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Top games to watch on Jan. 20-26, 2023

Liverpool vs Chelsea, Arsenal vs Man Utd headline the top live games to watch on January 20-26, 2023

January 20, 2023 By Ali M.
RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich, Liverpool vs Chelsea, Arsenal vs Manchester United, Juventus vs Atalanta, and Athletic Club vs Real Madrid headline our list of must-watch games.

Top games to watch this week

Friday, January 20

RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)

Mallorca vs Celta de Vigo (La Liga)

Olympique Marseille vs Rennes (Coupe de France)

Sporting CP vs Vizela (Primeira Liga)

Tijuana vs Tigres UANL (Liga MX)

Saturday, January 21

Liverpool vs Chelsea (English Premier League)

West Ham vs Everton (English Premier League)

Salernitana vs Napoli (Serie A)

Atlético Madrid vs Real Valladolid (La Liga)

Santa Clara vs Benfica (Primeira Liga)

Vitoria Guimaraes vs Porto (Primeira Liga)

Sunday, January 22

Manchester City vs Wolves (English Premier League)

Arsenal vs Manchester United (English Premier League)

Barcelona vs Getafe (La Liga)

Athletic Club vs Real Madrid (La Liga)

Juventus vs Atalanta (Serie A)

Feyenoord vs Ajax (Eredivisie)

Monday, January 23

Fulham vs Tottenham (English Premier League)

Valencia vs Almería (La Liga)

Inter vs Empoli (Serie A)

Pays de Cassel vs PSG (Coupe de France)

Tuesday, January 24

Southampton vs Newcastle United (League Cup)

Lazio vs Milan (Serie A)

Bayern Munich vs Köln (Bundesliga)

Arouca vs Sporting CP (Taca da Liga)

Wednesday, January 25

Nottingham vs Manchester United (Carabao Cup semifinal)

Mainz vs Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)

Werder Bremen vs Union Berlin (Bundesliga)

Freiburg vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)

Thursday, January 26

Atlas vs Santos Laguna (Liga MX)

Pacos de Ferreira vs Benfica (Primeira Liga)

Most watched games in the USA: January 9-15, 2023

The ongoing year has started with a bang in terms of football games, and the battle held by all TV networks to keep fans glued to their seats is as heated as ever.

There have been some interesting developments when it comes to broadcast decisions made by American networks. One of those has seen TelevisaUnivisión making the call to air Liga MX matches on Univisión and TUDN, which has helped them rack up better audience numbers. That bet has paid off, as the most-watched game of the week was the clash between Toluca and América, which gave Univisión the top spot for the second week in a row.

The runner-up spot this time went to a Premier League match. Brentford and Bournemouth played on Saturday and saw the Bees claiming a two-nil win. The game was watched by over 650,000 average viewers, giving NBC some good news during the first month of the year.

Most Watched Games, USA, January 9-15, Bournemouth, Brentford, Toluca, Club America, Cruz Azul, Monterrey, English Premier League, Liga MX

What are this week's must-watch games?

RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich live this Friday at 2:30 p..m. ET on ESPN+, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes

The Bundesliga is finally back! For the first time since mid-November, there will be games in the German top flight, with none other than current league leaders and defending champions Bayern Munich ushering in the action. Nagelsmann's crew get things back underway with an interesting trip to RB Leipzig as Mane and Co. look to continue their six-game winning streak. The hosts, meanwhile, are third in the table and can move within three points of the league leaders with a victory on Friday. Die Roten Bullen have won their last four Bundesliga outings but triumphing over Bayern Munich will be a tough feat. Don't miss this clash.

RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich, Bundesliga,. Broadcast Listings

Liverpool vs Chelsea live this Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET exclusively on Peacock

The first of two Premier League games to make our list is Liverpool vs Chelsea as two struggling English giants look to pick up a crucial win this weekend. The Reds enter this tie after losing back-to-back games in the league, going 3-1 down against Brentford before being thrashed 3-0 at Brighton. They won their most recent fixture, an FA Cup replay against Wolves, but will need to improve for Saturday's showdown. The Blues, on the other hand, triumphed over Crystal Palace last weekend but were uninspiring once again. This tie is interesting as it could see new signing Mykhaylo Mudryk make his debut as Potter's men look to mount a late charge for a top-four spot. This is a must-watch game!

