (W1, D4). Their draw last weekend at Everton was a disappointing result considering they looked to have the points wrapped up, but it’s another game unbeaten nonetheless.

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Tottenham will be full of confidence coming into this game. They thumped Swansea 5-0 at home last weekend and it could and probably should have been nearer double figures.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men are six points ahead of United in the league. They sit 5th, three points outside the top four and six points off top spot, they’re well in the mix.

Spurs need to win this game to keep pace with the top four. If results go in their favour they could end the weekend in third place.

The North London side have lost just once in their last 14 outings. They’re in fine form and are scoring freely, so they have to start with their usual high-press and intensity to put United on the back-foot from the word go.

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Team News

Manchester united are still expecting to be without Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw for this tie. Eric Bailly could be in line to start his first Premier League game in six weeks, he played 90 minutes in the Europa League in midweek. Wayne Rooney is available again after serving his one-match suspension.

Tottenham have just three injury concerns ahead of this tie. Erik Lamela and Vincent Janssen are both expected to remain out, while Ben Davies is a doubt. Toby Alderweireld could make his first Premier League start since October 15 after he featured in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Key Points

Manchester United’s last five: D/W/D/D/D

Tottenham’s last five: D/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have won just once in their last nine Premier League games.

Key Player: Harry Kane – The Spurs talisman is in fine form. He has netted seven league goals this season and will be excited at the prospect of getting at a nervy United defence. He will have to outshine Zlatan Ibrahimovic to ensure Spurs take all three points here.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur – United to fall to another unfavourable result against one of the top sides in the league. Spurs know they have the chance of taking all three points at Old Trafford, but just because United are out of form by no means makes this an easy tie.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester City vs Manchester City

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City FC vs. Manchester City

Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, December 10 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 18/5 – Draw 3/1 – Man City 7/10

Match Preview

Leicester welcome Manchester City to the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening in a tie contested by two sides who will feel they’re under performing this season.

The Foxes are struggling to live up to the dizzy heights of last season and if they’re not careful they’ll find themselves in a relegation scrap.

Claudio Ranieri’s side are just two points above the bottom three and are in a dismal run of form. They need to get a string of positive results together and push their way up the Premier League table.

Leicester’s smash and grab style of football that won them the league last season isn’t having the same impact as it did, but a win here would make a huge difference to the mood around the King Power.

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Manchester City have been on track to challenge for the title from the start of the season but they come into this one having lost both the game and their discipline against Chelsea last weekend.

Pep Guardiola is under a little pressure and things are not going his way. City are now sitting fourth, four points off top spot. While this is not the time to panic, the City players are going to need to step up and strike fear back into their opponents.

City’s season is in good shape, they are well in the title race and, like Leicester, have qualified for the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

However, a loss here would open the possibility of City dropping out of the top four if other results go against them. In what appears to be the most competitive Premier League season ever, there is no hiding place for below-par performances.

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Team News

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel remains out. Danny Drinkwater will complete his three-game ban on the sideline for this one, other than those two, Ranieri has a clean bill of health for his side.

Manchester City will be without their goal machine Sergio Aguero and midfielder Fernandinho following their red cards last weekend. Guardiola’s selection issues are from back to front as he will also be without Nicolas Otamendi, who received his 5th yellow of the season last weekend, so now faces a one match suspension. Raheem Sterling’s return can’t come soon enough for City, he is expected to still be sidelined for this tie, while Vincent Kompany is out and Fabian Delph is a doubt.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five: D/L/L/D/L

Manchester City’s last five: W/D/W/W/L

Key Stat: Home comforts – Although Leicester are going through a rough patch, their home form is something they have been able to fall back on. They’re lost just once in their last 22 at the King Power.

Key Player: Kevin De Bruyne – The Belgian midfielder will be forgiven for feeling sorry for himself after he wasted a huge chance to put City out of sight in their loss last weekend. He’s not the sort to be denied and will be looking to make amends this time around. KDB will be sniffing in and around the penalty area for a goal.

