Top 5 must-see soccer games on US TV this weekend
The definition of a derby alters across world soccer. But when any game is slapped with that tag, typically it’s going to be a 90 minutes worth watching.
This weekend, three of the five selections on offer fall into that category. In Italy on Saturday there’s the Derby D’Italia between two of the main contenders for the Serie A title, while on Sunday, rivalries from Merseyside and Manchester will be ignited.
In addition, there’s one absorbing fixtures from La Liga, as well as the final game of the 2017 MLS season featuring a final rematch between Toronto and Seattle.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
With Barcelona dropping points at home to Celta Vigo a week ago, Real Madrid missed a massive opportunity on Saturday against Athletic Club to apply some pressure at the top of the table. It’s imperative they overcome Sevilla to do so here.
Although Los Blancos have struggled mainly on the road, on home soil they’ve not been totally convincing either. Madrid’s last domestic outing at the Santiago Bernabeu was the 2-2 draw with third-tier Fuenlabrada, while they were far from convincing in beating the league’s bottom side Malaga 3-2.
If they win here then they’d cut the gap back down to five points at the top of the table. And given their poor run of form, manager Zinedine Zidane will be looking to some big names to haul his side through; forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have yet to find their usual ruthlessness in front of goal.
Sevilla, meanwhile, have been quietly making progress this term, as they head to the Bernabeu level on points with Los Blancos. If they can start well, prompt some angst among the Madridistas and assert themselves on the competition, then the talent is there for them to spring a surprise.
A week ago Juventus gave us all a reminder of what they’re capable of with a fine win over Napoli. They’ll be looking to do a job on new Serie A leaders Inter Milan on Saturday.
At the San Paolo the champions turned in a brilliant display in a 1-0 win, nullifying a tremendous Napoli attack, scoring a fine goal on the counter attack and defending with minimal fuss. For all the talk of a closer title race in Italy this term, Juve still have the best squad in the country, a side packed with winners and some world-class individuals too.
Inter will back themselves going to Turin. After all, they’re unbeaten this term, are a cohesive unit under the guidance of Luciano Spalletti and in recent weeks have started to show more flair in front of goal. Their 5-0 win over Chievo on Sunday was perhaps the biggest indicator of that yet, with Ivan Perisic leading the charge with a hat-trick.
If the Nerazzurri can prosper here, then it’d be enormous, as it’d cement their status as genuine title contenders. Still, Juve are experts in these high-pressure occasions and are a force to be reckoned with at their own stadium.
ESPN will present the 2017 MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. ET, when Toronto FC hosts defending champion Seattle Sounders at BMO Field in Toronto. A rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup won by Seattle on a penalty shootout, Major League Soccer’s championship match features some of the league’s biggest stars – Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco and U.S. Men’s National Team stars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, and Seattle’s Nicolás Lodeiro and USMNT star Clint Dempsey.
This will be the 21st MLS championship on ESPN. Commentator Adrian Healey, analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Julie Stewart-Binks – a Toronto native – will call the match with host Max Bretos, Kasey Keller and Alejandro Moreno, providing pregame, halftime and post-game studio coverage from site. The match will also stream live on the ESPN App.
Liverpool will be looking to extend their remarkable record over rivals Everton on Sunday in what promises to be a fascinating Merseyside derby.
The Reds have dominated the fixture in recent years, with the Toffees’ last win of any sort against their neighbours coming in 2010. Remarkably, Everton haven’t won at their former home since 1999, when Kevin Campbell grabbed the winner in a 1-0 win. It looks unlikely to change this weekend against a red-hot Liverpool side.
Indeed, against Brighton & Hove Albion Jurgen Klopp’s side were irresistible, running in five goals and playing some dazzling counter-attacking football. While questions remains about their defensive structure, they boast one of the most devastating attacks in European football, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho all major forces.
Everton have improved as of late, winning their last two games. Sam Allardyce will ensure they’re defensively sound here too. However, it’s tough to see who can provide the attacking firepower the Toffees will need in this fixture and how Everton go about ending their derby drought.
The biggest fixture of the Premier League season so far will be played out at Old Trafford on Sunday, as second placed Manchester United host runaway leaders Manchester City.
And it is an enormous game. If City were able to get through this one with three points, then they’d be 11 points clear of their bitter rivals. Given the swagger with which they’re operating, even at this early stage of the season, that feels like too much of a gap for the Red Devils to make up.
Even though City have enjoyed the best ever start to a Premier League season, United will feel as though they can get at their rivals. In recent weeks Pep Guardiola’s side have got by thanks to some late goals and against cannier opponents, perhaps their attacking flair can be stifled; Jose Mourinho will certainly believe so.
United are performing well too, having produced a fine display to beat Arsenal 3-1 last weekend. Mourinho will be without the suspended Paul Pogba, though, which is a massive blow, especially against an opponent that has dominated that area of the field in every match they’ve played so far this term.