Scouting for Fixtures: Feb 06 – Feb 12

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.

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid ( Tue 07 20:00 )

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Atleti looks – not to beat the cliche to death – like a shadow of their former self. Compared to this time last season, they’ve actually scored 4 more goals but doubled down on conceding, with 8 more than last season (twice the amount). Oh my god, 16 goals conceded in 20 games! That only makes them what, only the 6th best defence in the Europe?! That stat would look complementary for most other teams, but by the insanely high standards they set themselves, Atleti is slipping. To compound the pressure, they have one of the best attacking line-ups in the world they now have to face, again, away from home. This is the second leg of a tie already not in their favour. I feel by explaining the last leg a bit more illustrates just how big the mountain Atleti have to climb is. Suarez scored first at 6′.  So he starts just behind the halfway line with 4 Atleti players in front of him; with his first touch he bypasses Godin, the second goes past Savic (by now he’s at the edge of the box) and the third touch puts the ball past the keeper, scoring an incredible solo goal. He’s running at such an immense speed from running the half of the pitch he needs to put his arms out, acting as a parachute would for drag racing, so as to not crash into the advertising board. Amazing. The second is scored by Messi at 32′. A ball played to him from the edge of the box, what do you do? Of course, you rocket it in, curling away from the keeper (and goal) and bounce off the opposite post and nestle it into the net. 2-0, game over. Yes ok, Atleti scored 1 goal but that is beside the point. Point being, both of those goals were unstoppable. It didn’t matter if you had 11 of the best players in the world or 100 Brazilian kids in the 62-15-23 formation, those goals were fixed points in time, they were always going in. That’s the danger Atleti face, the chance that regardless of how well they play, there is a chance Suarez, Neymar or Messi could pull it out the bag at any given moment. Also, Atletico Madrid has to go for the win. Conceding 2 away goals means needing to score twice without response from Barca to ensure they go through.

Liverpool vs Tottenham ( Sat 11 17:30 )

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Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now felt like an accurate gauge of the mood.

That quote was in reference to Anfield, after beating Manchester City 1-0 on new years eve and winning 4 in a row, excited in all the possibilities 2017 had to offer. Fast forward to today, Anfield feels Kafkaesque, with Mad World by Gary Jules ringing through the speakers. The phrase wank wank wank wank* isn’t thrown about too often, but it sums up the state of things when referenced by The RedMen TV after losing 2-0 to Hull. I don’t remember a worse start to a year for Liverpool, ever. 36 days in, 10 games played, 5 losses, 4 draws, but 1 win. The 1 win was against League 2 side Plymouth in the 2nd leg of an FA cup tie and ended 0-1, but a win is a win. Even still, Liverpool has a good chance of winning. Stats wise anyway. The last 6 games, Liverpool have not lost a single one. That’s about everything I could find in favour of Liverpool. That, and the fact their playing in Anfield. So Spurs are the closest thing to overthrowing Chelsea right now, 9 points behind the league leaders despite winning 7 of their last 9 Premier League fixtures. Both defences will be tested on Saturday, as Tottenham and Liverpool are 1st and 2nd in shots per game respectively, with 17.6 and 17.1. Couple that with the stat of Tottenham averaging the lowest interceptions per game respectively (11 and 8.4), this could be a high scoring game. While Tottenham can rely on their sound defensive record (best in the league), Liverpool defenders could recontextualise recent events to cope:

*Trust me. It’s not what it seems like. The link is safe to click. Trust. Me.

Osasuna vs Real Madrid ( Sat 11 19:45 )

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If we’re sticking to the music analogy, Minas Morgul is definitely playing through the El Sadar (Osasuna home) stadium speakers as you catch glimpse of the Real Madrid side marching in the distance*. Ironically, Osasuna means health but if you were to personify the club, they would have osteoporosis. I’m definitely being too mean, but when you have the 2nd worst defence in the league, the worst home record in La Liga (haven’t even won a home game yet, after 11 games) and only won 1 league game all season, the home side look out of their league, literally and figuratively. It’s commendable how they climbed the third tier, nicknamed the well, in Christian Bale Dark Knight fashion. But when Phill Ball describes the off-the-pitch issues on sport360 as:

they are under investigation for match-fixing during last season’s unsuccessful attempt to avoid relegation, have an ex-president and ex-director recently released from prison on bail, and financial problems popping up like poisonous mushrooms

sympathy is hard to come by. Then the realisation that Real Madrid is playing begins to contextualise why I picked this game. I am all for competitive unpredictable football, but there is a certain joy that comes with watching a side completely rip apart their opposition (again, sorry Osasuna fans). Los Blancos are top of the table with 2 games in hand, with 51 goals all season, ranked #4 in goals per game. Recent history between the two sides also points to a high scoring game, averaging 3.8 goals per game. Good luck.

*If you don’t get that reference, as a ginger wizard once said, she needs to sort out her priorities*2.

*If you didn’t get that one either, you’re beyond help.

Feel like I missed out any matches or want to give any feedback? Comment Below!



Scouting for Fixtures: Mar 28 – Apr 3

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.


