European Weekend Preview: Chelsea-Man City; Napoli-AC Milan and more

European Weekend Preview: Chelsea-Man City; Napoli-AC Milan and more

European Soccer

European Weekend Preview: Chelsea-Man City; Napoli-AC Milan and more

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EdenHazardManchesterCity1-ChelseaFACup (Getty)

Sixteen teams remain in this year’s English FA Cup, and with 11 teams coming from the Premier League the competition is set to really heat up over the weekend.

Fresh off a tough 2-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea hosts Manchester City in the biggest fixture of Round 5 of the FA Cup. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur-Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth-Everton also pit two Premier League clubs against another.

Barcelona’s magical 2015-16 season continues on Saturday, when the Blaugrana face Las Palmas in La Liga. Luis Enrique’s side is riding a 31-match unbeaten run across all competitions, including a 3-1 midweek victory over Sporting Gijon in league play.

In Germany, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen look to gain ground on Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich, when the two sides meet at BayArena. Dortmund, currently second on the German table, sits eight points off the pace of Bayern, while Leverkusen is third and 21 points behind.

After a critical loss to Juventus last weekend, Napoli looks to rebound against AC Milan on Monday. The Naples side is just one point behind Juve in Serie A. The Bianconeri will travel to Bologna on Friday.

ENGLISH FA CUP

While a Premier League side will likely be heavily favored to win the competition, five teams outside of England’s top flight of soccer will be vying to stun their recognized opponents. West Ham United was the last side outside of the Premier League to win the esteemed competition, though.

Hull City, currently leading the English Championship, will pose a tough test against Arsenal, while League One side Shrewsbury Town looks to pull off an epic upset on Monday against Manchester United.

SATURDAY

Arsenal vs. Hull City

Reading vs. West Bromwich Albion

Watford vs. Leeds United

AFC Bournemouth vs. Everton

SUNDAY

Blackburn Rovers vs. West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace

Chelsea vs. Manchester City

MONDAY

Shrewsbury Town vs. Manchester United

SPANISH LA LIGA

Barcelona’s six-point lead will give Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid reason to chase the Blaugrana, with Atleti meeting fourth place Villareal after Real faces Malaga on Sunday. Los Blancos teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have scored a combined 40 goals in league play, and they’ll need to continue to produce if Real wants to compete for the title.

Meanwhile, six points separate six teams at the bottom of the table. Levante, Granada and Las Palmas currently sit in the relegation zone with 14 matches to play.

FRIDAY

Levante vs. Getafe

SATURDAY

Las Palmas vs. Barcelona

Espanyol vs. Deportivo La Coruna

Real Betis vs. Sporting Gijon

Celta Vigo vs. Eibar

SUNDAY

Rayo Vallecano vs. Sevilla

Malaga vs. Real Madrid

Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Sociedad

Granada vs. Valencia

Atletico Madrid vs. Villareal

GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

With only one loss this season in Bundesliga play, Bayern Munich is sitting pretty at the moment despite the looming departure of head coach Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard’s side will host 13th place SV Darmstadt on Saturday.

Borussia Monchengladbach has slipped a bit recently, losing six of its last eight matches in all competitions. Currently seventh on the league table, Monchengladbach faces a crucial test against ninth place Cologne this weekend.

FRIDAY

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Hamburg SV

SATURDAY

Bayern Munich vs. SV Darmstadt 98

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. FC Cologne

FC Ingolstadt 04 vs. Werder Bremen

Hertha Berlin vs. VfL Wolfsburg

TSG Hoffenheim vs. Mainz

SUNDAY

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund

Hanover 96 vs. Augsburg

Schalke 04 vs. VfB Stuttgart

ITALIAN SERIE A

Derby della Scala takes place on Saturday, pitting Hellas Verona against Chievo Verona. While Hellas has had a season to forget, the matchup offers the last place side the opportunity to take down its rival and muster up some strength to climb out of the Serie A basement. Meanwhile, Chievo sits 11th in the standings.

Two under-the-radar sides meet on Sunday, when Empoli travels to Sassuolo. Both clubs currently occupy top-10 positions, although the league’s European slots are still out of reach. A win would go a long way for either side.

FRIDAY

Bologna vs. Juventus

SATURDAY

Hellas Verona vs. Chievo Verona

Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria

SUNDAY

Atalanta vs. Fiorentina

Genoa vs. Udinese

Sassuolo vs. Empoli

Torino vs. Carpi

Frosinone vs. Lazio

AS Roma vs. Palermo

MONDAY

Napoli vs. AC Milan

FRENCH LIGUE 1

Ligue 1 leader Paris Saint-German has all but run away with the league crown this season, however, there is plenty left for teams to play for. Ten sides are currently separated by six points in the battle for the league’s two final European positions.

Bordeaux-Nice, Marseille-St Etienne and Caen-Stade Rennes will all be key fixtures in each side’s run at a European birth in 2016. Michy Batshuayi (Marseille) and Hatem Ben Afra (Nice) are among Ligue 1’s top goal-scorers, with 12 and 11 goals, respectively.

FRIDAY

Bordeaux vs. Nice

SATURDAY

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Stade de Reims

Angers vs. Montpellier

AS Monaco vs. Troyes

Lorient vs. Guingamp

Toulouse vs. GFC Ajaccio

SUNDAY

Marseille vs. St Etienne

Caen vs. Stade Rennes

Lille vs. Lyon

Can a non-Premier League team win the FA Cup this season? Will Barca, Juve and PSG remain hot? Which matches are you most excited about?

Share your thoughts below.

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