UPL MATCHDAY 18 PREDICTOR – THE UPL
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UPL ROUND UP
*INSERT GAME OF THRONES PUN HERE*
It’s the final matchday of 2018 with teams battling out to end the year on a high in the UPL!
Rewinding back to last week, Shakhtar hosted the Donetsk Derby in Kharkiv. A game many expected the Miners to win with ease was anything but. Shakhtar took an early lead but were unable to extend it before two set piece goals from Olimpik took them to within minutes of claiming a famous victory over their city rivals.
Junior Moraes saved the day for Shakhtar with a last minute equaliser, who were evidently unable to match the intensity that they had exerted against Hoffenheim the week before. Is a further upset possible against their Donbas neighbours Mariupol this weekend as Shakhtar aim to preserve energy for their must win game against Lyon next week?
Dynamo Kyiv got back to winning ways again after their shock defeat to Oleksandriya as they routinely beat Chornomorets 2-0, thanks to two penalties from Tsyhankov and Besiedin. However, the win wasn’t enough to see them return to the silver medal place, as Oleksandriya poured further misery on a sorry Vorskla’s week with a 1-0 win away maintaining their one-point lead over Dynamo.
Zorya Luhansk leapfrogged Vorskla into fourth, for the first time this season, as they took advantage of Desna playing their home game in Kyiv, as a result of logistics troubles in Chernihiv. They won the game 2-0, thanks to goals from Vernydub and Kabayev.
Elsewhere, Karpaty were up to their usual selves, capitulating against weaker opposition and getting Oleh Boychyshyn’s latest caretaker role off to a mediocre start. Ex Metalist legend, Papa Gueye scored an own goal for the Lions, and it was down to Hutsulyak to score an equalizing penalty to avoid embarrassment against Arsenal Kyiv, who sit at the foot of the table. Finally city rivals, FC Lviv were involved in an entertaining game against Mariupol, which saw a return to the league’s favourite scoreline; 2-2! FC Lviv couldn’t hold onto a lead on two occasions despite star player Bruno Duarte getting his seventh goal of the season!
Whatever happens after this weekend’s fixtures, it could well be the last games certain players play in the UPL as the chaotic expiry of contracts and the winter transfer window opens up for business in the new year. Come February, many teams could be lining with entirely different squads. Such is the magic of the Ukrainian Premier League!
Last Sunday saw the EURO 2020 draw take place in Dublin. Our hopes for a home nation to feature in Ukraine’s group fell away quickly along with any too exotic away days. Regardless, Ukraine have been given a favourable group that they will be hoping to qualify from! If they really put some effort in then they even have a shot at finishing as GROUP WINNERS:
EURO 2020: GROUP B
A correct result (WIN / DRAW/ DEFEAT) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns an extra 40 points.
Mariupol v Shakhtar Donetsk
Todos’ prediction:Shakhtar will want to go into the winter break with a win after a string of unprecedented draws in the league. They will be having one eye on Wednesday’s UCL game against Lyon in Kyiv and a result have left Taison at home. Marlos returns to the fold for some match fitness and as a result Shakhtar should be able to beat their Donbas neighbours comfortably to maintain a slight distance at the top of the table. 0-3
RESULT: 0-3: STEPANENKO (62′) , MORAES (64′) , MARLOS (70′)
Zorya Luhansk v Arsenal Kyiv
Todos’ prediction: Zorya moved into 4th last weekend after a solid win vs Desna and the fixture calendar has looked on them favourably in this final pre winter game. Lowly Arsenal, who did get a point against Karpaty last week, travel to Zaporyzhya with not much to lose. However, Grozny has been unable to get a fluent tune out of his side and it’s unlikely they will be able to get a grasp of this match up. 2-0
RESULT: 3-0: KARAVEYEV PEN (36′) , HROMOV (51′) , KAMENYUKA (80′)
Karpaty Lviv v Dynamo Kyiv
Todos’ prediction:Karpaty really are the most unpredictable team in the league and maybe in all of Europe. After putting in some promising performances away from home over a month ago, they were unable to capitalise on anything since with two defeats and a draw to rock bottom Arsenal… Fortunately they play Dynamo, another side prone to collapse in recent times. Karpaty won 2-0 in Kyiv back near the start of the season but for some reason it is difficult to envisage them replicating that this weekend. Dynamo will edge this… Right? 1-2
RESULT: 0 – 4: TSYHANKOV (29′,49′,90+1′) , SHAPARENKO (89′)
Chornomorets Odesa v Vorskla Poltava
Todos’ prediction: Second bottom Chornomorets won their six pointer against Arsenal Kyiv a few weeks ago and now have some breathing space between themselves and the drop. As a result, their motivations will be relatively low whereas their opponents will be desperate to put a close to the negative events and results that have been experienced over the past couple of weeks. Vorskla need to keep up the pace for fourth and certainly have reason to want the win more. Statistically, it looks like this game won’t have too many goals but if it does it will be Vorskla who will be the benefactors. 0-1
RESULT: 0-1: CHYZHOV (4′)
Olimpik Donetsk v Desna Chernihiv
Todos’ prediction:Olimpik showed some serious resilience and fight last week against the league leaders. They may have had victory snatched from their grasp at the death but positives will be taken from that performance going into this middle of the table clash. With the possibility of playing in the ‘Championship’ half of the league when it splits in March, it’s the results in games like these that matter the most. Desna will also be motivated to end 2018 on a high after the club’s historic year. However, both sides are relatively evenly matched. Both teams’ back fours’ concede regularly but not to devastating effect and have forwards who are able to find the back of the net. Goals and no clean sheets coming up! 1-1
RESULT: 1-1: PASICH (60′) / D FAVOROV (63′)
Oleksandriya v FC Lviv
Todos’ prediction: Can Oleksandriya spend all of winter above Dynamo in the table? They’ll have to win this one for any chance. Oleksandriya have been far from extraordinary this season but their collective spirit accompanied by a sturdy defence means they’re specialty is nicking results by the odd goal. Expect more of the same here. FC Lviv have been picking up some positive results as of late but the momentum that is carrying the Volodymyr Sharan’s men at the moment should be enough to see off the visitors. 1-0
RESULT: 1-2: SHENDRYK (84′) / ADAMYUK (2′,30′)
MATCHDAY 18 FINAL SCORE: 170!!!
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GUEST LEADERBOARD (UPDATE IN PROGRESS)
Total scores after week 18
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