Well this new year promises to be an exciting one in the world of soccer. Last week Manchester City took down the undefeated Liverpool (ensuring Arsenal remains the only team to go undefeated.) Now, can the Citizens or the Spurs catch Liverpool at the top of the league? 538 says… maybe but it’s not likely.
Monday, Jan. 7
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Liverpool (Premier League) — Liverpool is looking to bounce back and resume their climb to winning the league but can Wolverhampton pull off another upset?
Tuesday, Jan. 8
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea (League Cup) — With the Spurs in hot pursuit of Liverpool and Manchester City they are likely to rest starters for this game (they do face Manchester City this weekend.) But, based on their recent 7 – 0 victory at Tranmere, the Spurs still have plenty of depth (not as if Tranmere were a serious challenge.)
Wednesday, Jan. 9
- Perth Glory vs. Sydney FC (A‐League) — #1 vs #2 in the Australian league face off, broadcast at 3am for us west coast Americans. Which means to me I can wake up early for work and watch the replay on ESPN+.
Friday, Jan. 11
- Leeds United vs. Derby County (English Championship) — #1 vs #6 in the Championship. Derby County are fighting to stay in the top group, with a number of clubs chasing. They’ve only gotten 6 points out of the last possible 15. Can they regain a win vs. Leeds, who sit atop the Championship?
Saturday, Jan. 12
- Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Liverpool (Premier League) — Liverpool sit on their throne, and while the gap closed with City’s win, it is still their league to lose. This match should not pose any challenge, but let us suppose for a moment that Klopp’s train comes off the tracks… it would be quite the train crash.
- Nice vs. Bordeaux (Ligue 1) — To many, they only want to watch games between the best teams or featuring one of the best teams in a league. The truth is I find a great deal of enjoyment in watching evenly matched teams, regardless of their standings to the top. And that’s what this looks to be. Patrick Viera is struggling with Nice, and the team is still struggling to put points up.
Sunday, Jan. 13
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United (Premier League) — Tottenham is chasing the leaders of the league. Manchester is righting the ship under their new gaffer and we are finally seeing Paul Pogba do his thing wearing the red kits. This game should be full of fireworks.
- Real Betis vs. Real Madrid (La Liga) — Real Madrid are floundering, struggling to hold their ground in this post‐Ronaldo season. Can they remain in the Champions League or will they fall to the Europa Cup league this season?
- Olympique Marseille vs. AS Monaco (Ligue 1) — Earlier, I talked about the evenly‐paired matches and how I enjoyed them. This is not one of them. This is me recommending you tune in to see if Thierry Henry, now leading Monaco, can stop the catastrophic season that they are enduring. This match won’t be easy, but they are at risk of relegation and they need to stop the backslide.
Here we go, heading in to the new year. Will 2019 have a new winner in the Premier League? Through 2018 it looked as if Liverpool would win it, their first time winning the Premier League, though they had won the First League Division 16 times through their history.
Tuesday, Jan. 1
- Cardiff City vs. Tottenham (Premier League) — It’s not two evenly matched teams, but Tottenham got upset by the Wolves they are looking to right the ship, every match they play is going to be entertaining. Or painful depending on your perspective.
- Derby County vs. Middlebrough (English Championship) — #4 vs #5 in the Championship face off, broadcast for us on ESPN+.
Wednesday, Jan. 2
- Newcastle vs. Man. United (Premier League) — Man. United have changed their coaches and are in the process of turning their ship around. Pogba has been excellent since they sacked Mourinho. Newcastle shouldn’t be a challenge, let’s see how they do.
Thursday, Jan. 3
- Manchester City vs. Liverpool (Premier League) — #1 vs. #2 in the Premier League meet. A clash of the titans.
