Predicting Every Major EPL, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 Match
The 2012-13 domestic season is coming to a close.
Right around the world, the final games of domestic leagues are drawing near and the instinctive reaction to that might be to think that there is nothing worth watching anymore.
After all, the English champions have been crowd. So too have the Italian champions. France and Spain could follow this weekend while the destination of the German championship, Bayern Munich, was known well before they won through to the Champions League final.
So is there anything worth watching on the domestic front? Absolutely.
Read on to see the best matches from around the world this weekend and predictions as to how the top matchups from Europe's five major leagues will unfold.
Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
EPL—Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. ET
After drawing with Chelsea during the week, the future is decidedly clear for Gareth Bale and Tottenham Hotspur regarding their hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.
They must win every game, and hope for a little bit of luck along the way.
Spurs will face a tough game this weekend when they make the arduous journey to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City. The Potters were close to the relegation zone a little while back but after two wins and a draw in their last three games, now find themselves all the way up in 11th position.
The Potters have lost just four times all season at home, with two of those coming against teams currently inside the top three. They certainly won't be a pushover here, but if the Londoners show the passion and determination they did against the Blues, they should pull through.
Andre Villas-Boas has this side playing good, attacking football, and his discipline and determination to finish in the top four should be enough to see them win this weekend.
They've simply got too much to lose otherwise.
Prediction: Stoke City 0, Tottenham Hotspur 2
Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic
EPL—Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Arsenal were perhaps the big winners from Chelsea and Tottenham's draw during the week, with the Gunners knowing that if they win their last two games, they will be in the Champions League once again.
Their future, as we would say, is in their own hands, and they'll look to repeat that when they take on Wigan Athletic, who will play perhaps the biggest weekend in the club's recent history—starting with an FA Cup final against Manchester City and then a must-win game at the Emirates Stadium.
The Latics have surprised many this season with their strong attacking play, and Roberto Martinez will have his side primed for a big performance this weekend. Even with the FA Cup, Wigan have played very well of late and should continue that again here against a Gunners side that has been susceptible to quick counterattacks and strong attacking runs.
Arsenal, at home, should win through here, but don't expect it to be easy. Wigan are in good form, and they will get a major boost from the weekend in one way or another.
Some late drama at the Emirates will see the Gunners through, though.
Prediction: Arsenal 2, Wigan Athletic 1
AC Milan vs. Roma
Serie A—Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Win this weekend and AC Milan will secure a place in the Champions League playoff for next season. Lose, and Fiorentina could close the gap on the Rossoneri and heap pressure on the Italian heavyweights heading into the final week of the regular season.
That's the situation facing Milan this weekend when they take on Roma, who, in sixth spot, will know that they can move into fifth position if they can get a result in this one.
Up until their shock home defeat to Chievo Verona last weekend, Roma were undefeated in their previous six and looking like a big threat to Milan, who thrashed Pescara 4-0 away from home to consolidate on their third-place standing and give their Champions League hopes a huge boost.
Milan have been great since Mario Balotelli's winter transfer, but all of that will go out the window when it comes to high-pressure games like this. Form is secondary, matchups are secondary—it all comes down to who wins the individual battles and close calls on the day. And at the San Siro, you would have to think that Milan will be too strong for their opponents in this one.
Roma have lost just one of their past five away games, but Milan haven't been beaten at home since November. They should be too good here.
Prediction: AC Milan 2, Roma 0
Rayo Vallecano vs. Valencia
La Liga—Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 6:00 a.m. ET
The focus of La Liga this weekend might be on Barcelona's potential title success, but the reality is that the race for the top four is the fixture worth watching this weekend.
Valencia sit two points behind Real Sociedad in the standings and will be looking to grab a win here to keep their Champions League dream alive—something they tasted in 2012 and had great success with, making it through to the round of 16 against Paris Saint Germain.
Rayo Vallecano have won just one of their last seven, but have shown this year to be very tough to break down—particularly in front of their home fans—and possess the attacking elements required to challenge Valencia. Los Che chalked up a big win at home last week, and did the same against Malaga in their last home fixture before that.
They've been very impressive in big games of late, and despite only having four away wins all season, they should be able to get the win in this one.
Prediction: Rayo Vallecano 2, Valencia 4
Sevilla vs. Malaga
La Liga—Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET
With two weeks remaining, Sevilla could still make a surprise run at European football next season. And while they might not boast the most impressive record of late, they could get the job done against a Malaga team without a great deal to play for.
Malaga's financial problems mean they won't be playing European football next season. Yet that doesn't mean they won't have anything to play for, with the prospect of keeping manager Manuel Pelligrini perhaps the most important thing on their mind at the moment.
However, the reality is even that isn't helping them domestically.
They were poor against Madrid and haven't shown the same form domestically that they have in Europe. And away from home, against a Sevilla side trying to sneak into the Europa League for next season, they may well end up falling short again in this one.
Prediction: Sevilla 3, Malaga 2
Schalke 04 vs. Stuttgart
Bundesliga—Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. ET
Schalke 04 received a huge boost earlier this week with the news that starlet Julian Draxler will remain at the club until 2018 (according to Goal.com). They'll look to take that momentum and turn it into a positive result this weekend when they take on Stuttgart, with their European chances riding on the outcome.
Having played (and had great success) in the Champions League this season, Schalke will be looking to ensure a fourth-place finish in the Bundesliga that would see them through to the Champions League qualification stages. And while that might seem like an easy task against Stuttgart this weekend, the reality is that it will be far from easy for Jens Keller's side.
Stuttgart are coming off back-to-back losses but have recorded a number of strong performances this season, including a 3-1 defeat of Schalke earlier in the year.
They've taken points off every team in the top eight this year except Bayern Munich, and with strong showings away from home against Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen they have shown they are a very tough side to break down defensively.
Schalke have a lot to play for here, but Stuttgart are a very good defensive team at times, and it'll make for a great matchup. In the end, I think Schalke will break through, but not after some very strong resistance from the away side that will have had plenty of home supports in serious panic mode.
Prediction: Schalke 1, Stuttgart 0
Lyon vs. Paris Saint Germain
Ligue 1—Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET
It's been 19 years since Paris won the French league. 19 years and they have the chance to win it this weekend—providing they can get the job done away from home against Lyon.
Lyon have been impressive this season at certain points and are undefeated in their last four. Paris Saint Germain haven't been beaten in much longer than that, but they aren't showing the same form that they were when they were back in the Champions League.
The home side won the Coupe de France last year and were knocked out of the Champions League round of 16 on penalty shootout. They'll be desperate to try and make up for that back in Europe's premier club competition next season, and with the second-best attacking lineup in the league, they certainly have the tools required to win here.
They've got European dreams, but PSG have the title in reach.
And as frustrating as it will be for both teams, neither will completely achieve their dreams this weekend, with this one finishing in a tense and thrilling draw.
Prediction: Lyon 2, Paris Saint Germain 2
How do you think this weekend's matches will unfold?
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