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Score Prediction

Leicester City 1-3 Manchester City – Manchester City need a result following their ill-tempered defeat last weekend. Leicester’s struggles will continue here and City are one of the last sides they will want to be facing while they’re going through this difficult run of form.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Sunday, December 4 – 13:30 GMT (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 16/5 – Draw 29/10 – Liverpool 3/4

Match Preview

Bournemouth welcome Liverpool to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a game that has the makings of one-way traffic.

Eddie Howe’s side are in a respectable 12th position, they’ve picked up 15 points already this season but have struggled over the last five games.

Bournemouth come into this one having played another title contender last weekend. Their 3-1 loss against Arsenal had plenty of talking points and the result may have been very different on another day.

The Cherries need to get back to picking up points on a regular basis. They’ve only taken four points from the last 15 on offer to them and despite being six places above the relegation zone, the gap is just four points.

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Liverpool have been on a superb run of form of late. They trail top spot by just one point and will be hoping results go in their favour this weekend so they can force their way into first place.

Jurgen Klopp has a selection headache ahead of this tie. His squad has been hit by an injury crisis, but he is not phased, and believes in any players he is selecting.

Liverpool come into this tie having progressed to the semifinal of the League Cup with their midweek win over Leeds.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last 11 league games and have picked up 13 points from the last 15 on offer. This is a winnable game for Liverpool, but they will be worked hard by an energetic Bournemouth side.

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Team News

Howe is expecting to be without Lewis Cook and Andrew Surman, while both Artur Boruc and Charlie Daniels are doubts for the visit of Liverpool.

Klopp’s side has been hit with an unenviable injury list. Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge are all out, while Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip are all doubts.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: D/L/L/W/L

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Liverpool have scored at least two goals in eight of their last ten Premier League games.

Key Player: James Milner – Liverpool will be looking for Milner to bring a calming presence to the side as they head into the Christmas period with a squad riddled with injuries. The Englishman has plenty of experience and he will be a key figure once again this weekend.

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Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool – Bournemouth to become the latest victim of an impressive display from Klopp’s Liverpool. If history is anything to go by Bournemouth will struggle here, they have lost their last five games against Liverpool in all competitions.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Saturday, December 3 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Manchester City 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 12/5

Match Preview

Manchester City welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime in a mouthwatering fixture in the race for the Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola’s side trail league leaders Chelsea by just one point ahead of this tie and just three points separate the top four. This is a crunch game for City, who need to make sure they win and put an end to Chelsea’s winning run.

City come into the game having come from behind to beat Burnley in a scrappy game that showed their resilience to win, something they’ll need to show once again here.

While many are saying it is too early for results to impact the race for the title, a loss for City here could be disastrous for the squad mentally. Guardiola has experience coaching against Chelsea and will know his side are up against a team that never know when they’re beat.

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Chelsea are the inform team in the Premier League. They have won seven in row, conceding just once and scoring 19.

Antonio Conte is pleased with his side, especially the spirit they showed to come from behind to beat Spurs last weekend. Many have questioned whether or not going behind would upset the balance for Chelsea in their unbeaten run, but they proved they are capable of turning a game in their favour.

Chelsea have struggled at the Etihad, they have won just once in their last eight visits in all competitions and, like practically every Premier League club, have constantly been on the receiving end of a Sergio Aguero masterclass.

This a game Chelsea have to avoid defeat in. It will put them in a really good position for their upcoming December fixtures, while no league game is easy, they have some favourable games over the Christmas period and could capitalise on that to give themselves some cushioning at the top.

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Team News

Vincent Kompany remains out for Manchester City, while there are concerns about Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling, who are both doubts.

Chelsea are expected to remain unchanged for the eighth game in a row. John Terry will be out, while Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel are not yet ready to be considered for selection. Diego Costa is one yellow card away from a one-game ban, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he picks that up here given the intensity of this tie.

Key Points

Manchester City’s form: D/W/D/W/W

Chelsea’s form: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have conceded just once in their seven-game winning streak.

