What to watch in international soccer this weekend
The biggest televised game of the weekend will take place in Spain, although it’s unlikely to be a classic. In France, unbeaten Paris Saint-Germain will face a stern road test, while in England, Manchester United and Everton tangle in what could prove a definitive match for both.
La Liga: It’s still called El Clasico, but Sunday’s meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid (BeIN Sports, 8 a.m. PT) in Barcelona will be missing much of the luster of years past — along with the personal rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi is sidelined with a fractured arm; Ronaldo took his talents to Italy over the summer. Ronaldo’s absence has clearly hurt Real Madrid, the three-time defending Champions League winners who haven’t won a league game in more than a month, scoring just once in their last four games to fall to seventh in the standings. Barcelona enters the weekend in first place, but Messi’s absence will be felt since he leads the league with five assists and is second with seven goals.
Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain is not only the last unbeaten, untied team in a top-five European league, but its goal differential of plus-31 is also better than the total number of goals any other team on the continent has scored. On Sunday, PSG and its dynamic duo of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar — who have combined for 17 goals, nearly half the team’s 37 — will get a challenge on the road from fourth-place Marseille. (BeIN Sports, 1 p.m. PT).
EPL: Everton and Manchester United are separated by just a point in the middle of the Premier League standings, and their Sunday matchup (NBC, 6 a.m. PT) at Old Trafford could have a bearing on how the rest of the season goes for both. Everton is on a tear, having won three straight, two by shutout. Struggling United has won just one of its last four and desperately needs to end that slide with a date against Manchester City looming. History gives United the edge since its 19 home wins against Everton in Premier League play are second only to its 21 victories over Tottenham.
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