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SB Nation Soccer News | August 29, 2014

What to watch this weekend in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga - August 29th

(click to expand schedule)

Premier League

Saturday August 30

07:45 ET Burnley vs. Manchester United video
10:00 ET Manchester City vs. Stoke City video
10:00 ET Newcastle United vs. Crystal Palace video
10:00 ET Queens Park Rangers vs. Sunderland video
10:00 ET Swansea City vs. West Bromwich Albion video
10:00 ET West Ham United vs. Southampton video
12:30 ET Everton vs. Chelsea video

Sunday August 31

08:30 ET Aston Villa vs. Hull City video
08:30 ET Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool video
11:00 ET Leicester City vs. Arsenal video

La Liga

Friday August 29

14:00 ET Getafe vs. Almeria video
16:00 ET Valencia vs. Malaga video

Saturday August 30

13:00 ET Athletic Bilbao vs. Malaga video
15:00 ET Córdoba vs. Celta Vigo video
15:00 ET Atlético Madrid vs. Eibar video
17:00 ET Espanyol vs. Sevilla video

Sunday August 31

13:00 ET Villarreal vs. Barcelona video
15:00 ET Deportivo La Coruña vs. Rayo Vallecano video
15:00 ET Real Sociedad vs. Real Madrid video
17:00 ET Elche vs. Granada video


Friday August 29

14:30 ET FC Augsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund video

Saturday August 30

09:30 ET Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin video
09:30 ET Hamburg SV vs. Paderborn video
09:30 ET VfB Stuttgart vs. Köln video
09:30 ET Wolfsburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt video
09:30 ET Werder Bremen vs. Hoffenheim video
12:30 ET Schalke 04 vs. Bayern Munich video

Sunday August 31

09:30 ET Mainz 05 vs. Hannover 96 video
11:30 ET Freiburg vs. Borussia Monchengladbach video

Serie A

Saturday August 30

12:00 ET Chievo vs. Juventus video
14:45 ET Roma vs. Fiorentina video

Sunday August 31

12:00 ET Atalanta vs. Hellas Verona video
12:00 ET AC Milan vs. Lazio video
14:45 ET Cesena vs. Parma video
14:45 ET Genoa vs. Napoli video
14:45 ET Palermo vs. Sampdoria video
14:45 ET Sassuolo vs. Cagliari video
14:45 ET Torino vs. Inter Milan video
14:45 ET Udinese vs. Empoli video

3 To Watch
  • Fiorentina vs. Roma

    The Premier League began two weeks ago. Last week gave us the first round in both Bundesliga and La Liga. And now, finally, Serie A has returned to the fold.

    Many dismiss Italian football, clinging to old stereotypes about it being boring, about how it is focused on defense. The people -- and the media -- parroting these statements obviously haven't tuned into a Serie A match recently. This is a league where you're much more likely to see a hilarious defensive blunder rather than a sweeper cleaning up behind a disciplined back line.

    Don't believe me? Try tuning in on Saturday, when Fiorentina visit the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma. Since 2012, when Vincenzo Montella began prowling the dugout in his snappy violet sweaters, Fiorentina have come agonizingly close to qualifying for the Champions League. Montella loves nothing more than an attacking midfielder, and he'll do his best to play them at every position. But last year, the viola actually had a couple of wonderful strikers on hand, in Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gómez.

    Naturally, both got hurt. But Fiorentina still managed to finish fourth, scoring 65 goals along the way. They've kept hold of Juan Cuadrado, Gómez is healthy, and Rossi...well, he's expected to be ready to play at some point.

    The Fiorentina attack will be looking to take advantage of a Roma side that may have been caught a bit off guard by the fact that Bayern Munich lured away their best defender, Mehdi Benatia, earlier this week. Roma had one of the best defenses in the league last season, and much of it was down to the Moroccan center back.

    But Roma were also third in the scoring charts last season, and having not lost any attackers, that's highly unlikely to change. Under Rudi Garcia, the giallorossi play aggressive football, pressing quickly toward goal and taking advantage of space their opponents give, particularly out wide. It's hard to imagine this game will end without plenty of attacks and at least one goal.

