Scouting for Fixtures: May 08 – May 14

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. 

Guy chatting absolutely anything in a desperate attempt to keep the reader’s attention in this football-esque blog. I also do football previews, kinda… 

All times are GMT.

Juventus vs Monaco ( Tue 09 19:45 )

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The end is near for Monaco, as hopes dwindle for the chance for the Champions League. Hats off to Monaco, as they’re the first French team in the semi-finals in 7 years, but winning the trophy has not been accomplished by France since 1993. The first leg ended 0-2 to Juve so Monaco has to score at least three times at San Siro. Might as well pack your bags and call it a night as the last time that happened was the 3rd of November 2012 against a legendary Inter Milan side. But yet again, I reiterate, Monaco is the best-attacking side in the world as of now.  Expect a do-or-die attitude from the away side on Tuesday, with a good chance of ending up a high scoring game.

Boca Juniors vs River Plate ( Sat 13 22:00 )

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There is only a handful of times where 22 men kicking a ball around for an hour and a half can bring a city to a grinding halt. Milan, Glasgow, Rome, Cairo and Buenos Aires. To some football is a religion but in this case, Scientology is a more accurate description, because they are as crazy and hardcore as fans come (in a good way).

Derby day in Buenos Aires makes the Old Firm game look like a primary school kick-about

– The Guardian

Usually when your dishing out nicknames, its creative, like the Red Devils or the Gunners. These guys don’t hold back. River Plate is known as Las Gallinas for choking throughout the years. Pretty tame to be honest. In an act of vengeance, Boca Juniors are known as Los Bosteros, which roughly translates to livestock faeces or crap dwellers. Literally shits and giggles with these guys. There have been some truly blockbuster level games over the years, with 5 players sent off in the game last year. Buenos Aires has been an incubator for great talent over the years, needless to say, it’s worth staying up late for this one.

Tottenham vs Manchester United ( Sun 14 16:30 )

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Oh, how the tables have turned, literally. Five years ago you would’ve seen Manchester United chasing for the title and Tottenham hoping to get into the champions league. The sad thing for Tottenham fans is that even though they’re playing the best football I’ve seen in my lifetime; there is no silverware – probably – to show for it. Their opponents are in the semi-finals of the Europa league. Even their rivals Arsenal, as bad as their season has been, is in an FA cup final. The psychological value of physically holding that trophy is one which is invaluable for a player, justifying the hard work they put in. More of a long term consideration for Spurs players. The current situation at Old Trafford could be the plot points of the next A Series of Unfortunate Events novel. Rashford and Young limped off the field on Thursday, joining Ibrahimovic, Shaw, Rojo and Mensah on the sidelines, as Bailly and Smalling continue recovery. This late in the season, games like this make or break it.

Side note: This was written before Arsenal played Manchester United.

Real Madrid vs Sevilla ( Sun 14 19:00 )

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Real Madrid is one of the best teams in the world. According to the UEFA coefficient, they are THE best team, followed by Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Juventus (in that order). However the last time Los Blancos won La Liga was 5 years ago, while the others won their leagues 1, 1, 3 and 1 year ago respectively. If Real Madrid wins their two games in hand they will win the league. Real Madrid has Sevilla, Celta Vigo and Malaga left to play. Sevilla is undoubtedly the toughest opponents, as Los Blancos have won, drawn and lost with Sevilla this year already. Madrid can’t afford a loss, and neither can Sevilla. The away side is chasing their own hopes of champions league, holding onto the last qualifiers spot. Losing this game could shrink the gap to 3 point cliff with a game to go. If past visits are anything to go by, this is going to be an eventful game. And one Sergio Ramos will be at the centre of it, probably.

Games I would have written about but was too lazy:

Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid ( Wed 10 19:54 )

Manchester United vs Celta Vigo ( Thu 11 20:05 )

Lyon vs Ajax ( Thu 11 20:05 )

RasenBallsport Leipzig vs Bayern Munich ( Sat 13 14:30 )

Atalanta vs AC Milan ( Sat 13 19:45 )

Crystal Palace vs Hull ( Sun 14 12:00 )

Roma vs Juventus ( Sun 14 19:45 )

Scouting for Fixtures: May 01 – May 07

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. 

Guy chatting absolutely anything in a desperate attempt to keep the reader’s attention in this football-esque blog. I also do football previews, kinda… 

All times are GMT.

