Football Across Europe: April 8-10

Premier League (England)

Tottenham vs. Watford: Tottenham have taken 15 points from their last five league matches, have now lost the fewest matches in the Premier League this season, and are tied for first in goal differential. Yet they still find themselves seven points back of leaders Chelsea. They will look to keep the pressure on this weekend when they welcome Watford to White Hart Lane. Watford has won its last two league matches and sit tenth in the table. Midweek, Spurs saw themselves down 1-0 away to Swansea until Dele Alli leveled in the 88th minute and Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen scored in stoppage time to secure all three points.

Stoke City vs. Liverpool: Liverpool were riding high going into their midweek fixture with Bournemouth. They won the Merseyside Derby last weekend 3-1, but lost key attacker Sadio Mané, likely for the season. Still, they saw themselves minutes away from a key win in their top four push before having to settle for a late draw midweek. Still injury-depleted, the Reds will travel to bet365 Stadium to take on Stoke City on Saturday. The Potters have dropped their last three in the league since a goalless draw at City in early March. Liverpool will hope star winger Philippe Coutinho continues to show he is back in fine form and leads them to a needed victory.

Manchester City vs. Hull City: Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City begin a pivotal three-match stretch to maintain their top-four hopes when they host relegation candidates Hull City. City are reeling from a key 2-1 mid-week defeat to Chelsea that puts them 14 points back of the league leaders and just four points up on fifth-placed Arsenal. Sergio Aguero must keep firing for City to keep pace in what’s turned into an electrifying top-four battle.

Bournemouth vs. Chelsea: It was a rare stumble for Chelsea at home last weekend, a 2-1 loss to lowly Crystal Palace. But the Blues responded in their midweek fixture, beating Manchester City by the same 2-1 scoreline via an Eden Hazard brace. This weekend, they travel to Dean Court to take on a Bournemouth squad that is unbeaten in its last five league matches. The Cherries are coming off a 2-2 draw at Anfield midweek which saw them equalize in the 87th minute to steal a late point. They will be looking to pull off a stunner and perhaps call Chelsea’s likely league title into some doubt.

Sunderland vs. Manchester United: After being held to a goalless draw at Old Trafford last weekend by an entrenched West Brom, Manchester United needed a very late penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimović to manage yet another draw midweek against Everton. With expensive weapons like Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan starting the match on the bench, it was another puzzling and frustrating result for José Mourinho’s squad who now find themselves four points from the top four, perhaps having to hang all their Champions League hopes on winning the Europa League, where they are still alive. They travel this weekend to the Stadium of Light to take on last place Sunderland and fans will be expecting nothing short of all three points.

Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal: Even after a mid-week defeat to Southampton, Crystal Palace have still won four of their last five matches as they try to stave off relegation entering an all-London affair with Arsenal. The Gunner’s top-four hopes are on life support but were aided by an important 3-0 drubbing of West Ham. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have regained some of their fleeting form but will need to continue taking care of business against bottom clubs like Palace to keep pressure on Manchester City and Liverpool for a Champions League spot.

La Liga (Spain)

Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid: Easily the biggest fixture in Spain this weekend is Saturday’s El Derbi Madrileño, or Madrid derby. Real Madrid welcome neighbors and rivals Atlético Madrid to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in the latest edition of the heated series. Real won the opener earlier this season back in November. Beyond the rivalry, it is a key match as Real see themselves only two points clear of Barcelona atop the La Liga table, though with a game in hand. Though Spanish newspapers continue to talk almost exclusively about stars Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, it was Álvaro Morata with a hat trick midweek. Real Madrid fans will not much care where the goals come from if they can manage another win on Saturday.

Málaga vs. Barcelona: FC Barcelona are relentlessly chasing league-leaders Real Madrid and sit only two points back after a three-match win streak, but could have their hands full with a desperate Málaga side. Typically a top-half club, Málaga find themselves near the drop zone. Lionel Messi and Neymar have been firing as they eye trophies in La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League, but can’t afford any slip-ups in the league if they want to maintain aspirations of a treble.

Bundesliga (Germany)

Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund: The marquee Bundesliga fixture has not lost its luster late in the season as dominant Bayern Munich battle with Borussia Dortmund yet again. In rare fashion, Dortmund find themselves in fourth place but could climb to third with a shock win at Allianz Arena. Meanwhile, Munich are coming off just their second defeat of the season in the mid-week to Hoffenheim but still maintain a double-digit lead in the table over RB Leipzig.



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