Saturday, Jan. 5
This weekend are FA Cup matches, lots and lots of matches, but most of them are of teams below the Prem. or Premier League matches vs lower tier clubs, which makes it hard to pick what to watch. There’s only one that is Premier League vs. Premier League:
- AFC Bournemouth vs Brighton & Hove Albion (FA Cup)
Sunday, Jan. 6
- Getafe vs. Barcelona (La Liga) — Barcelona are atop the Spanish league, Getafe are fighting to climb into the top squad. Plus, it’s got Messi playing, that’s almost always worth watching.
Updated Dec. 28 — Added Rangers vs. Celtic for Saturday’s viewing.
It’s an abbreviated week with only Premier League and Serie A in action, but I am endeavoring to resume with my match recommendations heading into the new year. So, let’s look at what there is to watch this week:
Wednesday, Dec. 26
- Tottenham vs. Bournemouth (Premier League) — Tottenham are having a historic start to the season for the club and Bournemouth are one match behind Man. United in the table. Tottenham are clearly the better side, but I still expect this match to be entertaining.
- Watford vs. Chelsea (Premier League) — Watford is performing better than they have in a long time, just outside the top 6 of the league. Of the Boxing day matches this is the closest pairing in terms of ranking.
- Inter vs. Napoli (Serie A) — Second vs. third in Serie A. Definitely a match worth tuning in for!
Thursday, Dec. 27
- Southampton vs. West Ham (Premier League) — It’s not going to be a match between two power houses, but the pickings are slim for the 27th.
Saturday, Dec. 29
- Rangers vs. Celtic (Scottish Premiership) — Initially left off this list as my go‐to resource for upcoming soccer matches mistakenly did not have it on their line‐up. This is perhaps the most exciting match of the day as it will choose the winner of the Scottish league, between the two powerhouses of the league.
- Tottenham vs. Wolverhampton (Premier League) — Wolverhampton played Fulham, and hopefully won during the week. They are relatively safe in the middle of the table, but they need to keep pushing. Tottenham continue their push to try and overtake the top of the league, they can’t afford to drop points in this chase after Liverpool.
- Liverpool vs. Arsenal (Premier League) — A clash in the Top 5! Liverpool look unstoppable and Arsenal have shown they deserve to be in the top 5, can they show they deserve to be higher? A win versus Liverpool would do just that.
- Juventus vs. Sampdoria (Serie A) — 23 points separate Juventus in first and Sampdoria in sixth, so it’s unlikely they can catch Juve. But Sampdoria are still able to possibly qualify for the Europa League next season if they can string wins and points.
This week most leagues are on break for the international break. allowing teams to play in friendlies or competitions like the UEFA Nations League, etc. Looking over the leagues going on and the games being played, here are my picks for matches to watch this week.
Tuesday, Sep. 4
- USA vs. Chile (Women’s Friendly) — We are in the final friendlies before World Cup qualification. USA won the first friendly 3 – 0, and we got a unique look at the squad on the field. Let’s see how it goes this time.
Friday, Sep. 7
- Portland Thorns vs. Seattle Reign (NWSL) — Seattle is locked for the post season, now they are playing to host the playoff game. Portland trails them by just 2 points, getting out of the Rose City with at least a point will be big for them. But it will be a challenge, especially considering they will be without Megan Rapinoe as she continues recovering from her injury.
- Italy vs. Poland (UEFA Nations) — During this weekend for the international break there are a number of good national matchups. Italy didn’t make the World Cup but they remain an international powerhouse. Given Poland’s early departure from the World Cup they have something to prove as much as Italy does.
- USA vs. Brazil (Men’s Friendly) — The road to Qatar begins as the US continues refining and searching for the squad who will put them back on the world’s biggest stage.
Saturday, Sep. 8
- England vs. Spain (UEFA Nations) — Two of the best countries in the world face off.
- NYCFC vs. DC United (MLS) — NYCFC sit at third in the East. DC United are fighting to try and claw their way back into the post season. Combine that with two legends of the game: David Villa vs. Wayne Rooney. Should be an entertaining match.
