Why hello fellow football fans,
Today we are kicking off a new segment here on glenndavissoccer.com where we will feature our top 5 games to watch every weekend this summer.
It may seem rather pointless to be starting this feature now, as most European leagues are coming to a close but hey, we would still love to immerse you in some other leagues you may not pay much attention to (i.e. MLS, Brasileirão, etc.). Plus, we will keep you updated on all the international fixtures and tournaments in store for this summer (CONCACAF Gold Cup, World Cup Qualifiers, FIFA Confederations Cup, oh joy!). With the 2014 FIFA World Cup right around the corner, this summer of soccer is expected to be sizzling. So let’s kick this season off.
Since there are so many games this weekend, to kick off this feature, I present to you: Soccer Matter’s Starting 11 lineup.
Games to Watch:
1. Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid
Friday, May 17th at 2:25 pm CST on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, & WatchESPN
Ladies and gentlemen, this year’s Copa del Rey final promises to be quality entertainment. Why? First off, it features El Derbi Madrileño in the 110th Spanish Cup final in Madrid. Second, this seems to be Real Madrid’s theatrical manager Jose Mourinho’s last chance to snag some silverware before he makes his dramatic exit from a rather lackluster (at least, in The Special One’s case) spell at the fabled club.
Currently, Real Madrid sits in second place in La Liga, 9 points ahead of the third placed Atléti, and Real have beaten Atlético twice this season in head-to-head action. Though Real boasts superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Co., the Madridistas are still gonna have their hands full with Atléti, especially with Colombian goal-scoring fiend Radamel Falcao leading the front line. Both teams have experience from being in big-time finals (i.e. Atlético hammering Athletic Bilbao last year 3-0 in the UEFA Europa League finals and Real sticking it to their other rivals Barcelona in the 2011 Copa del Rey final) so both the players and the managers have the winning mentality to claim this final, it all comes down to who wants it more on the day.
P.S. If Real Madrid does win, let’s hope they treat the cup with a little more respect this time than they did in 2011…you got it Sergio Ramos?
Source: Sky News (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXxSuzRpTps)
2. Club América vs. C. F. Monterrey
Saturday, May 18th at 5:00 pm CST on Univision Deportes
On Saturday in Liga MX action, Club América will host CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey in the second leg of the semifinals of Clausura Liguilla. The first leg of this tie proved to be extremely action-packed and entertaining, living up to the expectations. While América may stand 9 points ahead of Monterrey in the league standings, los Rayados have demonstrated that it is any man’s game in Liguilla.
In the first leg, scoring was opened when Monterrey’s Humberto Suazo nailed a signature, big-game free-kick golazo in the 29th minute. América did not falter, and las Águilas’ big-game player, Cristian “Chucho” Benitez, showed that he came to play as well, knocking in a brace to put América ahead. However, their lead wasn’t to last. After América came close to making it 3-1 through Raúl Jiménez, los Rayados rallied and got right back into the game after Aldo De Nigris scored following a defensive blunder on América’s part. The game ended 2-2, a just scoreline representing the evenness of this matchup.
It is clear that América is missing a vital part of their back line with the injury to the young Mexican international Diego Reyes and whether or not that will continue to be a factor for América in the return leg at Estadio Azteca remains to be seen. All in all, this is definitely not a game to miss.
3. Chelsea FC vs. Everton
Sunday, May 19th at 10:00 am CST on Fox Soccer Plus
And so we’ve reached the end of yet another thrilling Barclays Premier League season. It all ends Sunday, May 19th and while some may be watching the relegation battle at the bottom of the table, we will be more focused on all the action taking place for the last two UEFA Champions League spots. The three London rival clubs that are duking it out in third, fourth, and fifth place are Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur.
The first and probably the most mouth-watering match up of the day is that of third placed Chelsea and sixth placed Everton. The Toffees are sure to give the Blues a battle, especially since manager David Moyes will be wanting to exit Everton with a bang before he packs up and heads to Manchester United. When the two teams met in late December, old faithful Frank Lampard’s brace rescued the Blues from surrendering three point after Steven Pienaar put Everton ahead in the 2nd minute.
Now Chelsea are coming off a thrilling UEFA Europa League Championship win versus Benfica on Wednesday so they are certainly fired up to end their premier league season by booking a ticket to next season’s UEFA Champions League.
