Thanks to winter break in Germany and exacerbated by COVID cases in Spain and England it’s a pretty quiet weekend as we get 2022 started. There are just a couple of matches with USMNT impact, here they are:
Valencia v Espanyol - 10:15a on ESPN+
Yunus Musah and Valencia look to close out the year right with a fourth straight win on Friday morning. The streak has pulled Valencia up to eighth in the table, just two points back of Champions League qualification. Unfortunately Musah has played a very small role, seeing just spot minutes in the past five matches. It would be good to see him take on a larger role though he is still just 19 and will continue to be a key piece for the USMNT regardless.
Josh Sargent’s Norwich have seen their game with Leicester City postponed and the only other potential USMNT action on Saturday is when Zach Steffen’s Manchester City face Arsenal, a match in which he is very unlikely to appear, so let’s jump right to Sunday.
Chelsea v Liverpool - 11:30a on USA
The premier matchup of the weekend features the second and third place clubs in the EPL facing off with both teams needing a win to keep Manchester City from running away with the league title before the new year is a week old. Man City currently hold a lead of eight points over second place Chelsea and nine points over Liverpool. Chelsea’s defense continues to be stout, one of the very best in the Premier League but they have been struggling to score recently and have settled for draws in three of their past five matches.
Christian Pulisic has started the past four league matches but has not scored since mid-November though he and Thomas Tuechel can share the blame as Pulisic has been played out of his more comfortable winger positions first as a false nine and most recently as a right wing back in Wednesday’s draw with Brighton & Hove Albion.
- Nicholas Gioacchini and Montpellier face Strasbourg at 10a on beIN Sports.
- Matt Miazga was already failing to appear off the bench and then was diagnosed with COVID-19 and seems to be unavailable for Deportivo Alaves as they face Real Sociedad at 12:30p on ESPN+.
- Sergino Dest has also been diagnosed with COVID-19 and will be unavailable for Barcelona who have 10 players out and may struggle to field a team against Mallorca at 3p on ESPN+.
There you have it, not a ton happening but at least one key matchup. Let us know what you think in the comments section below as things begin to take shape in 2022.