European Weekend Preview: Serie A and La Liga make returns from winter break

BY NICK IUELE

Italy’s Seria A and Spain’s La Liga take center stage this weekend as the rest of Europe remains on holiday. The second half of the season marks the beginning of the home stretch and is where seasons are either made or broken. Can Madrid catch Barcelona? Will Juventus repeat? The answers to these questions start to unfold now.

In England, the FA Cup takes center stage as the English Premier League race takes the weekend off. Manchester United face West Ham United and Swansea City take on Arsenal in two of the more high-profile matches of the weekend.

If you’re focus is European league play, then Serie A and the Spanish League re-starting will keep you busy this weekend. Here is a closer look at the action in both leagues this weekend:

ITALY

Roma takes on Napoli to open the second half. Just two points out of the final Europa League spot, i Lupi have seen their share of good form this campaign and can continue that with all three points. Napoli is hanging onto fifth place by a thread, dropping two of their last three league matches before the break. Roma tries to get into the Europe picture, while Napoli attempts to move into Champions League position.

Juventus opens the home stretch to their title defense against Sampdoria on Saturday. The Old Lady has an eight point lead on the competition and a ridiculous plus-28 goal differential. With Sampdoria just a few points out of the relegation zone, Juve should expect all three points and a positive start to the second half.

Here are this weekend’s Serie A matches:

Catania v Torino

Lazio v Cagliari

Udinese v Inter Milan

AC Milan v Siena

Chievo Verona v Atalanta

Fiorentina v US Pescara

Genoa v Bologna

Juventus v Sampdoria

Parma v Palermo

Napoli v AS Roma

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SPAIN

Barcelona starts their quest to take back the La Liga crown against Espanyol at Camp Nou. Barca open up the second half with a nine-point lead atop the table and is undefeated to this point in the season. Espanyol is currently in the relegation zone, but has recently tied Sevilla and Real Madrid, so Barca would do well to take nothing for granted.

Real Madrid has some work to do before catching the top two in the table, but they can start by taking all three points from Sociedad. Real is currently seven points back of Atletico Madrid and 16 points back of Barcelona, so wins from here on out is almost mandatory. Sociedad has inched up to seventh and is now in the Europe conversation.

Here are this weekend’s La Liga matches:

Real Zaragoza v Real Betis

Levante v Athletic Bilbao

Granada v Valencia

Deportivo La Coruna v Malaga

Sevilla FC v Osasuna

Celta Vigo v Real Valladolid

Real Madrid v Real Sociedad

Barcelona v Espanyol

Mallorca v Atletico Madrid

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2 Responses to European Weekend Preview: Serie A and La Liga make returns from winter break

  1. Tim M. says:

    I beat Barca this year twice in my first season with Espanyol in FM 13. And we just qualified for the Champions league.