Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread
Crunch Time Part 3. Time is running short, whether European play, promotion or relegation we are down to three or four games in the leagues in Europe. Yup, after about the 20th of May you will be watching MLS and the occasional international.
This is a breakdown of closing dates for the leagues we follow in Europe:
EPL May 19th
Championship May 4th
League 1 and 2 April 27th
(championship, Leagues 1 and 2 do have there playoffs following the regular season)
Bundesliga May 18th
2.Bundesliga May 19th
3.Liga May 18th
Serie A May 19th
Eredivisie May 12th
Turkey Super Lig May 18th
Austria May 25th
Belgium – who knows?
So the next few weeks are critical to the teams future. This week in the EPL we have two teams battling for European places and two teams fighting to stay in the EPL for another season. Tottenham are at Man. City on Sunday where they will hope for at least a point, while on Saturday Everton will visit Sunderland, who are teetering on the edge in the bottom half of the table. An Everton win will possibly vault them over Tottenham (who need a win to maintain position) into the Euro League spot. At the bottom, Stoke visit already relegated QPR, not a walkover, as they look for points to move ahead of some close competition (three teams on 34 points) and Aston Villa (one of the teams on 34 points) has the unenviable task of visiting Man. Utd. at Old Trafford on Monday.
In the Championship, Bolton are one point behind Leicester for the final promotion playoff spot, Bolton are at home and face another team we follow, Middlesbrough, who have fallen out of the race, and Leicester are away to Crystal Palace, who are just two points ahead of Leicester in their playoff spot. So things are tight at the top of the Championship and with only three weeks left every point will be fought over. Stuart Holden and Sheffield Wednesday have fought out of immediate trouble, but need points to avoid slipping back. If you are following the Championship there are only seven points separating 9th spot from 22nd and relegation.
In Bundesliga, Schalke still sits in the final UCL spot, but they have four teams that can catch them over the next four weeks., and Schalke is visiting one of them this Saturday, Frankfurt. Jermaine Jones and his teammates will be hoping for at least a point. At the bottom, Hoffenheim are now in the relegation spot, they are three points behind Augsburg, but have a game in hand. Unfortunately they are away to UCL bound Leverkusen. Fabian Johnson and Co are probably looking for miracles to end the season.
Jozy Altidore and AZ will welcome PSV to Alkmaar on Saturday. PSV is battling for a UCL spot, a win will help that cause. Jozy and AZ have stated that they want a strong finish to the season and a shot at the Europa playoffs in Holland. They are six points away from that goal, and with four games left a lot of luck will have to play into their strategy.
In Turkey, Maurice Edu and Bursaspor are in a Europa League spot, 4th place. They are three points out of 3rd and have a three point lead over their closest competition, tight, but again, points is what it takes. In Austria, Terence Boyd will not be playing this week, yellow card accumulation, as his club Rapid faces league leaders Austria Wien. Rapid have a little while to go, but although 3rd and in a Euro league spot, are not assured that position at the end of the season. Terence you let your side down. Finally the zany Belgiums. Sasha Kljestan and Anderlecht are still in the top spot, and UCL spot, but recent results have them in danger of losing their position. Sunday could be the decider as they visit 2nd place Zulte-Waregem, a win will probably cement their UCL future.
So join me this weekend as we follow all these teams and a slew of clubs from the rest of the world as we monitor what is going on in Socceroverthere, as usual participation is expected and gratefully accepted.