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: Dec 05 – Dec 11

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.

Benfica vs Napoli ( Tue 06 19:45 )screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-15

Envision yourself as Benfica manager Rui Vitória. So it’s half-time, good news your side is 0-3 up away from home at Beşiktaş. ‘Great work’ and ‘keep up the pressure’ would have been the crux of the half time talk. Fast forward to the final whistle blowing and you hear a roaring crowd of Beşiktaş fans. What? Oh, wait that’s right, you’ve just let a 3 goal lead slip and drawn 3-3. Instead of securing a spot in the knockout stages of the champions league you now have to beat Napoli on the last day or pray that a struggling FC Dynamo Kyiv can contain a Beşiktaş team that just rinsed your side. While a rising list of four-letter words is bubbling in your head for what you just witnessed, an utter shambles, think of the players. Left frustrated and anxious from an indefensible performance, only intensified by the FIFA Street-Esque goals you’ve conceded. Now it’s your job to rebuild their confidence and figure out how it all fell apart. Napoli experienced a lesser version of that when they were held to a draw with Dynamo Kyiv. Due to Napoli beating Benfica already (4-2), there is no room for errors for the home side if they wish to remain in the competition, a sentiment shared by Benfica striker Guedes who believes ‘It is going to be a difficult match against Napoli, but we are counting on the fans to help us win.’ 

Lyon vs Sevilla ( Wed 07 19:45 )screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-15

Will Sevilla finally make it past the group stage or will they do what the always do? Get knocked out, into the Europa League, win the Europa league, qualify for the Champions league… Unfortunately for Lyon, winning is not enough. The home side needs to beat Sevilla by a difference of at least 2 goals if they are to qualify for the group stages. So when one team is incentivised to score as many goals as possible (because no one with any sense is going to sit back after scoring 2 in these circumstances) either: The home side will pelt shots at the goal until it ends up like this amazing/horrific scene. Or the game would be stretched by Lyon’s lopsided press, leaving gaps in the middle for either side to exploit and score multiple times. Either way, it looks like a win-win for the neutral viewer.

Real Madrid vs Dortmund ( Wed 07 19:45 )screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-15

Real Madrid is a side riddled with injuries, held by an impulsive owner described as ‘an idiot, at least it when comes to matters on the field,’ yet remain undefeated in and top of La Liga. Even more impressive being that all of this is done as the home side is deep into a brutal run of fixtures. Since Nov 19 till Dec 10 Los Blancos will play 7 matches, averaging a game every 3 days, against the likes of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. Meanwhile Real are on a 6 game winning streak. In the Bundesliga, Dortmund continues their mixed season, losing and drawing half of their games. In a situation like, it’s tempting for managers or players to not invest too much into the outcome of the game, seeing as both teams are already guaranteed qualification. In the last 10 years, only 1 team finished 2nd in the group stages and went on to win the UCL (Inter Milan 2009/10). If Dortmund keeps their top spot after going to the Bernabeu they would be the 3rd side to do draw with Real/ end Madrid’s 21-game unbeaten run.

Toronto FC vs Seatle Sounders FC ( Sun 11 01:00 )

Well, this is odd. Amidst football giants like Real Madrid and Juventus is sandwiched Toronto and Seatle. In the 20 years the MLS Cup has been running, Toronto has never won it. The same goes for Seatle Sounders. In fact, this is the first time either side has even qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs – this is THE FINAL. I’m also wondering how this happened as I almost overlooked this fixture thinking it was just another normal MLS game. Because I don’t know as much as I should about the MLS, here is what MLS Soccer had to say on these two MLS teams. If you read that link then you understand how crazy this all is. Though most of you are in GMT you should definitely check out the highlights because history will be made.

Torino vs Juventus ( Sun 11 14:00 )

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. It’s the winning formula that runs in a lot of great football rivalries like Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid, Manchester United vs Manchester City and Liverpool vs Everton. Most casual football fans not in Italy conjure up Perez’s amazing goal for Torino when thinking about the Turin Derby (also known as Derby Della Mole), but in actual fact continues to be dominated by Juventus. The Old Lady is without Dani Alves, Bonnuci, Dybala and Barzagli while floating 4 points above Roma at the top of the league. Torino is currently 7th, but form goes out the window when it comes to a derby like this.

Scouting for Fixtures: Mar 14 – Mar 20

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.

  1. Bayern Munich vs Juventus ( Wed 16 19:45 )

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Another late goal by an unlikely Stefano Sturaro, with the prolific goal-scoring record of 1 per 20 games (eat your heart out Shearer), sends the old lady with a slither of hope into the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night.Bayern dominated the first leg from the word go, and on paper all sign’s point to a repeat of that. But, and a big but, the recent form of the Bavarian giants suggests anything but an easy 90 minutes ahead for the German side. Granted Dortmund is a hard side to breakdown, but losing to Mainz at home? Simply put for a club of this stature, with no disrespect to Mainz, it’s nothing short of shameful. Juve however are still chugging along with their unbeaten record. However looking at how poor they were against Bayern for the first hour, one begins to question if Juve are as good as they seem, or the overall lack of quality in Serie A exacerbates how dominant the side actually are. Regardless, the inevitability of Bayern scoring means Juve’s best chance of progressing is a straight win. That means Juve have to come up with something special but will give it their all to outscore the German giants in their own backyard.

