Another fascinating round of matches to look forward to on TV in the UAE this weekend.
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PRIMERA LIGA: Barcelona v Real Madrid, beIN Sports, Saturday, 10.30pm
Camp Nou will be in sombre mood on Saturday with Barcelona players and fans expected to pay tribute to Johan Cruyff, their legendary former player and coach, who died last week of cancer age 68. The Dutchman’s fingerprints are all over Luis Enrique’s team – and indeed the club – and it seems fitting that his life should be remembered with a clasico against Barcelona’s greatest rivals. Cristiano Ronaldo and Co arrive in Catalonia 10 points behind their rivals at the top of the league and probably still scarred by the chastening 4-0 drubbing in the first clasico of the season that ultimately led to the sacking of Rafa Benitez as Real Madrid coach.
ARABIAN GULF CUP FINAL: Al Wahda v Al Shabab, AD Sports, Friday, 7.20pm
With Al Ahli kicked out of the Arabian Gulf Cup final for fielding an ineligible player in the semi-final victory over Al Shabab, it is Shabab who will now line up against Abu Dhabi side Al Wahda to contest the UAE season’s first piece of silverware. Shabab largely relied on the goals of Brazilian striker Jo during their cup campaign, but with the former Manchester City striker now plying his trade in China, hopes of a first domestic trophy since 2011 falls on the shoulders of Luvannor Henrique, who has four goals in this season’s competition. Al Wahda, who have never one this competition, boast one of the country’s most prolific finishers in the Argentine Sebastian Tagliabue.
BUNDESLIGA: Bayer Leverkusen v Wolfsburg, beIN Sports, Friday, 10.30pm
Traditionally a high-scoring fixture between two Bundesliga stalwarts. The past five encounters dating back to September, 2013, has produced 25 goals, with Wolfsburg ahead on aggregate 15-10 with four wins to Leverkusen’s one. Wolfsburg head to the BayArena on the back of a three-game winning streak while Bayer’s pursuit of a top-four finish has faltered in recent weeks. Though only two points off fourth-placed Schalke, Leverkusen’s patchy form could see them fall out of the running. Fourteen-goal top-scorer Javier Hernandez has seen the goals dry up of late, Leverkusen could do with the Mexican rediscovering his goal touch in this match.
PREMIER LEAGUE: Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur, beIN Sports, Saturday, 8.30pm
Tottenham Hotspur resume their quest to hunt down Leicester City at the top of the Premier League with a trip to Liverpool on Saturday, knowing the Merseysiders have something of an Indian sign over the North Londoners. Liverpool have won five and lost none of their past six Premier League games against Tottenham, with Spurs victorious only once in their past 21 trips to Anfield. The quadrant of Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane enjoyed productive outings in the recent international friendlies for England and their manager Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping star centre-back Toby Alderwiereld can overcome a bout of illness to marshal the Spurs defence.
SERIE A: Lazio v Roma, beIN Sports, Sunday, 5pm
Roma won the first Roman derby of the season – a 2-0 victory at Stadio Olimpico in November – and head into the match against bitter city rivals Lazio as one of Serie A’s form teams. Since losing 1-0 to Juventus on January 24, Roma have embarked on a nine-match unbeaten run to propel themselves up into third in the standings. In contrast Lazio have won only once in the past five league games and were eliminated from the Europa League last-16 stage last month after suffering a 3-0 defeat at home to Sparta Prague at the last-16 stage. Egyptian winger January signing Stephan El Shaarawy has helped breathe life back into Roma’s season with five goals since arriving on loan.