The weekend – when 10 to Track gets serious on the league action. The most important matches of the weekend await us, newish American soccer fans! Let’s finish 2017 strong, and even with a nostalgia-link at the end.
Liverpool vs. Leicester City – English Premier League
The EPL sends four teams to Champions League next season. The two Manchester clubs and Chelsea are going to be there. The most serious question regards that fourth slot. Liverpool hold it now, but Burnley and accursed Tottenham are breathing down their necks.
Leicester, meanwhile, sits in 8th. And a they’re a far cry from 7th, the lowest position in the table that might get a Europa League berth. They haven’t won in their last three league matches. The home draw against Man Utd. was solid enough, but the preceding loss to Crystal Palace was putrid.
RESULT: Liverpool 2-1 They remain in 4th and 8th. Liverpool gets some breathing room from Tottenham though.
B. Bristol City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers – English Championship League
Since scouting this game a few days ago, Bristol have moved up from 4th into a tie for 2nd. Since Wolverhampton are dominantly in 1st place, we’re treated to the sweetest of matchups!
The top two from ECL are automatically promoted to Premier League at season’s end. Wolverhampton’s built themselves a nice cushion in the table. They score more and give up fewer goals than all other league teams. Meanwhile, Bristol’s in a dogfight for that second slot.
RESULT: Wolverhampton 1-2
Hold on, is Billy Zane at least still doing the Georgia Gold commercials?
Inter Milan vs. Lazio – Serie A
Things are tight at the top of this league’s standings. Lazio still holds the top spot, having lost only once all season.
3rd-place Inter’s lost their last two league matches, plus their Coppa match to AC Milan. If “the Big Grass Snake” want to stay in the top four and qualify for Champions League next year, they’ve got to start finding the back of the net again.
Celtic vs. Rangers – Scottish Premiership
Celtic are doing Celtic things again this year. Score the most, give up the fewest goals. One loss. Eight-point lead in the table. Even with the second-best offense in the league, this may not be close for 3rd-place Rangers.
I re-watched your entire series two years ago! Doesn’t that earn Noob some pants-leeway?
Motagua vs. Real España – Honduras National League
The Apertura Final! Real topped Motagua 2-0 in the first leg of this postseason championship tournament. These teams were 2nd and 4th in the league regular season, but nearly identical statistically. Two goals are a big deficit to overcome in this setting, even at home.
RESULT: 2-1 (aet) But Real España is the champion! After 90 minutes, it was Motagua 2-0. Since that only tied the score on aggregate, they played extra time, where Real scored the only goal.
Caldas vs. Académica – Portugal FA Cup
This is the last match in the Round of 16 for the Taça de Liga. And we get treated to a Minnow Watch!
Caldas is a middling team from third-tier Campeonato de Portugal. They’re matched up against a very successful second-tier side in Académica. Should Caldas win, a Campeonato team will be guaranteed to make the Semifinals. Fellow league side Farense will get the winner of this match in the Quarters.
RESULT: Caldas 1-1 / 4-2 pk
All those tiny little castles. Looks like a Lego set.
Feirense vs. Oliveirense – Portugal League Cup
This is not the same event as above. This, the Taça de Liga, only includes teams from the top two leagues in the nation. Only the top team from each Group of four in this event will advance.
LigaPro (second-tier) Oliveirense are tied for 1st in their Group, but they hold the goal differential-tiebreaker. Win and they’re probably in the Semis. Stunning, given that they’re having an awful year in their league. The Primera hosts here need to win big and get some help from another match result.
RESULT: 2-2 And so Oliveirense advance!
Al Ahly vs. Atletico Madrid – international friendly
Egyptian and Spanish giants face off in a charity match, with the proceeds going to the families of Egyptians killed by terrorist acts. It’s hard to imagine either team using starters for very long, but “peace against terrorism” as a theme makes this a worthwhile Track for Noob.
RESULT: Ateltico 2-3
…for the cause of peace against terrorism.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal – English Premier League
Arsenal is all the way up to a tie for 5th after a poor start to the season, haven’t lost since 12/2. But only the top four will get into next season’s Champions League.
West Brom have as few losses as 10th-place Watford, yet are in 19th. Soooo many draws. They have trouble scoring, but hosting makes this intriguing. Arsenal don’t play nearly the defense as other clubs near the top of the table.
Grenades vs. Parham – Antigua and Barbuda Premier
3rd hosts 2nd place in a paradise. Here’s what you need to know about Parham FC. Ah, sweet revisiting of a classic D-Twosday Interview.
RESULT: Parham 0-1