Football Across Europe: September 30 | Chelsea & City Battle in London

Premier League (England)

Matchday 7 in the English Premier League all centers around one marquee matchup that promises to have far-reaching implications: Chelsea’s hosting of league leaders Manchester City. While City have won their last three league bouts by a combined 16 goals, the Blues have found their stride as well and could push their way into the forefront with three points. Tottenham, Arsenal, and Liverpool are all coming off wins, but should be desperate to regain ground in the table. Injury-riddled Manchester United still sit in second with five straight wins in all competitions. Let’s take a close look into all the big matches:

Chelsea vs. Manchester City: Chelsea have a golden chance to force their way back into the thick of the EPL title chase when Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge in one of the biggest matches of the season. The Blues have rebounded in full from a disastrous start, getting 13 points out of their last potential 15 with Alvaro Morata firing on all cylinders and Eden Hazard back to full fitness. Antonio Conte’s men looked to be in huge trouble in their quest for a repeat, but suddenly appear as the biggest threats to the two Manchester clubs. As for City, they have appeared unstoppable in recent weeks but could be without Sergio Agüero for up to two months after he suffered broken ribs in a car accident. Will Gabriel Jesus be able to raise his game enough to keep City scoring and become even bigger title favorites?

Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace: With 16 points from 18, Manchester United are on quite a run of form to open the season. They have five wins from their last five matches in all competitions and welcome the struggling Crystal Palace to Old Trafford on Saturday. The Eagles made a change at the helm, but were the latest victims of the Manchester City buzz saw last weekend, losing 0-5. Romelu Lukaku continues to score for United, though they will likely be without Anthony Martial, who suffered an injury in the Champions League midweek and will join Paul Pogba on the injury report. Still, an upset in this match would certainly be quite a story.

Huddersfield Town vs. Tottenham: Huddersfield Town have become the darlings of the Premier League with a shock early season run to eighth, but a result at home to Tottenham would turn heads all across England. The Terriers did well to even achieve promotion and secured seven points through their first three games, but have since fallen somewhat back down to earth. Meanwhile, Spurs have seen a mixed bag of EPL results with convincing wins followed thereafter by frustrating draws. Harry Kane, Dele Alli and crew still sit fourth in the table, but they could take a serious tumble should they fail to take care of business in West Yorkshire.

Newcastle vs. Liverpool: Liverpool returned to winning ways last weekend away to Leicester, then traveled all the way to Moscow midweek for a Champions League match which saw them frustrated and settling for a draw. On Sunday, they travel to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United and former Reds manager Rafa Benítez. After a slow start, it had been three straight league wins for the Magpies before a 0-1 stumble away to Brighton last weekend. Sadio Mané is free to return for Liverpool following his three match ban and will likely lead the attack. Philippe Coutinho, who scored last weekend and in Moscow, will also likely feature.

La Liga (Spain)

Real Madrid vs. Espanyol: It may be early, but Real Madrid are in a very uncharacteristic spot in the La Liga table as they enter a home affair with Espanyol. Los Blancos currently sit sixth in the league, some seven points shy of Barcelona and behind teams like Valencia and Real Betis. Cristiano Ronaldo has just recently returned from suspension, so he will have to get on a hot streak with the likes of Isco and Gareth Bale to bring Madrid back into contention to defend their title. Meanwhile, Espanyol have seven points in their last three games following a drubbing to Barcelona and look to further spoil the Spanish giant’s domestic campaign.

Barcelona vs. Las Palmas: For all the gloom and doom of Barcelona‘s summer, they’ve seen a peerless start to their La Liga campaign with six wins in six matches. They look to keep that going in a Sunday bout with Las Palmas at the Camp Nou. While new addition Ousmane Dembele remains out with a long-term injury, the usual suspects Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are carrying La Blaugrana to victory after victory. Messi not only leads La Liga in goals, but his nine on the season are already four more than anyone else. Las Palmas have two wins in six matches, and need all the results they can to avoid the relegation zone.

Serie A (Italy)

AC Milan vs. Roma: AC Milan welcome October and Roma to the San Siro on Sunday for a clash of iconic Italian football clubs. While it is Napoli and Juventus seemingly unstoppable in the early going in the Serie A table, these two clubs are level on points and will be looking to distance themselves from the other. For Milan, it was a 0-2 stumble last weekend to Sampdoria before recording a 3-2 win in the Europa League on Thursday over Croatian side Rijeka. Roma have won their last three league matches by a combined scoreline of 10-1 and will be looking to stay hot in Milan.

