European Weekend Preview: Marseille hosts Monaco, Real Madrid takes on Valencia, and more

European Weekend Preview: Marseille hosts Monaco, Real Madrid takes on Valencia, and more

International Soccer

European Weekend Preview: Marseille hosts Monaco, Real Madrid takes on Valencia, and more

Following a thrilling conclusion to the Ligue 1 action a week ago between two of the countries’ heavyweights, another duo will square off this weekend.

Marseille welcomes defending champs Monaco to the Stade Velodrome on Sunday to close out this weekend’s action. Monaco cruised to a 6-1 beatdown of Marseille back in August, but may find this match a lot tougher than the one five months ago. Leonardo Jardim’s side is unbeaten in six league matches, with four of those six being wins. Radamel Falcao leads the bunch with 16 goals, five behind his tally from a year ago. Marseille is riding four straight wins heading into this weekend’s clash, posting shutouts in three of those four. Attacking midfielder Florian Thauvin has been a nice two-way player this season, scoring 10 goals and adding eight assists. The two teams are neck and neck with one another in the race for the top four, sitting one point apart.

Elsewhere this weekend in Europe, Manchester City faces second-tier competition in the F.A. Cup fourth round, while Chelsea hosts Newcastle. Real Madrid looks to shake off elimination from the Copa Del Rey as they travel to Valencia in La Liga play. Saturday’s action in the Bundesliga features Bayern Munich hosting Hoffenehim, while Freiburg travels to Borussia Dortmund. AC Milan hosts Lazio on Sunday in the Serie A match of the round.

Here’s a closer look at this upcoming weekend’s European action:

ENGLISH F.A. CUP

A pair of Premier League sides will clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Chelsea hosts Newcastle United in fourth round action. Antonio Conte’s side will look to shake off a League Cup semifinal second leg defeat midweek, and claim their third straight win over Newcastle. The Blues needed a replay to defeat Norwich City in the last round, while Newcastle ousted Luton Town. Ayoze Perez has two goals so far for Rafa Benitez’s team in the competition.

The final fixture of the round sees Cardiff City host Manchester City at home on Sunday. Cardiff is having a superb season in the Championship, currently sitting in third place on 51 points. Midfielders Joe Ralls and Junior Hoilett have combined for 13 league goals this season and will be two key players for Cardiff. Manchester City has already booked their place in the Carabao Cup Final thanks to a midweek win over Bristol City. Sergio Aguero has 23 goals across all competitions this season and has eight goals in the month of January.

Here’s all of this weekend’s F.A. Cup fixtures including Premier League sides:

Friday

  • Yeovil Town vs. Manchester United

Saturday

  • Peterborough vs. Leicester City
  • Huddersfield Town vs. Birmingham City
  • Notts County vs Swansea City
  • Southampton vs. Watford
  • Middlesbrough vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Wigan Athletic vs. West Ham United
  • Newport County vs. Tottenham Hotspur
  • Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion

Sunday

  • Chelsea vs. Newcastle United
  • Cardiff City vs. Manchester City

SPANISH LA LIGA

Real Madrid will look to turn their season around as they travel to Valencia on Saturday. Los Blancos were eliminated from the Copa Del Rey midweek after a 2-1 home loss against Leganes. They are 2-2-2 in their last six fixtures and 19 points behind league leaders Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo has 15 goals in all competitions this season and will be a key figure if they want to turn things around. Valencia lost, 2-1, last time out in league play and will look for a good performance at home. The hosts won, 2-1, in this fixture last season, and will look to Simone Zaza (10 goals) to lead the attacking front.

After advancing to the Copa Del Rey semifinals on Thursday, league leaders Barcelona face off with Alaves at the Camp Nou. Ernesto Valverde’s side has still yet to suffer defeat this season in league play, and are 11 points clear in the standings. After both scoring goals in their cup match midweek, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will be favored to find the back of the net this weekend. Alaves fell to Valencia in the Copa Del Rey, and drew, 2-2, against Leganes in their last league match. Former Barcelona player Munir El Haddadi will be the attacker to watch for the visitors.

