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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

AtleticoBarca (Getty Images)


A monumental clash in La Liga headlines this Soccer Saturday of action as first-place Barcelona visit second-place Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.

Atletico have posted nine wins in nine home matches this season, and they trail defending champions Barcelona on goal differential alone heading into Saturday’s clash in Madrid. The match promises to be a battle of two of the top offenses on the planet as La Liga Golden Boot leader Diego Costa squares off against the high-scoring Barcelona attack, which is expected to have both Lionel Messi and Neymar back in the lineup Saturday.

Before the highly anticipated matchup in Spain, soccer fans will get a full slate of English Premier League matches. After Chelsea’s trip to Hull City kicks things off from England, Sunderland will battle Fulham in an important match in the race to escape relegation — a matchup that could feature USMNT teammates Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey. The EPL action will wrap up at Old Trafford, where a banged-up Manchester United squad and manager David Moyes will try to end their three-match losing streak against Swansea City, a side that knocked the Red Devils out of the FA Cup exactly one week ago.

Later on in Mexico, Mexican powers Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna will face off in the second weekend of the Liga MX Clausura season. Due to fan violence, the two sides will play in front of an empty stadium tonight at the Estadio Azul. Another Mexican match to keep an eye on will be defending champions Club Leon’s home meeting with Atlas.

Enjoy the action. (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):

7:45am – Hull City vs. Chelsea – NBC Sports Network

10am – Tottenham vs. Crystal Palace – NBC Sports Network

10am – Athletic Bilbao vs. Almeria – beIN Sport en Español

10am – Fulham vs. Sunderland – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Everton vs. Norwich City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Cardiff City vs. West Ham United – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Southampton vs. West Bromwich Albion – Premier League Extra Time

11am – AC Ajaccio vs. Paris Saint-Germain – beIN Sport USA

12pm – Celta de Vigo vs. Valencia – beIN Sport en Español

12:30pm – Manchester United vs. Swansea City – NBC

2pm – Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona – beIN Sport USA

2pm – Bordeaux vs. Toulouse – Univision Deportes

4pm – Elche vs. Sevilla – beIN Sport en Español

6pm – Cruz Azul vs. Santos Laguna – Univision

6pm – Veracruz vs. Atlante – Univision Deportes

8pm – Tigres UANL vs. Pachuca – Univision Deportes

8pm – River Plate vs. Estudiantes – Fox Deportes

9pm – Club Léon vs. Atlas – Telemundo


  1. Watching part of the Cruz Azul – Santos game and it doesn’t look like there’s a single fan. Is there some kind of penalty in place for this game or is this normal?

  2. Got to say the Premier league relegation fight should be interesting with just 4 points separating 13th and last place, right now.

  3. As an athlete/good teammate, does it ever go through Adam Johnson’s head that “I’ll let Jozy take this PK. He earned it. He’s struggling to get on the scoresheet. We’re already up 3-1. Maybe it’ll benefit the TEAM in the long run in our fight to stay up.”

    I realize he was sitting on a brace and wanted his hat trick, but I think a good teammate would’ve deferred to Jozy.

    But this is coming from an overly sensitive fan who appreciates humility more than most. There is nothing that gives me more satisfaction than a guy scoring a goal, grabbing the assist man, and pointing at said assist man and encouraging the crowd to give him the plaudits..

    Just my two cents…

    • Same could be said for Johnson. On paper, Johnson should be Sunderland’s best attacking player. He has been very poor so far this season. In the last few performances he seems to be coming into form.

      Remember, an in form Adam Johnson was a starter for Man City and an English International.

      From Poyet’s standpoint, a confident Johnson is massive for Sunderland.

  4. Defoe comes on to a rousing reception from Spurs fans and puts one in the back of the net for a 2-0 win – TFC fans must be happy and there are a number of Spurs fans wondering why Defoe hasn’t been playing – i think it’s around 10 goals for him so far this year – i’d say with Bradley, DeRO, Gilberto and Defoe TFC will be scoring some goals that were lacking last year….

    • Yes, Jozy went down pretty easily as he slipped a little bit on his last cut. However, he beat the defender and it was a clumsy challenge. If defender wasn’t there, Jozy may have gotten a shot off. I’m sure he would have blown said shot because he was recovering from a slip, but in the end I do think he had the defender beat (although there were two more right behind him).

      • yeah, the defending was pretty poor; think he must’ve been off-balance to stick his foot up that high. good play by jozy.

  5. This Sunderland team is not going down. Poyet has done well to right the ship. Fulham on the other hand are going to play in the 2nd division.

  6. This fulham radio guy called Dempsey not up to speed and looking like a shadow of his former self. Then hen jozy drew the penalty he was disgusted, saying that our boy wasn’t even a half decent striker…. and he’s ‘not even good to be honest’ yeesh

      • Would have been interesting to see if S’land was up 3-1 and Johnson didn’t have a chance for a hat trick, maybe Poyet would have let Jozy take the penalty to get him going. But you have to give the ball to Johnson if he can make it for the trick.

    • Nice step overs by Jozy, forcing the penalty. A bit of a clumsy fall to the turf to exaggerate the contact but no argument about the call. I just wish he’d taken the kick.

      • I think that a rule change they should make is that the player getting the penalty is the one who has to take the penalty kick; like a basketball player getting fouled and taking the foul shots. I think it would be both more interesting and more just. In this case it was understandable that they wanted Johnson to get the hat trick.

      • Your proposed change:

        • Gives defenders an incentive to hurt attackers so badly that they cannot make the penalty
        • Not every player, see Dempsey, Clint, is comfortable taking penalties. Think of the Shaq attack and how teams fouled Shaq constantly because he could not make free throws.

        Leaving the rule as it is allows the advantage to remain with the injured party.

    • Forgettable performance. I thought that he didn’t show anything, positive, or negative. No impact whatsoever besides a good strike early.

    • Decent return showing promise. Maintained good possession and distribution. Had a goal disallowed for good cause. Had one decent opportunity go over the bar, one weakly taken shot that Berba should have followed into the net. Not a bad first EPL return after a long layoff.

    • Kingsley, you ARE a hater. You need to own it. You grossly exaggerate anything that might reflect poorly on him and when he contributes to goals and plays well, you find some twisted way to minimize his impact. You need to look in the mirror and own it.

      • Yup. It’s disappointing.

        Objectively, neither Fletcher nor Altidore were particularly effective today.

        Fletcher can win more headers, Jozy seems to move the ball better.

        Neither seem a huge threat to score. Jozy still seems unconfident shooting. Fletcher is getting the nod starting EPL games right now. I’m not mad at that. Jozy is getting his chance in Cup games.

        Saying Jozy is getting “benched” or that Fletcher is burring him on the roster is a bit harsh. Poyet is waiting for one of them to establish themselves as the starter. Don’t think either are playing to their potential right now.

      • Poyet seems to be rotating them pretty evenly. I cant be too upset if Fletcher gets a slight edge. He was a 12M pound transfer, after all, nearly twice Jozy’s fee. He also has a very good track record of scoring in the BPL, something Jozy doesn’t have yet. I disagree about today, though. Jozy had his hand in 2 goals in 28 minutes, fletcher did nothing in 65. Jozy was much more effective today.

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