In many respects, scrapping down at the bottom of the league is what the game is all about.
Only one team can win the title. Only three or four can make it into the Champions League. The rest? Well, it’s a constant look over your shoulder, just hoping to get to a points total that will keep you safe, and building from there.
So this week, whilst we’ve got some massive, unmissable games involving a host of Europe’s biggest sides, we’ve thrown in a couple of games to savour where teams are battling for their lives down the bottom.
At the top end of the footballing spectrum, there’s vital championship-defining clashes in England and Spain, whilst later on in the week there’s one of the game’s biggest derby matches.
But nearer the bottom, we’ve got a game in England that sees two teams desperate to pull away from the relegation zone. In Germany too, two big names meet that have fallen on hard times this season, both desperately need a win to steer clear of the Bundesliga trap draw.
All kick off times are Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Chelsea vs. Arsenal
Saturday, March 22, 8:45AM, NBCSN
The race for the Premier League title is a genuine four horse race, but after Saturday’s early kick-off, it could be quickly whittled down to three.
A defeat for Arsenal at Stamford Bridge could put an end to their title ambitions as the end of the season closes in. They currently sit four points behind Chelsea—admittedly with a game in hand—but with some tough fixtures to come in the form of Manchester City and Everton, they could drop further points in the coming weeks. If they win, though, Arsenal will find themselves right in the mix.
It’s the type of game that Arsene Wenger’s side have lost in years gone by, but winning at the home of the league leaders and ending Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten domestic run would send out a real message that they can win this championship. They showcased spades of grit, resilience and raw fight at White Hart Lane last time out, and they’ll need to do the same again here.
After the shambles that was their 1-0 defeat at Villa Park, Chelsea must respond in this fixture. They were barely tested against an atrocious Galatasaray in midweek, so should be fresh heading into this massive contest. They’ll be without Brazilian midfielders Willian and Ramires agains the Gunners, but they have a plethora of options in those areas that can slot straight into the side.