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid ( Tue 02 19:45 )

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To sum up the state of affairs in a chant only described as poetic:

Chant:                                                                                                                                      Atleti decime qué se siente, haber perdido la final , te juro, que aunque pasen los años, nunca lo vamos a olvidar… Al 93′ llegó el gol, Sergio Ramos lo metió, el sueño se les murió. Como siempre terminaste segundón

English Translation:                                                                                                             Atleti tell me how it feels, to have lost the final, I swear that even with the years passing, we will never forget, in the 93rd the goal came, Sergio Ramos put it in, and your dream died, as always you ended up second.

To add to the Kafkaesque nature of Atleti in the situation, Luis Aragones famously summed up his frustration in the iconic line: If you don’t win today, I’ll stick a f**king family-sized bottle of Coke up my arse. The literal misplacement of anger is indicative of a side always second place; no more evident than in the champions league. Real Madrid is fighting on 2 fronts, killing it all-around, while Atleti can’t break the duopoly of Real-Barca in La Liga. Can’t really say much in terms of improvement of either side, but Sergio Ramos could make or break any game with the spectrum of brutal tackles to brutal last minute goals (own or otherwise). Though Los RojoBlancos have been transformed by the endearing yet terrifying character of Diego ‘El Cholo’ Simeone they’re yet to truly break the stigma of Real dominance. But what better place to do it than in Los Blancos’ signature competition.

Monaco vs Juventus ( Wed 03 19:45 )

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If Messi, Neymar and Suarez couldn’t score against Juventus in 180 minutes, what hope does anyone have against – in my opinion – the best team in the world. Statistically speaking Monaco have the best attack in the world, 142 goals in all competitions. But after their most recent 5-0 thrashing by PSG, maybe the defence needs a bit of tightening. In all honesty, it looks like Monaco will get their backside handed to them. Juventus look impenetrable at the moment, but if any team can undo that defence it will be Monaco.

Juventus vs Torino ( Sat 06 19:45 )

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Exactly 3 days – to the millisecond – after Juventus play their pivotal Champions league tie that could make or break their season, they play their biggest rivals in what could, also… make or break their season. With 4 games left in the season, Juventus are 9 points ahead of second place Napoli and are almost at the finish line, though they have played 1 more game than Napoli. Torino is chilling in 9th place, so they’ve really got no skin in the game. Apart from the fact this one of the biggest rivalries on the planet. To sum up the rivalry, I pull up a very convenient anecdote in my failed linguistic attempts:

Did you know I tried learning Italian a few years ago? Failed miserably. What little I still remember was that there are differences between the English alphabet and the Italian. One big difference is that the letter ‘J’ is not present in their alphabet. So, Juventus? What’s going on there? Turns out Juventus derives from Latin, a language only used by the authoritative church at the time (1897) made by aristocratic high-school students, meaning ‘the age of youth’. Torino was made within a division of Juve 9 years later, as people felt it did not represent the city from which it was born: ‘the team of the working class, migrant workers from the provinces or neighbouring countries, the lower middle-class and the poor’. That is the dichotomy of these Turin clubs in a nutshell.

– me about two months ago I don’t know here’s a link

Even though Torino won’t benefit from Juventus winning, their’s always that reasoning of just beating them out of spite, just so they don’t win (a feeling we all wish we didn’t have, but it’s true). The atmosphere of this kind of rivalry is rare, yet universal in rivalries across the world. These are often the games you wish you didn’t miss.

Arsenal vs Manchester United ( Sun 07 16:00 )

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A picture sums up 1000 words. This gif below sums up all of my words and more when it comes to this game, even though I flex at a weak 150 words or less per paragraph.

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The rivalry is there, both these sides HATE each other, picture the relationship between Roy Keane and Patrick Viera, but without any of the footballing ability or charisma, then multiply that by 1,000,000.

Next up, you gotta look at the table:

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This would be the end of an era if Arsenal stays in the position they are; the last time they finished outside of a European spot was 21 years ago. The content on ArsenalFanTV would be nothing like we’ve seen before. Pandemonium. If Man Utd finish 5th they will also be the but of a multitude of jokes, but 6th is something an MUFC fan keeps in the recesses of their mind. Both sides are notoriously inconsistent and have no semblance of form coming into this game. The outcome of this game will play a huge part in the final standings. You can feel the tension and the vibrations of the oncoming tsunami of memes.