Key Player: Thibaut Courtois – This is easily the biggest challenge of the season for the Chelsea backline. They have been performing very well but face a completely different opponent with the way City will press them on the ball. Courtois will have to be at his best to ensure his side can come away with a win.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea – Manchester City are going to give Chelsea a different style of game that no other side has done this season. Their pressing and ball retention will make this a difficult afternoon for Conte’s men. Historically, it is not a happy hunting ground for Chelsea and Aguero & co will make it another to forget for The Blues.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Eastern Conference Final – Second Leg) Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact 

Venue: BMO Field – Wednesday, November 30 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Montreal Impact 9/2

Match Preview

Toronto and Montreal Impact are set for a thrilling encounter on Wednesday night, with a place in the MLS Cup Final up for grabs as they lock horns in the Eastern Conference Championship second leg.

The winner of Tuesday’s game will face Seattle in the 2016 MLS Cup Final, where a first-time winner is guaranteed. If Toronto advance, they will host the final, but Seattle will play hosts if the Impact progress. 

Toronto come into the second leg 3-2 down after a nightmare hour to forget in the game in Montreal. The tie looked like it could have been out of their reach but Greg Vanney’s side showed why you cannot write them off as they scored twice in the last half hour to set up this incredible return clash.

Given the fightback from Toronto they now look favourites to advance, but there is still plenty of work to do here against a Montreal side who will be kicking themselves for letting such a vital lead go in front of their own fans.

Toronto have been impressive at BMO Field in 2016. They have won their last three home games but worryingly they did lose to Montreal the last time they welcomed them here. Nothing other than a victory will see Toronto advance to their first MLS Cup Final.

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Montreal Impact will be itching to ensure they do not miss out on the final now. They have improved year-on-year and reaching their first MLS Cup Final would be another part of their history that will never be forgotten.

Mauro Biello needs to make sure his side are calm from the get-go here. They still have that one-goal lead, so they need to play their normal game and shape up defensively against a strong Toronto attack.

There will be added emotion for the Impact squad as this could be the last time Didier Drogba plays, and while there have been some ups and downs in his short spell at the club, he will be missed. The Ivorian will want to sign off at the club in style, like he has done throughout his career, so losing this will not be an option for him and the rest of the squad.

Montreal’s task is far from simple and they know they cannot afford to allow Toronto time on the ball, so high-press is an option. Breaking up play and countering will make Impact dangerous and difficult to deal with. They will be out to grab a couple of away goals, as Toronto did at the Olympic Stadium last weekend.

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Team News

Vanney has a completely fit squad for this tie. He will be expecting maximum effort from his starting XI to ensure they make it through and pull off an impressive comeback.

Andres Romero remains Montreal’s only injury concern. Biello will be unlikely to unsettled the balance of his squad too much going into this one, but there may well be some defensive changes in an attempt to tighten up that backline.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/W/W/L

Montreal Impact’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Form – Toronto have won their last three home matches.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The stage is set for Giovinco to show his class once again. If he is presented with even a sniff at goal he is likely to find the back of the net. Toronto need him now more than ever if they’re to make the final.

Photo: Toronto FC

Photo: Toronto FC

Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-0 Montreal Impact – Toronto to make the most of their firepower and pick apart the Montreal defence on home soil. It will be a sour end to the season for Montreal if they are to exit the playoffs here considering the commanding position they were in and it will be some turnaround if Toronto can pull it off.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Burnley vs Manchester City

Competition: Premier League – Burnley  vs. Manchester City

Venue: Turf Moor – Saturday, November 26 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Burnley 17/2 – Draw 17/4 – Manchester City 30/100

Match Preview

Burnley welcome Manchester City to Turf Moor on Saturday lunchtime in a game that looks set to be far from straightforward for either side.

Sean Dyche will be disappointed with the manor they lost their last game. The 4-0 drubbing away at West Brom wasn’t a reflection on how they have performed since their return to the Premier League. It is a result they need to quickly get over and bounce back from to avoid it being the start of a dull run of form.

Other than that result, The Clarets have been in solid form of late, picking up seven points from 15 in their last five games. This is going to be a real test of their resolve, but we have already seen how frustrating Burnley can be to play against this season.

Burnley have reason to believe they can pick up a favourable result against City, given a number of their impressive home results this season. The main thing for them in this game is to avoid being caught out early on, otherwise they could be in for a long afternoon.

