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Top games to watch on Feb. 12-18, 2021

Barcelona vs PSG, Man City vs Tottenham headline top live games to watch on February 12-18, 2021

February 11, 2021 By Ali M.
Man City vs Tottenham, Leicester vs Liverpool, Napoli vs Juventus, Barcelona vs PSG, RB Leipzig vs Liverpool, and Benfica vs Arsenal are just a few of the must-watch games scheduled for this week.

What are the must-watch games this week?

Napoli vs Juventus this Saturday at 12 p.m. ET live on Fanatiz USA, ESPN+, and Rai Italia Nord America

Juventus have been on a roll since the turn of the year, winning the Supercoppa Italiana, reaching the Coppa Italia final, and climbing up to third in the Serie A table over the past six weeks. However, the Bianconeri will face a tough test this weekend, visiting sixth-placed Napoli in the league. Cristiano and Co. won six matches in a row prior to their goalless draw with Inter in the 2nd leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal clash and will be looking to add Gli Azzurri to their list of victims. Gattuso's men, on the other hand, will be out for revenge, having lost the Italian Super Cup 2-0 to the Old Lady. Who'll win this box-office Italian top-flight showdown? Tune in to find out.

Man City vs Tottenham this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET live on NBC Sports, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, UNIVERSO, and SiriusXM FC

This Saturday will see Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, two of the most iconic managers in the game, go head-to-head in a highly-anticipated Premier League clash. Man City will welcome Tottenham to the Etihad Stadium having taken a crucial lead in their title bid, recently beating Liverpool 4-1 at Anfield to move 10 points clear of the defending champions. Furthermore, Man United's 3-3 draw at home to Everton last weekend means Sterling and Co. now boast a five-point lead at the top. Will the Special One end City's ruthless winning streak? The last time his Spurs side met the Citizens, the north London outfit came away with all three points. Form doesn't favor the visitors, but with a top-four finish at stake, expect Kane and Co. to give the league leaders a run for their money.

Can Spurs stop City's record-breaking 15-game winning streak?

Manchester City, Tottenham, Broadcast Listings, English Premier League

Barcelona vs PSG this Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET live on CBS All Access, TUDN, Univision, and ZonaFutbol

The 2020/21 UEFA Champions League round of 16 kicks off this Tuesday with two mouthwatering ties. Liverpool will lock horns with exciting Bundesliga side RB Leipzig at the Puskas Arena, which should be an interesting tie. However, all eyes will be on the other fixture and that is Barcelona vs PSG. The Blaugrana will play hosts to the Ligue 1 champions for the first time since their historic 6-5 "La Remontada" triumph back in 2017. Furthermore, this will be the first time Neymar steps foot at the Camp Nou since his infamous move to Paris. Will the Brazilian inspire Les Parisiens to victory over his former club or will Messi and Co. march to a precious first-leg lead? Do not miss this clash.

Will PSG add to Barcelona's misery this season and beat them at Camp Nou?

Barcelona, PSG, Broadcast Listings, UEFA Champions League

Benfica vs Arsenal this Thursday at 3 p.m. live on CBS All Access, TUDN, Univision NOW, and UniMás

Just like the Champions League, the UEFA Europa League will resume action this midweek, with the much-awaited round of 32 getting underway this Thursday. Several interesting fixtures will take place in this stage, with Serie A leaders AC Milan taking on Crvena Zvezda, EPL giants Man United facing Real Sociedad, and Tottenham locking horns with Wolfsberger. However, the standout fixture is undoubtedly Benfica vs Arsenal. With the Eagles in danger of missing out on UCL qualification and the Gunners being all but out of the top-four race in England, the UEL could be the only route into UEFA's premier club competition for both teams. As a result, progression is a must. The north London giants enjoyed a seven-match unbeaten run in the Premier League from Boxing Day onward but have since lost back-to-back matches. Arteta's men must beat the Portuguese giants or risk plunging into another crisis.

Biggest stories of the week

Study: Man City, Man Utd, and Barcelona boast worst negative transfer balances since 2016

Making wise decisions when it comes to hiring players from other teams has turned into an art some clubs have failed to master. Sadly for their fans, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Barcelona have mastered the art of spending cash without getting some of it in return.

A report by the CIES Football Observatory has revealed that, since 2016, these teams have a negative transfer balance that surpasses the €500M barrier. The Citizens have spent a bit over €1B in that department, while their transfer income only adds up to €375M,  leaving Guardiola's team with a negative balance of €631M (around $764M). Manchester United have spent over €832M in transfers, while they have only seen €246M of those in return, giving the team a negative balance of €586M (around $709M). As for Barcelona, Los culés have spent more money than any other European team (€1,171M), but unlike both English clubs, they have managed to sell players for over €700M. Those numbers translate to a negative balance of €471M (over $570M).