Games I was too lazy to write about:

Ajax vs Lyon ( Wed 03 17:45 )

Celta Vigo vs Manchester United ( Thu 04 20:05 )

Sevilla vs Real Sociedad ( Fri 05 20:00 )

Borussia Dortmund vs Hoffenheim ( Sat 06 14:30 )

Hertha Berlin vs RasenBallsport Leipzig ( Sat 06 17:30 )

Besiktas vs Fenerbahce ( Sun 07 17:00 )

AC Milan vs Roma ( Sun 07 19:45 )

 

 

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 )

Scouting for Fixtures (European Fixtures only) : Sept 12 – Sept 18

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

All times are GMT.

Champions League:

Paris Saint-Germain vs Arsenal ( Tue 13 19:45 )

Barcelona vs Celtic ( Tue 13 19:45 )

Manchester City vs Borussia M.Gladbach ( Tue 13 19:45 )

Bayern Munich vs FC Rostov ( Tue 13 19:45 )

Juventus vs Sevilla ( Wed 14 19:45 )

Tottenham vs Monaco ( Wed 14 19:45 )

Club Bruges vs Leicester ( Wed 14 19:45 )

UEFA’s disingenuous attempts to make the Champions League ‘better‘ has lead to a familiar backlash from the football community.

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‘Afraid, slammed, anger, backlash, rejected and revolt,’ is a word association list befitting a militarist dictator, not the Union of European Football Associations.

The Champions League is still the biggest club football tournament in the world, returning on Tuesday the 13th with so many fixtures to choose from. Usually I would preview each and every game but in this case, it seems futile. Chances are you know which fixtures you’ll be tuning into already.

Europa league:

Sassuolo vs Athletic Club ( Thu 15 16:00 )

Feyenoord vs Manchester United ( Thu 15 16:00 )

First timers Sassoulo come into the game heavy underdogs despite Atleti currently in 18th place. Sassuolo is a tough team to break down, conceding the 4th lowest goals in the league last season. Two of their defenders (Versaljko and Acerbi) were in the Whoscored. com Serie A team of the season. Atletic Bilbao is a fierce team themselves, winning the highest % of aerial duels last season. Atletic Bilbao actually rarely attack down their left side and Sassuolo’s influential Berardi will be operating at RW. The home side will have their hands full with the power of Aduriz, Inaki Williams’ pace and Benãt orchestrating from the midfield. Should be good. 

Manchester United come into their first Europa League fixture after losing to Manchester City and need a big win to regain their confidence. It looks like another difficult game for the Red Devils, as they’ve lost 6 out of their last 7 away games in European competitions (excluding qualifiers). Feyenoord has only won 1 out of their last 7 games against English opposition, so both teams are against the odds coming into the game. 

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.

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.

A derby celebrated worldwide and part of most fans lifelong bucket-list.

  1. Real Madrid vs Wolfsburg ( Tue 12 19:45 )

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What we’ve seen from Real Madrid over the last week encapsulates most of the problems facing the club over the years. On April 2nd we see them beating Barcelona in their own backyard, a feat no other club in the world managed this season. Fast forward 4 days later and they lose a key champions league fixture against the worst side left in the competition (on paper, i’ll take my chances on the impending backlash). The sudden change is so drastic and frustrating, continuing for years and parallel’s the mismanagement by Florentino Pérez, ensuring a managerial change per annum. Looking forward to the game, the onus is on Wolfsburg to see out a win, or carry it through to extra time. Attacking wise the german side aren’t reliable but they don’t need to be with a 2 goal cushion. Madrid on the other hand will, and expect to come out in an all out attack mindset if they want a chance of winning their 11th European cup. With the likes of Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Madrid are anything but finished.

 

 

2. West Ham vs Manchester United ( Wed 13 19:00 )

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The second leg of the FA cup continues at Upton Park as Anthony Martial’s unquestionably legal goal canceled out Dimitri Payet’s sublime, perfect free kick from distance, but to be fair, ‘I think he should get across and save it’-Scholesy. The only reason West Ham aren’t already through to the next round isn’t due to Man United trying to play dazzling, fast, intricate football but more along the lines of a series of unfortunate events. This second leg leaves very little hope left of Man Utd going through and facing Everton in the next round. For the Hammers though, they look the strongest team left in the competition and have a good chance of winning it for the first time in 36 years. West ham will dominate the match, but the question is, is that enough to secure a win? The Red Devils motivation and desire to win games, to even be want to play games; is nothing short of disgraceful to watch. Where’s the heart, thunder, passion, sweat. Gone, gone out the door with Sir Alex. Despite all of it, somehow they’ve got this far, and ‘the magic of the cup’ and all that malarkey… having said that you’d have to be deranged to bet anything other a West Ham win.

