There are five games from five separate competitions to savour this weekend, with local scores to settle, league places to gain and opportunities to be seized in cup tournaments.
All kick offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Brighton vs. Newcastle United
Saturday, March 20, 4 p.m. ET, Peacock Premium
This match may be the least glamorous of the five selected, but Brighton and Newcastle are in a desperate fight to stay afloat in the Premier League this season.
It’s Brighton who have the slight advantage going into this match at the Amex Stadium, sitting in 16th place, both a point and a place clear of Newcastle. After a rotten run, they were able to earn a crucial win at Southampton last weekend and plunge their upcoming opponents closer to the drop.
Newcastle are two points clear of the bottom three. Even so, there’s a sense of dread among their fanbase, with disillusionment with the manager and a succession of injury problems meaning it’s been hard to build momentum. They were at least able to avoid defeat last weekend, drawing 1-1 with Aston Villa thanks to Jamaal Lascelles’ stoppage-time goal.
With all the teams at the bottom finding the going tough, three points at the expense of a rival in this encounter would be enormous. For Brighton in particular, it feels like a massive chance to put some daylight between themselves and the relegation fight.
Celtic vs. Rangers
Sunday, March 21, 8 a.m. ET, ESPN+
For the first time in 10 years, Celtic will welcome Rangers to their home for an Old Firm game as Scottish champions.
The match will undoubtedly be the nadir in what has been a campaign to forget for Celtic, who spurned the chance to win what would’ve been a tenth successive title. Having been so dominant in Scotland for so many years, it’ll irk their supporters to be so far off the pace set by their bitter rivals.
As for Rangers and their manager Steven Gerrard, the match represents a chance to rub it in even more. They’ve dropped just 12 points in the SPL this season and are on course to go through the entirety of the term unbeaten.
Much of the discussion pre-match has been centred around whether Celtic will give Rangers a traditional guard of honour. At this point that gesture appears unlikely, with Gerrard’s players opting against one for Celtic themselves in a similar position last year.
Leicester vs. Manchester United
Sunday, March 21, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN+
It’s FA Cup quarter-final weekend in England, with Manchester United’s trip to Leicester City the standout match of the four.
After their Europa League exploits in Milan on Thursday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be keen for his players to refocus their attention on another fight for silverware. They produced a professional performance to advance at the San Siro, with the returning Paul Pogba scoring the only goal of a tight game.
Brendan Rodgers will also place a lot of priority on this competition, with his team proving this season that they can mix it with the best in the Premier League. While they have a number of injury issues to contend with, Foxes fans will hope the week off will see them have a physical edge over the visitors.
When the two teams met at Leicester in the Premier League, they played out a gripping 2-2 draw. With the attacking talent set to take to the field, it’d be a major shock if we didn’t see another action-packed encounter.
Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona
Barcelona have clawed their way back into contention for the La Liga title in recent months and this visit to Real Sociedad represents one of their biggest tests between now and the end of the campaign.
Sociedad’s early-season hopes of a Champions League push have faded significantly as the campaign has gone on, although they still represent a big threat on home soil. Consistency has been a big problem for Imanol Alguacil’s team, but If they play to their best they are a match for anyone.
Barcelona have been able to find consistency as of late and at the moment they are playing the best football of Ronald Koeman’s tenure as manager. A 4-1 win over Huesca on Monday put them to within four points of leaders Atletico Madrid, who have seen a huge lead evaporate in recent weeks.
Crucially for the Blaugrana, Lionel Messi is enjoying his best spell of the campaign too and so often it’s the genial forward who proves to be the difference for Barcelona in these critical matches at the business end of the season.
Lyon vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Matches between Lyon and PSG are always significant in France, but it’s been a long time since these two Ligue 1 juggernauts played out a more significant game.
Going into the weekend the two sides are deadlocked on 60 points, three points shy of surprise leaders Lille. The leaders are at home to 19th-place Nimes earlier in the day, so will have likely built up a six-point gap at the top by the time this encounter kicks off.
The pressure is undoubtedly on PSG, who suffered a shock loss to Nantes last weekend at the Parc des Princes. Manager Mauricio Pochettino has steered his team into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but relinquishing their domestic dominance will surely not be well received by supporters.
While they are one of the biggest names in French football, few anticipated Lyon to be so high up the table this late into a Ligue 1 season. If Rudi Garcia’s men can get three points here, then they will surely believe themselves to be in with a chance of their first title in 13 years.
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