Ahead of another weekend of football, Jon Turner picks his five must-see matches. All times UAE.
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Roma v Fiorentina, Friday, beIN Sports HD, 11.45pm
Juventus may have moved into pole position in the Serie A title race but it remains tight at the top. Kicking off the Italian top-flight fixtures this weekend are two teams right in the thick of it as third-placed Roma host fourth-placed Fiorentina, with the two teams separated only by goal difference. Roma are currently flying and enter the match seeking their seventh successive league win, while Fiorentina are unbeaten in six, winning three. A defeat for either team could spell the end of any lingering title hopes, so there is plenty on the line in this one.
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal, Saturday, beIN Sports HD, 4.45pm
In a weekend packed full of matches between title rivals, this may just be the pick of the bunch. This is one of the most fierce derbies in European football under normal circumstances, but this season has the added spice of both clubs contending for the Premier League title. Tottenham lead Arsenal by three points, and should Leicester City lose at Watford later on Saturday, a win would put Spurs top of the table for the first time this season. Defeat for Arsenal would be their third in succession and could spell the end for another title challenge. Victory for Arsene Wenger’s men, however, will put them within touching distance of top spot. Another massive match.
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich, Saturday, beIN Sports HD, 9.30pm
We aren’t quite finished with the title clashes just yet as we head over to Germany. Most football fans could be forgiven for ignoring the Bundesliga this season in the assumption that Bayern Munich had stormed off with the title. Incredibly, Borussia Dortmund remain just five points behind Bayern, and after the Bavarian’s shock defeat to Mainz on Wednesday combined with Dortmund’s win over Darmstadt, the title race is still competitive. A win for Dortmund, who have won eight of their last 10, will reduce the gap to just two points. Make no mistake, Bayern are still firm favourites to retain the title, but defeat for Pep Guardiola’s side on Saturday evening will certainly make for an interesting run-in.
PORTUGUESE PRIMEIRA LIGA
Sporting v Benfica, Saturday, beIN Sports HD, 12.45am (Sunday morning)
The fourth of four top-of-the-table matches across Europe takes place in Portugal, as leaders Sporting welcome second-placed Benfica to Lisbon. A solitary point separates the two giants of Portuguese football with 10 games of the season remaining, and a result for either team on Saturday night will put them firmly in control of their destiny. Benfica have been the great entertainers this season, scoring a whopping 65 goals, and Rui Vitoria’s team enter the match having won nine of their last 10, with the only defeat coming against fellow title rivals Porto. Sporting may be less swashbuckling than Benfica, but have lost just once all season. A tough one to call.
Valencia v Atletico Madrid, Sunday, BeIN Sports HD, 11.30pm
There seems to be little any club can do to stop Barcelona’s march to the Primera Liga title, and nearest challengers Atletico Madrid could be dealt a blow should they fail to win at a Valencia, who are undergoing a mini-revival. After a shambolic start that produced no wins in his first nine league games, Gary Neville is slowly steadying the Valencia ship with three wins in their past four league outings and safe passage into the Europa League last-16 courtesy of a 10-0 aggregate win over Rapid Vienna. Atletico are favourites to win this match, but expect a cagey affair with a single goal deciding the result.