By NICK IUELE
London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham meet at White Hart Lane in a matchup of clubs looking to break into the Europe conversation. The Gunners are coming off a 3-3 draw with Fulham and Tottenham fell to Manchester City in the last round of English Premier League matches. All three points will be quite valuable for either side, but a loss could put them in a deep hole.
In Italy, table-toppers Juventus takes on fifth-place Lazio. The Old Lady has a safe four point lead on the Serie A field and is coming off of a dominant 6-1 win over Pescara. Lazio was in danger of tumbling down the table last weekend, but prevailed with a 3-2 win over Roma to hold on to a Europa League spot. Juve has only lost once in league play this term.
Malaga is in the midst of a La Liga tumble, winless in their last three matches including two losses. Currently in fifth position, Malaga can snatch back a Champions League spot with all three points against lowly Osasuna. This match may be exactly what Malaga needs to get back on track, for their form of late has been troubling.
In France, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paris Saint-Germain play Stade Rennes. The match comes a few days after Ibra’s wonder goal against England, which may have been the goal of the year.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s action in Europe’s top leagues:
Streaking West Ham United face off with Stoke City on Monday. The Hammers are currently in a surge up the table and is sitting in sixth position. Down only one point from the one and only Europa League spot, all three points from Stoke and some help from West Brom will put West Ham in the Europe conversation.
Chelsea play an in-form West Bromwich Albion side. Just removed off a drop from the top spot, the Blues will be looking for a win to set themselves right. Only a point out of second and three out of first, Chelsea can rebound from last week’s draw with Liverpool with a positive result.
Here are this weekend’s English Premier League matches:
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool v Wigan Athletic
Manchester City v Aston Villa
Newcastle v Swansea City
Queens Park Rangers v Southampton
Reading v Everton
West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea
Norwich City v Manchester United
Fulham v Sunderland
West Ham United v Stoke City
Third-place Napoli play AC Milan on Saturday. Napoli is five points out a first and could use a win to keep up, but despite Milan’s recent poor for, they are still a side not to take lightly. In-form striker Stephen El Sharaawy, who scored for Italy during the week, has match-changing capabilities, so Napoli would do well to mark him at all times.
Inter Milan has a good shot at closing in on the top spot with what appears to be an easy match against Cagliari. Inter lost to Atalanta last weekend, but did not suffer much for it. This match should be an easy three point for them.
Here are this weekend’s Serie A matches:
Juventus v Lazio
Napoli v AC Milan
Bologna v Palermo
Catania v Chievo Verona
Fiorentina v Atalanta
Inter Milan v Cagliari
Siena v US Pescara
Udinese v Parma
Sampdoria v Genoa
AS Roma v Torino
Barcelona puts their undefeated record on the line against Real Zaragoza. After winning ugly for a few matches, Barca has found dominant form again. Despite a loss to Celtic in UCL last week, Messi and Co. are looking good and Zaragoza should not be a threat to them.
Atletico Madrid has a good chance to keep pace with Barcelona with a match against lowly Granada. Madrid got back on track with a win over Getafe last weekend and are five points clear or third place Real Madrid. Falcao is currently third in La Liga with 10 goals to his account, just five behind Leonel Messi for the league lead.
Here are this weekend’s La Liga matches:
Osasuna v Malaga
Valencia v Espanyol
Barcelona v Real Zaragoza
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao
Deportivo La Coruna v Levante
Celta Vigo v Mallorca
Getafe v Valladolid
Granada v Atletico Madrid
Sevilla FC v Real Betis
Real Sociedad v Rayo Vallecano
Schalke square off against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. Schalke is currently in second position, seven points behind Bayern Munich. Leverkusen has enjoyed a good run of form lately and is in fifth place, only a point out of the final UCL spot.
Eintracht Frankfurt is at risk of dropping out of the top three without all three points against FC Augsburg. Combating poor form and Borussia Dortmund breathing down their necks, Frankfurt needs a win. A draw could be no help to Frankfurt, who’s last three results have been loss, draw, loss.
Here are this weekend’s Bundesliga matches:
Borussia Dortmund v SpVgg Greuther Furth
Borussia Monchengladbach v VfB Stuttgart
Eintracht Frankfurt v FC Augsburg
Hamburg SV v Mainz
Hannover 96 v SC Freiburg
Nurnberg v Bayern Munich
Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke 04
Werder Bremen v Fortuna Dusseldorf
TSG Hoffenheim v VfL Wolfsburg
Marseille jumped back into the top two last week and can take the Ligue 1 lead with a win over Bordeaux. Marseille settled for a draw against Nice last weekend, but is treading water despite being without a win for a couple weeks.
Lyon has an outside chance of taking the league lead with all three points over Stade de Reims. Lyon is in good form of late and is one point back of PSG and Marseille. The third place club settled for a draw last weekend, but won twice in a row prior to that.
Here are this weekend’s Ligue 1 matches:
Lorient v Lille
Paris-St. Germain v Stade Rennes
AC Ajaccio v Sochaux
Brest v Bastia
Evian Thonon Gaillard v St. Etienne
Troyes v AS Nancy Lorraine
Valenciennes v Montpellier
Lyon v Stade de Reims
Nice v Toulouse
Bordeaux v Marseille
What match-ups are you looking forward to watching this weekend? Who do you see winning the Tottenham-Arsenal derby?
Share your thoughts below.