Tag Archives: Europa league

Premier League, Week 35 Game of the Week

27 Apr

Recap: I had predicted the London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal to be tight, and low scoring. My 1-1 prediction wasn’t far off, as the final score ended in a 0-0 draw. The result pretty much sealed Chelsea’s fate as this season’s Premier League champions.

This Week:

Sunderland AFC vs Southampton FC

Sunderland AFC vs Southampton FC

Saturday, May 2nd, 9am CDT, Stadium of Light

Why This Game is Intriguing: With just 6 games to go including this one, both the Black Cats of Sunderland and the Saints of Southampton desperately need this win- albeit for very different reasons. Sunderland currently finds itself in 18th place and in the relegation zone, and could jump as high as to 15th place depending on other results. Sunderland was last in the 2nd division in 2007, and they will do everything they can to avoid dropping back down. Southampton on the other hand is one of the more remarkable stories of the season. Having lost its 3 top players last season in Adam Lallana, Rickey Lambert, and DeJan Lovren (all to Liverpool), many including myself expected the Saints to be one of the worst teams in the Premier League. Southampton is currently in 7th place, and will be fighting to finish 5th or 6th so they can participate in the Europa League next season. Southampton has 57 points, while Liverpool and Tottenham, 5th and 6th respectively, each have 58 points. Those 3 clubs will be in a heated battle that will likely go down to the last day of the season to see who gets to participate in the European competition.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Both of these teams have good players worth keeping an eye on. Southampton striker Graziano Pelle’ is the Saints’ leading goal scorer with 11. Despite experiencing a dip of form in February and March, Pelle managed to score 2 goals against Tottenham last weekend. Other contributing players include defensemen Nathaniel Clyne and Jose Fonte, 2 of the better players at their respective positions in the Premier League this season. Sunderland is a squad lacking in talent, but forwards Jermain Defoe and Connor Wickham, along with holding midfielder Lee Cattermole are opportunistic difference makers who will play important roles in this game.

Prediction: Southampton 2, Sunderland 0.

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English Premier League, Week 11 Game of the Week

17 Nov

Recap from 2 weeks ago: Although not the most dominating of efforts, Chelsea handled Liverpool at Anfield thanks to goal by Gary Cahill and Diego Costa. Chelsea remains in first place, 4 points clear of the surprising Southampton Saints.

This Week: 

Arsenal FC vs Manchester United

Arsenal FC vs Manchester United

Saturday, November 22nd, 11:30am (CST) Emirates Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: Teams 6 (Arsenal) and 7 (Man United) in the Premier League face off in North London. Just a point apart, this is a crucial game as we head into the middle of November. The Gunners are coming off an ugly loss to Swansea City, a game which they controlled for about the first 60 or so minutes, before things got wildly out of hand. Man United won their last game at home against Crystal Palace thanks to a 67′ goal by Juan Mata. While not as significant of a rivalry as say the Manchester Derby, the North London Derby, or Liverpool vs Manchester United, this game, because of the history of the two clubs, has meaning beyond just two good teams playing.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: What does the future hold for both Arsenal and Manchester United, and where they end up finishing could all come back to this game. Both clubs are struggling mightily stringing together wins in a row, and both are dealing with bad injuries. The laundry list of injuries for Manchester United undoubtedly is hurting their chances: Falcao, van Persie, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera- each have missed or are slated to miss several games. For Arsenal: Olivier Giroud, Debuchy, Arteta, Ozil, Koscielny. Both of these clubs have Champions League aspirations, but have a ways to go. Even the Europa League, particularly for Manchester United, would be a positive step in the right direction for the club- however, as it stands and the way these clubs have looked, missing out on the top 6 entirely is a possibility that both would like to avoid.

Soccahaus Prediction: 1-1

English Premier League, Week 9 Game of the Week

27 Oct

Recap: Manchester United, in dramatic fashion at the Theater of Dreams, drew league leaders Chelsea thanks to a goal by Robin van Persie in the waning seconds of extra time. While Chelsea was clearly the favorite, and looked like the better team for much of the game- it is moments like the one RVP had that make playing at Old Trafford one of the more unique experiences in all of world soccer.

