Football Article

Five Must-See Football Matches This Weekend

Five Must-See Football Matches This Weekend Photo: TT
Arsenal's Denis Suarez in action with Manchester City's David Silva

Numerous big clubs do battle across Europe this weekend, with matches in Spain, England, Italy and the Netherlands headlining the action.

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona

Saturday 4pm European time - Spanish La Liga

Early season surprise packets Real Sociedad host champions and league leaders Barcelona on Saturday in an unexpected blockbuster.

The Catalans have suffered three defeats away from home this season, while Sociedad have shown they can mix it up with the best all season, sitting only seven points behind the leaders. Sociedad’s bubble may have burst, only winning one of their past three, while Barca have won four straight in La Liga. They did rest Lionel Messi in midweek in the UEFA Champions League too, in an ominous sign.

AZ Alkmaar v Ajax Amsterdam

Sunday 4:45pm European time - Dutch Eredivisie

The top two meet in the Dutch top flight on Sunday, with second-placed AZ Alkmaar hosting Ajax Amsterdam, who hold a three-point buffer at the summit.

To add to the occasion, AZ will return to their home ground AFAS Stadion which they’ve not been permitted to play in since the roof collapsed in August. AZ, who were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester United in midweek, have won six straight in the Eredivisie including a 4-0 win at PSV Eindhoven. Ajax had won nine in a row in the league before last weekend’s shock 2-0 home loss to Willem II. Their midweek loss to Valencia, leading to their UEFA Champions League exit means they’ll be determined to respond.

Arsenal v Manchester City

Sunday 5:30pm European time - English Premier League

Two of England’s big clubs meet on Sunday night, although both are under-achieving this campaign, with Freddie Ljungberg’s Gunners down in ninth, while Manchester City are third but 14 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Arsenal snapped a nine-game winless run in all competitions with last weekend’s 3-1 triumph away to West Ham United in the Premier League before a come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Standard Liege in midweek. City have only won two of their past five league matches but they flexed their muscle in midweek with a 4-1 victory away to Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Champions League with Gabriel Jesus netting a treble.

Valencia v Real Madrid

Sunday 9pm European time - Spanish La Liga

Valencia celebrated a remarkable victory at Ajax in midweek which sealed their spot in the UEFA Champions League stages and will take on second-placed Real Madrid full of confidence from that.

Los Che may be down in eighth but they have won four of their past five matches in La Liga and are unbeaten at home this season. Los Galacticos have won their past four league matches and have a good away record this campaign, with 14 points from a possible 21. Real won 3-1 at Club Brugge in midweek, fielding a youthful side to be fresh for this clash ahead of their midweek Clasico.

Cagliari v Lazio

Monday 8:45pm European time - Italian Serie A

Another surprise contender takes on one of the big boys this weekend, with fourth-placed Cagliari hosting third-placed Rome powerhouse Lazio.

Only four points currently separates these two clubs, with Cagliari unbeaten across their past 14 matches in all competitions. Their only two defeats this season both came at the Sardegna Arena. Lazio are the form team of Serie A, recording seven consecutive victories including last round’s 3-1 win over Juventus and being unbeaten across 10 matches in the league.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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