Friday, October 15, 2010

Matches you can't miss this weekend

Club football is finally back!!  After a rather dreadful international break which would have been even worse had the Liverpool saga not entertained us, clubs finally return to the trenches for battle. There are two monster affairs taking place this weekend which you surely cannot miss. We begin, of course, with the biggest monster of them all on Merseyside.

EVERTON VS LIVERPOOL (Sunday, 8:30am Fox Soccer Plus)
Could the gods have set this up any better for us? As Liverpool trudge along with the sale of the club to NESV, which should go through today, they must now prepare themselves for their most bitter of rivals across Stanley Park. Throw out the record books this Sunday - previous head-to-head encounters mean nothing. Performances this season mean nothing since both teams stink. Who would have thought this match would be a relegation 6 pointer? Liverpool sit in the drop zone while Everton, who are even on points but enjoy a better goal differential, lie one spot ahead of their rivals in 16th. It's safe to say Everton are much better than their record would tell you, since they begin every season terribly. Liverpool on the other hand are as bad as their record shows. Most of their transfer acquisitions over the summer have been duds and Torres cannot remain healthy. And after all the anti-American vitriol spewed from the mouths of Liverpool supporters, they finally got their wish and now must turn all their attention to the field. Unfortunately, new owners won't bring them out of this relegation fight any time soon. Prediction: 2-1 Everton

BARCELONA VS VALENCIA (Sunday, 12:00pm ESPN Deportes)
The league leaders are coming to town...and it's not Barcelona. Yup, Valencia have defied every preseason prediction after losing the spine of their club, and sit top of the table with an unblemished away record to boast. Meanwhile, things are not very rosy in the Camp Nou. Xavi is expected to miss this match while David Villa is trying to stay healthy ahead the reunion with his old club. Their home form has been dreadful to say the least, 1-1-1. While many people would say this is one of those games where Barcelona is prime for the taking, I would have to completely disagree. We have seen all too often over the past few years in any competition that when Barcelona need to win, they produce the kind of performance that squashes any doubt of who is the best team on the planet. Sunday will be one of those days (or at least it needs to be!) Prediction: 2-0 Barcelona

MAINZ VS HAMBURG (Saturday, 9:30am)
The hosts and surprising league leaders go for history tomorrow. A win would be eight in eight, a new record for the Bundesliga. Aside from that, Mainz are a very entertaining side to watch and have one of the most lively and energetic managers of any club in Europe.

AC MILAN VS CHIEVO (Saturday, 12:00pm Fox Soccer Plus) 
An interesting match as 4th place Milan host 5th place Chievo. With the superstars peppering the Milan roster, any match of theirs is must see theater. But they have yet to look convincing since the arrivals of Ibrahimovic and Robinho. This will be a great litmus test for how good Milan truly are.

SCHALKE VS STUTTGART (Saturday, 9:30am)
A battle of the losers for teams that finished 2nd and 6th respectively last season. They now occupy the very bottom of the Bundesliga table. Let's just hope one, if not both of these teams can turn it around.

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