The world champions are back in action! You’ll have to wait around until Monday evening, but there’s some action on Saturday and Sunday to get you through the weekend until the United States Women’s National Team takes the field against Colombia. Here’s what we’ve got this weekend:
Fulham v Chelsea - 12:30p on NBC
It’s a relatively rare US v US matchup in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon when Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream and Fulham take on Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea side. Robinson will almost certainly start the match, as he’s started every league match for Fulham since first entering the lineup in early October. The team has drawn five straight matches and currently sit in 18th place, but with two games in hand over Brighton, they could move to safety as they close that gap. Unlike the last time Fulham was in the Premier League, it hasn’t been the defense that has been their undoing.
The team has given up 24 goals, which isn’t great but isn’t near historic bad as it was, and it has improved since Antonee entered the lineup. In the opening three matches of the season, Fulham gave up ten goals (3.3 per), but since he entered the lineup, they have given up three goals just once and two goals twice. Unfortunately, the team has not been able to keep pace offensively with just 14 goals through 16 games. They’ll have to find a way to score more consistently if they’re going to avoid falling straight back to the Championship.
Fulham will have their work cut out for them against Chelsea, who have managed just a goal per match in their past three league games. But, they took out some frustrations in a 4-0 win over League 2 side Morecambe in the FA Cup. Christian Pulisic got some rest and came in for 22 minutes off the bench, but has started five straight league games for Chelsea. He’s been one of the bright spots for the team, though he has not been able to work that into impact on the scoresheet recently.
- Owen Otasowie has appeared in four of the past five matches for the Wolverhampton Wanderers, who face West Bromwich Albion at 7:30a on NBCSN for those who like to get things started right away.
Looking through the paywall:
- Giovanni Reyna and Borussia Dortmund face Mainz 05 at 9:30a on ESPN+. Dortmund are coming off a 3-1 win over second place RB Leipzig that could propel them to a strong second half.
- Another US v US match as Wolfsburg and John Brooks face Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig at 9:30a on ESPN+. Leipzig missed a chance to go top of the table last week when they lost to Dortmund, while Wolfsburg are coming off a 2-2 draw and currently sit in sixth.
- Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen are coming off a 1-1 draw with third place Bayer Leverkusen and are currently in thirteenth place. They face 11th place Augsburg this weekend.
Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - 2:45p on ESPN2
It’s a rare opportunity to watch Sergiño Dest and Barcelona on network television Sunday afternoon when they face Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Supercup on ESPN2. Barcelona defeated Real Sociedad in a match that went to penalties on Thursday while Bilbao, who are just 12th in the league standings, defeated Real Madrid in their semifinal. It’s been a strange start to the season, and this isn’t the most prestigious event, but it is a chance to see an American hoist a trophy while playing for Barcelona, which seems pretty dang neat.
Looking through the paywall:
- Timothy Weah has started two of the last three for a Lille team that won both of the matches in which he started and lost the other. Have we discussed correlation and causation recently? The club face Reims at 11a on beIN Sports Connect (Fubo TV).
- It doesn’t seem fair to expect any sort of encore for Matthew Hoppe coming off his hat trick last weekend, but Schalke 04 is going to need more strong performances if they’re to have any hope of avoiding relegation. Currently, they sit in 17th place and have just 7 points through 15 matches. This weekend, they’ll face ninth place Eintracht Frankfurt, where Timothy Chandler is a bit of a forgotten figure.
- Ederson is back for Manchester City, so it’s a return to the bench for Zack Steffen who acquitted himself well in his matches against Chelsea and Manchester United. His Man City team face Crystal Palace at 2:15p on Peacock.
USWNT v Colombia - 7p on FS1
The USWNT face off against Colombia on Monday evening in a great way to end the long weekend. SSFC will have coverage of the match, but I’m not going to miss a chance to tout the greatest team in the world. It’s been a couple months since the WNT have seen the field in anything other than training. The matchup with 26th-ranked Colombia shouldn’t stretch the team too much, but will be a good opportunity to get back into action ahead of the SheBelieves Cup in February.
- DeAndre Yedlin has now started five straight matches for Newcastle United. Unfortunately, the club is winless in those five games heading into their matchup with Arsenal at 3p on NBCSN.