Scouting for Fixtures: Mar 27 – Apr 02

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.

Check out the Other Mentions at the bottom as this week there was an unprecedented amount of heavyweight games, enjoy.

Liverpool vs Everton ( Sat 01 12:30 )

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It may sound sadistic, but these are the sort of rivalries where you relish inflicting any pain possible on your opposition. It’s exacerbated for Everton seeing that – let’s be honest – European football is as likely for them this season, as is me getting with Cara Delevigne. If someone came up to you and described a game as:

You want to hurt each other. The tackles are more brutal, the challenges wilder. It’s meatier than other matches.

I am immediately on board. I don’t know why this phenomenon occurs, but it is synonymous with entertainment. When you wish, just horrific thoughts on your opposition players, 1. you need help and 2. you are witnessing a derby worth watching. For a neutral, if there is a favourable turn of events, it’s like watching everyone morph into Connor McGregor for a few minutes. All it takes is one ‘liberal’ challenge and the fuse has been set. Everton has more or less reached the ceiling in terms of their position. Breaking through the wall of Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Man Utd and Arsenal is too big a challenge this season. Liverpool is hanging on to that last Champions league spot for dear life. Man Utd and Arsenal within a stone’s throw away, plus they have 2 games in hand on Liverpool. If Everton contributed to Liverpool’s downfall from European football, it would be even more comical considering the last time Everton won a Merseyside derby was 7 years ago.

Schalke 04 vs Borussia Dortmund ( Sat 01 14:30 )

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The unexpected enormity of this fixture is something to behold. The picture above compresses tens of thousands of simultaneous emotions onto a few pixels. In actuality, the 22 men are playing for the Revierderby. For the layman, you’d probably heard of the Revierderby in the fringes of Bundesliga talk, or not at all. Under the radar in recent years due to a recent lack of silverware and big name players (until recently), but this is as big as it gets in Germany. It’s a hallmark trait of these derbies, the atmosphere is different, you can feel it through the TV or computer screen. Those who are more up to date with German football know that both these clubs are flopping. Maybe harsh considering Dortmund is only in 3rd place, but many pinned hopes on BVB leading the charge on pulling FC Bayern down of their throne. Instead, Dortmund is fighting it out with rising clubs like RB Leipzig, Hertha Berlin for champions league. Those rising clubs have pushed Schalke down to 9th, where from what I can see are twiddling their thumbs till next season arrives. But all the built up frustration and form is washed away with the arrival of this derby.

Monaco vs Paris Saint-Germain ( Sat 01 20:00 )

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Blessed be the name of the lord, blessed be your name, for God has given the holy grail of fixture lists this week – Revelations 10:66

I didn’t fact check that* but I’m pretty sure that was in Revelations. Makes sense to, if you look at the Expendables-esque lineup ahead. This one included. To steal another weighty proverb:

Onions have layers – Shrek

Not only do we have Monaco, who has the strike force equivalent to a roided up SEAL team; they face the current champions of France, PSG. Not only that, but they face each other in a Coupe de la Ligue fixture. Not only that. It’s the final. Monaco is showing PSG how it is done so far. None of this 6-1 loss to Barcelona crap and cry about it after (though they may have a point). Domestically, Monaco has the upper hand, 8 games left and holding the top spot. It’s impossible to do what PSG have done and maintained it. Now with Europe out the question and Monaco in line to win Ligue 1, this is their most likely and immediate chance of winning silverware this season.

*I’m not fake news please no hate.

Benfica vs FC Porto ( Sat 01 20:30 )

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With 10 games left, I can say with confidence that one of these 2 teams will win Liga NOS. As things stand, Benfica is 1st with 64 points, Porto is 1 place and 1 point behind them. The next closest are Sporting CP who are 9 points behind. And the name of this game: O Clássico. With a name like that you come to expect a certain level of football that is a given. With a combined 9 international titles between them, the weight is justified. WWWWWWD. WWWWWWD. One of those is the form of Porto, the other is the form of Benfica. Geographically is the only distinct difference between these 2. Clearly, on paper, there is very difficult to distinguish who is the better side. Not to resort to the wine cliche, so I’ll opt for the less used cheese analogy. Like a finely aged cheese (E.g. Monterey Jack), the derby has had over 100 years to affinage. the game itself predates the league it currently resides in by 22 years. That’s 1 Wisconsin cheddar older than Liga Nos. Not to undercut (please don’t click off) the tension with all this cheese talk, it really is one of the biggest derbies in the world, we expect grate things (please, please don’t click off).

Arsenal vs Manchester City ( Sun 02 16:00 )

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For better or worse – depending on your perspective – Arsenal is making bigger strides in the meme community than in the football community. The most recent loss to West Brom only adds more wood to a bonfire set alight months ago. WLLWLL. The Gunners form is horrific, and the gut instinct is change. But who? There are some shouts of Allegri but at this point, there is no way of distinguishing fact from fiction. You don’t want to end up with the next David Moyes, followed by Louis ‘philosophy’ Van Gaal*. Look at Man City. They knew Pep Guardiola was coming from the point Mancini left 4 years ago. While both currently reside in the tornado that formed between 2nd and 7th place, Man City unquestionably hold the upper hand. There is some hope for the home side, as the last 2 encounters in Emirates, Arsenal won both against Man City. That is the only positive thing I could find.

