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Top 5 must-see soccer games: Feb. 7, 2014

Prepping this piece, I was very tempted to make this week’s feature a “Top Ten” games to watch, such is the outstanding calibre of the matches on offer this weekend. But for continuities sake, I decided to stick with five.

In short, there is an absolute shed-load of top class action. Somehow I picked five out as our main events (taking into account kick-off times, significance and playing styles), but there are another SIX honorable mentions to savur if you fancy another contest, or just feel like gorging on even more top quality soccer.

We’ve got three from the Premier League, an enormous game in France and a Friday night clash from Germany.

As per usual, all kick off times are Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!:

FC Nurnberg vs. Bayern Munich, Saturday, February 8, 8:30AM, GolTV

The Bavarian derby pits Nurnburg against Bayern Munich. Die Bayern have been ruthless, relentless and downright brilliant so far this campaign. Nurenburg by comparison have really struggled and are in deperate need of points if they are to avoid the drop. But anything can happen in a derby game, can’t it? Perhaps not, but it’ll be well worth a watch.

Real Madrid vs. Villarreal, Saturday, February 8, 2:00PM, beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS Espanol and DishWorld

Los Blancos lost ground on La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid after a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao last weekend. Real will be in confident mood heading into this one after their midweek 3-0 trouncing of Atletico in the Copa Del Rey, but they will have to be at their best to beat Champions League-chasing Villarreal.

Napoli vs. AC Milan, Saturday, February 8, 2:45PM, beIN SPORTS Play

Clarence Seedorf pits his wits against Rafael Benitez as his Milan side take on Napoli at the San Siro. This will be the Dutchman’s first major test as boss of the Rossoneri, whilst Napoli will be keen to bounce back from their narrow loss to Roma in midweek. Adel Taarabt looks set to make his debut for Milan.

Lazio vs. Roma, Sunday, February 9, 8:00AM, beIN SPORTS and DishWorld

The Rome derby is always an enormously passionate contest. The supporters typically fashion a spectacular backdrop for the players and tempers have been known to regularly boil over. Both sides have European spots of some stature to target ahead of the season run-in, and a win here could give one team an enormous boost ahead of the run-in.

Benfica vs. Sporting Lisbon, Sunday, February 9, 2:00PM, streaming

After a couple of iffy results, FC Porto look set to relinquish their grip on the Portuguese title. So the door is open for one of Benfica or Sporting Lisbon to be top of the pile come May. They meet this weekend in a game that looks set to have a massive say on exactly which side that’ll be.

Sevilla vs. Barcelona, Sunday, February 9, 3:00PM, beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS Espanol, and DishWorld

La Blaugrana are another team trailing in the wake of Atletico atop of La Liga after dropping points last weekend. A shock 3-2 defeat to Valencia at the Camp Nou ended their remarkable 25 game domestic winning streak at home. Real and Atletico have much more favourable games this weekend, so Barca must win at the Roman Sanchez Pijuan stadium.


Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Friday, February 7, 2:30PM, GolTV

It was all going so well for Gladbach prior to the German winter break. Of their eight games before Christmas they had won six and drawn two and were right in the mix for the Champions League spots. That was before the break and subsequent back-to-back defeats halted their momentum.

They will be hoping to get back to winning ways on their home patch on Friday night as they take on fellow Champions League chasing Bayer Leverkusen. Borussia will certainly fancy their chances getting back to winning ways; they have won 11 of their 14 home games this season, having only lost once to Bayern Munich. They are in fifth position, just one place and one point behind Schalke 04.

But Leverkusen have been the best of the rest in the Bundesliga this season and will definitely make things difficult for the hosts. Whilst they will have been deflated after agreeing to sell Sidney Sam to Schhalke at the end of the campaign, they look all but certain to finish the season in one of those coveted Champions League spots.

Aside from Sam, they have plenty of attacking talent in Son Heung-Min and Steffan Kiessling. Not to mention a tenacious midfielder duo in Lars Bender and Simon Rolfes.

This one should be an excellent contest to kick-start the weekend.


Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Saturday, February 8, 7:45AM, USA Network

Chelsea’s excellent performance at Manchester City meant that Arsenal stayed top of the Premier League pile going into this weekend’s fixtures. But the Gunners’ championship credentials will be given a thorough examination this weekend as they go to Anfield in Saturday’s early kickoff.

Liverpool will feel as though they missed a big opportunity last weekend. 1-0 up at West Brom they seemed set to extend their lead over fifth place Everton to four points. But a howler from Kolo Toure meant they’d only have a point to show for from their trip to the Black Country.

They need to make amends here, and if they can secure a win, they are certain to put some ground between them and one of their top four rivals, as Tottenham and Everton clash on Sunday.

