Let’s get right into the preview of the weekend as we all know, we have missed club football and are rejoicing its return.
In England, the big match this weekend will be Saturday during the late morning when Arsenal and Manchester United meet at the Emirates. This game has a lot of implications towards where these two teams will set their long term targets for the season. It is important to see which team can right the ship per se and get a huge three points. Van Gaal absolutely needs a big marquee win and this is a great opportunity for them. Both teams are struggling and, honestly, 3 points is needed for both. I think this game will be a cracker and must watch TV.
Also on Saturday in the Premier League, Man City host Swansea. This is an absolutely required win for City. They are at home and Chelsea will surely get three points at home to West Brom. It will be interesting to see if Manuel Pellegrini can keep City in the title chase, or will it be just Chelsea and Southampton for the rest of the way. On Sunday, two teams will look to get 3 much needed points as Liverpool and Tottenham look to start their climbs back up the table. Both teams have been extremely disappointing. Monday the biggest surprise team in the EPL will play. Or should I say, title contenders-Southampton. The Saints will travel to the midlands and hope to keep pace with Chelsea and grab 3 more points.
Saturday is a huge day in La Liga with 5 of the top 6 playing. The only team with an “easy” game is Real Madrid as they travel to Eibar. The other top teams all face off with 2nd place Barcelona facing 5th place Sevilla, and 4th place Atletico hosting 6th place Malaga. This should be a big weekend and could go a long way in deciding the crown as Real Madrid sit 2 points clear at the top. I will be interested to see how Rakitic handles facing his old club, and how loanees Denis Suarez and Gerald Deulofeu fair playing in front of the Camp in the away colors.
In Germany, it continues to be a needed win for Dortmund as they travel to Paderborn and try to continue to distance themselves from the relegation zone. Bayern Munich will look to continue their winning ways. In their 11 matches in the Bundesliga, they have won 8, including their last 2 matches.
PSG have a great opportunity to jump to the top of the table, and probably already have as you read this, since they are playing this afternoon. Marseille will face off with Bordeaux, which should be an exciting game. Bielsa got Marseille off to a flying start, but they will look to rebound after a loss to PSG in Le Classique. This will be a vital game as they could be sitting in 2nd place and in need of 3 points to reclaim the top spot.
Lastly in Italy, there is arguably one of the top 3 rivalries in all of Europe taking place. The Milan Derby. While most of America will be watching the NFL, these two giants in Italy will take the field. These two teams share a cathedral of game as their home ground in the San Siro. This derby has historically been one of the most competitive and meaningful games. The winner of this game used to go on and win the Serie A title. However, recently the two teams have taken a tumble down the table in Italy. The return of Juventus, Roma and Napoli to the top has knocked the Milan teams to 7th (AC Milan) and 9th (Inter Milan). This match will not set either one up for contention in Serie A, but hopefully they can continue their rebuilding processes and return to the top of Italy and get back into the Champions League.
Lastly, I will be adding a new part to the weekly blog. A good friend of mine and I have been since the start of the season picking the results of the English Premier League. Each week on twitter we tweet our picks to each other and then see how we have done. We get one point picking the correct result and 3 points if we get the scoreline correct. As it stands currently he is winning 70 to 63. I will be keeping you up to date with our picks and our results as we go.
Here are my picks for this weekend’s actions:
Man City 2-0 over Swansea, Leicester 1-1 with Sunderland, Stoke 3-1 over Burnley, Chelsea 2-0 over West Brom, Everton 2-2 with West Ham, Newcastle 2-1 over QPR, Arsenal 2-1 over Man United, Liverpool 1-0 over Crystal Palace, Spurs 2-0 over Hull, and finally Saints 3-1 over Villa.
His Pick for the weekend:
Chelsea 3-1 over West Brom, Everton 2-2 with West Ham, Leicester 1-1 with Sunderland, City 2-0 over Swansea, Newcastle 1-0 over QPR, Stoke 2-1 over Burnley, Gunners 1-1 with Man United, Liverpool 1-0 over Palace, Hull to draw 1-1 with Spurs, and Saints 2-1 over Villa.
We will see how I do and how he does. Let’s hope I can close the gap a little.