Scouting for Fixtures: Apr 17 – Apr 23

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. As well as seeking out the most entertaining games, each preview weaves the clubs into a greater football narrative. Each article is a selection of hand picked upcoming matches worldwide that week, which looks set for 90 minutes of non-stop action. 

All times are GMT.

There are so many good fixtures this week. It’s like Christmas, new years, Halloween, Hannukah, Diwali and Chinese new years wrapped into one week of non-stop, top quality, football. 

Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich ( Tue 18 19:54 )

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Cristiano has chromosomes bussing about his body that belongs in a Bengal tiger – Ray Hudson on Cristiano Ronaldo

As the old adage goes I suppose… and with those inspiring words by Ray Hudson – football commentator/scouser/poet/philosopher – I horrifically segway into the Ronaldo’s goal against Bayern that only strengthens the point made above.

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That was one of 3 turning points. The 2nd and 3rd, which came 11 and 14 minutes later, were Javi Martinez’s 1st and 2nd yellow card, leaving Bayern 10 men down. That lead to their first loss in the Allianz Arena (in a competitive game) since March the 3rd, of 2016. If it wasn’t for Manuel Neuer the having one of the best games in recent memory, the tie could already be over. But it finished 1-2, holding the tie up nicely into the second leg; now Bayern needs to score at least 2 goals at the Bernabeu which could leave them exposed at the back.

Barcelona vs Juventus ( Wed 19 19:45 )

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This isn’t just Barcelona’s own doing. Juventus are – in my humble opinion – the best team in the world right now, with not only individual quality, but a consistently strong tactical awareness as a group, that I can only say is replicated at a similar rate by, Bayern Munich. They hit Barca like a train. The problems at the back are a well known long term issue for the Catalonians, but that’s not what happened here. Paolo Dyzbala’s what happened here, not to take away from a rare brilliant team performance, with Buffon and Chiellini making world class blocks. Now Barca has to pay another set of referees all over again. Oh no, wait! No, sorry I meant: They have to do one of the greatest comebacks in football history, all over again, to progress to the next round.

Monaco vs Dortmund ( Wed 19 19:45 )

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I can’t talk about this fixture without addressing the extraordinary circumstances of the last leg. There are many arguments for and against holding the game just a day after the attempted bombing of the Dortmund bus, but the decision was made and now we have a vert different game. Who knows? Who knows if Dortmund would have played differently if the game was delayed? As a player, well, for any human being, the idea of an attempt to kill you surely must have an impact on your mind and psyche? Then you’re expected to go out and focus for 90 minutes against one of the best sides in Europe requires tremendous mental fortitude. But nonetheless, we had a game not out of place with the quality you’d expect, ending 2-3. A similar dilemma to Bayern Munich rests on their other German side, as BVB needs to beat Monaco by 2 goals in the next leg. After the first goal goes in, the floodgates will open.

Chelsea vs Tottenham ( Sat 22 17:15 )

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It looks like the magic of the cup is all but been extinguished with the sides left in the competition, exactly what you’d expect. Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City. Though at least now we have a more even fixture. We can’t complain too much considering the quality on display in this fixture, Conte’s side already has one hand on the Premier League trophy and only cement their place as one of the most hated clubs in England. But if anyone can stop them, it is Tottenham. They have Guardiola’s backing:

Tottenham are the best team in the league when you let them play. I enjoy watching them play.

They’re the 2 best sides in England and if previous encounters are something to go by, the cards could be flying out like confetti. Though Spurs are hopelessly behind in the league, they have one last chance to trip them up.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona ( Sun 23 19:45 )

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We’re well into the third act of a well versed, but nonetheless captivating story. And this is the climax before the final resolution. The words El Classico is synonymous with the beautiful game, attracting crowds of up to 400 million people, roughly 1/18 people in the world. Touted as one of the greatest games of football one can play, the circumstances surrounding the fixture makes this game even more important. Both sides are in the middle of a tough fixture list. Barca played Sevilla, Malaga, Juventus, Real Sociedad and then Juventus again while Real Madrid had to face Atletico Madrid, FC Bayern, Sporting Gijon and FC Bayern again in the build up to this pivotal tie. The Catalonians are 3 points behind Los Blancos who have a game in hand. After this, they’re only 5 games to decide the league winner. The only realistic way of Barca winning the league, is to win this game. The winner of La Liga rests on the outcome of this game.

It’s also worth mentioning …

Messi is 29 years old, Ronaldo, 32. This is as good as it gets for two of the greatest players of all time, a once in a generation type player. Not to say they suddenly lose all motor functions in the coming years, or there won’t be any more moments of brilliance, but this is usually near the drop off point. This may be one of the last chances to see the 2 in their prime. Enjoy this game for what it is, a competition between two of the best teams – and players – in the world.