 

 

3. Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund ( Thu 14 20:05 )

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A pivotal tie in the Europa league takes place this Thursday evening as Liverpool are given a lifeline for Europe, drawing 1-1 against firm favourites Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion. The 2nd leg takes place at Anfield where the men in red will face an even tougher task containing the Dortmund 11, as goals are the only option if they want to remain in the competition. With nothing to play for in the league, all the attention from Klopp and Liverpool is on this match. Dortmund however have to balance the Europa league with their Bundesliga endeavours. With Champions League more or less secured, the question is; win the Europa league or Bundesliga title? Both doors are open for them but which will lead them to silverware? Europa league, while has easier opponents, is fundamentally a tournament. By it’s very nature, luck plays a much larger role here, where you only have to have a string of good games to win. On the other hand, Bayern Munich are dominating the german league, establishing a winning routine in recent years. If any team were to break that, it would be Dortmund. While the chances of winning the league are faint, it’s not dead yet. Of course there’s always the option of winning both.

 

 

4. Rangers vs Celtic ( Sun 17 12:00 )

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The Old Firm. A derby celebrated worldwide and part of most fans lifelong bucket-list. Aptly named, as the first Old Firm game was played before the existence of the Scottish Football League in 1888. Since 2012 when Rangers were dissolved and sent to the third tier it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the intensity and importance of the fixture dissolved with it. But like all great rivalries, for better or worse, things never seem to change. The passion and pride never faded, in fact it may have even heightened the significance of the game due to it being less common now. The quality of the football stayed the same despite the new players. The Derby however is littered with a dark history. Again, unfortunately the very nature of the two clubs creations resulted in a bitter hatred of one another and lead to various riots and tragedy before, during and after the Old Firm over the years. More recently it’s improved but the danger remains. As for the game itself, well it’s Scotland. What d’you think? Averaging 3.4 goals a game (last 5 games) expect a few ‘liberal’ challenges, the extreme pressure producing moments of magic.  

 

 

5. Leicester vs West Ham ( Sun 17 13:30 )

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The odds on favourite to win the league, Leicester City, are almost at the finish line, facing a resolute West Ham. The foxes are playing the football we love to watch. The neat intricate passing from Arsenal and Pellegrini’s complex system can produce choreographed spells of amazing football. But there’s something different, to see a relentless attack at the turn of a dime at a frightening pace and with such potency. That’s what the Hammers have to contend with at the King Power. When you think West Ham right now, it’s all about Dimitri Payet. Arguably the signing of the season, they’ve unearthed a gem and Bilić is putting him to good use. While the Hammers are a tough opposition without the frenchman, there’s a good case to be made that without him, the chances of West Ham reaching Europe would be something of a pipe dream than a real possibility. The only problem for the London club is the absence of Kouyate in the midfield, protecting the backline from that Leicester attack. With a hand full of match winners playing, it’s near impossible to call and as the season comes to a close; the stakes have just got higher.

 

 

Other Mentions:

Manchester City vs Paris Saint Germain ( Tue 12 19:45 )

Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce ( Wed 13 17:30 )

Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona ( Wed 13 19:45 )

Benfica vs Bayern Munich ( Wed 13 19:45 )

Inter vs Napoli ( Sat 16 19:45 )

 

 

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Scouting for Fixtures: Apr 4 – Apr 10

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.

‘Forget Dortmund vs Bayern Munich; this is the biggest derby in Germany.’

  1. Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid ( Tue 05 19:45 )

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Often the CL brings out the best in the world, as shown the last time these two faced each other where Diego produced this atomic rocket strike from distance, swerving into the top corner. What we have here is an even split, the best attack in the world against the best defence in the world. Looking at Atleti, they embody hard work and determination. For a team to concede 14 goals in 30 games is testament to Simeone’s capabilities as a world-class coach. While they’re not as easy on the eye, they get the job done and get results. With one exception. Despite the rock solid defence, and even a considerably threatening attack; the Catalonian giants have won the last 6/6 matches between these 2, 5 of them as recently as last year. What we’re seeing with MSN is 3 players in their prime (debatable with Neymar) and considered by many the best player in their respective positions. They hold their place in a bracket with the likes of the Best-Charlton-Law and Rivaldo-Ronaldo-Ronaldinho trios. If the Madrid side want to beat Barca they have to shut down Mr Peekaboo, Sergio Busquets. He’s the pivot between defence and midfield and is vital to Barca’s success over the years. Shut him down and your halfway there. Will they? Well they’re capable, and done it before, but it’s impossible to sustain that level of pressure for 90 minutes. It’s all up in the air.