 

 

 

2. Everton vs Arsenal ( Sat 19 12:45 )

everton-v-arsenal-premier-leagueBoth teams play very fluid neat football, and goals come easy for them, but the failure to finish games off is why neither club are where they want to be in the league table. Everton come into the fixture after a disappointing 2-3 loss against a West Ham side shooting up the table, but a stupid red card from Kevin Mirallas gave the incentive for the Hammers come run away with it after a comfortable 2-0 lead. The Gunners too continue to oscillate between blowing teams away and bottling it as they’ve always done, but yet, somehow, Arsenal still remain in touching distance of Leicester. More than any other match, this one looks to have goals written all over it; a necessary win for both teams can boost their confidence coming into the final weeks, and shoddy defences mixed with proven attacking line-ups points to a high scoring game at Goodison Park.

 

 

 

3. Newcastle United vs Sunderland ( Sun 20 13:30 )

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The Tyne-Wear derby returns and the two relegation candidates play arguably their most important game this weekend. You’s really got to feel sorry for these Newcastle supporters. As the new Newcastle man once said ‘lez taulk abouuo fats’. £80 million spent and what does McClaren have to show for it? 19th place and a pompous money-grabbing fiend of a chairman, leave Newcastle in the most hopeless chance of staying up in years. And then, McClaren leaves with millions in his pocket for the stellar job he did. That’s a passive burglary. Sunderland to be fair are only 1 point ahead and sit 17th place, playing just as awful football as their neighbours and the whole Johnson situation can only bring more tension to a club fighting to stay up.Sunderland do have one thing on their side. Stats. Having won their last 6 against Newcastle they are odds on, but Benitez could be the difference in turning that dreadful form around. The only manager in history to win every European competition now goes to Newcastle to pull them out of a relegation dogfight (on a side note is Benitez actively trying to ruin his career), that takes balls. On the other side of the coin no manager has ever taken over a relegation side at March and ever kept them up. But if they take Sunderland down with them they’d be doing English football a big favour (no offence Sunderland, you just play awful football).

 

 

 

5. Torino vs Juventus ( Sun 20 14:00 )

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We’ve been waiting for over a year but finally the Derby della Mole returns. Like most great football derbies, the rivalry runs much deeper than simple geography. Turin was born from the melting pot of Juventus’ early years and both play stylish attacking football in their own way (on a side note they also have the most stylish kits around). Each match is an event where the whole city stops to spectate, as you know it’ll always make headlines the next day. Last year Juventus dominated the derby, crushing Torino 4-0, the year before Bruno Perez scored that wonder goal where he skinned 2/3 of the Juventus team. Go back one year further, Torino ground out their first win in 20 years. For a small city in Italy, Turin always seemed to small to house two big footballing clubs. Unfortunately riots are also on the papers days leading up to and after the fixture, but the city have made their best efforts to stub out those incidents while maintaining a fiery atmosphere during the game. Emotions run high for the players and are fuelled by the fans rousing pride for the respective sides. The Turin derby always gives something for the fans and while Juve may look vastly superior, these kinds of games are capable of humbling even the giants of football.

 

 

 

6. PSV Eindhoven vs Ajax ( Sun 20 15:45 )

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This game will be crucial in deciding which of these two clubs will lift this year’s Eredivisie trophy. The famous big 3 in Netherlands seem to have lost one of their members, with Feyenoord falling down the table without hope of recovering, leaving PSV and Ajax to fight for the title. Both come into the fixture with near perfect form and are playing like they run this league. Supreme in confidence, both teams are never fazed with resolute teams; it looks like the team of the season will be comprised mostly of players from PSV or Ajax. The game itself is usually anticipated by everyone in Netherlands, gifted by fierce tackles, fantastic goals, slick passing moves and unrivalled drama from anywhere else in the country, nothing short of spectacular. The top 2 are separated by 1 point, 19 points from the next closest challenger; the stakes have never been higher.

 

 

 

4. Manchester City vs Manchester United ( Sun 20 16:00 )

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The most expensive derby in the world returns with an expected value of £382 million on that football field at the Etihad. Or should it be called the most overpriced derby in the world? Man Utd are sliding down to 6th, and have serious pressing issues throughout the club. The injuries continue to rack up and it’s past a joke now, most of which come from training. The style of play and lack of motivation is the most frustrating aspect of this years campaign. What is happening when 11 Man Utd players can’t be motivated enough against Liverpool? It’s unacceptable is what it is, unacceptable and humiliating as a supporter. Looking over to the blue side, while they are structurally sound as a club, there’s still a plethora of issues Pep will have to sort out. There is absolutely no reason, none whatsoever, that this side shouldn’t be cruising through this league. Aguero, Silva, Yaya Toure, Kompany, Hart, you won’t find a much better spine anywhere in the world, but still produce football that can only be described as stale and uninventive for the most part. So, as we can see, both teams are far from complete. Like Everton vs Arsenal this game looks like goals will flood in, two dire defences don’t look like recovering in time but City look the ones more likely to punish the other sides defensive ineptitudes.

 

 

Other Mentions:

Arsenal vs Barcelona ( Wed 16 19:45 )

Schalke 04 vs Borussia M. Gladbach ( Fri 18 19:30 )

Chelsea vs West Ham ( Sat 19 15:00 )

 

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