In a world that’s changed so much over the last few months, the return of the major European football leagues has provided a sense of normalcy again. Albeit eerie backdrops provided by empty stadia will take some getting used to.
Nevertheless, football is football and at a time where social societal restrictions remain in place, it’s comforting that there’s plenty of it to watch. Here are five matches that will be worth your time over the next few days.
All kick offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games.
The Premier League restarted on Wednesday to a mixed reception; the clash between Tottenham and Manchester United should be the most competitive match of the weekend in English football’s top flight.
It’s an important one too. Before the break, United were putting together an impressive run of results and moved to within three points of Chelsea, who occupy fourth spot in the table as things stand.
Bruno Fernandes’ arrival at Old Trafford in January appeared to ignite something in the Red Devils, with the Portuguese’s midfield mastery and creativity giving the team an edge they previously lacked. Spurs will need to contain him to come away with a positive result here.
Tottenham were in wretched form before the season was halted and surely require three points against United if they’re to keep their slender hopes of a top-four finish alive. Manager Jose Mourinho will at least be pleased to have some key attackers in shape again, most notably star forward Harry Kane.
The Bundesliga has settled back into a rhythm and with Bayern Munich confirmed as the champions, attention will drift further down the standings for some serious battles.
Leipzig and Dortmund are in a fight to finish as the best of the rest, with the latter currently in the runners-up spot with a three-point lead over the former. Given the attacking intention with which both sides operate and what’s on the line, Saturday’s showdown should be a brilliant spectacle.
For Leipzig it’ll be a big day, as star forward Timo Werner is poised to line up at the Red Bull Arena for the final time, having agreed a move to Chelsea following the conclusion of the campaign. The German international has 26 goals in the Bundesliga already this term.
The Bundesliga’s next great centre-forward will be in the opposition XI on Saturday, with Erling Haaland having shown himself to be a decisive presence for Dortmund up top. The Norwegian and his team will be looking to bounce back after they suffered a shock defeat to Mainz in the midweek round of fixtures.
Liverpool may no longer be able to win the Premier League at Goodison Park on Sunday, but the Merseyside derby should be a fascinating watch nonetheless.
The red half of the city would have been cheering Arsenal on against Manchester City on Wednesday night, as victory for the Gunners would have left Jurgen Klopp’s team one win away from the title. Nevertheless, they’ll be expected to take a step towards it against Everton.
In this fixture this season, the Reds have already enjoyed big wins over the Toffees. In the Premier League, Klopp’s side ran out 5-2 victors and then in the FA Cup, a much-changed Liverpool side were 1-0 winners.
Everton have improved under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti, albeit they have a number of injury problems to contend with going into this game. Against a hungry and full-strength Liverpool squad, it’ll be a huge challenge for them to get their season restarted with a positive result.
Along with Serie A, La Liga should be set for an enthralling end to the campaign, with the title race very much on between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Los Blancos will face a tricky fixture on Sunday though, as they visit an enterprising Real Sociedad side, who are hunting down a top-four place themselves. Martin Odegaard, on loan at Sociedad from Madrid, has been the man pulling the strings behind their impressive 2019-20 campaign.
Madrid had few issues settling back into La Liga life last weekend, as they coasted to a 3-1 win over Eibar, with their big-name summer signing Eden Hazard back in the side. They will need to raise their levels again to emerge victorious at the Anoeta though.
Ahead of their clash with Valencia on Thursday night, Madrid trail league leaders Barcelona by five points, having played a game less. The Blaugrana face a difficult test of their own on Friday when they travel to Sevilla.
Atalanta vs. Lazio
Wednesday, June 24, 3:45 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Alright, so this one technically isn’t the weekend, but we had to have a big Serie A fixture in didn’t we?
For so long this season it appeared as though Inter Milan would be the most likely challenge to Juventus’ longstanding dominance of the Scudetto. However, Lazio have emerged as the Bianconeri’s most likely rivals and sit just a point behind the champions at the restart.
Wednesday’s trip to Atalanta will be a huge test for Simone Inzaghi’s side. Atalanta have been one of the most dangerous attacking teams in European football this season and sit in fourth place in Serie A going into this set of matches.
While La Dea are a neutral’s favorite due to their brand of football, those hoping to see a real race for top spot will be hoping Lazio can continue their good form in Bergamo. With a brilliantly balanced side and the red-hot Ciro Immobile spearheading the attack, they should make this a pulsating encounter.
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