This Week:

Manchester City vs Manchester United

Manchester City vs Manchester United

Sunday, November 2nd, 7:30am (CST) Etihad Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because of the results for each of these teams last week, and the emotional aftermath of those results and how they effect the mindset of the players heading into this match. As mentioned in the recap, Manchester United is coming off of an elating draw vs Chelsea; while some could argue that Manchester United is better than that, to celebrate a tie at home, irregardless of the opponent- considering how the last 2 seasons have gone for the Red Devil’s, this was arguably the most impressive, positive game they’ve played in a season and a half. Manchester City lost at West Ham United 1-2, despite outshooting and outpossessing the Hammers. West Ham, currently in 4th place, is a very good English club and should push for a Europa league spot- but no doubt this was a let down for the Citizens.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Manchester City has dominated this rivalry as of late- winning the 5 of the last 6, and both league matches last season by a combined score of 7-1. The last match these 2 played at Old Trafford resulted in a 3-0 win for the Citizens, and you can bet the Red Devils still have a bitter taste in their mouths from such an embarrassing result. Compared to last season, Manchester United seems much improved- with the additions of Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera, and Daley Blind. Sergio Aguero has 9 goals in 8 games, while United’s top goal scorer is RVP with just 3 so far. Expect City to reassert itself and prove once again, despite the recent shortcomings against CSKA Moscow and West Ham, that the club is capable of being the best in England.

Soccahaus Prediction: Manchester City 4, Manchester United 2

English Premier League, Week 7 Game of the Week

13 Oct

Recap: 2 weeks ago, prior to the International Break, Chelsea defeated Arsenal 2-0, after a scuffle between managers Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. The 2 rivals squared off, but it was the Blues who looked the better side, with goals from Hazard (penalty in the ’27) and Diego Costa in the ’78.

This Week: 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City FC

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City FC

Saturday, October 18th, 6:45AM (CST) Etihad Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: These teams are both in the top 6 in the current Premier League table, and both are currently involved in European competition (City in the Champions League, Spurs in Europa League). Manchester City hasn’t lost a Premier League match since August 30th (Stoke City at home), and has 2 wins (on the road against Hull and Aston Villa and 2 draws (Chelsea at home and Arsenal on the road) since then. Despite their inconsistent play, the Citizens are in second place, and only 5 points behind league leaders Chelsea. A win at home against the extremely talented Tottenham Hotspur would give Manuel Pelligrini’s men a boost of confidence heading into another week of Champions League play.

Other Reasons to Watch this game: The 6th place Tottenham Hotspur have just 2 wins in their last 6 games, but their most recent victory was by far their biggest of the season. Their home win against 3rd place Southampton, manager Mauricio Pochettino’s former team, was incredibly significant. The Spurs played a complete game against a very good team, and the goal came from none other than their star player, Dane Christian Eriksen. Nacer Chadli has been a beast thus far for the Spurs, scoring 4 goals already, and seems to be improving each game.

Prediction: Man City 2, Tottenham 0

La Liga Week 1, Game of the Week

20 Aug

And The La Liga Season is Officially Under Way!!

 

Sevilla FC vs Valencia CF

Sevilla FC vs Valencia CF

Saturday, August 23rd, 2pm (CST) Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan

Why This Game is Intriguing: These are two of the best clubs in Spain, outside of the Big 3 in Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid. I’ve always said that La Liga is deeper than a two team race, and last year’s performance by Atletico proved just that. Both of these clubs have given Real Madrid and FC Barcelona problems in the past- and both of these clubs will be looking to make a push to finish in the top 4 and earn a Champions League bid. Sevilla is coming off one of its best seasons in club history, finishing 5th last season in the league and winning the Europa League over Portuguese champions Benfica. Valencia had a rather disappointing season, finishing 8th in the league while losing to to Sevilla in the Europa League semifinals.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Old and new talent. Valencia recently acquired Spanish striker Rodrigo Moreno (Rodrigo) on loan from Portuguese side Benfica. The forward is a playmaker with great skills in front of goal, scoring 11 in the Primera Liga last season and 4 more in the Europa League. Algerian midfielder Sofiane Feghouli is Valencia’s best all around player, and is entering his 3rd season for Los Che. Regulars Pablo Piatti, Jonas, GK Diego Alves, and defender Joao Pereira will look to thrust Valencia back into the Champions League. Sevilla might have lost its best player in Ivan Rakitic last season to FC Barcelona, but this squad has made enough acquisitions to adequately match last years success. Raktic’s replacement will be Denis Suarez, on loan from Barcelona who plays the Croat’s same position, but is arguably more adept at scoring. Sevilla also acquired young Catalan and former Everton player Gerard Deulofeu who is dangerous running into the box.