Liverpool, Chelsea, English Premier League, Broadcast Listings 

Arsenal vs Manchester United live this Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBC, Peacock, Telemundo, and Telemundo Deportes En Vivo

The final and most important game on our list is Sunday's battle between Arsenal and Manchester United, two unexpected challengers for the Premier League title this season. The Gunners host their bitter rivals following their impressive 2-0 North London Derby victory as they look to maintain their healthy lead over second-placed Manchester City, which has now been slashed to five points. The Red Devils, on the other hand, recently drew 1-1 away to Crystal Palace and have lost Casemiro to suspension. However, Ten Hag's side are the only team to beat Arteta's team in the top flight this season and will look to replicate this at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal, Manchester United, English Premier League, Broadcast Listings 

Biggest stories of the week

Shakhtar CEO reveals exactly how Chelsea hijacked Arsenal's move for Mykhailo Mudryk

The dust has settled on the Mykhailo Mudryk soap opera but many fans are still left wondering how, in a matter of a few hours, Chelsea managed to enter the race for the Ukrainian and steal him away from rivals Arsenal.

For months, the Ukrainian sensation had been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium. In fact, the player even publicly flirted with the idea of joining the Gunners both in interviews and through several social media posts.

The Premier League leaders, who are flying high in the title race but in desperate need of attacking reinforcement if they are to sustain this till the end of the season, even made three bids for the winger.

The first two were rejected but the third was close to Shakhtar's asking price, with Arsenal offering €70M ($76M) upfront plus an additional €30M in add-ons. At this point, no other club was in for the 22-year-old and while there were still doubts regarding the structure of the deal, the Premier League side all but met his employers' €100M demand, and thus an agreement was expected to be reached.

However, on Saturday, Fabrizio Romano broke a story that would eventually change the course of this deal. Chelsea, who had been linked with interest previously, traveled to Poland to hijack this deal and bring the Ukrainian to Stamford Bridge following injuries to Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling.

And within hours, the Blues reached an agreement with Shakhtar. Soon afterward, the player was convinced to join Potter's side and got on a plane for London that same day. Come Sunday, the deal was officially announced and the highly-rated attacker was unveiled during the team's 1-0 win at home to Crystal Palace. 

In an exclusive interview with the Athletic, Shakhtar chief executive Sergei Palkin revealed the details behind this drama and why Boehly and Co. beat the Gunners to the deal. While everyone assumed that Chelsea simply blew Arsenal out of the water with their offer, the Miners official states that the offers from both teams were roughly similar.

However, the structure of Chelsea's deal – the add-ons and how achievable they were – was far superior. Palkin also revealed that Shakhtar rejected Arsenal's third bid before the Blues began their hijack, an unfolding which was not previously disclosed.

"When they (Arsenal) proposed the final offer of €70million plus €30million in add-ons, we sat down and started to talk internally about how it will be fulfilled in terms of the payments, the fixed part, and the bonus issues," Sergei said.

"We realized we will not close this deal (with Arsenal). I said to Edu (the Gunners sporting director) that I did my best but it was not possible."

He later added: "These bonuses should be somehow achievable and realistic, let's say. Therefore, in this case, Chelsea was much more serious and fair in some points.

"When we met Chelsea, we stayed all together. For you to understand the context, it was for nine or 10 hours. They invited the player and explained to us the whole project. We realized that, yes, if you look right now, Chelsea have some kinds of problems but it is normal because they have a transition period from one owner to another. 

"It is understandable. They would like to change a lot. So when they explain to you the whole story and you look for the next two, three, four, five years, then you see they have a serious project. 

"I believe they will build one of the best clubs in the world because I am telling you, they are very serious in all directions: sports science, the stadium side, the commercial side, on all things. For us, they looked very ambitious."

Additionally, Palkin revealed that while the Gunners went to Mudryk without first seeking permission from his current employers, Boehly's side reached out to the club before contacting the winger.

As mentioned earlier, Potter is dealing with several injury issues. However, the knocks to Sterling and Pulisic are key as that will grant Mudryk an immediate spot in the starting eleven, meaning he could make his debut this weekend against Liverpool in the Premier League.

FIFA plotting revolutionary plan to increase playing time across all competitions

It seems that what we saw in the 2022 FIFA World Cup was just the beginning of a landslide of changes in terms of how time is measured by referees in a football game, but this new approach could change the sport in ways we have only been able to imagine.

Reports coming in from England state that FIFA, via its International Football Association Board (IFAB), will consider key changes to the way refs handle time in the game, as football's governing body may be keen on stopping the clock during certain instances of the game to favor playing time.

FIFA's first effort to do so came in the 2022 World Cup, where large stoppage times were common in the competition. Fans were treated to games where halves had ten minutes of stoppage time or more, giving way to some interesting ends to key matches.

