The match between Spain’s two most illustrious outfits is one of the most hotly anticipated spectacles on the footballing calendar, and all eyes will be on the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend for that one.
Elsewhere, we’ve got the top two sides in Germany going head-to-head, while the Premier League also boasts a pair of intriguing clashes. In addition, two of American soccer’s finest sides square off in a match that has plenty riding on it.
All kick off times are Eastern time, enjoy the weekend and enjoy the football!
Programming note: For viewers in the United States, this Saturday’s el Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be shown live on beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS Espanol and DishWorld (with coverage beginning at 11am ET). Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to beIN SPORTS, you can access those channels via online streaming service DishWorld for $10/month. Read our review of DishWorld. And sign up for DishWorld via their website.
West Ham vs. Manchester City
Saturday, October 25, 7:45AM – NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra
The Boleyn Ground will host one of the most engrossing clashes of the weekend, as champions Manchester City face off against West Ham, a team who have been one of the big surprises of this Premier League season so far.
After murmurs of discontent throughout the last campaign, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce was a man under big pressure not only to deliver improved results, but a style of play that’s much easier on the eye too. So far, Big Sam has done so and after making some astute summer signings, West Ham are quickly emerging as one of the most dynamic and vibrant teams in the league.
But City represent a major test of their early season mettle. Last time out in the Premier League, Manuel Pellegrini’s team produced their best display of the entire campaign against Spurs, and in Sergio Aguero, they have a forward that’s in scintillating form. With Chelsea facing a tricky fixture of their own on Sunday, a win here is critical for City to put the pressure on the league leaders.
West Ham will certainly fancy their chances in this one, though. City were dealt a massive blow to their European aspirations after surrendering a two-goal lead in Moscow, and that match could have taken plenty out of them both physically and psychologically. With that in mind, an in-form and fresh Hammers side might well capitalize.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona
The glitz and the glamor of Spain’s biggest clash is never one to miss, and this Clasico has all the requisite ingredients to conjure up a magnificent match.
Real Madrid will host the enormous contest, and after a difficult start to the campaign, the European Champions have found their groove. Admittedly, that has plenty to do with the stunning form of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored a phenomenal 15 goals in seven La Liga games this season. But James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos are also beginning to find their feet in the famous white shirt too,
While the pride at stake in this game serves as motivation enough, it’s a match Carlo Ancelotti and his team dare not lose. They currently sit four points behind Barcelona in the Spanish top flight and a loss here would be a major, major blow to their title hopes. If they are to take all three points, they’ll have to be the first team to breach the Catalan’s defense in domestic competition.
But this game never has and never will be about defensive cohesion, and boasting an attacking triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez—who looks set to make his Blaugrana debut—Barcelona have a forward line to match any on the planet, even that of their great rivals. If Luis Enrique’s team can get out of the Bernabeu with three points and another clean sheet, Barcelona would suddenly emerge as enormous favorites for the La Liga crown.
Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy
Saturday, October 25, 2:30PM, NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra
For the first time in the history of MLS, the Supporters Shield will be decided on the final day of the regular season. And just as luck would have it, the two teams vying for that particular spot—the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy—face off in the final match of the round robin portion of the campaign.
The Sounders hold a slender advantage going into this one, and in front of their raucous supporters they’ll be expected to get the job done here. Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and co. only require a draw to secure the top spot in the division, and after leading the standings for so long, it’d be a crushing blow should they falter at the final hurdle.
Being the underdogs for this momentous clash could favor the Galaxy, though. Iconic LA figure Landon Donovan will take part in his last ever regular season match for the club, and it’d be typical of him to rise to the occasion and make a telling contribution. The team will be without Omar Gonzalez for this one though, after he received his marching orders in the clash last weekend.
That match ended up 2-2, with Galaxy surrendering a two-goal lead in the second half. With the momentum accrued from that fightback, an advantage in terms of goal difference and with their magnificent supporters behind them, it’s hard to see Seattle letting this one slip. Winning here would give them some excellent impetus with the MLS Cup to come.
Manchester United vs. Chelsea
Sunday, October 26, Noon, NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra
Louis van Gaal’s favorable run of opening fixtures as Manchester United boss will come to an end in earnest on Sunday, when his team face the unenviable proposition of going up against Jose Mourinho’s league leaders.
After showcasing big improvements during consecutive wins at home to West Ham and Everton in their last two home games, the same problems emerged for United in their recent 2-2 draw at West Brom. Daley Blind salvaged a late point for the Red Devils in that one, but cumulatively, United’s display was not only labored, but lacking in any kind of intensity or ingenuity.
West Brom snaked through the midfield and back four with ease, and you suspect that a Chelsea team that’s in red hot form will have been watching on with glee. If the Old Trafford outfit allow the league leaders a similar amount of space on Sunday, Cesc Fabregas, Oscar and Eden Hazard have the quality to rack up the goals.
United need to be more compact, more physical and show much more dynamism in every area of the pitch to get a result here. The supporters should be well up for what’ll be Old Trafford’s first massive game of the campaign and with big game players within their ranks like Angel di Maria and Falcao, maybe this can be the match to kickstart the Red Devils’ season.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich
Sunday, October 26, 12:30 PM, GolTV
After dismantling AS Roma with a phenomenal panache in the Champions League, it’s Borussia Monchengladbach who have the unenviable task of going up against Pep Guardiola’s magnificent Bayern Munich team.
Despite the 7-1 dismantling of Giallorossi, Monchengladbach should feel confident on the cusp of this one. They’ve began the campaign in wonderful form themselves and a win here would push them to within one point of the German champions. Max Kruse will be the man to watch for the hosts on Sunday; the young forward has five goals in five Bundesliga starts so far.
But Bayern will be bouncing into this one following their performance in Rome in midweek. They played with a swagger, a fluidity and an all-encompassing understanding at the Stadio Olimpico, and after scoring 13 goals in their last two games, the Bavarians are well and truly in the groove.
Monchengladbach are a fine team though, and a side who will know what to expect from this formidable team. It’ll be remarkable if they could pull off a victory, but they remain unbeaten in their opening eight domestic games. Nonetheless, if Bayern turn on the style like they did in midweek, there isn’t a team on this earth capable of living with them.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball
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