Top 5 Must-See Soccer Games: Oct. 30, 2014

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium

The influx of investment into Manchester City has seen the Manchester derby become one of the biggest games on the continent, and ahead of this weekend’s clash between the age old rivals, there is plenty to get excited about.

Aside from the match between Manchester’s finest at the Etihad, Germany and Russia both host their own version of “el Clasico”, as arguably the biggest sides in each league go head-to-head.

We’ve also got a battle between two sides in Serie A looking to prove their championship mettle and an intriguing tie from the Nou Camp, in which the Barcelona boss goes up against his former club.

All kickoffs are in Eastern Time. Enjoy the weekend and enjoy the games!

 

CSKA Moscow vs. Zenit St Petersburg

Saturday, November 1, 9:00AM, beIN SPORTS Connect

Hulk

Andre Villas-Boas’ Zenit team have been superb in the Russian top flight so far this season, but in hot pursuit are the Moscow outfit, who know that a win could thrust them right into contention atop of the Russian Premier League standings.

Zenit have been the outstanding team in the competition so far, and in Villas-Boas, they have a manager who has them playing not only in an attractive and intense manner, but with a cohesion that has seen them yield just six goals in the league so far. Going forward they aren’t bad either, and after a poor World Cup, Hulk has bounced back in superb fashion with seven league goals.

They’re a wonderfully balanced team, but you suspect their credentials will really be put under scrutiny by a vibrant CSKA front line. In Seydou Doumbia and Ahmed Musa they have dynamism aplenty, and with Zenit likely to boss possession in this one, there will be space for them to exploit throughout the clash on the break.

The vital factor is whether or not CSKA have the class all over the pitch to capitalise on those chances. If the Moscow outfit win here then they’ll be just a point back on Zenit and that should be incentive aplenty.

 

Napoli vs Roma

Saturday, November 1, 10:00AM, beIN SPORTS Connect

Higuain

Juventus have dominated Serie A over the course of the past three seasons, but of all the sides that have strived to keep pace with them in recent years, Napoli and Roma have usually been the closest.

Indeed, after spending some big money during the summer, Rudi Garcia has assembled a fantastic Giallorossi squad, and the early indications are that this Roma side may be capable of giving the Bianconeri a real fight for the Scudetto. Like Juve, Roma are on 22 points, having only lost one game so far this season; that was to the Italian champions.

After going to the Juventus Stadium, a trip to the San Paolo is probably the next most difficult test facing any side in the Italian top flight. So Garcia will be expecting some of his key men—the likes of Gervinho, Miralem Pjanic and Francesco Totti—to stand up and make a telling contribution in Naples. If they can, the capital club would surely have to be considered as serious title challengers.

The Partenopei will also be looking to some best players to come to the fore, and after difficult starts to the campaign, both Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik look to have rediscovered their swagger. And after failing to score in the opening seven games of the season, the Argentine has notched in four in his last two outings.

 

Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund

Saturday, November 1, 1PM, GolTV

BVB Bayern

When this pairing met in the Champions League final back in 2013, not only were they undeniably the two finest teams on the continent, but there was very little to split them. But at this juncture, the chasm between Bayern and Borussia is almost embarrassingly vast.

Two of the stars of Dortmund’s run to the European showpiece—Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze—now don Bayern red, and although Jurgen Klopp has spent well to replace them, Die Borussen are currently in a terrible rut. They’ve lost their last four Bundesliga games in a row and next up, they face the unenviable task of tackling Pep Guardiola’s Bayern juggernaut.

Admittedly they were somewhat halted by an effervescent display from Borussia Moenchengladbach last time out in Germany’s top flight, but on their own turf Bayern have been formidable this season, scoring 18 and conceding just once in their five domestic games at the Allianz Arena. You suspect those numbers will be improved further against a wounded Dortmund.

But in a game that’s come to be known as “Der Klassiker”, anything can happen. Let’s not forget that a Dortmund team obliterated by injuries ran out 3-0 winners in this fixture last season, they won the German Super Cup 2-0 earlier in the season too. A similar result would be a major boost for Klopp and his players, but given the comparable fortunes of the two sides, it looks highly unlikely.

 

Barcelona vs. Celta Vigo

Saturday, November 1, 3:00PM, beIN SPORTSbeIN SPORTS Espanol & DishWorld

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Having experienced el Clasico as a manager for the very first time, Luis Enrique faces a challenge of an entirely different kind when he tackles the club he managed last season, Celta Vigo.

One thing Enrique will learn is that as Barcelona manager, it’s vital to respond well to a defeat to Real Madrid. The Blaugrana boss was keen to point out in the week that his side remain top of the table following their humbling at the Bernabeu, but the form of their great rivals and the ease with which Madrid scythed through this team will have surely been something of a concern.

Enrique has done plenty of positive things in his short stint as boss and he must persevere with his methods if this team is going to continue moving forward. They’ll have to be at their very best to get the better of Celta too, you’d suspect. They’ve enjoyed a fine start to the campaign themselves, currently sitting in seventh place with just one defeat in nine games.

Luis Suarez is likely to make his first ever competitive appearance at the Camp Nou and the Uruguayan will be keen to build an understanding with Lionel Messi and Neymar as part of that triumvirate of enthralling attacking players. There were signs against Real that the trio could function in unison; surely there is more to come against Celta.

 

Manchester City vs. Manchester United

Sunday 2 November, 8:30AM, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra

Dzeko

Derby games are curious. After a successful result, supporters are brash and unashamed in their acclaim for their team and their derision of their rivals, but beforehand, pessimism ofter takes over. And you suspect that’ll be the mood which grips the fans of both Manchester clubs ahead of what promises to be a fiery occasion.

Having been the dominant force in the city for such a sustained period, United have suddenly found themselves as the perennial whipping boys in this fixture. City have won four out of the last five league meetings between the two sides, with Manuel Pellegrini steering this team to 4-1 and 3-0 wins against their city rivals last year.

But you suspect with Louis van Gaal at the helm, United will have a plan for this fixture, one that should certainly prevent them from losing by such an embarrassing margin, if not get a positive result from the game. The Red Devils boss will be able to call on Wayne Rooney once again for this one and the England international will be hoping to add to his fine goalscoring record against the champions.

And why not? City have been extremely poor in their last three games and with David Silva a doubt for the match because of injury, suddenly this looks a massive ask for Pellegrini’s men. The manager will be hoping his team can lean on their big-game experience and pedigree of the likes of Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany to haul them over the line against United.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball

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One Response

  1. abdirahman October 31, 2014

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