Here’s all of this weekend’s La Liga fixtures:

Friday

  • Athletic Bilbao vs. Eibar

Saturday

  • Deportivo vs. Levante
  • Valencia vs. Real Madrid
  • Malaga vs. Girona
  • Villarreal vs. Real Sociedad

Sunday

  • Leganes vs. Espanyol
  • Atletico Madrid vs. Las Palmas
  • Sevilla vs. Getafe
  • Barcelona vs. Alaves

Monday

  • Celta Vigo vs. Real Betis

GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

Saturday’s action in Germany’s top-flight comes from the Allianz Arena where Bayern Munich hosts Hoffenheim. The hosts are winners of their last eight league matches since a November defeat at Borussia Monchengladbach. Robert Lewandowski has 22 goals across all comps this season, and netted a brace in last weekend’s 4-2 win over Werder Bremen. Hoffenheim has really dropped off from a year ago, currently sitting in ninth place in the standings. Julian Nagelsmann has had to replace several players from last season’s squad that finished fourth, and have not found much consistency. Mark Uth leads the team with nine goals.

Borussia Dortmund will look to snap a three match winless run as they host Freiburg at Signal Iduna Park also on Saturday. A pair of draws to start of the new year have seen Dortmund drop to sixth place. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang possibly heading to the EPL before the end of January, other players will need to pick up slack. Shinji Kagawa (four goals) and Christian Pulisic (three goals) are two answers in the midfield. Freiburg is coming off an impressive 2-1 win over RB Leipzig last weekend, which sees them sitting in 12th. Nils Petersen leads the team with eight goals and is a danger to watch up front.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Bundesliga fixtures:

Friday

  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

Saturday

  • Bayern Munich vs. 1899 Hoffenheim
  • Borussia Dortmund vs. SC Freiburg
  • RB Leipzig vs. Hamburg SV
  • FC Koln vs. FC Augsburg
  • VfB Stuttgart vs. Schalke 04
  • Werder Bremen vs. Hertha Berlin

Sunday

  • Bayer Leverkusen vs. FSV Mainz
  • Hannover vs. VfL Wolfsburg

ITALIAN SERIE A

League leaders Napoli will look to extend their lead at the top of the table, as they welcome Bologna to town. Maurizio Sarri’s men have only lost once in league play, a 1-0 home defeat to Juventus in early December. Dries Mertens’ 11 goals lead the team, but other players have been forced to contribute as well. Bologna eased past Benevento, 3-0, last Sunday, which was their second win in the last two months. Italian forward Simone Verdi has 14 points this season, and is a nice two-way contributor for the team.

Sunday’s premier match sees AC Milan welcome Lazio to the San Siro. 15 points may separate the sides in the league standings, but both would like three points to close the weekend. Milan sit in seventh place after a pair of league wins to start off the new year. Their 27 goals scored are a little worrying, as that is the fewest of any club in the top ten. Lazio are unbeaten in eight matches across all comps, with three in a row being victories. Leading the team this season is Ciro Immobile, who has 20 goals and seven assists. After 23 goals a season ago, the 27-year-old is on the right path to past that mark this season.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Serie A fixtures:

Saturday

  • Sassuolo vs. Atalanta
  • Chievo Verona vs. Juventus

Sunday

  • Spal vs. Inter Milan
  • Torino vs. Benevento
  • Napoli vs. Bologna
  • Crotone vs. Cagliari
  • Fiorentina vs. Hellas Verona
  • Genoa vs. Udinese
  • AC Milan vs. Lazio
  • AS Roma vs. Sampdoria

FRENCH LIGUE 1

A day before the top match in Ligue 1, league leaders PSG welcome Montpellier to the Parc Des Princes. Unai Emery’s team will look to bounce back from a dramatic 2-1 loss at Lyon last weekend. The trio of Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar have combined for 43 league goals so far which is more than 16 of the top-flight sides have scored as a team this season. Montpellier are sitting comfortably in seventh place after a four-match unbeaten run has them in fine position. Striker Giovanni Sio leads the team with five goals, which midfielder Issac Mbenza is second with four.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Ligue 1 fixtures:

Friday

  • Dijon vs. Rennes

Saturday

  • PSG vs. Montpellier
  • Angers vs. Amiens
  • Guingamp vs. Nantes
  • Metz vs. Nice
  • St. Etienne vs. Caen
  • Toulouse vs. Troyes

Sunday

  • Lille vs. Strasbourg
  • Bordeaux vs. Lyon
  • Marseille vs. AS Monaco

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