We're really getting into the nitty-gritty of the 2016-17 seasons in Europe, and that means we've got a lot of big time matches in the early rounds of domestic tournaments and some big time league fixtures to break down for the week ahead.
Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao, Wednesday, 3:15 p.m. ET ( beIN Sports )
The Copa del Rey often provides a bunch of unpredictable results, but in the end, it's generally one of the top teams who wins this tournament. That said, when one of said teams is on the ropes, it's truly notable.
We're only in the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey, so there's still a heck of a lot to matches left to be played, but for either Barcelona or Athletic Bilbao, that run will come to an end on Wednesday.
Bilbao took the first leg of this home and home series 2-1, and Barca not only needs to win, but might need to do so by multiple goals if it's going to ultimately advance.
Tottenham vs West Brom, Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network)
Tottenham might have ultimately put itself back into a position where it can win the Premier League after ending Chelsea's winning streak last week. The Spurs though, have to keep this run going, and they really should against West Brom. The Baggies have vastly overachieved by sitting in eighth place on the table in England, and they're largely doing so without a whole heck of a lot of offense.
Tony Pulis' club has been good on the road this year at 3-3-4, and though WBA is a decided underdog for sure in this one, this is the type of match that could be scary for Tottenham. Sure, the Spurs haven't lost yet at home this term, and they're a whopping 8-2-0, but often times, winning big matches like the one against Chelsea is followed by a dud. Keep an eye on this one to kick off Match Day 21 of the Premier League season.
Swansea City vs. Arsenal, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network )
Swansea City is already on its fourth "manager" of the season. Alan Curtis took this team over for a little while as the caretaker after the Bob Bradley experiment proved to be a disaster. Paul Clement is now here as the full-time boss, and he's going to get his shot against the Gunners in his first day at the office at Liberty Stadium. The Swans need some points to get out of the relegation zone, as 15 in 20 matches won't cut it when you generally need 40 to feel relatively safe.
The Gunners have fallen to fifth best in the Premier League, but they've still got some title dreams as well if they can go on a bit of a run here. But there's a lot to be concerned about for sure, not the least of which was a horrible outing against Preston North End in the third round of the FA Cup which resulted in a late comeback to advance. But at least Arsenal left it late and got through, something that other Premier League giants can't say, and perhaps that will be the jolt that the club really badly needs to get back in the championship discussion.
Manchester United vs. Liverpool, Sunday, 11 a.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network )
The match of the week is going to be held in Old Trafford. Manchester United is scorching hot at the moment, and as a result, it has gotten back into the Top 4 discussion in sixth place. Liverpool though, is the team closest to Chelsea in the EPL on 44 points through 20 matches, and one would like to think that it needs to replicate that success in the second half of the season to have a real shot of running down the top spot.
These two teams played a lackluster scoreless draw at Anfield earlier this year, and that's a common thread that has followed Liverpool of late. The Reds didn't score against lowly Plymouth in the FA Cup last week in their last match, and that's going to force them to play once again on the road if they want to keep their FA Cup hopes alive.
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