Top 5 must-see soccer games: Feb. 4, 2016

javier-hernandez-bayer-leverkusen

This season’s Premier League has been one of the most entertaining in recent memory and the coming weekend is set to be decisive in determining who finishes top of the pile at the end of the campaign.

Two of the sides in amongst the hunt for glory meet in what’ll be a hugely significant clash early on Saturday. In addition, another challenger will have to react on Sunday, as they face a testing trip to a dangerous outfit. We’ll also see two of the division’s longstanding elite sides clash horns, with each hoping to salvage something from a disappointing campaign.

Elsewhere, runaway leaders in Germany and France will face significant tests in what should be a pair of entertaining tussles. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!

All times listed are Eastern.

 

Manchester City vs. Leicester City

Saturday, February 6, 7:45AM, NBCSN, NBC Universo and NBC Sports Live Extra

man-city-leicester

League leaders Leicester City can absolutely cement their status as genuine title challengers this weekend, as they head to Manchester City seeking to move six points clear of the chasing pack.

Two wonderful Jamie Vardy goals gave the Foxes a 2-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday evening at a raucous King Power Stadium. Having negotiated that difficult challenge, they head to the Etihad Stadium with no pressure on, but knowing a positive result would see them right in the mix with 13 games to go in the campaign.

City have moved up into second position having ground out a 1-0 win at Sunderland in midweek. Sergio Aguero continued his excellent form with yet another goal, although there were moments when the Black Cats were able to get at the defence and that’ll serve as great encouragement to the leaders in this one.

The pattern of the match should suit Leicester too. They’ll sit deep and seek to spring on City with men up the field; if Vardy and Riyad Mahrez can exploit that kind of space, then they’ll make plenty of opportunities. Withstanding City’s attacking might will be difficult, though.

 

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich

Saturday, February 6, 12:30PM, FOX and FOX Soccer 2Go

leverkusen-munich

If Bayern Munich are to falter in pursuit of yet another Bundesliga title, then a slip up against Bayer Leverkusen in this heavyweight contest is surely needed.

Although neutrals who follow the German top flight would like to see a much more even title race, at this juncture it’s looking unlikely the holders are going to relinquish their grip on the crown. Pep Guardiola’s side have been magnificent throughout the campaign and have settled down into a fine groove again following the winter break.

Still, the rest of the division will be looking at Leverkusen as a side with the potential to cause an upset. Roger Schmidt’s side may not have lived up to the pre-season hype as of yet, languishing down in fourth spot, but they’re a very talented outfit containing players that are capable of altering the course of a contest.

Bayern are eight points clear of Borussia Dortmund, with a trip to the Westfalenstadion still to come before the end of the campaign. Should they slip up here, it would ignite some hopes of a competitive title race; it’s going to be fascinating to see if Leverkusen are a side up for the challenge.

 

Bournemouth vs. Arsenal

Sunday, February 7, 8:30AM, NBCSN, NBC Universo and NBC Sports Live Extra

benik-afobe

Arsenal make the trip to the south coast in the knowledge they could be eight points behind the league leaders come Sunday and in Bournemouth, they face a very capable opponent indeed.

Eddie Howe’s side continued their fine form in midweek, as they secured a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Benik Afobe has three goals in four games since signing for the club in the January window and is a player who will fancy his chances of causing his former club problems, as will the Bournemouth crowd, who have been unshakeable in their backing of the players this term.

In recent Premier League outings, Arsenal have really struggled to string together their usually stellar attacking patterns. They’ve gone three games without a goal in the league now, having been frustrated by Southampton in midweek; manager Arsene Wenger will be looking to the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud to put that right.

Bournemouth’s willingness to play open and expansive football means chances shouldn’t be too tough to carve out for the visitors. The result should be a game that’s thoroughly entertaining for the neutrals, especially given it’s imperative for the Gunners take the three points from this one.

 

Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Sunday, February 7, 11:00AM, NBCSN, Telemundo and NBC Sports Live Extra

chelsea-man-united

Both of these giants of the English game are enduring underwhelming campaigns to this point, although a clash between Chelsea and Manchester United is never something to be missed.

The Blues remain unbeaten under the guidance of Guus Hiddink and showed their fortitude in a 0-0 draw against Watford on Wednesday night. Still, they’ve yet to find consistency as an attacking force quite yet and against a United defence which is very capable, that’s a spark which is going to be tough to conjure on Sunday.

Louis van Gaal’s side have also been uninspiring in an attacking sense this term, but very recently there have been some signs of a possible turnaround. Inspired by Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney, the Red Devils have notched six goals in their last two games; it’ll be fascinating to see if this offensive endeavour remains when they take to the Stamford Bridge turf this weekend.

The onus will be on Chelsea to attack as the home side and with weeks running out in the season, will know three points are vital if they are to preserve any slender hopes of finishing in a European place. United need a victory to stay in touch with the top four.

 

Marseille vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Sunday, February 7, 3:00PM, beIN SPORTS Connect (also shown on tape delay on beIN SPORTS, fuboTV and KlowdTV at 4:30pm)

marseille-psg

The title race is over in Ligue 1, but when Marseille host their big rivals Paris Saint-Germain, sparks will always fly.

After mounting a decent title challenge last term, this season has been an underwhelming one for Marseille. Granted, they’ve put together a fine run of form recently, having gone 11 games without losing in the league. But they’re still languishing down in seventh place in the table, eight points behind second place Monaco.

As for PSG, they’re looking simply irresistible at the minute. They are a whopping 24 points clear at the summit, having won 21 and drawn three of their league games. Inspired by the attacking talents of Angel Di Maria, Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they’ve won their last eight in succession and will come into this clash exuding confidence.

If the Parisians are to lose a game this season, this venue and this opponent seem the most likely to administer it. After all, the atmosphere in the Stade Velodrome is one of the best on the continent and Marseille are in strong form themselves. It’ll be interesting to see how this imperious PSG side faces up to this challenge.

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4 Comments

  1. Lawrence Dockery February 4, 2016
    • Christopher Harris February 4, 2016
      • Lawrence Dockery February 4, 2016
  2. Marc February 4, 2016

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