It’s over; the international break is finally over. We get teased by the start of league play only to have to put our excitement on hold for the week while the national teams potentially injure our favorite players. Starting this weekend, however, the club games start again and we have some juicy match-ups.
I have divided the must-watch games into two categories: EPL and non-EPL. This is simply for ease-of-viewing rather than an inherent bias. Within each category are helpful titles to ensure that you can find the games most appealing to you. Did we miss anything? Sound off in the comments section below.
Premier League Games to Watch
The Game You Must Clear Your Schedule to Watch: Arsenal v. Manchester City (Saturday, 0745 ET)
This is the big one. The home team has flexed some financial muscle and with the crowd behind them they wants to prove that they are a title contender by taking three points from the defending champs. Manchester City has lost the gossip pages to their hometown rivals but a result here could place them in the “teams to beat” discussion. An injury to Aaron Ramsey and the continued absence of Theo Walcott should concern Arsenal fans. However, this mach will also feature the debut of Danny Welback for Arsenal. If you love soccer, you should be dying to watch this match.
Statement Game of the Week: Chelsea v. Swansea City (Saturday, 1000 ET)
This match features the two teams who have taken maximum points this season, but only one of them was probably predicted to do so at this point. The Swans have been a pleasant surprise and play an appealing brand of football, but this weekend will be a tough test against a club that has played like the Premier League favorites. A draw for the visitors could spur them run even more, while Chelsea can view this as the opportunity to stake their lone claim atop the table.
Schadenfreude Game of the Week: Manchester United v. Queens Park Rangers (Sunday 1100 ET)
The Red Devils need a win desperately and QPR may be the tonic that cures their ills. Van Gaal’s side can begin to display their fancy new buys and seek to right their quest for a top three spot, as Ed Woodward declared as their goal this week. Failure to get all three points against a QPR side faced with sudden financial issues could lead to massive unrest in Manchester.
Game that May Shock You: Liverpool v. Aston Villa (Saturday 1230 ET)
Villa went to Anfield last season and came out with a 2-2 draw. With their surprise start to the season and the absence of Daniel Sturridge, this could be an intriguing match-up. However, expect Mario Balotelli to be in the zone after missing out on an Italy call-up and needing to prove something to his doubters.
Other Intriguing Matches to Watch This Weekend
Real Madrid v. Atletico Madrid (Saturday, 1400 ET)
The defending La Liga champs travel to face their inter-city rival in a battle of title contenders. Have the popcorn and beer ready, turn your phone to silent, and enjoy what could be a physical and emotional match. The only downside to this match is that Diego Simeone is banished from the touchline, depriving the viewers of some entertainment off the pitch.
Stade Rennes v. Paris Saint-Germain (Saturday, 1100 ET)
PSG are sitting second in the table but Rennes are not far behind them on 7 points. If they can use their home field advantage to get a result against the European giants, it could help their cause early to fight for a top three spot in League Un.
Juventus v. Udinese (Saturday, 1445 ET)
Everyone knows Juventus and their dominance the past three seasons, but Udinese are a team that could be surprisingly good this season. Not scudetto-winning good, but competing for a European spot good. Antonio Di Natale is defying his age and his continued his assault on goal records so he is a must-see. Juventus started the Massimiliano Allegri era well, but if the team implodes this match may be a good opportunity for a slip-up under the controversial coach.
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