    Of course, now that I've talked this match up, it's likely to finish scoreless just to make a mockery of me.

  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool

    There are some defeats that go beyond a simple three points dropped. For example, Tottenham's nil-five home hammering at the hands (and feet) of Liverpool last December wasn't just a loss; everybody has those. Nor was it just a serious loss; everybody has those too. It was a massacre, a taking apart, a complete and total destruction. It was live on television. It was, along with a 6-0 defeat away at Manchester City, the final dismantling of everything that Andre Villas-Boas was struggling to do. Sure enough, the embattled manager lost his job shortly afterwards.

    Then there are some wins that go beyond a simple three points gained. For example, Liverpool's four-nil win over Tottenham last March wasn't just a handy home victory. Nor was it just the completion of a fairly hilarious 9-0 double over Spurs. It was the eighth win in a run of eleven, it sent the home team top of the table for the first time in 2014, and it marked the moment that the upstarts became the front-runners, a status they wouldn't concede until, well, you know when.

    So in some ways it's a shame that the rematch is happening so soon this season, since whatever happens the fallout is unlikely to be as spectacular. But it also affords us an early chance to have a look at how the two sides have changed over the summer. Tottenham, four wins from four under Mauricio Pochettino, have their first chance to demonstrate against quality opposition -- with apologies to West Ham, QPR and AEL Limassol -- that the brittleness of Villas-Boas and the chaos of Tim Sherwood have both been left behind. It will also serve as an early marker for their ability to compete against the top four/five/six/however many, which is what will ultimately define a successful season.

    Liverpool, meanwhile, have their own demonstration to make. Though Tottenham are unlikely to be as insipid this time around, equally Liverpool haven't yet clicked back into that attacking groove that made them quite such terrifying opponents. So while this is unlikely to be another installment in the shredding of the Spurs, it should still amount to fascinating encounter, and a chance to see just how much better one team is thanks to their change of manager, and how diminished the other is by their change of striker. Which brings us neatly to the following: even if you couldn't care less about the above, Mario Balotelli might make his debut. You'll want to be watching that.

  • Benfica vs. Sporting CP

    It’s not just the big four leagues that give us European football worth watching, although from the hype it sometimes seem that way. But Benfica hosting Sporting Lisbon is a huge match, and not just because it’s last year’s Portuguese champions against the runners-up. Sporting, while traditionally the country’s third power, had spent five years outside the top two, finishing fourth, third, fourth and seventh before leapfrogging Porto to claim an automatic Champions League berth last season.

    An away match — a Lisbon derby, no less — against the Primeira Liga champions is the perfect chance to make a statement that this time Sporting are here for good. It’s also a perfect chance for fans of the Champions League to get a look at a team that they might not have paid too much attention to in the past — Sporting have been drawn against Chelsea in the group stages and have a very real shot of escaping Group G, while Benfica look in for a serious scrap in Group C.

    There’s also the prospect of a rather amusing sub-plot: while not everything has to come back to Manchester United, the prospect of Benfica’s Bebe coming up against Sporting’s Nani, both formerly of Old Trafford and both the authors of some bizarre football during their time in England is too pregnant with absurd possibility to ignore.

    For those less inclined towards silliness, we’ve got some genuinely good players to watch as well. Benfica are constantly raided for talent (Ángel di Maria and David Luiz, the two biggest transfers of the summer, both graced the Estadio da Luz several years ago), but one man who’s survived each cut, for reasons that remain unknown, is Argentinian midfielder Nicolás Gaitán. More than capable of bossing a game on his own, the diminutive playmaker was one of Benfica’s key players as they claimed the title last season, and could well be on the radar for any bigger team wanting to bolster their ranks next summer. Sporting, meanwhile, boast back-from-suspension William Carvalho and SB Nation cult favourite Fredy Montero, formerly of the Seattle Sounders.

    In other words, this game has all of the ingredients to be a belter. It’ll be tightly (and ferociously) fought, it will have a say in where the shiny pots go at the end of the season, it will feature some very decent players and will also have more than a dash of the absurd. Give it a watch -- this match might be a bit of a pain to find but it will almost certainly be worth it.

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