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Top games to watch on Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2023

Man City vs Arsenal, Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad headline top live games to watch on Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2023

January 27, 2023 By Ali M.
Man City vs Arsenal, Brighton vs Liverpool, Leverkusen vs Dortmund, Napoli vs Roma, and Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad comprise our list of must-watch games.

Top games to watch this week

Friday, January 27

Manchester City vs Arsenal (FA Cup)

RB Leipzig vs Stuttgart (Bundesliga)

Saturday, January 28

Girona vs Barcelona (La Liga)

Cremonese vs Inter (Serie A)

Bayern vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)

Marseille vs Monaco (Ligue 1)

Fulham vs Sunderland (FA Cup)

Preston North End vs Tottenham (FA Cup)

Manchester United vs Reading (FA Cup)

Sporting CP vs Porto (Taca da Liga final)

USMNT vs Colombia (Friendly)

Sunday, January 29

Milan vs Sassuolo (Serie A)

Brighton vs Liverpool (FA Cup)

Wrexham vs Sheffield United (FA Cup)

Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)

Napoli vs Roma (Serie A)

PSG vs Reims (Ligue 1)

Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad (La Liga)

Monday, January 30

Villarreal vs Rayo Vallecano (La Liga)

Derby County vs West Ham (FA Cup)

Tuesday, January 31

Newcastle vs Southampton (Carabao Cup semifinal)

Pacos de Ferreira vs Gil Vicente (Primeira Liga)

Union Berlin vs Wolfsburg (DFB Pokal)

Wednesday, February 1

Manchester United vs Nottingham (Carabao Cup semifinal)

Real Betis vs Barcelona (La Liga)

Marítimo vs Porto (Primeira Liga)

Arouca vs Benfica (Primeira Liga)

Sporting CP vs Sporting Braga (Primeira Liga)

Montpellier vs PSG (Ligue 1)

Mainz vs Bayern (DFB Pokal)

Al Ahly vs Auckland City (FIFA Club World Cup)

Thursday, February 2

Real Madrid vs Valencia (La Liga)

Juventus vs Lazio (Coppa Italia)

Most-watched soccer games in the USA: January 16-22,2023

Once again, we had a week for the ages in terms of audience numbers in the USA. The undisputed champion for most of the season returned to win the top spot in the battle for the ratings and to make it even better, the league in question claimed the two most-watched games for the past week.

This past week, the Premier League returned to be the most-watched league in the North American nation, and the competition claimed the top spot with the clash between Arsenal and Manchester United. On top of that, this game became the first one to be viewed by over one million average fans since December's games in the FIFA World Cup.

The runner-up spot went to the game between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United, with over 900,000 viewers having a go at this interesting draw.

The third spot in this ranking went to the winner of recent weeks: Liga MX. The games featuring Club América have been quite prominent in 2023, and Saturday's match against Puebla was not the exception for Univisión.

Most Watched Games, USA, January, 16, 22, Manchester United, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Club America, Puebla, English Premier League, Liga MX

What are this week's must-watch games?

Manchester City vs Arsenal live this Friday at 3 p.m. ET exclusively on ESPN+

The standout fixture of this week is also the first game on our list as Manchester City and Arsenal prepare to face off in the FA Cup 4th round on Friday. England's two best teams will meet at the Etihad Stadium as Arteta's looks to get the better of his mentor. Mikel has faced Guardiola in this competition before, beating Man City in the semifinal in his debut season with the Gunners before eventually winning the FA Cup. However, rotation will likely come into play, which is the North London giants' Achilles heel, as Arsenal lack quality in depth. Man City, meanwhile, will want to prove that they are still the top dogs in England. Don't miss this clash!

Manchester City, Arsenal, Broadcast Listings, FA Cup 

Brighton vs Liverpool live this Sunday at 8:30 a.m. exclusively on ESPN+

From one exciting FA Cup clash to another, Liverpool prepare for their rematch with Brighton two weeks after that unforgettable Premier League trip to the Amex. When these two sides met earlier this month, Klopp's men suffered an embarrassing defeat, losing 3-0 to the Seagulls. And to make things worse, it could have easily been a bigger defeat! Can De Zerbi mastermind another brilliant victory over the Merseyside giants? While the Reds have been suffering all season, the hosts have only gotten better under their newly-appointed Italian head coach and will look to eliminate England's most successful team from this competition.

Brighton and Hove Albion, Liverpool, FA Cup, Broadcast Listings 

Napoli vs Roma live this Sunday at 2:45 p.m. ET exclusively on Paramount+

Napoli continue their fight for their first Scudetto since the days of Maradona but will be in for a tricky test this weekend. The Serie A leaders will host Jose Mourinho's Roma as Gli Azzurri look to maintain—or add to, depending on the other results—their 12-point advantage at the top. Osimhen and Co. have won their last three league games in a row, including the 5-1 thrashing of Juventus, but will face a Roma side that are unbeaten in competitive games since November 6. Make sure to catch this clash live exclusively on Paramount+.

