Weekend Countdown - Preview by the Numbers

There are several matches around Europe to keep an eye on this weekend as we transition from Champions League and Europa League drama back to domestic league drama.  Manchester United and Liverpool - separated by two points - renew the rivalry of the Reds at Old Trafford, Inter Milan welcomes Napoli, and Crystal Palace hope to down Chelsea for a third consecutive time.

It's that time of the week, let's count down from 10:

10. Paris Saint Germain will take on Metz on Saturday March 10th at home after losing to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. PSG’s number 10, Neymar, won’t be the only star player who won’t take part in that game. Edinson Cavani will also sit this one out due to yellow card accumulation. The only available player in PSG’s lethal trio up top, Kylian Mbappé, will be the target man on Saturday. He has netted 10 league goals this season. Metz is winless in their last 10 away games against PSG.

9. Bayern Munich’s opponent this weekend is Hamburger SV. Hamburg is on a nine-game winless run and last time the club defeated Bayern was in 2009. Munich’s number 9, Robert Lewandowski, has scored more goals than the entire Hamburg team combined, outscoring them 20 to 18.

8. The first placed team will play the last placed team in Spain as Barcelona travel to Malaga on Saturday. Barca will hope to build on their 8-point advantage over Atletico Madrid. Malaga on the flip side needs eight points and a higher goal differential than Levante to crawl out of the relegation zone. Malaga got the best of Barca the last time they hosted, on April 8th of last year. Neymar was red-carded in the 65th minute of that affair, which Malaga won 2-0.

7. Elsewhere in Spain, Real Madrid’s game this weekend is against eighth-placed Eibar. Eibar haven’t won a game against Madrid in seven outings. CR7 will be hoping to score in his seventh consecutive game while Eibar’s top scorer, Charles, will be battling Los Blancos’ defenders for his seventh goal of the season.

6. In the Serie A, Juventus is playing host to Udinese at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday. Juve has been carrying an unbeaten run in the Serie A since Nov. 26th. Last time the two clubs met, Juve scored six goals on Udinese despite playing down a man after a Mario Mandzukic red card in the 26th minute. The game ended 6-2 in favor of The Old Lady, with Khedira grabbing a hat-trick.

5. Over in Germany, Borussia Dortmund will fight to avoid a painful five-game non winning run in a home match against Eintracht Frankfurt. Michy Batshuayi, who scored five goals in his first month with BVB, hasn’t found the net in five games.

4. Liverpool is traveling to Old Trafford on Saturday with the goal of going on a four-game winning run in away matches. The Reds from Merseyside haven’t conceded a goal in that away-win stretch. The last four meetings between the two English juggernauts ended in draws. Jose Mourinho will push his players to break that streak by inflicting a fourth league loss on Jurgen Klopp’s men. If Liverpool loses, they could drop to fourth in the table.

3. Back in Italy, Inter is hosting league toppers Napoli on Sunday for the Serie A’s most anticipated match of the weekend. Inter hasn’t recorded a goal in their last three outings against Napoli. However, the club has a solid home record; the last time they lost at the San Siro was three months ago. Serie A third-leading-scorer Dries Mertens will be looking to score a goal in his third straight match for Napoli.

2. Arsenal broke out of the losing run they started on Feb. 22nd with a 2-0 victory over Milan in the Europa League during the midweek. Their next game is at home against Watford, a side that’s on a confident two-game winning run thanks to Troy Deeney’s two goals in those two matches.

1. After losing 1-0 to Manchester City last week, Chelsea has a home game against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Palace lost their last outing by one goal to Manchester United thanks to a last-minute Matic strike that will be a candidate for goal of the season. The Eagles upset Chelsea in both of their last two meetings, 2-1 on both occasions. Wilfried Zaha netted one goal in each of those previous two meetings.


Author: Onz Chery