Thursday, December 25, 2014

Seven hot matches

Here's my weekly look at the top soccer games to watch around the world over the next seven days.

Seven hot matches

Here's my weekly look at the top soccer games to watch around the world over the next seven days.

Norwich City at Arsenal

7:45 a.m. Saturday (ESPN2; ESPN3.com)

Another drama-filled weekend in the English Premier League and Arsenal once again needs a good result to hold onto third place and qualify for next season's Champions League.

More coverage
 
More soccer coverage from The Goalkeeper
 
Buy Philadelphia Union gear
 
UEFA Champions League TV schedule
 
English Premier League TV schedule

That is even more important with Chelsea playing in this season's Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 14. If the sixth-place Blues win, they will knock the fourth-place Premier League team off European soccer's biggest stage.

Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Noon Saturday (Fox Soccer Channel)

Once upon a time, the FA Cup final was the biggest game of the year in English soccer. Now it's just a sideshow to the Premier League title race. For these teams, though, the world's oldest soccer competition still means something. 

Chelsea's John Terry and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard will both desperately want to lift the big trophy at the end of the day at London's Wembley Stadium.

New York Red Bulls at Los Angeles Galaxy

8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN; ESPN3.com)

The only regular-season meeting between Major League Soccer's most expensive teams lost a lot of luster when New York's Thierry Henry, the league's second-place goal-scorer, strained a hamstring last week. But there are still compelling story lines.

Kenny Cooper, the league's third-best scorer, will lead the Red Bulls attack, while Los Angeles star Landon Donovan has scored two goals in his last three games. And that's before considering the Galaxy's David Beckham, who always commands the spotlight.

Manchester City at Newcastle United

8:30 a.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel)

City beat arch-rival Manchester United on Monday to take first place in the Premier League, but the title race is far from over. A slip-up away to Newcastle at the always raucous St. James's Park could send the championship right back across town to United.

Newcastle has plenty to play for, as well - a win would keep them alive in the race for fourth place and a potential Champions League berth next season.

AC Milan at Inter Milan

2:30 p.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel; ESPN3.com)

Were it not for the wild Premier League, this classic showdown of Italian rivals would be the game of the weekend in Europe. The teams share not just the same city, but the same stadium - the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, better known as the San Siro.

Milan needs a win to keep pace with Juventus for the Serie A title, while Inter (playing as the home team) is one of four teams tied for third place - and Italy's final Champions League berth.

Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas

7 p.m. Sunday (Galavisiôn)

Rapids midfielder Jeff Larentowicz (Chestnut Hill Academy and FC Delco) will be tasked with slowing down Dallas star Brek Shea. Both teams need a win to keep pace in the highly competitive MLS Western Conference.

Wigan Athletic at Blackburn Rovers

2:55 p.m. Monday (ESPN2; ESPN3.com)

While the Premier League title race takes the big headlines, the contest to avoid relegation is just as fierce. Blackburn must win to have any hope of staying up. Wigan will hope to continue a recent hot streak that includes victories over Newcastle United, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected