European Weekend Preview: Van Persie and Man United face Arsenal, Juve meets Inter, and more

By NICK IUELE

Robin Van Persie will face former club Arsenal for the first time since leaving the London club to join Manchester United when the English Premier League powers collide in the weekend’s most high-profile match.

The Gunners are in need of points in order to break into the top four, but they face a Man United side that is just a point behind Premier League leaders Chelsea at the top of the table. Van Persie could face boos from Arsenal fans on Saturday, though it is a safe bet there will be more cheers for him from the Old Trafford faithful.

In Italy, table-toppers Juventus will take on a surging Inter Milan squad. The Old Lady has yet to drop a match this season, while Inter is only four points back of the top spot and one point behind second-place Napoli. Both clubs stole one-goal wins in the last round of Serie A matches. This one should be a battle.

Radamel Falcao and undefeated Atletico Madrid can put immense pressure on first-place Barcelona by taking all the points against Valencia. Falcao has been the best player in La Liga outside of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, tallying 10 goals in league play. Valencia is a club that has had trouble finding consistently good form, but have the ability to put it all together and win a big match.

Here is a rundown of this weekend’s matches in Europe’s top leagues:

ENGLAND

Despite settling for draws in their last three league matches, Everton remains in the fourth position and will be looking for all the points against a solid Fulham side. The Toffees have only lost once this season and have been in reasonably good form, while Fulham is has not lost in their last three matches.

Top-three side Manchester City plays West Ham United on Saturday. City has not dropped a match this term and is only one point behind Chelsea for the top spot in the table. The Hammers, who are having a very good season so far after being promoted back to the EPL, are in eighth place and could move into the Europe conversation with all three points.

Here are this weekend’s English Premier League matches:

Manchester United v Arsenal

Fulham v Everton

Norwich City v Stoke City

Sunderland v Aston Villa

Swansea City v Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur v Wigan Athletic

West Ham United v Manchester City

Queens Park Rangers v Reading

Liverpool v Newcastle United

West Bromwich Albion v Southampton

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ITALY

Napoli will be looking for nothing but all three points against Torino this weekend. Torino got off to a great start, but has now reverted back to a lower-third club. Napoli is three points back Juventus and one point ahead of Inter so a win would keep the pressure on while a loss could mean a drop out of the top three.

Lazio can keep pressure on the top three with a win over Catania on Sunday. Lazio has only lost once in their last five matches, but the last two have been a draw and a loss. Catania has had a solid start to the season and can sneak up on Lazio if the fourth-place club is not ready.

Here are this weekend’s Serie A matches:

AC Milan v Chievo Verona

Juventus v Inter Milan

US Pescara v Parma

Bologna v Udinese

Catania v Lazio

Fiorentina v Cagliari

Napoli v Torino

Sampdoria v Atalanta

Siena v Genoa

AS Roma v Palermo

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SPAIN

Real Madrid can break into the top three for the first time this term with a win against Real Zaragoza on Saturday. After a rocky start to the season, Madrid has made a significant push up the table and are now on the verge of being back in automatic UCL position.

Malaga will look to take all three points from Rayo Vallecano in order to keep Real Madrid away from the top three. Malaga has only lost once this campaign, and that was to the buzz saw that is Atletico Madrid. The southern Spanish club has impressed so far in all competitions and can keep pace in La Liga with a win.

Here are this weekend’s La Liga matches:

Malaga v Rayo Vallecano

Barcelona v Celta Vigo

Real Madrid v Real Zaragoza

Valencia v Atletico Madrid

Real Sociedad v Espanyol

Deportivo La Coruna

Osasuna v Valladoild

Granada v Athletic Bilbao

Sevilla FC v Levante

Getafe v Real Betis

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GERMANY

Table-toppers Bayern Munich will take on a solid surging Hamburg side on Saturday. Munich lost their first league match of the season last weekend and will be looking to regain dominant form. Hamburg, who started the season toward the relegation zone, has fought their way to seventh place and are win away from forcing themselves into the UCL conversation.

After losing last week, Eintracht Frankfurt will look to regain form against lowly Greuther Furth on Friday. Frankfurt dropped to third place in the table, but can regain the second position with all three points. They will be monitoring the result of the Schalke-Hoffenheim match.

Here are this weekend’s Bundesliga matches:

Eintracht Frankfurt v SpVgg Greuther Furth

Borussia Dortmund v VfB Stuttgart

Borussia Monchengladbach v SC Freiburg

Hannover 96 v FC Augsburg

Nurnberg v VfL Wolfsburg

TSG Hoffenheim v Schalke 04

Hamburg SV v Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen v Fortuna Dusseldorf

Werder Bremen v Mainz

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FRANCE

Only four points separate the top four in Ligue 1. Leaders Paris Saint-Germain takes on St. Etienne on Saturday and will need a positive result to stay in front. Toulouse and Marseille, who are tied for second with 19 points each, will be in action against Bordeaux and AC Ajaccio respectively. Fourth-place Lyon will try to move up with a result against Bastia on Sunday.

Here are this weekend’s Ligue 1 matches:

Brest v Lorient

Paris St.-Germain v St. Etienne

Evian Thonon v Lille

Nice v AS Nancy Lorraine

Stade Rennes v Stade de Reims

Troyes v Montpellier

Valenciennes v Sochaux

AC Ajaccio v Marseille

Lyon v Bastia

Bordeaux v Toulouse

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3 Responses to European Weekend Preview: Van Persie and Man United face Arsenal, Juve meets Inter, and more

  1. THomas says:

    Fulham v Everton is kind of a big game to find out which one of them is for real this year.