Bundesliga (Germany)

Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich: If their 2-2 draw last Friday in the league to Wolfsburg didn’t lead to some frustration for the Bavarian giants Bayern Munich, the 0-3 drubbing midweek at the hands of PSG in the Champions League most certainly did. They will have to try to rebound on the road, visiting Hertha in Berlin on Sunday. Hertha has five points from their last five Bundesliga matches after winning to open the season. They will need to hope that Bayern Munich’s funk continues for at least one more match.

 

Trilogy Matchup: Warriors vs. Cavaliers, Part III

The NBA Finals matchup that fans have essentially been waiting all year for is finally here.

The Trilogy that is the 2017 NBA Finals, a third-straight showdown between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, marks the first time in NBA history that the same teams will meet in the Finals three consecutive years. The storyline that has peaked fans’ interest all season is now coming to fruition.

Golden State has been fueled all season by the hope of avenging last year’s historic Finals defeat, in which the Cavaliers snatched a repeat from the Warriors’ grasp and completed the first comeback from 3-1 down in Finals history. That’s been on full display throughout a perfect 12-0 run to the Western Conference Championship, easily dispatching the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.

Warriors offseason acquisition Kevin Durant has been a man on a mission despite a delayed playoff debut due to injury. Durant is shooting a scorching 56 percent from the field en route to a 25.2-point average in this postseason, second to Stephen Curry‘s 28.6-point playoff average.

As for the defending champions, the Cavaliers have been no slouches in their own journey to the Eastern Conference Championship. Cleveland has only lost once in the postseason after cruising past the Boston Celtics in five games, preceded by consecutive sweeps of the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors.

Both teams have essentially been pitting themselves against one another, from personnel changes to scheme adjustments, in the expectation that they would meet again in this so-called Trilogy. This postseason has proven that the only true competition the Cavs and Warriors have in their championship bids are one another, and it sets up for another memorable battle.

A depleted Cavs squad in LeBron James‘ first season back in Cleveland couldn’t get it done in 2014-15 when the Dubs won their fourth championship, but they delivered the very next season by dethroning the 73-9 Warriors squad in historic fashion. The bad blood harbored over the last two years is sure to come to a boil as two seemingly all-time great teams get ready to duke it out again for the ultimate prize.

Browse Fanatics.com for the best officially licensed NBA Finals Apparel.

Football Across Europe: April 1-2

Premier League (England)

Liverpool vs. Everton: It’s the second edition of this season’s Merseyside Derby, and this one is the weekend’s opening kickoff at Anfield on Saturday. Coming out of the international break, Liverpool sit fourth in the table, six points up on neighbors Everton. Liverpool won 1-0 just before Christmas this season at Goodison Park with a stoppage time dagger from Sadio Mané. The Reds have not lost a derby at Anfield since 1999 and are unbeaten in the contest since 2010. But the Blues boast the Premier League’s top scorer in the form of striker Romelu Lukaku and are dealing with a host of injuries, including captain Jordan Henderson and in-form England attacker Adam Lallana. It promises to be yet another memorable derby on Saturday.

Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace: If anyone is going to catch Chelsea for the Premier League title, their collapse must begin on Saturday when they welcome Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge. In very real relegation danger a few weeks ago, Palace have rattled off three straight league wins to see themselves four points safe entering this weekend, but there is no tougher test than visiting the league leaders. Chelsea have won every match at home since a September loss to Liverpool, their only home loss of the season. Antonio Conte hopes to have Belgian star Eden Hazard and the ever-dangerous Diego Costa back fit for the match, but has an enviable host of weapons to choose from should they not be ready, including N’Golo Kanté, Willian, and Michy Batshuayi.

Arsenal vs. Manchester City: It’s put up or shut up time for Arsenal, who have fallen from title contention to the fringes of European qualification entering a pivotal battle with Manchester City Sunday at the Emirates. The futures of Gunners stars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil are being heavily debated. Another defeat would not only push Arsenal down the table further, but may also push Sanchez and Özil closer to the exit door. Meanwhile, Manchester City still have a five-point cushion in the top-four race but need to keep racking up points with top clubs, including Arsenal, hot on their tails.

