European Look Ahead: Spurs try to stop slide, Juventus face Inter and more

610x


By JOHN BOSCHINI

After a dream start to the season, Tottenham are in danger of ending their 2011-2012 campaign in disaster.

Ever since rumors of Harry Redknapp's possible departure to take over the vacant England job emerged, Spurs have had a major dip in form, winning just one point from their last four games. A few key injuries have exposed the lack of depth on the Tottenham bench, and they find themselves in fourth place with fifth-place Chelsea playing host when the two teams clash in Saturday's match.

Chelsea have been far from consistent, however. The brief return to form under new manager Roberto De Matteo was halted by Manchester City's late comeback earlier this week, and the Blues are five points off a Champions League place. 

Inter Milan's disastrous campaign may already be beyond rescue but a trip to Juventus this weekend could extinguish what little hope is left. Inter are seven points off third place, sitting in seventh with 10 games to play. Juventus are trying to chase down AC Milan despite maintaining their unbeaten record. Milan are four points clear but face a tough test against AS Roma.

Here's a closer look at the weekend's European slate:


ENGLAND

Manchester City roared back into the title race with their dramatic comeback against Chelsea. Carlos Tevez was instrumental in setting up the winning goal, and it's looking increasingly that the temperamental striker will be a key player down the stretch for Roberto Mancini. A win against Stoke City, which has proven difficult to beat at home, will send City temporarily to the top of the Premier League table.

Manchester United will be able to reclaim top spot on Monday with a win over Clint Dempsey and Fulham.

SATURDAY

Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 8:45 a.m.
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa, 11 a.m. 
Bolton Wanderers vs. Blackburn Rovers, 11 a.m. 
Liverpool vs. Wigan Athletic, 11 a.m. 
Norwich City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers, 11 a.m.  
Sunderland vs. Queens Park Rangers, 11 a.m.
Swansea City vs. Everton, 11 a.m.
Stoke City vs. Manchester City, 1:30 p.m. 

SUNDAY

West Bromwich Albion vs. Newcastle United, 11 a.m.

MONDAY

Manchester United vs. Fulham, 3 p.m.

SPAIN

The race for the La Liga title is back on in a dramatic way as back-to-back draws for Real Madrid have narrowed their lead over Barcelona to just six points. Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil are suspended, and Jose Mourinho will be banned from the touchline for Madrid's home game against Real Sociedad. On paper, a home stand against a 14th-placed side is the perfect way to get back on track.

Barcelona will need to tidy up their away form if they are to track down Madrid. They have only won half of their 14 away trips this season.

SATURDAY

Mallorca vs. Barcelona, 1 p.m.
Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad, 3 p.m.
Getafe vs. Valencia, 5 p.m. 

SUNDAY

Real Zaragoza vs. Atletico Madrid, 6 a.m.
Espanyol vs. Malaga, 10 a.m.
Levante vs. Osasuna, 10 a.m.
Athletic Bilbao vs. Sporting Gijon, 12 p.m.
Rayo Vallecano vs. Villarreal, 1:45 p.m.
Real Betis vs. Racing Santander, 1:45 p.m. 

MONDAY

Granada vs. Sevilla FC, 3 p.m.

GERMANY

While the top four finishers in the Bundesliga are all but settled, the title race is far from over. Borussia Dortmund have a healthy, five-point cushion against Bayern Munich, but there isn't a hotter team in Europe right now than the 2010 Champions League runners-up. Borussia Monchengladbach are trying to hold off fourth-placed Schalke.

Schalke will try to deliver the final blow to Leverkusen's Champions League hopes when the two sides meet on Saturday.

FRIDAY

VfL Wolfsburg vs. Hamburg SV, 3:30 p.m.

SATURDAY

Bayern Munich vs. Hannover 96, 10:30 a.m.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. TSG Hoffenheim, 10:30 a.m.
Mainz vs. Hertha Berlin, 10:30 a.m.
SC Freiburg vs. Kaiserslautern, 10:30 a.m.
Werder Bremen vs. FC Augsburg, 10:30 a.m.
Schalke 04 vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 1:30 p.m. 

