We are now in the final month of many of the European leagues. Trophies are up for grabs, teams are battling to avoid relegation, and fans are praying to God, using voodoo and sacrificing small animals in order to help their teams to victory. OK, so fans might not be sacrificing animals, but there’s a lot of soccer to watch this weekend, and here are a few games worth to keep an extra eye on this weekend.
Leicester City – Newcastle United (English Premier League Gameweek 35):
Leicester has been on fire lately, racking up four straight wins before losing to league-leading Chelsea earlier this week. The late surge means that Leicester climb up the table and out of the bottom of the barrel. They currently sit in 17th, right above the relegation zone. They will host a Newcastle team that has been abysmal as of late and will head into Saturday’s game on a seven-game losing streak. United’s free fall has come at a very unfortunate time and they now find themselves involved in the relegation battle. They have fallen down to 14th place in the table, and they are only five points from the drop zone.
Olympique Lyon – Evian Thonon Gaillard (French Ligue 1 Gameweek 35):
Lyon is desperately trying to win out the rest of the games in order to catch up and pass PSG at the top of Ligue 1. Lyon has three wins, one draw and one loss in its last five league games, and with four games remaining of the season, they sit in second place with 68 points. PSG leads the league with 71 points, so Lyon must hope that PSG drop points in order to have a shot at passing them and winning their first league title since 2007-2008. Lyon was the dominant force in French soccer at the beginning of the 2000s, winning seven straight titles, but since scaling back on player costs, the best result they’ve had is a second place finish in 2009-2010. Evian is fighting for survival at the bottom of the table, so they will be in desperation mode. They sit in 18th place, one point away from safety.
Inter Milan – Chievo (Italian Serie A Gameweek 34):
It’s been another rough season for Inter fans as the team continues to struggle, despite Roberto Mancini taking over as the manager. The glory days of Inter are far behind them and in the last three campaigns they’ve finished 6th, 9th and 5th. Inter sits in 9th place right now with 48 points, and has a chance of reaching a Europa League spot, but despite only being two points behind Genoa in 6th, they will have to leap frog Fiorentina and Torino as well. Mauro Icardi has been a bright spot for Inter this season, and his 18 league goals is good for second place in the scoring race, two behind Carlos Tevez (Juventus). Chievo is stuck in no man’s land in 12th with 40 points. They don’t really have anything left to play for and a mid table finish is an acceptable result for them.
Tottenham Hotspur – Manchester City (English Premier League Gameweek 35):
Tottenham will look to grab a prestigious win over the defending champions from Manchester and try to pass Liverpool in the table and move up to 5th place and grab a Europa League spot. City currently sits in 2nd place, 13 points behind Chelsea, but Arsenal has a game in hand on City and Manchester United are just two points behind. But a top 4 finish is pretty much secured for City, but they will want to end the season as high up the table as possible and they will be a tough nut for Tottenham to crack. The two leading goalscorers in the league will square off as Sergio Aguero (City) and Harry Kane (Spurs) are battling for the golden boot. Auger leads the race with 21 league goals on the season, but Kane, who has had a Hollywood-like breakthrough this season, is only a single goal behind.
FC Nantes – Paris Saint Germain (French Ligue 1 Gameweek 35):
PSG is on a five-game winning streak, and they will look to make it six in a row against Nantes on Sunday. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to the lineup after serving a three-game ban. The Swedish superstar leads the team in goals with a tally of 17 league goals. Javier Pastore has been getting a lot of praise lately, and the Argentinian winger is an integral part of PSG and his playmaking abilities strikes fear in defenses around Ligue 1. Nantes sits in the middle of the table in 10th, but only seven points differs between them and Evian in 17th. So Nantes definitely wants to add some more points in the final games to avoid being relegated. They had some trouble scoring during the season, and they head into the game with a -7 goal difference compared to PSG’s +37.