La Liga (Spain)

Granada vs. Barcelona: Their Champions League hopes were revitalized after a historic comeback to Paris Saint-Germain a few short weeks ago, but Barcelona‘s league hopes are still on life support as they visit Granada over the weekend. La Blaugrana remain two points back of rivals Real Madrid, who have a game in hand. Pundits like Lionel Messi, Neymar and crew to make easy work of the relegation candidates who have dropped three straight, but Granada could escape the drop zone with a win and will be a desperate side with their home fans backing them.

Real Madrid vs. Alaves: Real Madrid CF are still the league favorites entering a home bout with Alaves on the weekend, but can’t afford to slip up with Barcelona only two points back. Los Blancos haven’t dropped many points over the last month, but appear far from the wrecking crew that they were throughout the season’s opening half. Alaves are one of the surprises of the league, currently sitting mid-table, and should give Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos everything their side can handle.

Serie A (Italy)

Napoli vs. Juventus: Italian giants Juventus are at the top of the Serie A table yet again, ten points clear, and seem to have another title in hand. But that won’t change the electric atmosphere when they travel to the Stadio San Paolo to play Napoli under the lights Saturday night in Naples. Juve stumbled away from home earlier this month at Udinese, and Napoli have won four of their last five league matches and will be looking to beat the league leaders as they battle with Roma for second place in the league and Champions League security.

 

Football Across Europe: March 7-8

Champions League (Round of 16, 2nd Leg)

Napoli vs. Real Madrid (agg. 1-3): Napoli welcome Real Madrid to the Stadio San Paolo facing a two-goal deficit, but will be telling themselves they are alive with a valuable away goal to their credit. Holding Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and company to a 2-0 score will be quite the challenge, but a place in the Champions League quarterfinals is on the line.

Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich (agg. 1-5): Arsenal face die Bayern in a second leg match at Emirates on Tuesday. Though they own an away goal, they face a steep 5-1 deficit from the first leg. Bayern Munich is coming off a 3-0 league win on Saturday, while Arsenal suffered a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. If they are to have any chance, they will need to deliver a clean sheet and see goals aplenty from their attack or it will be another early exit from the Champions League for the Gunners.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Benfica (agg. 0-1): If Borussia Dortmund are to erase a 1-0 first-leg deficit at home against Benfica, they’ll have to do so without superstar Marco Reus. The 27-year-old is out until April with a thigh injury, meaning Dortmund will need to rely on young USA star Christian Pulisic and others to guide them to the quarterfinals. Dortmund failed to secure an all-important away goal in the first leg, so keeping a clean sheet is practically a must.

Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain (agg. 0-4): Perhaps the most shocking result of the world football season came in Paris Saint-Germain‘s 4-0 thrashing of the giant FC Barcelona at Parc de Princes in the first leg of their Champions League showdown. The outcome left Lionel Messi, Neymar and crew needing at least an identical domination of PSG at home Wednesday to stay alive. Winners of four Champions League titles in the last decade, Barca are perennial European favorites but have their work cut out for them against a PSG side that just needs to avoid total implosion to knock out the Spanish giants.

Football Across Europe: Feb. 17-20

FA Cup (England)

Huddersfield Town vs. Manchester City: High-flying Manchester City head to Kirklees Stadium on Saturday in a fifth round FA Cup tie to take on Championship side Huddersfield Town. City has been in great form with winter addition Gabriel Jesus proving a revelation. They will be without the Brazilian, though, as he is out with a major injury. Huddersfield is battling near the top of the Championship table and vying for promotion to the Premier League next season, so City should face a very real test.

Wolverhampton vs. Chelsea: After dumping Premier League club Liverpool from the FA Cup in the fourth round, Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers was rewarded by drawing Chelsea, who are comfortable atop the Premier League. The Wolves, in the bottom half of the Championship table, will be encouraged by their tournament record, but will likely face all of Chelsea’s firepower, who defeated Brentford in the fourth round through goals from Willian, Pedro, Branislav Ivanović, and Michy Batshuayi.

Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United: Fresh off a convincing Europa League win, Manchester United head to historic Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers, who are facing a relegation fight in the Championship. United have been flying high, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic recording a hat trick in the Europa League.

Bundesliga (Germany)

Borussia Dortmund vs. Wolfsburg: Saturday’s Bundesliga fixture between Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg doesn’t conjure its typical flair with both teams struggling in league play. Wolfsburg are unquestionably the disappointment of Germany so far in 2016-17, sitting in 14th and only two spots from the drop zone. Meanwhile, Dortmund remain 15 points behind Bayern Munich and look to bounce back from a 1-0 Champions League defeat to Benfica in the mid-week.

Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich: One of the hottest clubs in Europe tries to keep their streak going as Bayern Munich visit Hertha Berlin. Munich haven’t lost since Nov. 23, 2016 and enter the weekend fresh off a 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal in the UCL, hoping to extend their seven-point league lead. Hertha Berlin have quietly excelled this season and could move into third place in the league with three points against the German giants.

La Liga (Spain)

Real Madrid vs. Espanyol: Real Madrid are emerging from a troublesome holiday stretch in fine form as they welcome Espanyol. The league leaders have two games in hand over Barcelona, but Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and crew know that their one-point league lead is far from safe if they don’t take care of business. Espanyol sit mid-table and need to get hot to compete for a European bid.

The Top 50 Best-Selling NFL Player Jerseys 2016 season

The 2016 NFL season saw plenty of rookies breaking out and young players emerging into the forefront, but it takes a lot more than one big performance to become a top jersey seller throughout an entire calendar year. The NFL is dominated by household names who have built their brand over years of stellar play, but 2016 represented a changing of the guard with a number of rookies ranking at the top of the NFL’s top 50 best-selling player jerseys of 2016. (Top 50 best selling NFL player jerseys is based on sales data of Fanatics Inc across NFLshop, Fanatics & Fansedge for the period of July 2016 – January 2017). See the best-selling jerseys in the NFL updated every month on NFL shop.

  1. Ezekiel Elliott; (Dallas Cowboys) There were some chuckles around the league from folks who thought the Dallas Cowboys reached when drafting Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in the 2016 draft. It’s the Cowboys who are laughing now after Elliott staked his claim as not only the NFL’s best back but the league’s top jersey seller as well. The former Ohio State star ripped off nearly 2,000 total yards and 16 touchdowns, propelling the Cowboys to a 13-3 record. At 21 years of age, Elliott’s reign at the running back position is only just beginning. Get your Ezekiel Elliott jersey here.

Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys

  1. Dak Prescott; (Dallas Cowboys) While Elliott’s ascension could have been predicted, few saw the emergence of Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott coming. He got his chance to start after Tony Romo’s preseason injury and never relinquished the job, leading Dallas to victory in 11 of his first 12 games. Prescott never hit the feared rookie wall, raising his level of play and throwing for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Cowboys’ NFC divisional loss to the Green Bay Packers. Cowboys fans have a two-headed backfield monster in Prescott and Elliott to cherish for years to come. Get your Dak Prescott jersey here.

Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys

  1. Tom Brady; (New England Patriots) He’ll be 40 years old before the 2017 season begins, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady looks to be in his football prime as he leads New England to Super Bowl LI – what could become his fifth crown. The Pats have won 13 of 14 games with Brady in the lineup this season, with an average margin of victory of nearly 17 points. Father time inevitably gets everyone, but Brady is showing no signs of slowing down as his New England Patriots look to add another notch to a 15-year dynasty on Super Bowl Sunday. Get your Tom Brady jersey here.
  2. Odell Beckham Jr.; (New York Giants) Three seasons into his NFL career, Odell Beckham Jr.’s influence at the wide receiver position continues to grow exponentially. Beckham’s highlight-reel catches and elusive playmaking allowed him to rack up 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns while navigating the Giants to their first playoff appearance since 2011. His productivity – top-five among receivers in receptions, yards, touchdowns and yards per game – is as strong as there is, but Beckham’s personality and style of play resonate with fans in an increasingly passing-dominated league. Get your Odell Beckham Jr. jersey here.
  3. Carson Wentz; (Philadelphia Eagles) Carson Wentz had his critics prior to his first play after the Eagles traded away lots of picks to take him #2 overall in the draft, but they disappeared after Wentz’s pre-snap intelligence and rocket arm made the Eagles an early surprise team in 2016. Philadelphia would sputter to finish 7-9, but fans in the City of Brotherly Love no longer doubt that they have the signal-caller they need to ascend back into contention in the competitive NFC East. With a few more weapons around him, Wentz figures to be a top quarterback for years to come. Get your Carson Wentz jersey here.