No clubs have made more losses in the transfer window since 2016 than Man City, Man Utd, and Barca

Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, CIES Football Observatory

Pep Guardiola secures 200th win as Man City manager 

Pep Guardiola oversaw his 200th win as the manager of Manchester City when his side traveled to Swansea for Wednesday night's FA Cup clash. In what was the 50-year-old Spanish manager's 268th game in charge, his men secured a 3-1 win over the Championship club to progress to the quarterfinals of the competition. 

Goals by Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, and Gabriel Jesus secured progression for the Citizens before Morgan Whittaker scored a Swansea consolation. With the night's result, the Etihad outfit took their consecutive wins count to 15, breaking the record for the longest win run by an English top-flight club in all competitions that was previously held by Preston.

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Swansea, 200 win, FA Cup

Man City set to begin talks with Messi next month

Rumors linking Man City with a move for Lionel Messi have died down recently, but that does not mean interest in the Argentine has cooled off. In fact, the Premier League giants reportedly remain keen on landing the Barcelona legend and are ready to begin talks with him as early as next month.

PSG, who are heavily interested in the Argentine, have been making noise in their pursuit of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner. Neymar, Di Maria, Verratti, Pochettino, and sporting director Leonardo have all spoken openly about Leo. However, one source claims that the Citizens have adopted the right approach by keeping things private and out of the headlines, saying: "PSG are making a mistake with the strategy they're using. Leo doesn't like all that noise in the media and even less the type of comments [which have been made]."

PSG and Man City are fighting to lure Messi away from Barca

Lionel Messi, Transfer, PSG, Manchester City, Barceelona, La Liga

Record-setting Schalke attacker hopeful of avoiding the drop ahead of Union Berlin clash

It's safe to say that many Bundesliga followers hadn't really heard of a striker named Matthew Hoppe - at least, not until last month. On January 9th, Schalke, who have been languishing at the bottom of the table since the start of the season, surprised fans and neutrals alike with a 4-0 home win over Hoffenheim. This came a week after they lost 3-0 to Hertha Berlin, and was notable because it marked their first home win of the season.

Unfortunately, that so far also happens to be Schalke's only win in a miserable campaign that has seen them ship a whopping 52 goals and scored just 15 times. However, despite their frustrations, there has been one positive shining light for die Konigsblauen: Matthew Hoppe. During their 4-0 win over Hoffenheim, the 19-year-old scored three of Schalke's four goals. Not only was this his first-ever hat-trick but also this makes him the first American to score a hat-trick in Germany's top flight. Since then, Hoppe has scored five goals in total, which not only makes him his team's top goal-scorer but also means that the Californian native has netted one-third of Schalke's 15 goals this season.

Schalke, who have picked up a miserable eight points so far, sit five points behind 17th-placed Mainz, and more worryingly, nine behind 15th-placed Hertha Berlin. Yet despite this, the youngster undoubtedly still has hope that his team can turn things around, but this will obviously be much easier said than done. Their first task will be to pick up all three points this Saturday against a Union Berlin side who have been in a slump lately, and Hoppe will certainly look to be a catalyst as they begin their arduous climb up the table.

Matthew Hope - another USA starlet setting records in Europe

Matthew Hope, Schalke, Bundesliga, USMNT

This Week in Women's Football

In this edition of "This Week in Women's Football", we will be touching base on the FA Women's Super League, the Spanish Copa de la Reina de Futbol Final, and some Division 1 Feminine drama regarding Paris Saint-Germain and USWNT defender Alana Cook.

FA WSL - Manchester Derby on Friday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. ET

The Manchester Derby in the women's game has never been more meaningful than the upcoming one on Friday. With Chelsea defeating Arsenal 3-0 on Wednesday, both teams will have their eyes set on edging closer to the first position held by the Blues.

Manchester United will arrive at Academy Stadium in second place with 32 points after 14 games, three points behind Chelsea who now have 35. On the other hand, Manchester City have a chance to overtake its cross-town rivals with a win as they head into the game with 30 points after 13 matches. A win is eminent to stay in the race for the title and a draw would just see both clubs lag in their efforts to catch Chelsea. 