Napoli, Roma, Serie A, Broadcast Listings 

Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad live this Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPN+, WatchESPN, and ESPN Deportes USA

Wrapping things up is Real Madrid's crucial league showdown with Real Sociedad as the defending champions prepare to host La Liga's third-placed side. Los Blancos are currently second in the table, trailing league leaders Barcelona by three points, and thus cannot afford to slip up. Additionally, Ancelotti's men enter this game on the back of their comeback win over Atletico in the Copa del Rey while recently beating Athletic Club 2-0 in the top flight. However, La Real are currently on a five-game winning streak in La Liga and should thus hand Real Madrid a tough test. Mark your calendars for this exciting fixture.

Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, La Liga, Broadcast Listings 

Biggest stories of the week

The story behind Cristiano Ronaldo's split from super agent Jorge Mendes revealed

After nearly two decades of working together, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes are no longer partners. The legendary attacker and super agent became synonymous with one another, but while their separation has been known for some time, only now have the details behind their break-up emerged.

Earlier this month, upon completing his move to Saudi Arabia, it was reported that Mendes was no longer the agent of the 37-year-old icon whom he helped join Manchester United and Real Madrid. His bombshell interview with Piers Morgan was pinpointed as the final straw in their relationship as CR7's decision to publicly slam the Red Devils and manager Erik ten Hag ultimately led to his contract termination. However, the troubles began a lot earlier.

According to El Mundo, things took a turn for the worse last summer when the five-time Ballon d'Or winner issued an ultimatum to his agent. Ronaldo, who wanted out of Old Trafford following the club's failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, desired a move to Bayern Munich or Chelsea and was explicit about what would occur should Mendes fail to achieve his demand.

"Bayern, Chelsea or we break up" was Cristiano's message to his representative. Jorge had aired several of his disagreements with Ronaldo at this point, the biggest being the player's decision to leave Real Madrid for Juventus, but this was just a sign of what was yet to come.

The aforementioned Bundesliga and Premier League giants were heavily linked with the five-time UEFA Champions League winner, and for obvious reasons, due to his profile. Todd Boehly was interested in bringing the goalscoring machine to Stamford Bridge but was met with opposition from then-head coach Thomas Tuchel while the German giants had discussions regarding this move but decided against it.

However, what ultimately killed all interest from the two clubs was Ronaldo's failure to report for pre-season duty. At that time, the consensus was that he was trying to force a move but the player later revealed in his sit-down with Piers Morgan that his daughter was ill and he was unable to leave her side.

Cristiano ended up staying at Old Trafford and did not sever his ties with Mendes that summer. However, that interview with Morgan was the final nail in the coffin as Jorge cautioned Ronaldo against it but the player did not heed his agent's advice.

His representative tried to muster a move to Atletico Madrid or Dortmund but after failing to secure a transfer to a UEFA Champions League club, the pair eventually parted ways.

"What broke was not a simple contract, as Mendes never asked his players to sign it, what broke was much more: a paternal, family, and even business relationship," the report from the Spanish news outlet states.

"The agent is the godfather of one of the player's children and Ronaldo's mother [Dona Dolores] has often shown the adoration she had for Jorge Mendes."

In fact, Mendes was not the man who brokered the Euro 2016 winner's move to Al-Nassr. That role was played by CR7's personal manager and close friend Ricardo Regufe. With the super agent losing influence over one of the greatest players of all time, not only did a remarkable career in Europe come to an end, but also an iconic partnership.

Villarreal striker pulls last-minute U-turn and snubs Everton for Tottenham

Everton were ready to tell the world about Arnaut Danjuma's signing in a matter of hours. The player had undergone routine medical examinations and was also involved in media activity with the team, which included his unveiling video and promo shots of him wearing the Toffees' jersey...but then, things went sour for the team and the deal has been hijacked by Tottenham.

According to several sources, including transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano, the footballer decided not to send the proper paperwork to the English FA that would validate his loan deal to Everton. The Dutch player reportedly decided to change his mind and opted to have a new medical examination, this time for Tottenham Hotspur, who have now agreed personal terms with the attacker and are waiting to negotiate the other end of the deal with Villarreal, who had already signed off the papers for Danjuma to join Everton.

Danjuma reportedly decided to change his mind due to the ongoing issues at Everton, which include being 19th in the Premier League and with massive uncertainty about who their coach will be for the rest of the season. Added to that, the chance to play for a team fighting for UEFA Champions League football was enough to leave the Toffees empty-handed.

The player and his agents are yet to make any statements on this issue, but if this saga is confirmed, Everton fans will have quite a few reasons to give him a harsh welcome when Tottenham enter Goodison Park and the Dutchman is included in their squad. The game is set to be played on April 1 and it will be curious to see how Toffees' supporters make their voices felt when Danjuma makes that trip.

Report: Ex-Man Utd boss demands TWO key signings as condition to consider Everton managerial role

Former Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reportedly asked for two key signings to be made before he considers accepting the offer to become the new manager of Everton. The 49-year-old is said to have demanded the recruitment of Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay from his old club with a return to the Premier League seemingly on the cards.