Games you should also watch but I was too lazy to write about:

Leicester vs Atletico Madrid ( Tue 18 19:54 )

America de Cali vs Deportivo Cali ( Thu 20 01:55 )

Schalke 04 vs Ajax ( Thu 20 20:05 )

Dynamo Kyiv vs Shakhtar Donetsk ( Fri 21 18:00 )

FC Cologne vs Hoffenheim ( Fri 21 19:30 )

Sporting CP vs Benfica ( Sat 22 20:30 )

Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps ( Sat 22 21:00 )

Celtic vs Rangers ( Sun 23 12:00 )

Arsenal vs Manchester City ( Sun 23 15:00 )

PSV Eindhoven vs Ajax ( Sun 23 15:45 )

Lyon vs Monaco ( Sun 23 20:15 )

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Scouting for Fixtures: May 2 – May 8

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. It comes out every Sunday and hand picks upcoming matches worldwide that week, which look set for 90 minutes of non-stop action.

All times are in GMT.

the accumulation of 3240 minutes of football all comes down to the next 90 minutes

I couldn’t make a preview about Leicester vs Everton but WATCH IT. DON’T MISS IT.

  1. Bayern Munich vs Atletico Madrid ( Tue 03 19:45 )

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I called it! Atletico Madrid will win their first champions league cup and I called it from the start. Of course they still have the simple task of drawing/beating Bayern Munich at the Allianz, face either Man City or Real Madrid in San Siro under the eyes of the world, then fingers crossed they don’t do a repeat of 2014 where they blew it in the last seconds to an overwhelming attacking outfit. No pressure. The 1-0 scoreline couldn’t be less reflective of the game panned out. I mean; yes only one goal was scored, but it could’ve easily been more. The game had a good rhythm and fast tempo with a few heart in you mouth moments, hitting the woodwork 4 times, one being a cracker from Alaba swerving and dipping onto the bar. At this point it really is impossible to pick who’s going to the final. With good cases to be made for both sides, fate will play a crucial part in who ends up of the flight to San Siro and who’s going home.

 

 

2. Real Madrid vs Manchester City ( Wed 04 19:45 )

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Well, I might not be the football genius I touted myself a mere paragraph ago. Last week I said, direct quote: ‘this game has goals written all over it’. Final scoreline: 0-0. Swiftly moving on, we now have an open game at the Bernabéu. Madrid have lost Ronaldo to injury in the process, but if City put out a performance like that, los blancos might as well book their tickets in advance. This time the attack is what let City down, with one of the worst performances from Aguero and dire game overall. When 50 seconds of a 2 minute highlight video consists of shaking hands, confetti, a coin toss and a cut and paste generic crowd shot; it’s safe to say you didn’t miss much. Not a single shot on target in the first half, with Aguero, De Bruyne, Benzema and Bale on the pitch. It was the complete opposite of the Atleti-Bayern fixture. Lets hope we get the champions league semi final we all expected.

 

 

3. Borussia M.Gladbach vs Bayer Leverkusen ( Sat 07 14:30 )

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Borussia M.Gladbach’s thin chance of snatching 3rd place from Bayer is all but over, Leverkusen’s faultless performances (7 game winning streak) see them shoot up the table leaving an 8 point gap with 2 games remaining. Bayer too have the edge on Borussia as they demolished them 5-0. So what’s the point in watching? True, technically Bayern have nothing to play for, but look slightly lower down the table and you’ll find Borussia in the middle of a four way showdown between 4th – 7th place, separated by only 3 points. Dropping points is not an option for any of these sides, and Gladbach will have to pull it out of the bag if they want a chance of beating the in form Bundesliga team. Tensions are rising, with direct competition facing ‘easy’ opponents, there is no room for error. If Gladbach lose this fixture, they’re gonna drop from a secure champions league qualifiers place, to the perilously low, last europa league spot coming into the final week of football.

 

 

4. Middlesbrough vs Brighton ( Sat 07 12:30 )

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It’s rare you’ll see a second division game make it on this list, but this is too good to pass up. The final week of championship football, minus playoffs, and we have another make or break game. Middlesbrough still remain 1st, only one point behind Burnley (2nd) and Brighton (3rd) but are faltering as they fail to get the job done, drawing their last 3. Brighton aren’t handed any favours as they face Derby before this game, just as important in who makes the playoffs. Expect more drama and mayhem as the mad scramble for promotion reaches its climax and the season nears it’s end.

 

 

5. Lyon vs Monaco ( Sat 07 20:00 )

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Though PSG have run away with it, the competition in the french league is only getting tighter as Lyon and Monaco play their most important game of the season. With both sides playing, again ‘easy’ opposition next week, this will be special. Separated by 0 points, Lyon edge Monaco in 2nd place by goal difference. As there are only 2 champions league spots in Ligue 1, who ever wins this has the champions league spot in their hands, and for them to lose in the final week. If they draw, then it becomes even tighter as 4th place Saint-Etienne are only 2 points behind if they win their game against Nice who are only one point off Saint-Etienne. A lot to take on board there, but the weight of the game will bring out the best in the players, the accumulation of 3240 minutes of football all comes down to the next 90 minutes; making or breaking the season. Moments like this are why we love football.

 

 

 

Other Mentions:

Brighton vs Derby ( Mon 02 14:30 )

Chelsea vs Tottenham ( Mon 02 20:00 )

Liverpool vs Villarreal ( Thu 05 20:05 )

Aston Villa vs Newcastle United ( Sat 05 15:00 )

Leicester vs Everton ( Sat 07 17:30 )

Nice vs Saint-Etienne ( Sat 07 20:00 )

 

Feel like I missed out any matches or wanna give me any feedback? Comment Below.