But Arsenal have shown they are made of stern stuff over the course of this campaign. They have a rock solid defensive duo in Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, and it’ll be interesting to see how they cope with the mercurial Luis Suarez and the prolific Daniel Sturridge.

Gunners’ supporter will harbour happy memories from their recent trips to Anfield, having won three and drawn two of their last five visits. Games between these two are always open, attacking contests.


Swansea City vs. Cardiff City

Saturday, February 8, 12:30pm, NBC

Whilst the South Wales derby is a game big enough in itself to make it onto this list, this particular clash is a whole lot more significant after the recent goings on at both clubs.

Swansea parted company with Michael Laudrup earlier in the week after they’d won just one of their previous ten Premier League games. Gary Monk will take temporary charge for this one, and it’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to the Danes departure. They’ll be roared on by a raucous Liberty Stadium crowd who will be keen to avenge their teams 1-0 defeat to Cardiff earlier in the season.

But Cardiff seem to be getting things together under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The January window allowed the club’s new Norwegian boss to stamp his mark on the club and his signings Wilfried Zaha and Kenwyne Jones made a huge impact as he secured his first Premier League win as boss against Norwich City.

To secure a league double over their arch rivals would give the team from the capital a major boost. But both teams are in dire need of the points give their current predicament in the Premier League table. Cardiff remain in the bottom three and are one point adrift of safety, but Swansea are just three points ahead of them and just two points clear of the drop.

Expect a fervent atmosphere and a game rife with tension. This game could have enormous lasting connotations for both sides.


Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton

Sunday, February 9, 8:30AM, USA Network

Things don’t seem quite so bad for those of a blue persuasion on Merseyside all of a sudden. After that derby meltdown against Liverpool, a win against Aston Villa—not to mention all of their immediate top four rivals dropping points—made for a pretty perfect response. They travel to Tottenham knowing that a win at White Hart Lane could really thrust them back into the race for one of those Champions League berths.

After a wonderful start under Tim Sherwood, Tottenham have stuttered a little in recent weeks. They were trounced by Manchester City for the second time this season last Wednesday and they were a little lucky to bag a point on the road against an out of form Hull City side.

But they will fancy their chances at home against a Toffees team that have looked a little ropey defensively as of late. Emmanuel Adebayor remains a pertinent attacking threat under Sherwood and he will cause plenty of problems for the visitors.

As for the visitors, they will welcome back key men Gerard Deulofeu and Seamus Coleman this weekend, with the latter in particular being sorely missed in the past few games. They will be hoping Kevin Mirallas can repeat his heroics from this game last season, in which he scored a wonderful solo effort in a 2-2 draw.


AS Monaco vs. Paris Saint Germain

Sunday, February 9, 3:00PM, beIN SPORTS Play

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  1. Javier

    February 7, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Paris SG-Monaco will have the most intrigue of all. Berbatov cannot replace Falcao but a debut goal will help. Also the South Wales derby pales in comparison to the Roma-Lazio match. Expect the unexpected.

  2. Brian

    February 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Liverpool haven’t beaten Arsenal in the league in Anfield in 7years. That’s the worse home record Liverpool have against any club. Liverpool have only beaten Arsenal twice in their last 18 matches, home and away. Arsenal have a better midfield and Liverpool’s poor defense gives Arsenal an edge and Suarez hasn’t scored against Arsenal yet and struggles to score against the top clubs. Also Arsenal’s defense is now one of the best in the league. Arsenal will fancy all 3 points.

    The Welsh derby will be a fiery affair and the home side, Swansea, will be slight favourites. Both sides need a win to move up the table and stay away from the relegation zone. All eyes will be on new manager monk to see which team he picks.

    Spurs-Everton will be a very engaging match with little to separate the two sides at the moment. Everton are one of a few teams who play well away so Spurs will need to be at their best to get a result. A draw would not be a surprising result.

  3. Cantona

    February 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Finally he best match of the week doesn’t have Arlo jabbering through it… And thank god Tim Howard is playing instead of moonlighting.

    To a good weekend!


    • Tayo

      February 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Personally I like Arlo White, well after experiencing the ‘Gus Johnson effect’ last year. You have no choice but to appreciate someone who is at least better than the meidocre dude FOX decided to make the lead commentator. And as for Tim Howard, whose idea was it to even make him a co-commentator?! That person should be fired

      • Cantona

        February 7, 2014 at 8:07 pm

        Don’t get me wrong, I like Arlo… It’s just his commentary style of late is WAY Too much talking about factoids and crib sheets and not COMMENTATING on the action on the pitch.. It really has been evident the last 3-4 games… He can’t hold a candle to any of the TWI guys… He needs to rethink his style… His like the sound of his own voice too much… Let the game breathe Arlo.


  4. yespage

    February 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Liverpool v Arsenal may give a better feel whether Liverpool will finish top 4.

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