The long international doldrums are over. European club soccer returns. The big games are mostly on Saturday, if you were looking for something to do while waiting for college football to start at 6pm.
MATCHES TO WATCH
Everton vs. Chelsea [Sat. 7:45am NBCSN] Chelsea have had a rough start to the EPL season, after lifting last year’s trophy. They have taken four points from four matches, losing in fake fashion to Manchester City and in real fashion to Crystal Palace. Their nine goals allowed is more than any EPL club except last-place Sunderland. Chelsea’s thin, tired squad needed a respite. Instead, players spent the past two weeks traversing the globe for international matches. Oh, and Thibault Courtois needs knee surgery. Stats can go whatever way you like here. Everton have won four out of six against Chelsea at home in the league. Chelsea have won two of the last three, and dropped six goals on the Toffees at Goodison last season.
Manchester United vs. Liverpool [Sat. 12:30pm NBC] Reds vs. Red Devils, with Liverpool traveling to Old Trafford. David de Gea is not going to Real Madrid and did sign a new four-year contract. There have been some concerns over unrest in the Manchester United dressing room, concerns that may be overblown. Daniel Sturridge is purportedly fit for Liverpool. Important, since the Reds went goalless taking one point from their last two matches. Sign of the times: this is the first meeting between the clubs in the EPL era that won’t feature a local Liverpool or Manchester player.
Atletico Madrid vs. Barcleona [Sat. 2:30pm beIN Sports] The last two Spanish league winners square off. Both have taken six points from their opening two matches. Atletico are in the midst of a front-loaded fixture list, playing the other five of last year’s top six in the first nine matches. Not clear whether $38m striker Jackson Martinez (a topic of vital Arsenal conversation) or Fernando Torres will get the start. Either will be going against a makeshift Barcelona centerback pairing, with Pique suspended. Javier Mascherano is a DM. Tomas Vermaelen was last spotted playing regularly for Arsenal in 2013.
FULL TV SCHEDULE
Everton vs. Chelsea [Sat. 7:45am NBCSN]
Crystal Palace vs. Man City [Sat. 10:00am NBCSN]
Arsenal vs. Stoke [Sat. 10:00am USA]
Manchester United vs. Liverpool [Sat. 12:30pm NBC]
Sunderland vs. Spurs [Sun. 8:30am NBCSN]
Leicester vs. Aston Villa [Sun. 11:00am NBCSN]
West Ham vs. Newcastle [Mon. 3:00pm NBCSN]
Espanyol vs. Real Madrid [Sat. 10:00am beIN]
Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona [Sat. 2:30pm beIN]
Rayo Vallecano vs. Deportivo [Mon. 2:3opm beIN]
Bayern Munich vs. FC Augsburg [Sat. 9:30am FS1]
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Darmstadt [Sat. 9:30am FS2]
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. FC Koln [Sat. 12:30pm FSP]
Hoffenheim vs. Werder Bremen [Sun. 9:30am FS1]
Schalke vs. Mainz [Sun. 11:30am FS1]
Frosinone vs. Roma [Sat. 12:00pm beIN]
Empoli vs. Napoli [Sun. 9:00am beIN]
Lazio vs. Udinese [Sun. 12:00pm beIN]