Carson Wentz Philadelphia Eagles

  1. Rob Gronkowski; (New England Patriots) It’s been a difficult year for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on the gridiron, but his popularity off it has never been bigger. Gronk’s 2016 debut was delayed due to injury and he only played in eight games before a back surgery sidelined him for the remainder of the season, but he still managed to average 21.6 yards per reception as a perpetual mismatch in the middle of the field. New England hasn’t skipped a beat without Gronkowski, but the Pats could sure use him back heading into Super Bowl LI. Get your Rob Gronkowski jersey here.
  2. Antonio Brown; (Pittsburgh Steelers)From big-statistic performances to entertaining touchdown dances, the Steelers’ Antonio Brown rivals Beckham as the league’s most exciting and entertaining wide receiver. Including postseason numbers, Brown racked up over 1,500 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns before his Steelers crashed out in the AFC Championship Game. Free agency looms for Brown after the 2017 season, but he’s more than proved his worth to a Pittsburgh Steelers team with top-end talent at every skill position. Get your Antonio Brown jersey here.
  3. Derek Carr; (Oakland Raiders) Third-year quarterback Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders were perhaps the story of the NFL season as Carr led the Raiders to a surprising 12-4 record while performing like a MVP candidate. Carr threw for almost 4,000 yards along with 28 touchdowns and battling through injury to lead Oakland to its first playoff appearance in 14 years. A broken leg in Week 16 derailed Carr’s season and eventually the Raiders’ Super Bowl aspirations, but his leadership and moxie put the franchise in a great position moving forward. Get your Derek Carr jersey here.
  4. Von Miller; (Denver Broncos) The popularity of the Super Bowl 50 MVP didn’t waver throughout 2016, as Von Miller became the only defensive player to crack the top 10 in jersey sales. The sixth-year defensive end racked up 13.5 sacks in 2016, showing no signs of a MVP hangover after tormenting Cam Newton throughout Super Bowl 50. Miller is the de-facto face of the Denver Broncos after Peyton Manning’s retirement and is now right up there with J.J. Watt and Richard Sherman as the league’s most recognizable defensive player. Get your Von Miller jersey here.
  5. Russell Wilson; (Seattle Seahawks) It was a down year for the Seahawks from an outsider’s perspective simply because they’re not playing on Super Bowl Sunday, but Russell Wilson’s greatness was never more apparent in 2016. He set a single-season franchise record for passing yards with 4,219, progressing considerably as a pocket passer after injuries limited his mobility throughout the season. As if he hadn’t proven it before through two Super Bowl appearances and one championship, Wilson further showed that he’s the guy to lead Seattle to more hardware in the future. Get your Russell Wilson jersey here.

The 20 – 50 top selling player jersey’s in the NFL for the 2016 season are (which includes retired players like Joe Montana):

  1. Dez Bryant
  2. Jason Witten
  3. Aaron Rodgers
  4. Khalil Mack
  5. Julio Jones
  6. Cam Newton
  7. Julian Edelman
  8. Ben Roethlisberger
  9. Matt Ryan
  10. Eli Manning
  11. Le’Veon Bell
  12. Amari Cooper
  13. Richard Sherman
  14. Drew Brees
  15. JJ Watt
  16. Luke Kuechly
  17. Larry Fitzgerald
  18. Jarvis Landry
  19. Peyton Manning
  20. Todd Gurley II
  21. Jordy Nelson
  22. Kam Chancellor
  23. Kirk Cousins
  24. Colin Kaepernick
  25. Clay Matthews
  26. Marcus Mariota
  27. Matthew Stafford
  28. Brian Dawkins
  29. AJ Green
  30. Tyler Lockett
  31. Stefon Diggs
  32. Bo Jackson
  33. Landon Collins
  34. Joe Montana
  35. Doug Baldwin
  36. Harrison Smith
  37. Jimmy Graham
  38. NaVorro Bowman
  39. Justin Tucker
  40. Andrew Luck

 

Football Across Europe: December 13-18 (Recapped)

English Premier League

Everton vs. Arsenal: Red-hot Arsenal have a chance to move (temporarily) into the top spot in the Premier League with a win at Everton on Tuesday. Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil will try to continue their fine form in front of net and extend the longest unbeaten streak of the season. Meanwhile, the Toffees can move into seventh with a victory and put a mediocre start to the season behind them.

