Griezmann Returns to Madrid, Ljungberg Takes Over at Arsenal and All The Football Action This Weekend

epa07600493 Bologna’s Rodrigo Palacio (L) and Napoli’s Kevin Malcuit in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Bologna FC and SSC Napoli at the Renato Dall’Ara stadium in Bologna, Italy, 25 May 2019. EPA/GIORGIO BENVENUTI

The race for the La Liga title heats up as Barcelona travels to the capital to face Diego Simone’s Atletico this Sunday. Atletico will be determined to end the recent domination Barca has enjoyed over them, with the Catalonia side unbeaten in their last eight matches against the Rojiblancos in all competitions. Sunday’s encounter will see Antoine Griezmann return to Atletico for the first time since his summer move to Barca and should expect a hostile reception during the game kick-off. Barcelona claimed a 2-0 win, thanks to goals from forwards Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi the last time they met back in April, and a repeat result would be a major blow to manager Diego Simeone’s hopes of closing returning the La Liga trophy to Los Rojiblancos. This game will be live on SuperSports on DStv and GOtv. 

Real Madrid hopes to end the weekend in top spot when they travel to face 13th place Depotivo Alaves. Los Blancos endured a frustrating game against PSG in the Champions League, with the Paris side coming back from 2 goals to draw at the Santiago Bernabeu. Zinedine Zidane hopes to inspire his players to what is expected to be a routine win, and secure top spot should Barcelona fail to win at Atletico. 

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Another exciting game in the La Liga Santander this weekend is Valencia vs Villarreal. Valencia, fresh from the Champions league comeback against Chelsea, seeks to secure 3 points when they welcome the yellow submarines to the Mestalla. Villarreal will bank on the attacking powers of Karl Toko Ekambi and Samuel Chukwueze when they visit Valencia. With just 2 points separating the teams, this is one match you don’t want to miss this weekend.

In the Premier League, Newcastle United will welcome champions Manchester City to St James Park. The Magpies famously defeated Pep Guardiola’s team at the same venue when they last met in January 2019, and a repeat of the result would be a significant fillip for coach Steve Bruce, who has so far done a credible job in replacing predecessor Rafael Benitez. City will be out for blood as they seek to close the gap on runaway leaders Liverpool who welcomes Brighton&Hove Albion to Anfield. Later in the day, Chelsea will face West Ham, in another London Derby. The Hammers are 17th on the log and is in dire need of a win after series of uninspiring performance in the Premier League this season. Frank Lampard will be in desperation to get back to winning ways. With just one loss in the last seven games, Chelsea is confident of a victory against their London rivals. This match will be shown on SuperSports 8 on DStv. 

On Sunday, Freddie Ljungberg hopes to begin his reign as interim manager with a win over 18th place Norwich City. On Friday, Arsenal parted ways with former Unai Emery after a series of disappointing results and will hope to begin a new chapter with an empathic win on Sunday. 

In the Serie A this weekend, the ‘big guns’ are all in action on Sunday afternoon, starting with defending champions Juventus welcoming Sassuolo to the Allianz Stadium in Turin for an early afternoon clash. The Bianconeri have racked up seven straight wins over the Neroverdi, and manager Maurizio Sarri will hope to see his team continue in that vein. After securing a round of 16 qualifications in the Champions League on Wednesday, Juventus will now focus on tightening their grip on top spot in the Serie A. 

Antonio Conte’s Inter will welcome 19th place SPAL to the San Siro in Milan on Sunday afternoon, knowing that a win over the Biancazzurri will put more pressure on leaders Juventus. The Nerazzurri hopes that striker Romelu Lukaku continues the fine scoring form he has shown for club and country this season, with Antonio Conte’s side establishing themselves as the team most likely to dethrone Juve, and end the Turin club’s long domination of Serie A. DStv and GOtv subscribers will finish off their Italian treat for the week with a Monday night game between Cagliari and Sampdoria. The Sardinian hosts have been the surprise package of the 2019/20 Serie A season, inspired by manager Rolando Maran and the attacking energy of Argentines Lucas Castro and Giovanni Simeone (the son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone).

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