4. Newcastle United vs. Arsenal FC
Sunday, May 19th at 10:00 am CST on Fox Sports
After putting on a spectacular show in the second half against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday, Arsenal propelled themselves into fourth place, two points behind Chelsea. Now the Gunners must take on Newcastle United. All the momentum is with Arsenal on Sunday. Behind Lukas Podolski’s brace and Santi Cazorla’s hat-trick of assists, the Gunner’s attack looks in fine form and manager Arsene Wenger has appeared to have finally found some stability in the center back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.
With a 2-1 win against QPR last Sunday, Newcastle have secured a spot in the premier league next season, and manager Alan Pardew joked after the game that he would be happy even if his side loses 4-0 to Arsenal. Well, you and Arsene Wenger both, then Mr. Pardew.
This game promises to be exciting, as the only other meeting between these two sides this season produced a 10-goal thriller, in which Theo Walcott went ham, scoring a hat-trick, grabbing 2 assists, and spent the whole game flying around the field causing all sorts of trouble for the Magpies defense.
5. Tottenham Hotspur vs. Sunderland
Sunday, May 19th at 10:00 am CST on Fox Soccer Channel
In what is most likely to be the “easiest” matchup of these three games, Tottenham takes on Sunderland, who will just miss the drop to the Championship after a draw with Southampton last Sunday.
For Spurs fans, instead of the usual ode to Gareth Bale they had been used to singing all season with the Welshman’s phenomenal form, on Sunday everyone saluted the American, Clint Dempsey, for a great performance. In the 20th minute, Dempsey scored a goal-of-the-season worthy stunner to cancel out Steven Nzonzi’s opener and later set up Emmanuel Adebayor’s game-winning goal in the 83rd minute.
However, this game against Sunderland will be no picnic. Tottenham have so much riding on this result and will not underestimate Sunderland. In the previous matchup this season, Tottenham won 2-1 in a hard fought match at the Stadium of Light with an own goal from Sunderland’s Carlos Jimenez Cuellar serving as the spark to get Tottenham off to the races.
6. SC Freiburg vs. Schalke 04
Saturday, May 18th at 8:30 am CST on firstrowsports.eu
On the final day of Bundesliga action we have been presented with a juicy matchup between fourth placed Schalke 04 and fifth placed SC Freiburg both fighting for UEFA Champions League qualification. Separated by a mere point, both teams match up well technically, but it was Freiburg pulled off the 3-1 win over Schalke in December.
7. Sampdoria vs. Juventus
Saturday, May 18th at 1:45 pm CST on firstrowsports.eu
Usually, a match between league-leading Juventus and fifteenth placed Sampdoria would warrant little attention. However, the last time these two clubs met at Juventus, it was the underdogs Sampdoria that came out on top, 2-1, thanks to two second half strikes from 20-year-old Argentine wonder kid Mauro Icardi.
A product of FC Barcelona’s fabled La Masia, Icardi was immediately snapped up by Internazionale after his performance against Juventus. Let’s see if he and Sampdoria can produce yet another majestical upset.
8. OGC Nice vs. Olympique Lyon
Saturday, May 18th at 2:00 pm CST on firstrowsports.eu
While this is no battle for survival, this match up between third placed Lyon and fifth placed Nice will definitely be entertaining. Both clubs are fighting for the last UEFA Champions League spot alongside Lille, with Lyon leading the other two clubs by a minute 3 point margin. Each club has two more games at hand and with Paris Saint-Germain clinching the Ligue 1 title for the first time in 19 years, the eyes of the French now rest upon the battle just below PSG.
9. West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester United
Sunday, May 19th at 10:00 am CST on Fox Sports
Obviously, Manchester United has already collected yet another Barclays Premier League title, but as this is Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game as United’s manager, this is a must-watch match. Farewell Fergie!
10. New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
Sunday, May 19th at 12:00 pm CST on ESPN2
Last but certainly not least, we must get some MLS action in this weekend. While the Red Bulls come out of the gates flying this season, LA are looking to regain the balance they have been lacking since winning the MLS Cup last season. No matter the current standings, these all-star lineups will undoubtedly be looking to produce in this scintillating match up.
11. Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution
Saturday, May 18th at 7:30 pm CST on KPRC
The Dynamo are looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to rivals Sporting Kansas City which snapped Houston’s 36-game home winning streak, on the one-year anniversary of the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium. Meanwhile, New England is still just hoping for their first win in the month of May.
Coverage of this match starts with the Dynamo Pregame Show at 7:00 pm CST, featuring Glenn Davis and Eddie Robinson on the call so be sure to tune in if you can’t make it to the game.
Written by Cari Gelal