Result: Everton 2 – 1 Arsenal: Though Alexis Sánchez continued his torrent form and put Arsenal ahead twenty minutes in, Everton got a goal just before half and an Ashley Williams header in the 86th minute to capture all three points at the Gunners’ expense. 

Sunderland vs. Chelsea: Speaking of streaks, Chelsea take a scintillating nine-match win streak into their mid-week trip to the Northeast to face Sunderland. Three points clear atop the table, Antonio Conte’s men could strengthen their grip on the title race if league-leading goal-scorer Diego Costa keeps burying his chances. In this first-against-worst clash, Sunderland would be lucky to hold on for a point against Eden Hazard and company.

Result: Sunderland 0 – 1 Chelsea: Cesc Fàbregas goal on 40 minutes was all table-leading Chelsea needed to continue their winning ways against relegation-risk Sunderland. 

Manchester City vs. Watford: It’s gut-check time for Manchester City, who have dropped their last two EPL fixtures and need three points at home against Watford to stay relevant in the title race. With Sergio Agüero suspended, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling should be relied upon against Watford, who are surprisingly seventh in the table.

Result: Manchester City 2 – 0 Watford: A Pablo Zabaleta goal in the 33rd minute would have been enough at the Etihad, but David Silva added late insurance as City saw it through against Watford as they sought to keep pace in the title race. Manager Pep Guardiola was no doubt pleased to see City keep the clean sheet. 

Middlesbrough vs. Liverpool: Liverpool, coming off a 2-2 draw at Anfield over the weekend with West Ham, travel to newly promoted side Middlesbrough on Wednesday. Having dropped five points and conceded six goals their previous two fixtures, Liverpool will welcome Boro’s league-low scoring record and look to return to their winning ways as they try to keep pace with the table leaders. Reds striker Divock Origi, in the starting XI for injured Philippe Coutinho, has four goals in his last four matches.

Result: Middlesbrough 0 – 3 Liverpool: Liverpool, also looking to stay in the title race and put recent poor form behind them, took all three points from Riverside Stadium through a double from Adam Lallana and Divock Origi’s fifth goal in his last five matches. 

Bundesliga (Germany)

Darmstadt 98 vs. Bayern Munich: Thanks to a 1-0 RB Leipzig defeat on Saturday and a 5-0 trouncing of Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich are now back to their usual spot atop the Bundesliga table, though still level on points with RB Leipzig. On Sunday, they travel to take on last place Darmstadt 98 and will look to add a further three points to their league title defense campaign. Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Muller all found the net against Wolfsburg.

Result: Darmstadt 98 0 – 1 Bayern Munich: Enjoying nearly 80% possession, Bayern Munich defeated last-place Darmstadt on Sunday through a Douglas Costa goal in the 71st minute. A Red Bull Leipzig victory on Saturday, though, means the clubs remain level atop the Bundesliga table. 

Serie A (Italy)

Juventus vs. AS Roma: Saturday will see the top two teams in the Serie A table clash at Juventus stadium. Juve is fresh off a 3-1 victory in the Torino derby and Roma travels on the heels of a victory at home over AC Milan. New Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuaín doubled over the weekend, and looks to continue his fine form. Roma is unbeaten in their last five fixtures in all competitions and will be hungry to cut into Juve’s four-point table lead.

Result: Juventus 1 – 0 AS Roma: Though both teams saw chances, it was an early goal from in-form Gonzalo Higuain that saw Juventus victorious over the challengers  from Rome. Roma now finds themselves seven points back of table-leading Juve, with Napoli, Lazio, and AC Milan right on their heels. 

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Football Across Europe: December 9-11 (Recapped)

English Premier League

Leicester City vs. Manchester City: High-flying Man City travel to the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on the slumping Foxes. Though Leicester advanced to the knockout stages of their surprise Champions League run, they sit 16th in the table,  17 points back of City, and nowhere near their magical form of last season. City’s Sergio Agüero is second in the Premier League in scoring thus far in 2016/17.

Result: Leicester City 4 – 2 Manchester City: Jamie Vardy scored in the third minute en route to a hat trick and Leicester dispatched Man City in a convincing manner, looking the most like the reigning Premier League champions they have perhaps all season. 

Manchester United vs. Tottenham: United welcome Spurs to Old Trafford on Sunday. Though the teams sit in fifth and sixth place respetively in the table, it will be a match United, six points behind Spurs, are desperate to win to stay within striking distance of the table leaders. A returned Harry Kane for Spurs will be looking to best the Red Devils’ star power of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and more.

