Some days are just made for soccer, aren’t they? This Sunday is one.
There’s a cup final, a big rivalry on the field and a feud poised to be ignited off it too in this week’s selections. Additionally, there are battles between big names in Germany and Italy, as the race to secure UEFA Champions League football for next season hots up.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games.
How long have we all been looking forward to this one then? Manchester United vs. Chelsea. At Old Trafford. With Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte on the sidelines.
The two men were embroiled in a bitter war of words this season, with Conte calling Mourinho a “little man” after the United boss brought up match-fixing charges that were previously levelled against the Chelsea boss. You sense there will be tension in the air when they stand aside one another on Sunday.
On the pitch it’s important too. After losing to Newcastle United the Red Devils are just two points ahead of Liverpool in second and four points clear of Spurs in fifth. Settled in in fourth, three points behind United, are Chelsea.
While this game will be given the big buildup and the comments from the coaches will be analysed in forensic detail, we’re unlikely to get an entertaining tussle to match, as you can envisage both managers being cautious here. Still, there are so many factors that make this an unmissable encounter.
The battle to finish in second in Germany this season is looking like it may a be a five-team tussle. Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke are among that pack.
While the runners-up berth would be brilliant for either of these sides, there’s also the matter of Champions League football to consider for next season, with the top four qualifying for Europe’s elite club competition. Leverkusen currently sit in the last of those spots, with Schalke, in sixth, just a point behind them.
There have been times this season when both of these teams have made their case for being the second best side in Germany, although lately they have struggled for consistency. However, they each have attacking players adept at altering the course of a contest and the contrasting styles of the two teams should marry well here.