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Manchester City come into this game having won 2-1 in a cagey affair away at Palace. The return of Yaya Toure was welcomed as he netted both goals, which would have sent out a message of warning to the rest of the league, no club needs telling how dangerous the Ivorian powerhouse is.

Pep Guardiola will be pleased with the power his City side have been playing with and knows it’s only a matter of time before everything clicks into place. They’re creating well but just need to be more clinical in the final third.

City have to win this game, there are significant fixtures in the race for the title this weekend and they cannot afford to be off the pace at the start of December.

Guardiola’s side have been travelling well. They’ve won their last five away games in the Premier League and will expect to make it six on the bounce here. Worryingly for City they are leaking goals at the back, which will give Burnley hope heading into this one, but a win looks likely for The Citizens even if it is a tight affair.

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Team News

Burnley have no injury concerns heading into this game. The decision Dyche has to make is how to set up to prevent being picked apart by City. He will more than likely pack out the midfield and aim for Burnley to break the game up.

Manchester City are set to be without captain Vincent Kompany as he has picked up another injury, which begs the question, will he get any luck and a run in the side? Fabian Delph is City’s only other injury concern. Guardiola will be expecting an intensive performance from his players, they’ll be looking to starve Burnley of the ball and will need their midfield to be energetic in order to do so.

Key Points

Burnley’s last five: L/W/D/W/L

Manchester City’s last five: D/D/W/D/W

Key Stat: One for the road – Manchester City have won their last five Premier League away games.

Key Player: Tom Heaton – The Burnley ‘keeper has already thwarted one Manchester club this season with an astonishing performance, he will need to be at his best once again if his side are to take a positive result here. Expect him to be busy.

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Score Prediction

Burnley 1-3 Manchester City – Burnley to fall short in a game they can be forgiven for doing so. Manchester City have so much firepower in their squad that a win looks the most likely outcome. Guardiola will be disappointed if his side are to concede once again, but the three points will be the most important thing for him and his squad.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Eastern Conference Final – First Leg) Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC

Venue: Olympic Stadium – Tuesday, November 22nd – 20:00 ET (01:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 11/8 – Draw 9/4 – Toronto FC 15/8

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome Toronto FC to Olympic Stadium on Tuesday evening in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Final, with a Canadian side guaranteed to make the MLS Cup Final for the first time ever.

This is a huge game for both of these rivals. Montreal have to make the most of home advantage and ensure they go into the second leg in a strong position, which will be easier said than done.

The Impact overcame the Red Bulls 3-1 on aggregate in the Conference Semifinal, a result that will have filled Mauro Biello’s squad with confidence.

This is the first time Montreal have reached the Eastern Conference Championship game so there is the added incentive to make even more history and reach the MLS Cup Final now.

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Toronto FC are also creating history. Before this year they had never won a playoff game. Greg Vanney’s side advanced to the Eastern Conference Championship they after completely destroyed NYCFC 7-0 on aggregate, a result that will never be forgotten.

While the squad will still be flying high off the back of that result, their attention must turn to making sure they go into the second leg after a positive performance away at Montreal on Tuesday.

Toronto fans will be praying their side avenges their elimination from the 2015 playoffs last season by Montreal and they are favourites to advance over the two legs.

If recent history is anything to go by for Toronto they stand a good chance of a favourable result here, as they are unbeaten in their last three visits to Stade Saputo in all competitions, drawing twice and winning one.

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Team News

Andres Romero remains out for Montreal Impact, while both Didier Drogba and Matteo Mancosu are both doubts to start. Drogba, though, is back in the picture after a month out.

Vanney has the pleasure of picking his side from a near fully fit squad as Steven Beitashour is his only injury concern ahead of the first leg.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s form: D/L/W/W/W

Toronto FC’s form: D/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Toronto FC have scored at least two goals in their last five MLS away games.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The Montreal playmaker will be expected to provide and help his side take a lead into the second leg. This is going to be an extremely tough tie to win over both legs for Montreal, so they have to be in a strong position come the end of the first 90 minutes and Piatti will look to provide some magic once again.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 1-1 Toronto FC – This is going to be a tight affair, neither side is going to want to give the other an advantage heading into the second leg, but a draw is a more favourable result for Toronto than Montreal, who will be desperate to win this one.