Result: Manchester United 1 – 0 Tottenham: United, desperate for every point as they seek to stay in the title race, combined stout defending, the usual David de Gea soundness, and a 29th minute goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan to beat Spurs on Sunday.

Chelsea vs. West Brom: Chelsea are back to looking like Chelsea, as they sit alone atop the EPL table entering Sunday’s affair with West Brom. The Blues haven’t lost in the league since Sept. 24, with goal-scoring maestro Diego Costa and majestic Eden Hazard shredding the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton in November. Continuing it through Sunday won’t be easy, as West Brom haven’t lost a match since October.

Result: Chelsea 1 – 0 West Brom: West Brom came into the match in great form and fought hard, but Chelsea proved too much for the Baggies as a 76th minute goal from Diego Costa, his fifth in his last six matches, gave Chelsea a late victory on Sunday and maintained their three point lead atop the table.

 Arsenal vs. Stoke City: The Gunners bring a 13-match unbeaten streak into this weekend’s league showdown against mid-table Stoke City. In-form Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez looks to add to his goal-scoring tally after a hat trick against West Ham last Saturday, while the Gunners can move level with Chelsea atop the EPL table with a win and a Blues loss over the weekend. Stoke can nab a third-straight league win if they pull off the upset at the Emirates Stadium.

Result: Arsenal 3 – 1 Stoke City: Stoke led 1-0 through a 29th minute goal, but Theo Walcott scored just before half and Mesut Özil scored minutes into the second half as Arsenal pulled off the come-from-behind victory to move, albeit briefly, atop the Premier League before Chelsea’s victory on Sunday.

Liverpool vs. West Ham United: Liverpool welcome the Hammers to Anfield on Sunday fresh off their first defeat in 16 matches, a calamitous meltdown away to Bournemouth last weekend. With Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge both ruled out due to injury, the Reds will hope West Ham’s poor recent form continues. Liverpool couldn’t beat West Ham least season in four tries, losing both league matches and managing a draw to force a second-leg matchup in the FA Cup, which saw the Reds dumped from the tournament.

Result: Liverpool 2 – 2 West Ham United: Liverpool led early through a fifth minute Adam Lallana goal, but a gorgeous Dimitri Payet free kick and a poorly conceded goal to Michail Antonio saw the Hammers up at halftime as Liverpool’s defensive fragility reared its head once again. A goal three minutes into the second half from in-form striker Divock Origi would save the Reds a point, but they drop another two behind both Chelsea and Arsenal.

La Liga (Spain)

Real Madrid vs. RC Deportivo: Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid hope to close out their league year on a high mark in a home showdown with Deportivo de la Coruña. Sergio Ramos’ late equalizer in El Clásico last weekend kept Los Blancos six points atop the La Liga table, but keeping that distance through the new year is critical with Lionel Messi and Neymar’s Barcelona nipping at their heels.

Result: Real Madrid 3 – 2 RC Deportivo: Scoreless at halftime, an Álvaro Morata goal in the 50th minute gave Real Madrid a lead, but it was short-lived as Joselu scored twice in two minutes to give RC Deportivo a 2-1 lead through 66 minutes. An 84th minute Mariano equalizer would give Real Madrid a chance, and Sergio Ramos delivered in stoppage time to secure all three points for Real Madrid who remain six points clear atop La Liga. 

Osasuna vs. Barcelona: Barcelona travel to the north of Spain on Saturday to take on Osasuna. Though advancing with ease through the group stage of the Champions League, Barca comes into this match on the heels of three straight league draws, including their last match, El Clásico against Real Madrid, who now sit six points clear of Barca in the La Liga table.

Result: Osasuna 0 – 3 Barcelona: Barca returned to their winning ways at the expense of Osasuna, who surrendered over 80% possession to Barcelona and registered only one shot on goal. Usual suspects and superstars Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi (double), provided all the scoring. 

Serie A (Italy)

Torino vs. Juventus: Juventus and Torino meet on Sunday in the derby della Mole, or Turin Derby. Turin’s top two teams battle for bragging rights in one of Italy’s oldest derbies. This match will be at Torino’s home grounds, with the rematch moving to Juventus Stadium in May. Between league and Coppa Italia play, Juventus swept all three meetings with Torino last season.