Following the sack of Frank Lampard this week, the Toffees are considering a host of top European managers to take over the reins at Goodison Park as they eye a swift turnaround in the poor season they have had. Among the candidates are Marcelo Biesla, Ralph Hasenhuttl, Sean Dyche, and former Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Per recent reports from England, Bielsa has distanced himself from becoming the club's new boss with the excuse that the players that will be at his disposal are "too slow" to play the sort of football he wants.

On Wednesday, transfer news guru Fabrizio Romano confirmed that Everton have held direct talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of a possible move this week. The club's board is apparently impressed with Norwegian's rebuild during his tenure at Manchester United and is keen on making him lead the charge at the club for the foreseeable future. However, the availability of the former Premier League striker is said to hinge on the fulfillment of the requests he has tabled. 

According to Fabrizio Romano, Solskjaer will only take the Everton job should the club assure him of the signing of Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay following his arrival. The pair are still under contract at Manchester United and are currently unavailable for a move as the Red Devils have shut the door on the outgoings of their first team members. 

Reports claim that Juventus could be in for further punishment after massive points deduction

On January 20th, Juventus were slapped with a 15-point deduction as a punishment for being involved in some financial irregularities - namely capital gains violations.

That result saw Massimiliano Allegri's side, who had climbed into the third spot following a stunning run of form, plummet back down the table into tenth. The points deduction was yet another bitter blow for the Bianconeri, who had been crushed 5-1 by Napoli just a week prior, thus ending an eight-match winning streak sans conceding a goal.

And now, if new reports from Italy are to be believed, things could get even worse for Juventus. Even if the Bianconeri manage to claw their way back into the European spots, it might all be for nothing as UEFA may opt to exclude them entirely from European competitions.

As per the same reports, UEFA will make their decision based on the outcome of Juventus's trial. This legal process could be a series of separate trials, as Juventus are accused of multiple offenses, including under-the-table player salary arrangements as well as the aforementioned capital gains violations, or all the charges could be combined into one trial.

Should Juventus be found guilty, UEFA could decide to ban the Bianconeri from all European competitions for at least one year. That means that La Vecchia Signora will miss out on the Champions League, Europa League, and even the Europa Conference League starting from possibly the 2023/24 season and maybe even beyond.

Of course, a lot of this is still up in the air and is dependent on a series of outcomes. Certainly, Juventus fans will hope that their team will be able to avoid facing what would be a catastrophic result for a team who have been eager to reassert themselves as among Europe's elite for well over a decade. 

Other key headlines from the world of football

Mudryk awarded brilliant Premier League milestone following Chelsea debut vs Liverpool

Mykhaylo Mudryk made his highly-anticipated Premier League debut on Saturday, with the Ukrainian sensation playing for the very first time for his new club Chelsea in their trip to Anfield.

The game ultimately ended in a 0-0 draw but Mudryk exhibited the two things he's known for in that short cameo: his dribbling and his jaw-dropping speed. In fact, the winger already achieved a Premier League milestone during his 35 minutes on the pitch.

As revealed by the English top flight's official Twitter page, Mykhaylo hit a top speed of 36.63 kilometers per hour which is already the quickest clocked speed in the league so far this season, narrowly edging out Everton's Anthony Gordan (36.61 K/H).

UEFA to enforce five-year limit as Chelsea exploit transfer loophole

UEFA is set for rapid Financial Fair Play changes in order to prevent teams from using Chelsea's loophole in the transfer market. The football governing body is reportedly ready to put a five-year cap on the number of years a club would take to pay the transfer fee of newly recruited players. 

The decision to immediately amend the rules comes in wake of Chelsea's operations in the winter transfer window. The Blues, under the leadership of new owner Todd Boehly, have caught the eyes of many football fans by handing out unusually long contracts to newly signed players. A handful of deals announced by the club in recent weeks have players on a seven or eight-year contracts with unilateral extension options also included.

Ukraine's Mykhailo Mudryk signed for over $100M and is expected to be at the club for eight-and-a-half years while French defender Benoit Badiashile will also be on the books of the Blues for seven-and-a-half years. While it remains a risky activity, the arrangement gives the London club the luxury to spread the transfer fee of the players over a longer period to circumvent FFP regulations. 

TRANSFER TALK: Benfica linked with move for American youngster

17-year-old Joshua Wynder isn't yet a household name, but if these reports are to be believed, the teenage defender is on the cusp of a major breakthrough in his nascent career.

Wynder, who currently plays for USL Championship side Louisville City in his native Kentucky, has featured for the under-19 USMNT, where he skippered the team during a victory over England back in 2022. His performances for Louisville have garnered the attention of several MLS teams, but it is claimed that his current club have rebuffed these approaches in lieu of a potential move abroad for the player.

One club that has been claimed to be closely tracking his progress is Benfica, with the Eagles looking to add him to their roster. Wynder has apparently trained with the Portuguese side, who are looking set to prepare a formal bid to try to sign him from Louisville City. 

Wynder, who signed for his current club in June 2021 - when he was then only 16 - has gone on to make over 30 appearances for the club while scoring two goals. 

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