Soccahaus Prediction: Sevilla 2, Valencia 1

La Liga, Week 35 Game of the Week

21 Apr

Recap: Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao to earn a much needed victory after a tough couple of weeks of losing and sanctions. Pedro and Lionel Messi came through when the Catalans needed it most in order to beat 4th place Bilbao at the Nou Camp. FC Barcelona is in 2nd place in the Premier League, and 4 points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid is in 3rd place, but has 1 more game to play than Barcelona.

This Week: 

Atletico Madrid vs Valencia CF

Atletico Madrid vs Valencia CF

Sunday, April 27th, 10am (CDT) Mestalla

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because Atletico continues their La Liga campaign with the hopes of winning their first league title since the ’95-96 season. The similarity between that season and this season? Current Atletico manager Diego Simeone was a starting midfielder for that Atletico team that won the league. Atletico plays this match in between their 2 semi final fixtures against Chelsea- so it is possible that Atletico’s focus could be elsewhere- but on talent alone, this match is Atletico’s to lose. A cup double is absolutely in play here for Atletico, and the coming fixtures are pivotal in their quest for glory.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Valencia too has Europe on their minds, specifically the Europa League where they must battle fellow La Liga club Sevilla over 2 legs in order to advance to the Europa League final. Valencia is led by Brazilian striker Jonas, along with playmaking midfielder Sofiane Feghouli. Valencia has shown tremendous spirit and fight already in the Europa League with their 2 leg tie against FC Basel, where they found themselves down 0-3 after Basel’s home leg, but came back to Valencia to win 5-0 over the Swiss Champions. Valencia has mettle, and while they won’t be finishing top 4 in La Liga, the club is battle tested and has the talent available to steal some points from the league leaders.

Soccahaus Prediction: Atletico 1, Valencia 1

Other Games this week worth Watching: Villareal vs FC Barcelona, Real Madrid vs Osasuna, Espanyol vs Almeria, Getafe vs Malaga,

English Premier League, Week 30 of 2014, Game of the Week

11 Mar

Recap: After a 10 month hiatus, we are back, previewing the final 9  best games down the stretch of this season.

This Week: 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal FC

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, March 16th, 11am (CDT) White Hart Lane

Why This Game is Intriguing: The North London derby is one of the best and most intense football events in England, and you can rest be assured that Tottenham will be looking to avenge their 0-1 loss back on September 1st at the Emirates. Currently Arsenal sits in 3rd place in the league table with 59 points, while Tottenham is in 5th with 53 points. A Spurs win here would greatly affect the standings and might give the Spurs a chance of potentially finishing in the top 4- though at this point in time, that appears to be a long shot. A turnaround for the Spurs must start with a positive result in this match.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: A reasonable question to ask of Arsenal is- How much left is in the tank? This match at White Hart Line will be their 3rd match in 8 days- and it doesn’t help that Arsenal lost one of it’s most consistent and intelligent midfielders in Jack Wilshire during England’s friendly just last week. After playing in Munich on Tuesday night- Arsenal must travel back to London and recuperate before this huge derby game. As for Tottenham, they will be coming off their first leg against Benfica in the Europa League- a quality opponent that has a legitimate chance to win the Europa League trophy.

Soccahaus Prediction: Tottenham 2, Arsenal 1

Other Games this week worth watching: Manchester United vs Liverpool, Aston Villa vs Chelsea, Everton vs Cardiff, Hull vs Manchester City