 Hendrik Johannes Cruijff ( April 25 1947 – March 24 2016 )

  1. Bayer Leverkusen vs Wolfsburg ( Fri 01 19:30 )

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The two teams sit shy of the 4 champions league spots up for grab and with the final weeks of the season are underway, this is a last big push for both teams to jump into the top 4 while simultaneously putting the other team out of their misery. Both teams have been disappointing in the games they’ve lost and in the manner they achieved the ‘biggest bottlers in the bundesliga’ title. For Wolfsburg, who knows what’s going to happen during the 90 minutes? When you beat a formidable Borussia M.Gladbach side and the following week lose to prime relegation candidates Hoffenheim; it’s hard to see how the sporadic form equates to a definite win for the away side with the 3rd worst away form in the league with 4L 1D 1W (last 6 games). Bayer aren’t in a much better state themselves. Throughout the season they’ve been kindly donating points to those in need, but it’s come to a do or die as the season comes to a close. Bayer need to shift a couple gears up if they want to catch the others, and from what we’ve seen they’re doing just that. The form has picked up and wins are coming back with Chicharito the man leading the charge. It should be mentioned that the game is a goal magnet, for the last 3 years it’s managed an average of a remarkable 4.5 goals a game. That’s helped further by both defences riddled with injuries and attack minded coaches at the brim.




2. Liverpool vs Tottenham ( Sat 02 17:30 )


Klopp’s got his work cut out as the Liverpool bunch face the title challengers Tottenham at Anfield. It may be both teams separated by 7 places; both stand in the way of accomplishing the others season goal, of winning the PL title or reaching the top 4. Liverpool in the top 4? Well, I mean theoretically (with a huge dollop of luck) it’s possible, Liverpool are only 7 points behind Man City with a game in hand. The Manchester derby left only more questions unanswered on how they’re planning to turn this awful run of form around. Leaving Liverpool very much in the mix with an underperforming Man Utd and and inexperienced but in-form West Ham (and Southampton & Stoke but really … I wouldn’t count on it) to contest with. It will be an important and tense match to those clubs in the upper end of the Premier league, this late on into the season. Looking ahead to the fixture itself, it’s easy to see that Spurs will dominate the match, but the potent counter attack is capable (but unreliable) to devastating effect.




3. Barcelona vs Real Madrid ( Sat 02 19:30 )

Alejandro Ramos

If you want one single fixture that encapsulates modern football and the beautiful game in 90 minutes; you can’t look past, El Clasico! The rivalry is unlike any other in the world, immersed in rich history and amplified by the endless conveyor belt of superstars at disposal. Throughout the years it has transformed into a global event by just the unfathomable, sheer weight of the two clubs. Literally, they are the 2 biggest clubs in the world, with a combined value of $6.4 billion (bear in mind the GDP of Monaco is only $6 billion) and a conservative estimate of $670 million of talent starting at the Nou Camp. Barcelona are favourites to take all 3 points, 1st in the league. Real Madrid and Zidane, while shifting the style of play is yet to move the team forward substantially and challenge the Catalonian giants. Averaging a 4 goals a game ratio for 3 years, and with the best attacking players in the world playing, it looks like another goal fest this Saturday night.




4. Lazio vs Roma ( Sun 03 14:00 )


For those outside Italy if I asked you: What’s the biggest derby in Italy? 9/10 people would probably say the Milan derby; but within the borders, the Roman derby takes on that role, in what is a uniquely fierce Derby della Capitale. The derby itself has a deep, dark and hidden past behind it. Roma was actually built by Mussolini who combined 3 of the Roman clubs in a fascist regimen to challenge the established Italian clubs. Lazio was the only large club to resist and from there flourished one of the most violent derbies in the world. The fascist roots, while wiped clean from the internal structure of both clubs, is still prevalent among both sets of fans and brews a very tense atmosphere. The violence and hatred in the derby is truly underrated, on the derby day roads are closed in a 20 block radius! Rome transforms from a buzzing capital tourist attraction to a quiet and reserved city in the days leading up to the fixture. This weight of the occasion is felt by the players and with Roma legend Totti playing his last ever Roman derby, the impotence is on Roma to do their captain proud, and for Lazio to ruin the party. The league standings do not matter. Form is irrelevant. Simply put, losing is not an option.




5. Palmeiras vs Corinthians ( Sun 03 20:00 )


The oldest derby in Sao Paolo returns for it’s 99th year anniversary in a fixture that ranks the tenth greatest rivalry of all time. Throughout the years it’s maintained a competitive edge despite Palmeiras having fallen from the top tier of Brazilian teams in Paulista A1. With the 350th match being played in the Allianz Parque the record currently stands with the home side just edging at 122 wins compared to Corinthians 120 wins. Palmeiras was originally formed out of Corinthians as the European faction within the club split and were known within the city as ‘traitors’. There are many memorable moments over the years, most recently the 3-3 thriller; and in-fact inspired a Romeo and Juliet film based on the two clubs (yikes). Brazil being as big a footballing nation as they come, the day is an event in Sao Paolo, with passion running high, vibrancy and endless colour, as with all Brazilian classics.




Other Mentions:

Germany vs Italy ( Tue 29 19:45 )

Arsenal vs Watford ( Sat 02 15:00 )

Leicester vs Southampton ( Sun 03 13:30 )

Manchester United vs Everton ( Sun 03 16:00 )



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