Top ten things to watch in the soccer world this weekend
Southampton vs. Manchester City, Sunday, 8:30 AM ET
Second-placed Southampton continue to take the Premier League by storm but their top-four aspirations will come under severe scrutiny when they take on defending champions Manchester City. In Saints’ favour is the fact City, two points and one place behind Southampton, had a thrilling but energy-sapping Champions League win against Bayern Munich in midweek. Southampton stretched their unbeaten run to six games with a late equalizer at Aston Villa on Monday so the scene is set for the game of the weekend in the Premier League.
Tottenham vs. Everton, Sunday, 11 AM ET
This game is a battle of the Europa League hopefuls and there is plenty at stake. Last season Everton and Spurs finished fifth and sixth respectively. This time around the clubs are sitting in mid-table on the same number of points but Everton are just above Spurs on goal difference. Both clubs qualified for the Europa League group stages in midweek, however they both have terrible records when it comes to following up with Premier League matches in the same week. Spurs are playing their seventh consecutive home game after a Europa League match but have only won two of them, while Everton have won just one from their four.
Hertha BSC vs. Bayern Munich, Saturday, 9:30 AM ET
Bayern Munich already sit seven points ahead of their closest contender in the Bundesliga, and another win could provide even more cushion between them and Wolfsburg if the Wolves lose this weekend. And, they’ll be looking for a little redemption after falling to Manchester City 3-2 in the Champions League this past week — though they did put in a valiant effort after playing most of the match down a man.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesLennart Preiss
Liverpool vs. Stoke, Saturday, 10 AM ET
The pressure is starting to crank up on Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who admitted on Friday that he is favorite to be sacked in the Premier League. His players aren’t helping his cause much: Daniel Sturridge is out until January, Mario Balotelli is Mario Balotelli and Simon Mignolet keeps dropping clangers as he did against Ludogorets in the Champions League this weekend Dejan Lovren has been a disaster. The Reds have lost their last three Premier League games and face a Stoke side that perform better away from home but a bug in the camp may scupper their hopes of a shock win at Anfield.
Getty ImagesMichael Steele
Malaga vs. Real Madrid, Saturday, 2 PM ET
Real Madrid will break a club record if they can extend their winning sequence to 16 games when they visit Malaga. So, what are the chances of Carlo Ancelotti’s men achieving that feat. Pretty high! During that run Los Blancos have banged in 57 goals and conceded just eight. Which Real Madrid manager last achieved a 15-match winning run. None other than Jose Mourinho during the 2011/2 season. Malaga’s decent start to the season came unstuck at Atletico Madrid last weekend, but we expect the more famous side from the Spanish capital to be equally unforgiving.
Real Madrid via Getty ImagesAngel Martinez
Eintracht vs. Dortmund, Sunday, 11:30 AM ET
It has not been a good season so far for Jurgen Klopp’s men. While their Champions League campaign is going just fine, their Bundesliga season is in the gutter. Borussia Dortmund sit in the relegation zone, with just three wins and 11 total points. They’ll be searching for a crucial three points against Eintracht on Sunday to help pull themselves out of the bottom three.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesDean Mouhtaropoulos
Wolfsburg vs. Monchengladbach, Sunday, 9:30 AM ET
While Bayern Munich have pulled away in the race for the Bundesliga title already, the battle behind them is intensely fierce. Wolfsburg sit in second with 23 points, while Moenchengladbach are not far behind with 20 points. And this Sunday, they face off against each other.
Roma vs. Inter Milan, Sunday 2:45 PM ET
Roberto Mancini got off to a solid start with a 1-1 draw in the Milan derby but he now has an arguably biggest test in the shape of Roma, whose Champions League hopes suffered a severe setback on Tuesday when CSKA Moscow grabbed a late equalizer to leave three teams on the same number of points chasing one qualifying spot. Mancini will be hoping Roma are suffering from fatigue after a long trip from the Russian capital, but with only three points separating them from leaders Juventus there is plenty at stake.
Getty ImagesClaudio Villa - Inter
Sunderland vs. Chelsea, Saturday, 12:30 PM ET
Last season Sunderland were the team that ended Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s incredible 76-match unbeaten home run in the Premier League, but the Blues are absolutely flying home and abroad, remaining unbeaten in both competitions. The Londoners followed up a 2-0 win against West Brom last weekend with a stunning 5-0 victory at Schalke. To make matters worse for the Black Cats they have lost their last six home games against Chelsea in the Premier League, shipping 19 goals in the process. And with Sunderland still shellshocked by their 8-0 defeat at Southampton this could be any score.
Getty ImagesBoris Streubel
Valencia vs. Barcelona, Sunday, 3 PM ET
La Liga is shaping up as a repeat of last season with Real Madrid, Barca and Atletico all in the driving seat, but there are a couple of clubs still hanging on to their coat tails. Sevilla are one of them and Valencia are the other although their cause was not helped by a 2-1 defeat at Levante last weekend. Barca, on the other hand, are building up a head of steam. Luis Suarez scored his first goal for Barca in the 4-0 win at APOEL Nicosia and Lionel Messi is now la Liga’s all-time record scorer. Watch out Valencia!