The report states that there are three options to change the way football is measured. The first one would be to keep things as they are, with the ref controlling the game. The second one would see the approach taken during the World Cup being the regular model (longer stoppage times). The last one would see a countdown clock being used, so playing time can increase almost immediately.

The article adds that the proposal featuring the countdown clock would only see the game being stopped during certain instances. The ones identified in the report are goal celebrations, VAR use, substitutions, penalties, and injuries.

If approved, these changes would be tested in certain leagues for two years before they are made official all over the globe.

Memphis Depay pushes to secure move to rival La Liga club

Earlier this month, it was noted that Barcelona striker Memphis Depay could be on the move as the Dutch international seeks more regular first-team football. While both Roma and Juventus were linked with his signature, neither the Giallorossi nor the Bianconeri were considered by the player as they couldn't afford to pay him the wages he demands.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have entered the fray as they hope to find a replacement for the departed Joao Felix, who recently headed off to London on a loan deal with Chelsea. According to new reports, Depay himself is open to the move to Diego Simeone' side, and has agreed a verbal deal with Los Rojiblancos.

However, there are some stumbling blocks. Barcelona are hoping to get an Atleti player in exchange, namely Yannick Carrasco, or are demanding that Atletico Madrid pay a transfer fee for Depay. Neither seems appealing as Depay's contract is set to expire soon and Atleti are not keen on paying for a player who will be available on a free transfer.

Yet, with the player agreeing on a verbal level, it might only be a matter of time before this deal is wrapped up - perhaps before the end of this current transfer window.

U.S. Soccer and NBCUniversal announce new media rights agreement

A new era for Spanish-speaking audiences in the USA will begin this week, as the USMNT and USWNT will be calling Telemundo and its sister platforms their new home for the next World Cup cycle.

Content for both national teams will be available on the award-winning company which recently struck record numbers with its coverage of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, led by a stellar team of analysts and with new features for fans to enjoy.

"Building off the momentum of a historic World Cup 2022, we are proud to partner with the U.S. Soccer Federation and become the new exclusive Spanish-language home of Team USA. The U.S. National Teams will be a cornerstone of our portfolio of premier sports franchises, multiplatform live sports offering, and new IP content creation," NBCUniversal Enterprises Chairman Beau Ferrari said. "We look forward to together propelling the growth of soccer in the United States and serving our audiences across all platforms, as we build toward the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023 and FIFA Men's World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026," the exec added.

Cindy Parlow, U.S. Soccer Federation president shared the entity's excitement for this new deal.

"We're incredibly excited to begin our partnership with Telemundo as we continue to bring the passion of our sport and National Teams to Spanish-speaking audiences. It's a special time for soccer in the United States, and Telemundo's commitment to double-down and amplify the sports growth through their unparalleled portfolio of platforms serves as an incredible foundation of the partnership. With Telemundo as the rights holder of the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Women's World Cup, Olympic Games, and the Premier League, there will be prominent opportunities to highlight our players and teams to bring unprecedented access to fans during marquee moments," Parlow added.

The agreement will see over 20 U.S. national team games across Telemundo, Universo, and Peacock. National team friendlies, the SheBelieves Cup, key matches for both teams, select CONCACAF Nations League games, and premium clashes against Mexico will be included in this new deal.

The partnership begins in 2023 with U.S. women's international friendly matches against New Zealand on Jan. 17 and Friday, Jan. 20 airing live at 10:05 p.m. ET on Universo and streaming on Peacock and the Telemundo app.

Coverage for all these games will have Telemundo Deportes' award-winning commentary team, with Andrés Cantor providing play-by-play commentary and Manuel Sol as their star analyst. The pre-game and post-match analysis will include Emmy-award-winning journalist Miguel Gurwitz along with Ana Jurka and Carlota Vizmanos.

Romero reveals why he celebrated Messi's FIFA World Cup final goal in Mbappe's face

While the 2022 FIFA World Cup final was blessed with several iconic moments, ranging from the heroics of Messi and Mbappe to Emi Martinez's last-minute save, one of the most viral incidents involved Cristian Romero.

The Argentine center-back started against France and while the South American giants conceded three times against Les Bleus, the Tottenham ace put in a brilliant individual display at the heart of La Albiceleste's defense.

Despite this, one of his most memorable moments was an incident involving Mbappe that occurred straight after Messi scored in extra time. After witnessing Leo's attempt creep past the goal line, Romero decided to immediately celebrate in Kylian's face, even startling the PSG star, instead of running for his teammates.

While the French ace went on to score again, equalizing deep into extra time to send the match into a penalty shootout, Argentina managed to triumph, meaning Romero got his hands on the iconic trophy.

