Games to Watch: Africa Cup of Nations, La Liga, U.S. men's national team and more

Still have a vuvuzela in your closet? It might come in handy over the next few days, as the Africa Cup of Nations kicks in to high gear.

Zambia vs. Nigeria 

10:00 a.m. Friday ( 

The reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions face one of the continent’s perennial powers in a group stage showdown. Nigeria has the star power in Chelsea stars John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses, but Zambia won’t be awed. 

Arsenal at Brighton & Hove Albion 

10:00 a.m. Saturday (Fox Soccer Channel) 

After upsetting Newcastle United in the FA Cup’s third round, Brighton aims to knock out another Premier League team on its home turf. Arsenal is aiming to end an eight-year drought without a trophy, and Gunners fans have become restless as one of England’s richest teams keeps coming up short. 

Tottenham Hotspur at Leeds United 

9:00 a.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel) 

Once upon a time, England’s most famous white-clad teams met regularly in the Premier League. But they’ve only faced off once since Leeds was relegated from the top division in 2004. Now the FA Cup fourth-round draw has thrown the teams together again. Expect a raucous crowd at fabled Elland Road for the big occasion. 

Osasuna at FC Barcelona

12:55 p.m. Sunday (beIN Sport)

A very unusual thing happened to Barcelona last weekend: they lost. Their 3-2 defeat to Real Sociedad ' fter taking a 2-0 lead, no less - was the team’s first league loss of the season, after 18 wins and one draw. The blaugrana can get back on track with a home game against the third-worst team in La Liga. 

Atlético Madrid at Athletic Bilbao 

2:55 p.m. Sunday (beIN Sport) 

Although Barcelona and Real Madrid hog the headlines in Spain, this game will feature two of La Liga’s best strikers. Atletico’s Radamel Falcao has scored 18 goals this season and Bilbao’s Aritz Aduriz has scored 12. Only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more. 

Manchester City at Queens Park Rangers

2:40 p.m. Tuesday (

Ryan Nelsen plays his final game for Queens Park Rangers before taking over full-time as Toronto FC’s head coach. QPR is firmly stuck at the bottom of the Premier League standings, but they haven’t lost a game this month – including an upset of Chelsea. 

Canada at United States 

9:00 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN2) 

The U.S. national team’s annual winter training camp wraps up with an exhibition game against Canada in Houston. With the final round of World Cup qualifying just around the corner, this will be a chance for players on the cusp of the first team to prove they belong. 

In particular, watch defenders Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez; midfielders Mix Diskerud and Josh Gatt; and forwards Juan Agudelo and Eddie Johnson. Each has the talent to make the step up, and this game will be a big opportunity to do so. 

Continue Reading