SUNDAY

VfB Stuttgart vs. Nurnberg, 9:30 a.m.
FC Cologne vs. Borussia Dortmund, 11:30 a.m. 

ITALY

The top two teams continue to pull away, but the fight for third place is as close as ever. Lazio hold on to the final Champions League spot by a one-point margin over both Napoli and Udinese. Udinese hits the road for a difficult trip to Palermo while Lazio and Napoli are at home.

Should AS Roma pull a shocker against AC Milan, they could move to within one point of the Champions League places.

SATURDAY

AC Milan vs. AS Roma, 1 p.m.
Palermo vs. Udinese, 3:45 p.m. 

SUNDAY

Atalanta vs. Bologna, 6:30 a.m.
Cesena vs. Parma, 9 a.m. 
Chievo Verona vs. Siena, 9 a.m. 
Genoa vs. Fiorentina, 9 a.m. 
Lazio vs. Cagliari, 9 a.m. 
Napoli vs. Catania, 9 a.m. 
Novara vs. Lecce, 9 a.m. 
Juventus vs. Inter Milan, 2:45 

FRANCE

Toulouse will try to focus with the city's off-field tragedy still fresh as the club makes an unexpected run towards the top of the table. A result against AJ Auxerre will extend their unbeaten run to six games in the league and could draw them level with Lille in third place.

Lyon takes on a surprisingly resilient Sochaux side, while St Etienne and Montpellier try to keep pace in their respective races when they square off against each other.

SATURDAY

AC Ajaccio vs. Lorient, 2 p.m.
Brest vs. AS Nancy Lorraine, 2 p.m.
Evian Thonon Gaillard vs. Lille, 2 p.m.
Lyon vs. Sochaux, 2 p.m.
Montpellier vs. St Etienne, 2 p.m.
Nice vs. Marseille, 2 p.m.
Valenciennes vs. Stade Rennes, 4 p.m.

SUNDAY

Dijon FCO vs. Caen, 11 a.m.
Toulouse vs. AJ Auxerre, 11 a.m.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bordeaux, 3 p.m. 

NETHERLANDS

Eight games from the end of the season and the title race is as tight as ever. Two points separate the top four teams with second-place Ajax and fourth-place PSV Eindhoven facing off in the headline match of the weekend.

FRIDAY

Excelsior vs. FC Groningen, 3 p.m.

SATURDAY

Roda JC Kerkrade vs. Vitesse Arnhem, 1:45 p.m.
Heerenveen vs. VVV Venlo, 2:45 p.m.
NAC Breda vs. NEC Nijmegen, 2:45 p.m.
ADO Den Haag vs. FC Twente, 3:45 p.m. 

SUNDAY

AZ Alkmaar vs. RKC Waalwijk, 6:30 a.m.
De Graafschap vs. Feyenoord Rotterdam, 8:30 a.m.
SC Heracles Almelo vs. FC Utrecht, 8:30 a.m.
Ajax Amsterdam vs. PSV Eindhoven, 10:30 a.m. 

—————————

What do you think of the weekend's fixtures? Can Spurs stop their slide? Will Juventus keep pace in Italy? Forsee a team breaking free in the Eredivisie?

Share your thoughts below.

Spain

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Germany

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Italy

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

France

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

The Netherlands

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

This entry was posted in European Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to European Look Ahead: Spurs try to stop slide, Juventus face Inter and more

  1. BSU SC says:

    While the Champions League remains exciting, this has been one of the most boring years for the domestic leagues in Europe that I can remember in quite some time. It’s a 2 horse race for the title in England, Spain, Italy, and France. Only the German and Dutch leagues are providing more than the minimal excitement for their domestic league title. It’s always interesting to watch for who will get the European spots, but there is nothing like watching 5+ teams compete for the championship during the final weeks of the season.

  2. marco says:

    This Spurs drop will be historic. Besides the England distraction, Harry has played some peculiar line-ups with multiple players out of their favored positions. Chelsea 3-2. Harry says, everything is fine as his ship sinks.

  3. Andy says:

    Wow! How can you say the EPL is boring this year? The fight for 3rd and 4th (and even 5th) has never been more exciting and there are still any 3 of 5 teams that could be relegated.