But what was the reason behind that altercation? Was the former Atalanta talent merely playing mind games with Mbappe? Romero has finally answered that question and according to him, it was revenge for his countryman Enzo Fernandez.

When speaking to D Sports Radio, the 24-year-old revealed that Enzo had suffered some harsh treatment at the hands of Kylian, and Cristian, nicknamed "Cuti", took it upon himself to retaliate. 

"I yelled in Mbappe's face to celebrate our goal."

"Because Enzo [Fernandez] had spoken to him and he had treated him really badly. "Then I celebrated Leo's [Messi's] goal in his face."

It remains unclear when the aforementioned Benfica midfielder and Ligue 1 goalscorer locked horns and what the nature of that confrontation was. Regardless, the combative Romero made sure to settle the personal scoreline. 

However, that wasn't the only topic of discussion during the defender's sit-down with D Sports Radio. The Premier League ace also opened up about Lionel Messi, his national team captain, praising the humility of the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"From a football point of view we know what Messi represents, for me and for many others he is the greatest in history," he added"

"He has a simplicity and humility on a day-to-day basis and that makes him greater."

Romero also admitted that he missed all but Messi's spot kick during the penalty shootout as he was kneeling and praying. Additionally, he also stated that he loves to rewatch—and thus relive—the final in Qatar.

However, the player remains focused on the ongoing season. Tottenham are currently battling to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season but face an uphill battle to finish in the top four.

Conte's men have lost their last two games, the first being a 2-0 defeat at home in the North London Derby before throwing away a 2-0 lead at Man City to lose 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium. Spurs remain in fifth, five points behind fourth-placed Newcastle and six adrift of third-placed Manchester United despite playing a game more than both sides.

Other key headlines from the world of football

Chelsea boss Graham Potter reveals yet another injury blow ahead of Premier League clash vs Liverpool

Chelsea have sadly lost another player to injury ahead of their Merseyside visit. That man is Denis Zakaria, the loanee who had just begun establishing himself in the lineup after a terrible start to life at Stamford Bridge.

The Swiss midfielder picked up a knock in the recent 2-1 loss away to Fulham and after undergoing tests, Potter confirmed that the Juventus man will be out for a few weeks. The player will be sidelined for four weeks, to be precise, ruling him out for the rematch against the Cottagers as well while casting doubt over his availability for the trips to West Ham and Dortmund in mid-February.

"Denis is four weeks, top of his quad, so that's a blow for us," Graham said following the win over Palace. "Hopefully, he can be (back) sooner."

This means that Zakaria is now the 10th Chelsea player currently out injured, joining Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Broja, Sterling, Pulisic, Fofana, James, Mendy, and Chilwell on the sidelines.

Newcastle monitoring three Chelsea players

According to reports, Newcastle United, who have had an outstanding season so far, are looking closely at three players.

Those players are Conor Gallagher, Hakim Ziyech, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, as Howe is apparently looking for a midfielder, as well as a winger and a defender. However, Graham Potter will not be keen on letting all of these players go, especially not Gallagher and Loftus-Cheek, who are homegrown players, but Ziyech, a Moroccan international, could be put on the market.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are looking to register Joao Felix, Benoit Badiashile, and Mykhaylo Mudryk for their UEFA Champions League squad, but would need to move two non-homegrown players first, as neither of the aforementioned trio is English. Hence, an opportunity for Newcastle to get at least one of their sought-after players could come knocking sooner rather than later.

Chelsea and Man United set to battle it out for highly-rated Premier League goalkeeper

Chelsea and Manchester United are two Premier League clubs on the lookout for a goalkeeper, and according to a recent report coming out of the UK, the Blues and the Red Devils are set to go head-to-head for a player who is already in the English top-flight.

That man is none other than David Raya, the Brentford ace who has seen his stocks go through the roof since the Bees' promotion. The Spaniard is one of the most highly-rated keepers outside of the Big Six thanks to his technical ability and is a solid shot-stopper. However, his contract situation has opened the door to a summer exit as he will be entering the final year of his deal this summer.

According to the Telegraph, Brentford will demand £15M ($18.6M) to £20M ($20.8M) for their player, which is a bargain for the two aforementioned wealthy clubs. However, Chelsea and Manchester United aren't the only teams interested in Raya.

Tottenham are also keen on signing the former Blackburn keeper in their search for Hugo Lloris' successor. Meanwhile, Arsenal made a bid for Raya back in 2020 but have since signed Aaron Ramsdale and Matt Turner, meaning they are unlikely to return.

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