Copa de la Reina de Futbol Final - Barcelona vs. Logroño on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 11:30 a.m. ET

ESPN+ will stream the Spanish Copa de la Reina de Futbol Final between Barcelona and Logroño on Saturday. Current Liga Iberdrola leaders Barcelona will look for its seventh title to become the winningest team in tournament history as it is tied with Espanyol and Levante (6 titles). On the other hand, Escuelas de Futbol de Logroño, who are currently near the bottom of the Liga Iberdrola table, are looking for their first-ever Copa de la Reina win. Logroño defeated Espanyol in the round of 16, Real Betis in the quarterfinals, and Athletic Club in the semifinals to reach the ultimate stage. The final will take place at the Estadio La Rosaleda in Malaga.

Division 1 Feminine - Alana Cook, PSG, and USWNT 

Division 1 Feminine current leaders Paris Saint-Germain exercised their right to deny the release of defender Alana Cook, who made USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski's 23-player roster for the SheBelieves Cup, due to the mandatory seven-day quarantine that would be required upon her re-entry to France. As a result, she will not be representing the U.S. at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. Chicago Red Stars defender Casey Krueger (formerly Short) replaced Cook on the USWNT roster for the tournament. USWNT fans were left disappointed when they learned that the 23-year-old would stay in France to help PSG in its efforts to win its first league title. 

Key headlines from the world of football

Klopp's mother passes away at the age of 81

Jurgen Klopp has sadly lost his mother, Elisabeth Klopp. She passed away at the age of 81, with the Liverpool boss being unable to attend her funeral in Germany due to COVID-19 restrictions. The former Dortmund tactician paid tribute to his mother, saying: "She meant everything to me. She was a proper mum in the best sense of the word."

RB Leipzig vs Liverpool, Real Sociedad vs Man Utd, and the other European games moved to neutral venues

All but one of the European away games involving Premier League clubs have been moved to neutral venues. This is due to COVID-19 restrictions, with the likes of Germany, Spain, and Portugal suspending travel from the UK. As a result, RB Leipzig vs Liverpool, Borussia M'gladbach vs Man City, Atletico vs Chelsea, Real Sociedad vs Man Utd, and Benfica vs Arsenal had to be rearranged. Here are the venues for the aforementioned fixtures.

  • Atletico vs. Chelsea: Bucharest, Romania 

  • Benfica vs. Arsenal: Athens, Greece 

  • Arsenal vs. Benfica: Rome, Italy 

  • Borussia M'gladbach vs Man City: Budapest, Hungary 

  • RB Leipzig vs Liverpool: Budapest, Hungary 

  • Real Sociedad vs Man Utd: Turin, Italy

Real Madrid open to selling Varane this season

Real Madrid are reportedly willing to sell Raphael Varane this summer, with the French center-back entering the final year of his contract. The 2018 World Cup winner has not agreed a new deal and could leave in the summer of 2022 for nothing. Los Blancos expect interest from the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd, and PSG.

Top games to watch this week

Friday, February 12

Manchester City vs Manchester United (FA Women's Super League)

Saturday, February 13

Leicester vs Liverpool (EPL)

PSG vs Nice (Ligue 1)

Barcelona vs. Logroño (Copa de la Reina de Futbol Final)

Napoli vs Juventus (Serie A)

Manchester City vs Tottenham (EPL)

Spezia vs AC Milan (Serie A)

Barcelona vs Alavés (La Liga)

Porto vs Boavista (Primeira Liga)

Olympique Lyonnais vs Montpellier (Ligue 1)

América vs Querétaro (Liga MX)

Sunday, February 14

Roma vs Udinese (Serie A)

West Brom vs Manchester United (EPL)

Real Madrid vs Valencia (La Liga)

Lille vs Brest (Ligue 1)

Arsenal vs Leeds (EPL)

Inter Milan vs Lazio (Serie A)

Moreirense vs Benfica (Primeira Liga)

Santos Laguna vs Monterrey (Liga MX)

Monday, February 15

Bayern Munich vs Arminia Arminia Bielefeld (Bundesliga)

Chelsea vs Newcastle (EPL)

Sporting CP vs Pacos de Ferreira (Primeira Liga)

Tuesday, February 16

Barcelona vs PSG (UEFA Champions League)

RB Leipzig vs Liverpool (UEFA Champions League)

Wednesday, February 17

Levante vs Atlético (La Liga)

Porto vs Juventus (UEFA Champions League)

Sevilla vs Dortmund (UEFA Champions League)

Everton vs Man City (EPL)

Tigres UANL vs Cruz Azul (Liga MX)

Thursday, February 18

Crvena Zvezda vs Milan (UEFA Europa League)

Sporting Braga vs Roma (UEFA Europa League)

Real Sociedad vs Manchester United (UEFA Europa League)

Wolfsberger vs Spurs (UEFA Europa League)

Lille vs Ajax (UEFA Europa League)

Benfica vs Arsenal (UEFA Europa League)

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