Friday, March 1, 2013

What to look out for in world football this weekend‏

1. Second Clasico in a week

 The second Clasico in four days takes place this weekend. Angel Di Maria will miss the game at the Bernabeu through suspension and Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho is likely to make a number of changes from midweek ahead of the vital Champions League second leg against Manchester United.
Barcelona, meanwhile, are under pressure to win and prevent another blip following their loss to AC Milan in the Champions League and Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Madrid. There have been calls in the local media for David Villa to be included in the starting XI, while Carles Puyol may be replaced by Javier Mascherano.

Elsewhere in Spain, Valencia host rivals Levante with both teams vying for a place in Europe next season, Osasuna face Athletic Bilbao in another local derby, and Atletico Madrid travel to Malaga in a match between two of La Liga's Champions League contenders.

2. Beckham back on the bench?

David Beckham looks set to be back on the Paris Saint-Germain bench against Reims in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

The former England international showed, during two displays against Marseille in the last week, that he can prove a useful addition to Carlo Ancelotti's squad, but he is unlikely to start after his 86-minute outing in the Coupe de France on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in France this weekend, fifth-placed Saint-Etienne face fourth-placed Nice on Saturday in a match between two of the top flight's most exciting teams this season. Both have realistic ambitions of reaching the third Champions League spot.

3. Scudetto race hots up

All eyes will be on San Paolo on Friday evening as Napoli host Juventus in a top-of-the-table battle that could go a long way to deciding the Serie A title.
Juve go into the match six points clear at the top but have not tasted victory at the home of their second-placed rivals since winning promotion back to the first tier in 2007.
Elsewhere in Italy, the race for the final Champions League spot continues with a clash between AC Milan and Lazio - fourth versus third - at San Siro on Saturday night.
Milan have emerged as serious top-three contenders again following a woeful start to the season, while their opponents are looking to qualify for Europe's elite club competition for the first time in six years.

4. Post-McClaren era begins at Twente

FC Twente begin life without former England manager Steve McClaren at home to fellow title contenders Ajax on Saturday evening.

Although McClaren failed to lead the club to a single win in 2013 before his exit in midweek, he leaves them in fifth place and within six points of Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven.

While Twente must pick up their form to mount a serious challenge for the title, Ajax - in second place and two points behind PSV - are also in need of a victory after being knocked out of the Europa League by Steaua Bucharest and out of the Dutch Cup by AZ.

Top-of-the-table PSV, who lost their last league game 2-1 against Feyenoord, will look to respond at home to struggling VVV-Venlo.

5. The return of the MLS

The 2013 Major League Soccer season gets under way with nine matches taking place this weekend, including two-time defending champions LA Galaxy - without Landon Donovan, who is on a sabbatical until the end of March, and the departed David Beckham - hosting Chicago Fire.

Houston Dynamo, runners up in the last two seasons, start their campaign on Saturday at home against DC United in a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference final.

Elsewhere, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and the New York Red Bulls begin their season on the road against the Portland Timbers on Sunday in a nationally televised game.

Post a Comment
There was an error in this gadget