The German Bundesliga, French Ligue 1 and Spanish La Liga are all off until the new year, leaving the soccer spotlight in Europe focused on England and Italy, where the respective league leaders are threatening to turn the title races into routs. With that in mind, here are the top televised matches on tap this weekend:
EPL: Unbeaten Liverpool, which is running away with the Premier League title, can put some more distance between itself and its closest pursuers Saturday, when it plays host to red-hot Arsenal, which has lost just one EPL game since Aug. 18 (NBC, Universo, 9:30 a.m. PST). The game will also match the league’s top two scorers in Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (13 goals) and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (12). Liverpool also has the league’s best goalkeeper in Brazilian Alisson, who has allowed an EPL-low seven goals in 19 games, posting 12 shutouts. Defending champion Manchester City, which dropped to third in the table with its Boxing Day loss to Leicester, will be trying to arrest its longest slide in more than two years Sunday when it visits Southampton, which is just three points out of the regulation zone (NBCSN, 6:15 a.m. PST). City has lost three of its last four league games.
Serie A: Undefeated Juventus has dropped just four points this season in building a commanding nine-point lead over second-place Napoli. It can extend that margin Saturday when it plays host to fifth-place Sampdoria in a very early morning kickoff (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, 3:30 a.m. PST). Sampdoria hasn’t lost a Serie A game in six weeks. Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo is second in the league with 12 goals and is tied for second with five assists in 18 games while Fabio Quagliarella leads Sampdoria with 11 goals and five assists in 17 appearances.