It’s getting to the stage of the season when any slip ups can have critical consequences for a team. With just a clutch of games to go, a win can make an enormous difference, but a poor performance or an individual error can render all the hard work done over the previous months irrelevant.
Subsequently, we’re treated to a lot of enthralling games around now. In the Premier League, we could have new champions crowned this weekend, while at the bottom there are two enormous games to take in. In Spain, there’s also a chance for a chasing team to make a major statement of intent in the race for the title.
In addition, we’ve got a cracking game stateside, as a new Major League Soccer franchise bid to kickstart their season when they welcome an illustrious outfit to an iconic venue.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Leicester City vs. Newcastle United
Saturday, May 2, 7:45AM, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra
The winning run of Leicester City was brought to a shuddering halt by Chelsea in midweek, but Nigel Pearson’s men can’t afford to take their eye off the ball in their bid to avoid relegation.
Newcastle United are the next team to visit the King Power Stadium and this encounter represents a perfect chance for the Foxes to get back to winning ways. In front of their own supporters the men in blue have been excellent as of late and knowing they can take a major step towards Premier League safety, expect a brilliant atmosphere for this one.
At this juncture, the visitors don’t look as though they have the spine to handle what’ll surely be a hostile environment. John Carver’s men are in real danger of being sucked into a relegation dogfight, losing their last seven games in succession. Perhaps most worryingly for the Magpies is the lack of fight from his side in any of those matches.
Lose here, Leicester will close to within one point of Newcastle, plunging the North-East giants into massive trouble. If Carver can’t get a tune out of these players for a game that’s so vital for the club, you have to wonder where the next point will come from a side that is clearly going through the motions.
Sevilla vs. Real Madrid
Saturday, May 2, 2:00PM, beIN SPORTS and fuboTV
Real Madrid’s title chances could realistically be ended this weekend, as they face the ominous challenge of taking on Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
With four games to go, Carlo Ancelotti’s men are two points off Barcelona in the race for top spot, but it’s certainly advantage to the Blaugrana this weekend, as they travel to lowly Cordoba. By contrast, Sevilla are unbeaten in their last 10 games in succession and on home soil they’ve yet to taste defeat all season.
Despite winning their last four games in a row, Real currently have a host of injuries to deal with. Karim Benzema and Luka Modric are both poised to miss this game, while Gareth Bale is also doubtful. Up to now their star-studded squad has coped well, but this is match that will be a much sterner test and a game Los Blancos simply have to win.
It’s an important one for Sevilla too. They are currently locked in a battle with Valencia to secure a Champions League spot and lead Los Che by one point with a game in hand. A loss here would be very tough for Unai Emery’s side to bounce back from, meaning we should see a Sevilla side looking to attack their illustrious opponents.
Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace
Sunday, May 3, 11:00AM, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra
After that hard-earned win over Leicester in midweek, Chelsea have the chance to secure the Premier League title this weekend when they welcome Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge.
They were branded as “boring” after a 0-0 stalemate at the Emirates, but the Blues had their swagger back in the second half against Leicester last time out. After a tough first half, Jose Mourinho’s men turned on the style to score three excellent goals, with Willian, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas adding some attacking flair to the steely defense.
There are few who would deny that the Blues have been the best team in the division this season. The last few weeks have seen them turn to a safety-first ethos, but there have been plenty of times this season—especially early on—when Chelsea have played some scintillating attacking football too.
Palace certainly have the players to cause the champions elect problems on the counter, especially with the pace of Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon. But with Chelsea within touching distance of glory, expect them to turn on the style once again and clinch the title with a real swagger.
New York City vs. Seattle Sounders
Sunday, May 3, 7:00PM, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports GO
New York City face the ominous task of welcoming Seattle Sounders to Yankee Stadium this weekend, as Jason Kreis’ side look to put an end to a difficult run of form.
The MLS debutants have won just one of their eight games so far. Despite showing some positive signs in the season opener against Orlando City and the following game against New England Revolution, they’ve been unable to build on that solid start. As such, David Villa and a co. are now six in games in succession without a win, having failed to score in four.
Ominously, the Sounders seem to be settling into the kind of groove that took them to the divisional playoffs last season. They’ve won their last two matches and in Clint Dempsey they boast a player in excellent form. Indeed, in the five games he’s played this season, the USMNT star has scored four goals and bagged a couple of assists.
Sigi Schmid’s side are certainly the favorites for this one. But City will be hoping the visit of an illustrious name like the Sounders will prompt the a brilliant atmosphere and the foundations for their second win of the season.
Hull City vs. Arsenal
Monday, May 4, 3:00PM, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra
Hull City’s tough run of fixtures continues this week, as they welcome an in-form Arsenal side to the KC Stadium on Monday.
The Tigers seemed to be staring relegation in the face a couple of games ago. But a pair of hugely impressive wins have given them a brilliant chance of staying up; six points from six away at Palace and at home to Liverpool is a magnificent haul for any side and for Steve Bruce, they were wins that materialized at the perfect time.
Arsenal will represent an entirely different proposition. While Chelsea were able to shut the Gunners out with distinction last weekend, it’s tough to see Hull keeping a lid on the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla for 90 minutes. Arsene Wenger will be desperate to see his side secure second spot too.
But it won’t be an easy evening for the Londoners. Hull are a tough team to play against when their confidence is high and the KC Stadium will be rocking after the team’s sterling performance against Liverpool last time out.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball
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