*I miss this man so much.

Games I would’ve written about but was too lazy:

France vs Spain ( Tue 28 20:00 )

Hertha Berlin vs Hoffenheim ( Fri 31 19:30 )

Ajax vs Feyenoord ( Sun 02 13:30 )

Napoli vs Juventus ( Sun 02 19:45 )

 

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Scouting For Fixtures: Dec 19 – Dec 25

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.

Everton vs Liverpool ( Mon 19 20:00 )

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‘When I’ve got nothing better to do, I look down the league table to see how Everton are getting along.’ – Bill Shankly. While I couldn’t date the quote it’s safe to assume it was during his managerial career, so at latest it was in the late 70’s. 40 years on and that sentiment holds pretty accurate bar the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons, to the dismay of Everton fans everywhere. It’s even worse when it comes to Merseyside derby results as the Toffees last won in 2010. While Liverpool was recently on the wrong end of a spectacular 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth, the Toffees take the cake when it comes to abysmal form: WLDLDL. At this point, I’m really struggling to find reasons Everton are going to win. The home advantage I suppose, but it hasn’t done them any favours in recent years. To defend Everton for a minute, they dominated the Merseyside derby back in the day*. The Merseyside derby has the status of being the most played and oldest top-flight fixture, accumulating a rich history and the best draw ever. Regardless of the final score, the Merseyside derby is always worth the watch.

*Specifically referencing the late 1800’s till early 1910’s, just before WWI.

Bayern Munich vs RasenBallsport Leipzig ( Wed 21 19:00 )

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If I told you last season that by December Hoffenheim would be unbeaten and in a champions league spot, Wolfsburg will be one point off relegation and RB Leipzig are going to be table toppers for the majority of the season, you would 1. Ask me why I’m spouting Bundesliga facts completely unprompted, then 2. Tell me I was crazy. Yet, that is the current state of Bundesliga. Leipzig finally lost a game after 13 matches to Ingolstadt of all teams and are now level on points with Bayern Munich. The home side is on track after their hiccup against Dortmund, most recently smashing Wolfsburg 5-0 with a collection of long range goals. As well as the home advantage, Bayern has recovered the majority of their injured players, only Coman out till the end of the year. Leipzig plays aggressively counterattacking, with the most goals scored from counter attacks (7) in the league and shoot the greatest percentage of shots within the box. No better way to end the year with the two best teams in the league looking to retain the 1st place.

Monaco vs Caen ( Wed 21 19:50 )

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4-0, 5-0, 1-1, 4-0, 3-0, 6-0. Monaco’s recent results encapsulate why you should watch this game. In terms of goals, no one is close. Monaco is currently at 53 in 17 games (3.12 per game) and the only teams near are Feyenoord with 44 (2.75 per game) and Real Madrid with 40 (2.67). I mean who doesn’t like goals? On top of that Caen’s form (or lack thereof) makes it even more likely to end up high scoring. As I type, Caen has the third-worst defence in the league with 30 goals conceded so far while trying to climb out of the relegation zone. Just sit back and watch the goals roll in*.

*I hope I haven’t jinxed it.

Dinamo Bucharesti vs Steaua Bucharesti ( Thu 22 18:30 )

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Most league teams are funded by investors. Most teams. These two teams were funded by governments, Romania’s to be exact. With the backing of the government, you can have almost any player you want within reason. So that’s exactly what happened, George Hagi being the most famous Romanian footballer was taken from Sportul Studențesc by force without compensation by Steaua. To add a bit of context, all of this took place in Communist Romania in the 1940’s where referees were assumed to be corrupt, match fixing was the norm and governments weren’t as friendly. Under those circumstances, it just so happened the only two government run teams* were untouchable, amassing a collective 91 trophies in 68 years. In 1989 when the Romanian revolution lead overthrowing the communist government and executing grade-A twat dictator and Steaua owner Nicolae Ceaușescu on Christmas day (Merry Christmas everyone). Since then the Bucharest derby (also known as the Eternal derby) has remained just as heated. If I were to describe it, it’s a somehow-9-seconds-after-kick-off-you’ve-already-conceded-a-penalty-well-played type derby. You know.

*Dinamo was run by the secret service while Steaua was run by the army.

Other Mentions: 

Inter vs Lazio ( Wed 21 19:45 )

Fiorentina vs Napoli ( Thu 22 19:45 ) 

Juventus vs AC Milan ( Fri 23 16:30 )

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

Scouting for Fixtures: Apr 18 – Apr 24

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.

Described by the BBC as ‘a sea of colourful flowing banners, screams and roars, chanting, dancing and never-ending fireworks’, sounds alright.

