Even though we are early in the European club calendar, league tables are already starting to take shape. Some clubs are struggling to live up to expectations, others are breaking barriers. Soccer fans have already seen some players take leagues by storm, namely Jude Bellingham and his dominance of LaLiga.
Just one or two games in, some clubs are already faced with pivotal games. These contests could have title implications or affect European placement. While that may seem so far down the road, the end of the season always sneaks up on us. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on as many games as possible. That way, you do not get caught off guard when one team is at the top of the table.
Here are five games that we have circled on the docket for this weekend that you can watch in the United States.
Top five games to watch from August 25 to 27
5. Orlando City vs. St. Louis CITY SC
- Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET — MLS Season Pass.
Despite early exits in both the Leagues Cup and US Open Cup, St. Louis’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer has set the standard. The new club leads the Western Conference in MLS by four points. More impressive is the fact that it is four points clear of LAFC, the out-and-out favorite to defend its MLS Cup title this season.
St. Louis is on the road this weekend at Orlando City. After a bumpy start to the campaign, Orlando City has found its footing. Over its last 14 league games, Orlando has lost just twice. As a result, the club climbed to fourth in the Eastern Conference after 24 games.
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4. Athletic Club vs. Real Betis
- Sunday, 3:30 p.m. — ESPN+.
No, this is not El Clasico. And, no, neither of these clubs are likely to win the LaLiga title this year. That honor remains with the wealthy clubs in Spain. However, that does not mean Athletic Club and Real Betis cannot contend for a spot in Europe. Both of these clubs have been on the outside looking in over the last several years, despite some close calls with the top spots.
That makes this game important. With these two closely aligned in each season’s LaLiga table, these are the games that create separation. Athletic and Real Betis do not have a historic rivalry, but they are rivals when it comes to placement in Spain.
3. Brighton and Hove Albion vs. West Ham United
- Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET — NBC, Universo, Peacock.
On the topic of teams that are breaking barriers early on in the campaign, Brighton and Hove Albion may be at the top of that list. The Seagulls have been a joy to watch for neutrals. Goals flying in left and right under the guise of Roberto de Zerbi are simply enjoyable. Despite selling on some of last season’s crucial players for massive profit, Brighton has shown no signs of slowing down.
The same applies to West Ham. Declan Rice’s sale was always going to be a big hit for the Hammers. However, a 3-1 win over Chelsea last time out showed what this team can do despite losing such a great player. David Moyes’s side faces an uphill battle, though, when it goes to the American Express Stadium this weekend.
2. Villarreal vs. Barcelona
- Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET — ESPN+.
Neither Villarreal nor Barcelona has been a flashy side to start the season. Both have dropped points and had some shaky performances. However, the stature of these two clubs in Spain makes this one where fans should be tuning in. Barcelona will be without Pedri, who picked up a knock this week.
Game of the weekend: Newcastle vs. Liverpool
- Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET — USA Network.
There is no surprise that this game is the pick of the bunch this weekend. Two clubs with history and expectations for this season do battle at St. James’ Park. Newcastle was heartbroken by a late Julian Alvarez goal against Manchester City last week. On the other hand, Liverpool got back to winning ways with a comfortable win over Bournemouth.
This game features the two teams that finished fourth and fifth in the Premier League last season. Both want to improve on that. While it is still early in the campaign, there is a legitimate belief that this game could have early title implications. For now, though, the focus is on getting three points and making the most out of the beginning of the campaign.
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