Predicting Every Major EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and MLS Match
The Champions League might have stolen all the headlines during the week, but with plenty of top domestic action from right around the world, there's still a great deal of football to enjoy this weekend.
From Europe's top five leagues—England, France, Spain, Germany and Italy—as well as the United States, there's some scintillating to look forward to this weekend, with several fascinating fixtures and matchups right across the world.
Read on to see how this weekend's domestic action will unfold.
Arsenal vs. Manchester United
EPL—Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. ET
With the Premier League title already secured, it will be fascinating to see how Manchester United play over the remainder of the season—starting with this weekend's game against Arsenal.
The Gunners are in the hunt for a top-four finish this season, and will know that they must take points away from this weekend's game to to that. They'll no doubt be ready to got for this one, with extra incentive to get past their rival on the day.
However, even with that, and even with this one being played at the Emirates, it's hard to rule out United. They've been simply dominant and season, and with a guard of honor being made for their players beforehand, will certainly have a buzz and confidence that comes with league champions.
And thus, even whilst they're playing away from home against a desperate team, I think they might just have enough to fall over the line in this one.
Prediction: Arsenal 2, Manchester United 3
AC Milan vs. Catania
Serie A—Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ET
AC Milan's incredible undefeated streak might have been brought to an end against Juventus last weekend—along with their title aspirations for 2013—but the Rossoneri will know that 2013 is not over, and that their chances of European next football mean they must keep playing well now.
Given how well Milan have played at the San Siro in the past two months, that shouldn't really be an issue, but they are taking on an interesting opponent in Catania this week, who have drawn their last three and have shown strong performances against Juve, Inter Milan and Roma in the past few weeks.
Yet away from home, and at the San Siro, they'll be no match for a Milan side desperate to finish inside the top four. Catania have scored just 14 goals away from home this year for a total of three wins, and I can't see either of those improving against the Italian heavyweights in this one.
Prediction: AC Milan 3, Catania 1
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid
La Liga—Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET
The Madrid derby this weekend looks set to be an absolute classic match.
Atletico are already safe for Europe next season (as are Real), but would no doubt love to triumph over their rivals in this one and end the season on a very strong winning note.
And that may well happen here, given that Real Madrid have no care for the league this week.
They've already lost the title to Barcelona and have nothing to gain from the rest of the season. They've got a key Champions League semifinal returning against Borussia Dortmund, where they have to somehow try and come back from a three-goal deficit, and their full attention will be on that game and that game only—making Atletico a potential upset chance this weekend.
Neither team have lost in their last five, but Madrid's form has been patchy of late playing away from home—largely because they keep resting players for their European commitments. And I think that might just be the same here, with Atletico avoiding dropping both games to Los Blancos this year.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2, Real Madrid 1
Malaga vs. Getafe
La Liga—Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. ET
Malaga have been incredibly inconsistent this year in domestic football, but their European exploits show us that even without some of their big stars, they're still a very tough side to break down.
The home side have only won two of their last eight La Liga games coming into this one, but they will be wanting to finish as high up the table as possible this season, even though they cannot play European football next season due to their financial punishments.
Getafe have lost their last two, but were on an impressive seven-game undefeated streak before that. They have more than enough talent to shock the home teams at their best, and will be looking to do exactly that this weekend against Malaga.
I think the home side will be too strong in this one. They've got the more talented players, and will be more than focused on La Liga—given that this is where most of their time will be in the next few years.
Prediction: Malaga 2, Getafe 0
Real Sociedad vs. Valencia
La Liga—Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET
The race for the top four in Spain might have three of the four positions secured. But the race for the fourth spot is more than alive, and this weekend's game between Real Sociedad and Valencia could well turn out to be the defining moment in that race for Champions League football.
These two teams have lost just once since February between them. Valencia has lost just three games since the start of December, whilst Sociedad have only suffered one defeat since November—and even that was a 4-3 loss to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Their recent form suggests plenty of goals and attacking chances in this one, but it also suggests that the home side will hold a big advantage over Valencia here.
Valencia haven't beaten a team inside the top half of the La Liga table away from home all season, and with Sociedad in incredibly rich form as they head for a top-four finish, it will be very difficult for them to end that unwanted streak this weekend.
Not against a team that hasn't lost in their last 11 home games.
Prediction: Real Sociedad 3, Valencia 1
Lyon vs. Saint Etienne
Ligue 1—Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. ET
Lyon seemed to have gotten over their unwanted winless streak of the past month or so with back-to-back wins (including a nice away win against Montpellier last weekend).
However, they'll face a huge test when they take on fourth-placed Saint Etienne this weekend, who haven't lost a domestic fixture since Christmas despite playing some very strong teams.
Other than an early win against PSG, however, Saint Etienne haven't beaten a team in the top half of the table away from home this year. Lyon seem like the perfect candidate to do so, but with a re-emergence of their confidence and attacking potency once more, the home team won't be all that easy here.
I think Etienne come close, but I also like Lyon to level this one late and leave this fixture tied—providing great drama and anticipation for the final few weeks of Ligue 1 competition.
Prediction: Lyon 2, Saint Etienne 2
Bayern Munich vs. Freiburg
Bundesliga—Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. ET
It would take a brave man to pick against Bayern Munich this season, with the German champions-elect likely to finish up in the Champions League final—completely destroying Barcelona during the week.
They were strong, organized and now head back to their Bundesliga action largely expected to continue their impressive form. They've lost just one match all season have had just three draws other than that—making them a very tough opponent to come up against this weekend.
Freiburg have had some strong results this season, but they've scored just one goal against the top three teams this season and have just one point to show for it.
Their chances will be boosted by the fact that Bayern will no doubt rest plenty of players, but as we've seen this season, their depth is phenomenal and even their "bench" players are world-class strikers and midfielders who are more than capable of getting the job done in this one.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 4, Freiburg 0
Sporting KC vs. Portland Timbers
MLS—Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Portland again dropped points late last weekend, and will now head to Kansas City to take on Sporting KC in a match that they may well look back on at the end of the year as a playoff-defining fixture.
Sporting were beat last weekend by LA Galaxy, who returned to form in spectacular fashion, but they've been very impressive this season as a whole. The fact that this was a back-to-back game will give some credence back to the home side here, and they'll be very tough to break down as a result.
The Caleb Porter era in Portland is slowly starting to get underway, with the Timbers finally overcoming their sluggish start to the season. However, they're nowhere near peaking just yet, and will have to play very well defensively if they're going to stop the attack of Sporting KC.
And even then, I just can't quite see it being enough.
Prediction: Sporting KC 1, Portland Timbers 0
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