While most of America will no doubt be focused on the American version of football this weekend, there are plenty of futbol matches for you to watch instead. Here are a bunch of selections; one each from the German Bundesliga, the Italian Serie A, and the Spanish La Liga; a handful from the English Premier League; and an international Copa Centroamerica match, broadcast live from Panama City.
As usual, all times Eastern–you do the math for your time zone:
Friday, Jan 14
7:00pm, GolTV – Costa Rica v Honduras: We choose this Copa Centroamericana matchup since a few members of the CultFootball team will soon be travelling to Costa Rica, and hence should start getting familiar with Costa Rican football. Also a chance for all you fans of the USMNT to scout out their CONCACAF WC qualifying competition.
Saturday Jan 15
10:00am, FSC & Fox Deportes – Manchester City v Wolves: Man City’s latest (& last?) big money signing, Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, is set to get his English debut after being brought in from German club Wolfsburg for a mere £27 million. Mancini’s Man City has been much-criticized this season for their “negative” tactics–will Dzeko somehow make them an attacking squad? Mancini said this past week he may on occasion use all five of his strikers at once (Tevez, Balotelli, Silva, Johnson, and now Dzeko; Adebayor is quite out of favor, and apparently on his way out of Manchester–maybe to Madrid!). Although Balotelli is hurt, this match against Wolves could be a chance to finally entertain the home crowd.
12:00pm, FSP, foxsoccer.tv & ESPN3.com – Napoli v Fiorentina: The Neapolitans are 2nd in Serie A, a mere four points behind AC Milan. Could this be the year of the club’s 3rd Scudetto–and the first outside of the near-mythical Maradona era? Napoli’s standout striker is Edinson Cavani. He was somewhat overshadowed in the World Cup by his teammates Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, but he’s come into his own this season in Italy–he’s tied for the Serie A scoring lead with 13 goals, including a hat-trick last weekend against Juventus–including un scorpione.
12:00pm, GolTV – Villarreal v Osasuna: Osasuna is mired down in 15th place in La Liga, but we choose this one to because Villareal is a team to watch. We linked to this Sid Lowe column a couple months ago, which hailed “Villareal’s miracle” and their “perfect football ecosystem.” Lowe’s column this past week was also about Villareal, following their unfortunate loss at to Real Madrid, in which they outplayed the home side during the first half: “Santi Cazorla, Bruno and Borja Valero controlled the midfield, moving the ball swiftly and with great variety, short and sharp then suddenly long, opening up the pitch. On either side of them, the full-backs Angel and Joan Capdevila gave width. [Jersey-born] Giuseppe Rossi – arguably the season’s best player outside the big two – was quick-footed and clever, always on the move. And Cani and Marco Rubén provided wonderful finishes.”
12:30pm, Fox Deportes & FSC – West Ham v Arsenal: Which Arsenal team will show up? The one that beat Chelsea 3-1 a few weeks ago–or the one that lost to Ipswich Town on Wednesday? You’ll find out only by tuning in.
Sunday Jan 16
9:00am, FSC – Liverpool v Everton: A Merseyside derby is a match to watch under any circumstances–but this weekend especially so. King Kenny back at Anfield, managing his club after two decades away, against their crosstown rivals–with whom their tied on points in the table, and whom they lost to 2-0 back in October. American John Henry will also be in attendance; although that’s not really a reason to watch, the camera will probably find him for reaction shots.
11:00am, FSC – Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United: The match of the weekend. Man U are still undefeated in the Premier League. We keep waiting for them to lose, and we think this is the weekend it will happen. The biggest match at White Hart Lane since Inter Milan came to town in November…and we all remember what happened in that one. In any case, another crucial match in the Premier League race–here’s the top of the table as it stands going into this weekend: