A pair of long-running rivalries, one in Spain and the other in Liverpool, highlight the televised European soccer schedule this weekend.
La Liga: Positions in the standings really don’t factor in when you’re talking about Spain’s El Clasico, so you can throw out Barcelona’s comfortable lead atop the La Liga table heading into Saturday’s rivalry game at Real Madrid (BeIN Sports, 11:30 a.m. PST). You might want to factor in recent results, though. Madrid’s other team, second-place Atletico, is really the only team within striking distance of Barcelona and Lionel Messi, who leads the league in goals (25) and assists (11). Of more concern is the fact third-place Real Madrid comes into this game smarting from a 3-0 loss to Barcelona in the same stadium in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semifinal. Barcelona also routed Real 5-1 in the first league meeting between the teams this season, with Luis Suarez scoring five of the eight Barcelona goals in the two wins. Real hasn’t beaten Barcelona since August 2017.
EPL: Fire up the DVR because the best Premier League match of the weekend is an early one, with sliding Tottenham playing host to Arsenal on Saturday (NBCSN, Universo, 4:30 a.m. PST). The last time Tottenham was any lower than third in the EPL table was after a 4-2 loss to Arsenal in early December but consecutive league defeats have left it in a precarious position. Arsenal, meanwhile, has won five of its last six but still holds just a one-point lead over hard-charging Manchester United in the battle for the league’s fourth and final Champions League berth. Anything short of an Arsenal win could open the way for United to move up if it beats Southampton later Saturday at Old Trafford (NBCSN, 7 a.m. PST). Also of note is Sunday’s Merseyside Derby, with first-place Liverpool making the mile-long trek across Stanley Park to face Everton at Goodison Park (NBCSN, Telemundo, 8:15 a.m. PST). Like El Clasico, this rivalry has lately been a rout with Liverpool going 5-0-3 in its last eight matches with Everton.