  1. FC Dallas vs Sporting Kansas ( Mon 18 00:00 )

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Blink and you’ll miss it. The phrase ‘first thing in the morning’ has never been more literal (for anyone who lives in the UK) as we see the top 2 in the MLS play in one of the high profile games of the season. Both conferences combined, these two stand above the rest in their rankings and performances. Dallas are the pack leaders with 14 points in 7 games and sit in 1st. Closely behind in 2nd follow Sporting Kansas with 12 points and a mean streak, seeing 3 red cards already. Dallas may have only lost one game so far, but the 5-0 thrashing they took from Houston is an embarrassing display of all the faults, still unresolved in their backline, epitomised by one of the most moronic own goal I’ve seen in a long time. This fixture in particular has a knack for goals, having an impressive record of averaging 5.2 goals a game in 5 games. If for whatever reason you’re awake this early, then you might as well watch this thriller of a game.

 

 

4. Hertha Berlin vs Borussia Dortmund ( Wed 20 19:30 )

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A cup fixture now in Germany, the semi-finals between Hertha BSC and BVB is Dortmund’s last notable chance of silverware in a remarkable but unfruitful season. It’s an sad truth that BVB fans have to deal with; as Bayern monopolised the Bundesliga since 2011, it seems no matter how good they get they can’t dethrone the Bavarian side. Now out of Europe in a shock 4-3 loss to Liverpool, Bayern are on course for a 4th consecutive Bundesliga title, a feat never achieved in the top tier of german football, ever. 7 points adrift and 4 games remaining the likelihood of BVB overtaking FC Bayern is unlikely, but possible. For HSC, the stagnation of never ending promotion to relegation seems to have ended. Similar to that of Leicester this season, the underdogs have turned from relegation candidates to champions league candidates within 2 seasons. With Europe is still in question, this is most likely chance for Hertha to win this competition for the first time ever. Dortmund will still be hurting from the Europa League exit and will go all out to secure a cup win, and for BSC, this would be the perfect end to an already stelar season.

 

 

3. Athletic Club vs Atletico Madrid ( Wed 20 19:45 )

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More midweek action from the continent, so we head to Spain in an intriguing matchup between the Bilbao side scrambling for European spots, while Atleti need to find a solution to their unenviable problems. As it stands, As well as Atleti, Bilbao also face their two main rivals in Celta Vigo and Sevilla in the next 5 weeks in the race for Europa league. Only 4 points separate the 3 clubs and with time at a premium, every point counts. The same applies to Atletico Madrid who see themselves with the chance to win an unexpected double. Everything is going right for Simeone and his men. Last week they knocked out cup favourites Barcelona in the Champions league, compounding to what’s been a downward spiral for the Catalonian club. Barca losing 3 matches in a row, Atleti closed the gap to 3 points only and have a very real chance of winning La Liga. This is also a chance to redo the dramatic finish that ended in Atleti losing the final to their polar opposites in Real Madrid, 2 years ago. For a team to keep out MSN and Co. makes them a formidable opponent for any team, and in my eyes I can see them winning the whole thing. It’s going to be interesting to see if Simeone has put all is eggs in one basket, be it La Liga or the Champions League, or believes they can do the double. This is Bilbao’s chance to attack as the Madrid side have a heavy fixture list, as the season comes to it’s final stages.

 

 

2. Liverpool vs Everton ( Wed 20 20:00 )

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The oldest running top flight derby returns, as Everton travel a brief 0.7 miles south to face Liverpool in the 226th Merseyside derby. Having a history this long, the Merseyside has it’s collection of defining moments. Gary McAllister’s screamer,  Fowler’s risky celebration and Terry McDermott’s goal of the season being the ones that come to mind. In the current state, everything looks set up for another cracker at Anfield. Liverpool come into the big game after a resurgence and emphatic win against cup favourites, Borussia Dortmund. Real mental strength was shown by Klopp and his men, coming back from 3-1 down to win 4-3, boosting confidence and morale for the upcoming game against the Toffees. Everton though, are falling apart as Martinez tries to revive the Everton we saw in the first half of the season. This side are a shadow of their former selves, but are still capable of thrashing any team with a potent attack, personified by Lukaku. This is Everton’s chance to hit the reset button. A win against their biggest rivals could be the jumpstart needed to steady the ship, with questions of Martinez’s future looming.

 

 

5. Boca Juniors vs River Plate ( Sun 24 20:00 )

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The Superclásico returns as now we head to Buenos Aires where the Blue and Gold take on Los Milloranios. For the first time in a long time you don’t have to stay up till 1 in the morning to catch this game, as now the Sunday night fixture allows a huge crowd to witness this footballing event. The atmosphere is second to none, and being in the stadium during the derby is one only a few lucky people get to experience. As the crowd jumps up and down, the stands bounce and shake to the rhythm of the game. Described by the BBC as ‘a sea of colourful flowing banners, screams and roars, chanting, dancing and never-ending fireworks’, sounds alright. The game itself is unquestionably entertaining and the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world, encapsulated by the best 0-1 you will ever see.

 

 

Other Mentions:

Juventus vs Lazio ( Wed 20 19:45 )

Roma vs Torino ( Wed 20 19:45 )

Real Madrid vs Villarreal ( Wed 20 21:00 )

Schalke 04 vs Bayer Leverkusen ( Sat 23 17:30 )

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