The dust from the European cup ties have settled, and we can now look forward to another weekend of top-level league games throughout Europe. Here’s a few games that are worth keeping an extra eye on.
West Ham – Crystal Palace (English Premier League Gameweek 27):
Another weekend, another London derby in the Premier League. West Ham will host Crystal Palace, and anytime it’s time for a London derby, you can count on fans being extra loud and motivated as a win gives bragging rights at the office. The Hammers currently finds themselves in eight, and a top-half finish is definitely a reasonable goal for them this season. Palace are among several teams that are in the danger zone to get demoted. A mere five points separates Palace in 13th and Aston Villa in 19th. Both teams are on a run of bad results lately, West Ham have three draws and two losses in their last five games, and Palace has three losses, one draw and one win.
West Ham came out victorious (3-1) last time when the teams met back in August. Make sure to set your alarm for this one and have breakfast ready as it’s an early kickoff (4:45am PST).
Manchester United – Sunderland (English Premier League Gameweek 27):
United are looking to bounce back with a win after last week’s loss against Swansea. There’s no room for any more mistakes for van Gaal’s men if they are going to keep a top four spot and qualify for the Champions League. There’s a slew of potential match winners, but look for Wayne Rooney to be the talisman and push this United team to victory. Sunderland are in the dogfight in the bottom of the standings. Currently in 16th with 25 points, the team is in danger of falling further down into the relegation battle. Swedish midfielder Sebastian Larsson is the engine on the Sunderland midfield and he has a great right foot on set pieces.
Liverpool – Manchester City (English Premier League Gameweek 27):
The Premier League has a bunch of interesting games this weekend, and the biggest one might just be the meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City. City are chasing Chelsea for the lead, and are currently five points behind. Liverpool are trying to break in to the top four and get one of the coveted Champions League spots, and Brendan Rodgers side are currently in sixth, two points behind Manchester United in fourth.
Liverpool is coming into the game with four wins in the last five games, whereas Man City is fresh of a loss to Barcelona midweek in the Champions League Round of 16. This has all the ingredients for a great game as there’s a lot of animosity between the those teams and the fans.
Chelsea – Tottenham (Capital One Cup Final):
Another London derby, this time in the league cup final. Although the Capital One Cup doesn’t have the same prestige as the FA Cup, it’s still a trophy and both teams will be hungry to bring home some silverware and put in the trophy cabinet. Tottenham beat Sheffield United in the semifinals 3-2 on aggregate, and Chelsea needed extra time in order to beat Liverpool 2-1 on aggregate in their semifinal.
Look for both teams to field the strongest lineup possible. We can look forward to seeing two of the hottest goal scorers in English soccer right now in Diego Costa for Chelsea and Harry Kane for the Spurs.
AS Monaco – Paris SG (French Ligue 1 Gameweek 27):
PSG lead by Zlatan Ibrahimovic are hot on the heels of league leading Olympic Lyonnais, sitting just two points behind. Monaco are in fourth, and will look to keep the grip on the Europa League spot, since the gap up to the top three is seven points.
Ibrahimovic is the key for the PSG side and that doesn’t come as a shock to anyone who follows the team as Ibra is among the top strikers in the world. Monaco’s money splashing stopped after last season and the team even let go of their two biggest star in Falcao (loaned out to Man Utd) and James Rodriguez (sold to Real Madrid). They are still a competitive team and they beat Arsenal 3-1 midweek in the Champions League Round of 16.