Weekend Preview by the Numbers

The Champions League quarterfinal fixtures certainly set a high bar for the European domestic action this weekend. The Manchester Derby is not a bad fixture to call on in aiming to match the over-entertaining Champions League first leg matches this week. The two clubs from Manchester will meet on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium. The Premier League will also feature the Merseyside Derby between Everton and Liverpool. Elsewhere in Spain, Barcelona will look to set the record for the longest unbeaten run in La Liga.

The European leagues are well-armed in following up the Champions League spectacles. Let’s countdown the most anticipated European club matches of the weekend.

10. German superclub Bayern Munich will face 10th placed Augsburg on Saturday. A victory will push Augsburg to 10 league-wins on the season. It obviously won’t be an easy 10th victory as Bayern only lost once so far this year and last time Augsburg won this fixture, Bayern was playing with 10-men.

9. Up in England, Arsenal will host relegation-threatened side Southampton the following day. The Gunners’ number 9 Alexandre Lacazette started April on a good note. The Frenchman scored a double in his last game against CSKA Moscow on Thursday after hitting the net once against Stoke City on Sunday. Mesut Ozil is also having a productive season. He leads Arsenal in the PL in assists, one more will carry him to 9 this season.

As for Southampton, be on the lookout for Charlie Austin, he’s the club’s topscorer and the last Southampton player to score against Arsenal.

8. Over in Spain, Barcelona is aiming to set a La Liga record 38-game unbeaten streak in a match against Leganes on Saturday. Last time Barca lost in the league is closing on a year; April 8th of last season. Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is a player to keep an eye on in this outing—as always. The Uruguayan was on target in his side’s CL win over Roma on Wednesday and started his side’s precious comeback tie versus Sevilla last week with an 88th minute goal.

Meanwhile number 8 Gabriel Pires is Leganes’ player to watch as he netted the most goals for the club so far this season.

7. Back in England, Everton will fight to break a 7-year winless run against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby. Defense hasn’t been Liverpool’s strongest attribute, but they racked up as many clean sheets as the best defensive team in England, Manchester City, so far this year, tallying 7. 2017 African Player of the Year and Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah is doubtful to play due to a groin injury—that will happen when you score too much.

6. Meanwhile Chelsea will hope to get back to winning ways against West Ham. Last time the two teams met, West Ham defeated Chelsea thanks to Marko Arnautovic’s 6th minute goal on March 6th of last year. Fast-forward to last week, Arnautovic scored a double in his last game against Southampton after taking a season high of 6 shots. On an opposite note, Chelsea star midfielder Eden Hazard hasn’t been in the scoresheet since February. A goal will lift Hazard to 16 goals on the season.  

5. Elsewhere in Germany, Borussia Dortmund is hosting Stuttgart at Westfalenstadion on Sunday. Stuttgart will wrestle BVB to go on a 5-game unbeaten run away from home. The Reds’ striker Mario Gomez was the club’s most prolific scorer this past month; a goal will level him up to 5 goals in 5 games.

4. Napoli sits 4 points behind Serie A leaders Juventus. The club’s game this weekend is against 14th placed Chievo home at Stadio San Paolo. Good news for Napoli in their aim to catch up to Juve on top of the table, Chievo have lost their last 4 away games.

3. Manchester City is just 3 points away from winning the Premier League, hence a win over their fierce rivals, Manchester United, home at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday will grant them the title. The citizens shockingly lost their Champions League first leg match to Liverpool 3-0. To win, City will want to make sure they mark Romelu Lukaku tight. The United forward has scored in each of his last 3 matches.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid will take on La Liga’s second placed team Atletico Madrid after their Champions League dream win over Juve. Ronaldo has been scoring non-stop since the second month of this year. He has 22 league-goals under his name so far this campaign.

Meanwhile, Atletico was the second team to reach 20 La Liga wins, edging Deportivo de La Coruna 1-0 last weekend. The club blanked Sporting 2-0 in the Europa League in their following game.

1. Inter Milan could leap over Roma this weekend in the Serie A as they sit below the Gialloressi by 1 point. Similarly, Inter’s star striker is 1 goal behind the league’s top scorer Ciro Immobile. The club is going against Torino this weekend. Last time the two teams played each other, the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Torino captain Andrea Belotti will go into the game fresh off his first hat trick of the season, which he bagged against Crotone on Wednesday.

 

Author: Onz Chery