Sunday, Sep. 9
- France vs. Netherlands (UEFA Nations) — The Netherlands also missed the World Cup in Russia, how will they fair against the greatest national team in the world?
Similar to the World Cup, here are my predictions for each group of this year’s Champions League. Some of these were quite difficult, but my picks for the teams to advance are bolded. After the team listings I share my thoughts on the groups. Let’s see how wrong I end up being.
- Atletico Madrid
- Club Brugge
I feel like this group is fairly cut and dry. Dortmund could flounder and in that case Monaco moves up, but we will see.
- Inter Milan
Nakedly eye‐balling the groups, this one was my pick for “group of death” due in no little part to Barcelona’s presence along with three other internationally notable clubs. I have to give the nod to Barcelona and Tottenham, though I am minorly worried about Tottenham having the necessary depth for both the EPL and Champions league. We will see.
- Paris Saint‐German
- Red Star Belgrade
Congratulations to the Serbian club for making the Champions league, enjoy facing two of the best clubs in the world and Napoli.
Interestingly the two clubs I know the best in this group are Schalke in the Bundesliga and Galatasaray in Turkey. Porto is a top tier club from Portugal but I do not follow that league, and same for Lokomotiv. During my research I find myself leaning towards Schalke and Galatasary making it out, though Porto will make a good challenge.
- Bayern Munich
- AEK Athens
Ajax are my pick for the Cinderella run for this year’s Champions cup. They qualified for it by defeating Dynamo Kyiv 3 – 1 convincingly. Bayern is Bayern.
- Manchester City
Manchester City are the chosen club by God himself this year, I am convinced. Lyon will come second in the group though I could see Hoffenheim managing it.
- Real Madrid
Neither the Czech Plzen nor Russia’s CSKA will be able to get past Real Madrid (even without Ronaldo and Zidane) and Roma. I am excited to see Roma vs. Real Madrid’s two legs.
- Manchester United
- Young Boys
I don’t have faith in Jose, even if he’s still around for this. Man. United isn’t going to get out of this group. However Juventus and Spain’s Valencia will.
Here is a look at the best matches of the week from around the world.
Monday, Aug. 27
- Tottenham vs. Man. United (EPL) — Two of the leagues biggest teams meet up for a (for me) midday battle. Tottenham are undefeated after two, while Manchester had split their results. For me this is much see soccer.
- Roma vs. Atalanta (Serie A) — Both teams won their first match of the Serie A season after having moderate successes in the previous season. Roma ended in 3rd and Atalanta were in 7th. Should be a good match to start off the week.
Tuesday, Aug. 28
- Dynamo Kyiv vs. Ajax (Europa) — Well if I had the first leg in the list last week then it merits inclusion again to see how the fixtures end. After the first, Ajax lead 3 – 1, so Kyiv at home have their work cut out for them.
Wednesday, Aug. 29
- DC United vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS) — Philadelphia are having a solid season in a good position for the playoffs, while DC United have come alive with the arrival of Rooney and they are scrapping their way into contention. Winning versus Philadelphia would definitely help with that.
- Indy Eleven vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) — It’s a sad fact that most Americans view lower division leagues as pointless as primary entertainment when in fact they often offer fantastic entertainment.
Friday, Aug. 31
- Milan vs. Roma (Serie A) — Roma make their second appearance on the list this week, but like Atalanta, it seems that this should be a good match of the Serie A lineup this week.
- Leeds United vs. Middlesbrough (Championship) — It’s #1 vs. #2 in England’s second division battling.
- USA vs. Chile (Women’s Friendly) — The Women’s World Cup is on the horizon and the women’s matches are some of the best soccer I watch.
Saturday, Sep. 1
- Leicester City vs. Liverpool (EPL) — Liverpool are undefeated in the Premier League, and Leicester City have only lost one. Leicester haven’t looked fantastic ever since winning the league but they have a spark this season thus far.