 

 

2. Borussia Dortmund vs Liverpool ( Thu 07 20:05 )

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It’s definitely an emotional return for the former Dortmund man, Jurgen and Liverpool travel to Germany, taking on cup favourites Borussia Dortmund. When Klopp took over Dortmund he inspired this mid-table side with his tactical-nous and unique man management, elevating them to European status and leaving a profound impact on players and fans alike. Since the Liverpool move, even in his short tenure we’re seeing the beginnings of that relentless ‘heavy metal’. The disparity between the two sides is apparent. Liverpool are a team in progress but Dortmund are fully realised, with great understanding of Thomas Tuchel’s system and players of a different calibre to most of the Anfield players. BVB (weren’t exactly going for it… but still) comfortably cruised through what looked to be tough opposition Spurs, with a 5-1 win on aggregate. Expect a warm reception from the yellow wall, but a restless 90 minutes as both thrive on the counter with fast, precision play.

 

 

3. West Ham vs Arsenal ( Sat 09 12:45 )

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The premier league is imploding. You’ve got Chelsea in mid-table, Leicester and Tottenham the two tittle challengers and now West Ham have a chance of champions league. Slaven Bilić has gone above and beyond the expectation of even the most optimistic West Ham fans, as they contemplate going into next season with an Olympic stadium and potentially European football. Arsène Wenger’s under the gun to keep Arsenal afloat and hold a slim 4 point hold on a struggling Man City. If one word could describe this Arsenal side, it would be bipolar. Unfortunately for Arsenal they’ve developed a habit of clutching defeat from the jaws of victory; what’s most worrying is that it usually against the grain. They should take a leaf out of Bendtner’s book. Even if Arsenal brings their a-game it doesn’t bode well for the away side. The Hammers have the best home form in the league with 16 points out of a total 18, beating Southampton, Liverpool and Tottenham in the process, which Arsenal never managed when at home. Both teams need the 3 point as insurance for Europe as with 7 weeks left, only a few points separate the window of uncertainty between 3rd to 7th.

 

 

4. Schalke 04 vs Borussia Dortmund ( Sun 10 14:30 )

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Forget Dortmund vs Bayern Munich; this is the biggest derby in Germany. The Rivierderby is one of the few that remain un-sedated by the modern game, with an atmosphere that literally shakes the Sudtribune to its foundation. The home side are tucked in neatly in 5th place, insuring Europe, but the current forms suggest anything but an easy end to the season. The downfall for Schalke is their in creative play, as there isn’t any. On paper they should be, with the young flair of Meyer and Sane mixed with the experience of Huntelaar, but what we mostly see is rigid, stale and careless. When they do turn up they produce the best football Bundesliga has to offer, and be sure they’ll bring their best to this derby. We already know how good Dortmund are, but even for them, they’ve been exceptional all season. It’s evident in the league, as for the first time in years Bayern Munich have an actual rival in BVB. As for what to expect; the 2015 resulted in an average of 4 goals a game and with Dortmund being as clinical as they are this season, expectations are high.

 

 

5. Tottenham vs Manchester United ( Sun 10 16:00 )

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If Tottenham want a chance of winning their first ever Premier league title, they have to win every game left to bridge the 7 point gap between them and Leicester. Man Utd hold a different challenge as they sit in the aforementioned ‘window of uncertainty’, the two Manchester clubs and West Ham battle for the 4th and 5th European spot. Tottenham’s spine looks in good shape with Kane, Alli and Dier, crucial to the 3-2 comeback against the world cup winners (what d’you mean Netherlands?) and would give a boost to Pochettino’s men ahead of the fixture. The Man Utd players didn’t have any notable performances during the international break. The Red Devils have gone backwards over the course of the season as Louis Van Gaal’s tenure has been just short of a catastrophe. The team is so deep in disarray, there’s no notable style of play and are now out of Europe, out of the title race and out of ideas. This seems the sort of game where Tottenham can send a statement to the rest of the league with a big performance as Man Utd are technically a ‘big club’. Take from that what you will. Spurs are superior in almost every department apart from the GK spot, but I doubt even De Gea can save United from the impending collapse.

 

Other Mentions:

Bayern Munich vs Benfica ( Tue 05 19:45 )

Wolfsburg vs Real Madrid ( Wed 06 19:45 )

Paris Saint Germain vs Manchester City (Wed 06 19:45 )

Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids ( Sun 10 02:30 )

 

 

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