Three of the top six Premier League teams dropped points during the midweek, shaking up the table as we head into the weekend. Chelsea crumbled against Bournemouth, Tottehnham took down Manchester United and scored one of the quickest goals in Premier League history (Eriksen in the 11th second), and the Swans grabbed three crucial points against Arsenal as they continued to scrap their way out of the relegation zone.
As if that wasn’t enough, just look at what’s coming up this weekend around Europe:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could debut for Arsenal
Barcelona could set a club-record season-opening 22-match unbeaten streak in La Liga
Liverpool host Tottenham (the Spurs have won just 2 times in their last 25 matches at Anfield)
Atletico Madrid (2nd in La Liga) travels to Valencia (3rd in La Liga)
Lyon (2nd in Ligue 1) hosts Monaco (4th in Ligue 1)
Hold your breath and count to ten:
1. In Serie A, only 1 point separates league-leader Napoli (57 pts) from second-place Juventus (56 pts). Napoli will have an opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table as they take on rock-bottom-of-the-table Benevento on Sunday. Juventus faces 14th placed Sassuolo, also on Sunday.
2. A win or a draw on Sunday against Espanyol will grant Barcelona a new club-record for the longest unbeaten run to start the season, 22 games (currently, 18-3-0 in La Liga competition). Barca will play Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium where they lost 1-0 on January 17th in the Copa del Rey.
3. The 3rd-best player in the world, Neymar, was heavily criticized for offering his hand to help Rennes player Hamari Traore up then quickly pulling it back and for showboating during Paris St. Germain’s midweek game. Neymar and PSG will play Lille during the weekend where all eyes will be on the Brazilian superstar to see how he reacts on the field to the criticism. Lille broke a 3-game losing run against Strasbourg last weekend.
4. Still in France, Lyon hosts Monaco at the Groupama Stadium on Sunday for one of the most anticipated matches of the weekend. Lyon and Monaco are leveled with Marseille for the second-most league victories in France, winning 14 outings each. Combined, they have 4 of the top 10 scorers in Ligue 1: Radamel Falcao (16 goals), Nabil Fekir (16), Mariano Diaz (13), and Memphis Depay (9). 4 words for you: don’t miss this game.
5. Bayern Munich is galloping at the top of the Bundesliga with 50 points (16 points ahead of 2nd and 3rd place Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke). The German juggernaut’s next game is against Mainz 05. Bayern scored 5 goals last week to down Hoffenheim.
6. Atletico Madrid visits Valencia on Sunday for a massive La Liga fixture. Second-place Atletico leads third-place Valencia by 6 points. However, both teams have been underperforming; each side has only grabbed points in half of their last 6 outings. If you’re betting on this one keep in mind that Atletico will go into the match with a 6-game unbeaten run against Los Che.
7. Manchester United failed to tally a 7th straight clean sheet during the midweek, conceding a goal 11 seconds into their 2-0 defeat against Tottenham. United will look to bounce back as they face 17th-placed Huddersfield Town on Saturday. Alexis Sánchez will don the iconic Manchester United number 7 shirt for the first time at Old Trafford.
8. Things aren’t looking good for Arsenal. The club lost to Swansea City on Tuesday and is now 8 points below a Champions League spot. The Gunners will fight to avoid an 8th league defeat against Everton this weekend. The Toffees on the other hand won their 8th domestic game in the midweek by defeating 8th place Leicester City 2-1, thanks to a double from their new signing, Theo Walcott.
9. There is some good news for Arsenal. 9-year professional player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and 29-year-old Mkhitaryan are set to make their Gunners debuts against Everton at the Emirates Stadium, despite some murmurs of illness.
10. The Spurs have a chance at a 10-game unbeaten run this weekend, but they’ll have to earn it at Anfield on Sunday. Tottenham beat Liverpool at home in October to snap Liverpool’s 10-game unbeaten run against the Spurs. This enticing fixture pits the league’s top scorers – Harry Kane #10 (21 goals this season) and Mo Salah (19 goals) – against two of the league’s best defenders, Virgil van Dijk and Jan Vertonghen.
Oh, and apparently there's a big American Football game on Sunday too. Enjoy the weekend.
Author: Onz Chery