What to Watch: Matchweek 38
It‘s a bittersweet feeling when the season comes to an end. On one hand, you get to celebrate the year your team had and begin to enjoy the beautiful, summer weather. However, on the other hand, football is over for a few months and if you’re in the States, you’re stuck hearing about baseball every damn day. Thankfully, we’ve got the Euros this summer. I know not everyone is particularly a fan of international play and it does put high key players at more risk, but it is quality football at the end of the day that will take care of us football junkies for some six weeks.
Before we get to the Euros, we have our final weekend of this season. It has not been an easy year by any means. Considering the lack of fans, the never-ending injuries and the lack of finishing, it would be easy to write off the season and pack it in but the Reds have absolutely BATTLED their way into a top 4 spot when all seemed lost, a couple of months back.
With Super Sunday upon us, let’s take a look at what to watch for this weekend:
Premier League Sunday, May 23rd 11:00 EST: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace, Leicester City vs Tottenham, Chelsea vs Aston Villa
It goes without saying that this will be a nerve-wracking 90 minutes to experience. The path seems easy enough: beat Crystal Palace and Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League. That is until the Spurs do what Spurs do best and give up 5 to a hungry Leicester City squad. As far as most heartbreaking endings to a season would go, that would certainly near the top of the list. No bad omens though. The Reds just need to match Leicester’s result and we are good to go.
There is potentially a lot of jockeying that will be going on between the 3rd-5th spots. Could we see a world where Liverpool and Leicester win, Chelsea draw/lose to Aston Villa knocking them out of the top 4 and losing to City in the CL Final and missing out on CL football altogether next season? Talk about a disappointing end to a season.
Needless to say, it’s going to be one hell of a day. I don’t believe in teams having “nothing to play for.” These are all professional athletes. They hate losing. They will always have something to play for; pride. Aston Villa will not pack it in. Spurs will not pack it in. Crystal Palace will not pack it in. Strap in, folks.
English football isn’t the only place for potential fireworks this weekend.
La Liga Saturday, May 22nd 12:00 EST: Atletico Madrid vs Valladolid, Real Madrid vs Villareal
In La Liga, Atletico Madrid lead Real Madrid by 2 points. Atletico is set to play second to last place team Valladolid and Real Madrid is hosting 7th place Villareal. Valladolid find themselves needing a win for a chance to avoid relegation and Villareal need a win for a chance at European football next year. Atletico have a 3 goal cushion in the differential department so barring a Real Madrid demolition of Villareal, a draw will be enough to crown Atletico Madrid with the La Liga crown.
Ligue 1 Sunday, May 23rd 3:00 EST: Lille vs Angers, PSG vs Brest, Monaco vs Lens
In Ligue 1, leaders Lille are on the verge of their first league title in 11 years. They are in control of their own fate as all they need is a win against 12th place Angers. PSG is 1 point behind the leaders so without Lille losing to Angers, PSG will not be crowned champions this year. If Angers was to upset Lille, PSG needs just a draw against 16th place Brest as their goal differential is superior to Lille’s. Wildest possibility in this league: Lille loses to Anger, PSG loses to Brest, and 3rd place Monaco beats 6th place Lens and make up the 6 goal differential to Lille resulting in Monaco being crowned champion.
In the Bundesliga…well, not much to look out for there. The only movement will be between Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg concerning who finishes 3rd and who finishes 4th.
Serie A Saturday, May 25th 2:45 EST: Atalanta vs AC Milan, Napoli vs Verona, Juventus vs Bologna
Moving to the Serie A, Inter Milan has had the title wrapped up for a couple of weeks now. What will be most intriguing to watch here is which three clubs out of Atalanta, AC Milan, Napoli, and Juventus qualifies for Champions League play next year.
Most notably, Atalanta hosts AC Milan in what is bound to be a thriller where the winner of the match qualifies for a CL spot. Atalanta can also hold on for a draw and be guaranteed a spot. A draw for AC Milan would require some outside help. Napoli and Juventus can both qualify with a win and AC Milan draw/loss. If AC Milan beat Atalanta, Napoli can qualify with a win and Juventus can qualify with a win while making up a 9 goal differential to Atalanta. The only consolation for one of these four is that the odd one out still plays in the Europa League as 6th place Lazio cannot make up the point difference for 5th.
We are in for a fun weekend! Enjoy the last league weekend of football!