Result: Torino 1 – 3 Juventus: Torino drew first blood in this fierce derby matchup, but new striker Gonzalo Higuain equalized in the 28th minute and put Juve ahead in the 82nd to ensure another victory for Juventus against their bitter rivals. 

Football Across Europe: November 18-20

English Premier League

Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Arsenal, who sit two points off the top, travel to Old Trafford to tangle with a new-look Manchester United. New signings Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will look to continue two trends that Mesut Özil and the Gunners are keen to buck. Arsene Wenger has never beaten Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, and Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in 10 years.

Tottenham vs. West Ham: While Tottenham are the only unbeaten side in the EPL, they’re intent on avoiding their seventh draw of the season when they host fellow Londoners West Ham in Saturday’s night cap. The Hammers are flirting with the relegation zone, but have gotten points in three of their last five meetings with Spurs – who are hopeful that striker Harry Kane will return from injury.

Southampton vs. Liverpool: Returning from International Break, red-hot Liverpool travel to England’s south coast to take on Southampton on Saturday. Though the Reds are currently alone atop the Premier League and have twice the points, the Saints have proven tough opponents of late, drawing at Manchester City and beating Inter Milan at home in Europa League action in recent weeks. Jürgen Klopp’s squad built a 2-0 lead at St. Mary’s last season through Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, but lost 3-2. The main culprit? New Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane.

La Liga (Spain)

Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid: Atletico Madrid won the head-to-head battle with Real Madrid last season, but Los Blancos got the one win that counted most – the Champions League Final. Atleti have fallen to fourth in the La Liga table, and a second-straight defeat at home in El Derbi madrileno would cripple their hopes of keeping pace with a Real Madrid side that’s unbeaten in all competitions and boasts the electric attacking duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Barcelona vs. Malaga: FC Barcelona can reclaim the top spot in La Liga with a win and a Real Madrid defeat, but the former won’t be easy with a visit from Malaga. The tenth-placed side have lost just once in their last five outings, but none of those came against the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. The star-studded trio has combined for 20 league goals already this season.

Bundesliga (Germany)

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich: The German powerhouse Bayern Munich travel to the Westfalenstadion to face their rivals Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Bayern is in their usual place atop the Bundesliga, but find themselves neck and neck with the surprise Red Bull Leipzig squad. Dortmund is six points back and looking to keep pace in what is a tight table thus far.

Serie A (Italy)

AC Milan vs. Inter Milan: A.C. Milan and Internazionale will meet for the Derby della Madonnina at their famed San Siro in Milan on Sunday. A.C. Milan are only five points behind leader Juventus in the table, while Inter sit a further eight back. Form and records matter little in this heated rivalry, however. The teams split their two meetings last season.

Cubs Fans Celebrate a Win 108 Years in the Making

It’s Game 7 in the bottom of the 10th inning. Every Cubs fan in the world is waiting in anticipation with a one-run lead, one out away from a World Series victory. 

Chicago Cubs win World Series 2016

There have been generations of friends and families going to Cubs game and loyal fans of a team that had been shut out for 108 years. Parents taking their kids to their first game and friends gathered around radios and television sets building a bond based on baseball. Everyone wearing their favorite Cubs t-shirts, hats and official Cubs memorabilia in hopes of a win.

There have been highs and lows for each Cubs fan during every nail-biting moment, but the highs had never culminated with a championship.

Times were the Cubs were very close, and times where hope never flourished. However, the love for the Cubbies kept each fan with some hope that someday it would be their day. The infamous Billy Goat curse plagued the team for many years, and for some, it’s the reason why the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in so long. Baseball is partly a game of omen, jinxes and curses. But for Cubs fans, it’s bigger than that.

Cubs fans are not just celebrating a team they have watched their entire life, but the memories they have gained while watching them with loved ones. Many are gone and many have aged, but the love for the game and the team still roars young. This is more than just being a fan it becomes a family game for generations.

So with one out to go, Montgomery pitches. It’s hit for a ground ball, picked up by Kris Bryant and thrown to first for the final out. It’s the beginning of the “someday” grandparents, parents, friends and siblings have spoken about for decades.

Tonight, it’s more than just a win, but a family reunion.

Cubs fans, young and old, have waited their entire lives for this moment to celebrate their team as World Series champions. It took an epic comeback and a Game 7 for the ages to make that happen, and the priceless reactions from these Cubs fans truly encapsulate 108 long years of suffering done away by a special 2016 Chicago Cubs team.