- Chelsea vs. AFC Bournemouth (EPL) — Bournemouth are not what you would consider a powerhouse in the Premier League, but they are 2 – 1‐0. Chelsea remain dominant and have started the league 3 – 0. Can Bournemouth dent the Chelsea machine?
- Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC (MLS) — The narrative of MLS is quickly become all about the post season. Seattle, after defeating Portland on the road in Providence Park, must protect their position for the post season and chasing an eighth consecutive win back at CenturyLink would go a long way to ensure that.
Sunday, Sep. 2
- Watford vs. Tottenham (EPL) — Tottenham joins Roma in making this week’s watchlist twice. Tottenham are potentially undefeated (depending on Monday’s match) and Watford are definitely undefeated coming into this match. I think Watford have to feel like the underdogs, though they are playing at home. Should be entertaining.
- Schalke 04 vs Hertha BSC (Bundesliga) — The first German match to make the list this week, and it’s between two teams in the middle of the pack. As with all European leagues, it’s early and things will change but this looks like a fairly even match of two German sides.
- Barcelona vs. Huesca (La Liga) — Watch Messi do Messi things to a La Liga side. At least, that’s why I have it on the list.
- DC United vs. Atlanta United (MLS) — Atlanta United have quickly become a dominant team in the MLS, and they sit atop the Eastern conference of the league. That said, DC United and them have history and DC United needs a win to push for the post season.
Looking at the upcoming week, here are the soccer matches I am most excited to watch:
Wed. Aug. 22
- AJAX vs. Dynamo Kyiv (Europa Cup) — It’s hard for me to watch midweek games, and honestly I don’t watch much of the Europa cup until the final rounds. But this match jumped out at me and I am going to try and catch it.
- New York City vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS) — I’m a sucker for a derby and this one looks to be a good one. #2 vs #3 in the east!
Fri. Aug. 24
- Bayern Munich vs. Hoffenheim (Bundesliga) — Bundesliga is kicking off and the first match are the Munich juggernauts facing Hoffenheim, who finished last season in 3rd.
- Atlanta United vs. Orlando City SC (MLS) — The rivalry of the south, the enmity of these two teams rivals Seattle and Portland’s, sadly this match is likely to be a bit lopsided. But I’ll tune in regardless.
- Los Angeles Galaxy vs. LA FC (MLS) — As above, a good cross town rivalry though the teams are not quite performing at the same level as our NYC derby.
Sat. Aug. 25
- Arsenal vs. West Ham United (EPL) — Both London teams are winless thus far into the EPL season, but one or both of them will leave this match with at least a point.
- Juventus vs. Lazio (Serie A) — Ronaldo is still settling into his new team, and I am eager to see how this week goes.
- Seattle Reign vs. North Carolina Courage (NWSL) — I am ardent fan of women’s soccer whether it is on the international stage or at the NWSL here in the US. North Carolina Courage just proved themselves to be the best women’s soccer team in the world, and they are pulling a Bayern on the NWSL as they run away with the league’s record. That said, the Seattle Reign are second in the league and will be eager for a rematch after their 4 – 1 loss against the Courage in June.
Sun. Aug. 26
- Girona vs. Real Madrid (La Liga) — I have to admit, even as I moderately follow La Liga, I knew almost nothing about Girona. They finished mid‐table last season. This isn’t about them, it’s about the new Real Madrid without Zidane and Ronaldo and watching how the team evolves.
- Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders (MLS) — The unquestionably best rivalry in MLS, playing in the best atmosphere in MLS, between two teams that are running very well right now. Sounders are on an unprecedented winning streak, Portland is playing very well, and this one should be an absolutely classical match for the history books.
- Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul (Liga MX) — Number 1 vs. 2 in Liga MX, should be an entertaining match! Liga MX is a league I rarely watch so I don’t have more to add, but I have faith this one will be entertaining.
Released in 1990 by the BBC, this documentary features lots of black and white footage of early World Cups to retell the journey Brazil had taken at the World Cup ever since its inception in 1930.