Top 5 must-see soccer games: Feb 8, 2018

For those wanting a title race to enjoy in one of Europe’s top five divisions this season, Serie A is the last salvation.

There are two teams going toe-to-toe at the summit of the table, with both sides winning their last seven in succession; there’s just a point between them ahead of what should be a key weekend. The side in second, the defending champions, can move to the top on Friday night before the leaders are in action on Saturday.

Elsewhere, there’s a huge derby encounter in the Premier League on Saturday and another massive game on Sunday. The last selection sees two of Germany’s biggest clubs go head-to-head.

All kick offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games.

 

FIORENTINA VS. JUVENTUS
Friday, February 9, 2:45 p.m. ET, beIN SPORTS, iGol, Sling Latino, Sling World Sports and fubo Premier

In their chase for the Serie A title, Juventus will have a number big hurdles to overcome. This trip to Fiorentina feels like one.

Not only will they have the chance to move clear of Napoli ahead of their encounter with Lazio on Saturday, beating Fiorentina away from home is a rousing experience. While every side in Italy loves to get the better of the dominant Bianconeri, there’s an extra edge that comes from La Viola in these fixtures.

At the moment, the Serie A holders are in an ominous groove. Not only have they been exceptional in defence lately, in their 7-0 win over Sassuolo last weekend they added an attacking gloss to their play, with a Gonzalo Higuain hat-trick rubber-stamping his return to form.

By contrast, Fiorentina have been enduring a tough season. Typically they’d be in contention for a European spot in the Scudetto, although they go into this weekend down in 11th position. Manager Stefano Pioli will be hopeful the arrival of the champions to the Stadio Artemio Franchi will spark them into life.

 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS. ARSENAL
Saturday, February 10, 7:30 a.m. ET, CNBC, Universo, Sling Blue (with World News Extra), DIRECTV NOW and fubo Premier

Tottenham find themselves in a critical spell of the season, among which this showdown with north London rivals Arsenal is one of the most important encounters.

While the manner of their 2-2 draw against Liverpool has been the subject of much speculation, for Spurs to come away with a point from Anfield was huge. Missing a late penalty to take the lead, then seeing Mohamed Salah waltz through the defence to score a winner would have been an enormous blow to their confidence.

Instead they battled and Harry Kane showed his steeliness to snatch what was a crucial point for his side. They’ll be bouncing into this fixture against Arsenal having taken four points from a possible six against Manchester United and Liverpool; Spurs seem to be set or a strong finish to the season.

Arsenal enthralled in a 5-1 win at Everton a week ago, although the jury remains out on this side away from home and especially away from home against the biggest teams in the country. Arsene Wenger’s men will have to dig deep if they’re to emerge with three points here.

 

BAYERN MUNICH VS. SCHALKE
Saturday, February 10, 12:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 2, DIRECTV NOW, Sling Blue and fubo Premier

The race for the Bundesliga title is all but over at this juncture. But for sides hoping to finish in second spot this season, how they cope with Bayern Munich will be important to their chances. Schalke face that gargantuan challenge this weekend.

At times, earlier in the campaign, Bayern did appear to be vulnerable, as they struggled for balance and their fear factor faded. But under Jupp Heynckes their standard swagger is back. Bayern have won eight games in a row and boast a healthy 18-point lead to Bayer Leverkusen, who are in second spot.

Schalke, having occupied second themselves earlier in the season, have slipped back a little lately, as they now find themselves in fifth. Still, in such a convoluted top half, they’re just a point back on Leverkusen and three points ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach, who occupy eighth.

Needless to say, a win at the Allianz Arena would be a big upset, even for one of the best sides in the Bundesliga. But if Schalke can dig in, emerge with a positive result and push on, they’ll feel confident in their ability to get to the head of the chasing pack.

 

NAPOLI VS. LAZIO
Saturday, February 10, 2:45 p.m. ET, beIN SPORTS Connect, iGol and fubo Premier

Should Juventus get the job done against Fiorentina on Friday then Napoli will head onto the pitch on Saturday knowing a win is necessary to take top spot back.

It’s not a straightforward fixture for the Partenopei either. In Lazio they will take on a side that’s already sprung a number of shocks this season, including grabbing a win at Juventus. The big saving grace for the league leaders at this juncture is that Lazio, who still occupy third, have lost their last two matches in succession.

Napoli have been dealing with the pressure of being the Serie A frontrunners rather well. The team have been notching up professional wins, have their key players fit and have made it clear that, despite their involvement in the UEFA Europa League, that their focus will be on trying to clinch the Scudetto.

Despite the inconsistent form of Roma and Inter Milan behind them, Lazio will be keen to halt the disappointing run of results and ensure they keep things together in third position in the standings. With Ciro Immobile back at full fitness, the visitors will know they have a decisive goalscorer and subsequently a chance.

 

NEWCASTLE UNITED VS. MANCHESTER UNITED
Sunday, February 11, 10:15 a.m. ET, NBCSN, Telemundo, Sling Blue, DIRECTV NOW and fubo Premier

Meetings between Newcastle and Manchester United have given us some of the Premier League’s most iconic fixtures down the years. And they always seem to be significant games.

This one is no different and for Newcastle in particular, every point is priceless at this stage in the season. After all, they are perilously close to the relegation zone, just a point clear of Stoke City in 18th position, and could find themselves in the bottom three on Sunday at kick off should results go against them.

United, meanwhile, will want to keep the sides behind them at arm’s length. There’s no catching Manchester City for them at this point, although after Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea all dropped points last week, there’s a big chance for Jose Mourinho’s side to turn the screw in their pursuit of second.

If teams do stay afloat in the Premier League after a campaign of flirting with relegation then they tend to have a key result that galvanizes the side at around this point. Newcastle, with what’ll be a raucous St James’ Park at their back, will hope this can be theirs.

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2 Comments

  1. MDFootball February 9, 2018
    • Christopher Harris February 10, 2018

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