by Tim Stannard
LA LIGA – REAL MADRID V BARCELONA – Live on beIN SPORTS from 1:30PM ET / 10:30AM PT
Barca’s last, last, last chance at the title. Probably.
Going to let you into a bit of a secret here.
The branding of this big-hitting match for beIN SPORTS is very much as one that could decide the La Liga title, especially if Real Madrid win Sunday’s whopper. After all, victory would put Madrid six-points ahead of their Catalan rivals with a game in hand with the season swiftly running out of games.
But as soon as the match is over, it will be all with the ‘long way to go, not over until it’s over, etc.’ And to be fair, that would be the right approach as if anything has been shown this season, it’s Real Madrid and Barcelona running their campaigns by the skin of their collective sets of teeth. Take last weekend for example. Real Madrid only beat Sporting in the final seconds of the game and Barca could have come a cropper against Real Sociedad in two clashes that both ended up 3-2.
In the same way both teams are capable of performing at incredible levels, especially in Clasicos which never, ever, ever disappoint both also have a knack of extreme wackiness in terms of chucking away points.
If Madrid win, the title could be done and dusted for Barcelona. But anything else…then it’s game on for the rest of the season.
LIGUE UN – LYON V MONACO – Live on beIN SPORTS CONNECT FROM 3PM ET / 12PM PT
It would not have been overly pessimistic to suggest back at the beginning of the season that Monaco’s footballers would be kicking their heels, twiddling their thumbs and playing the odd game of football right about now.
The Champions League campaign could have been over at the group stages…PSG 30 points clear at the top of Ligue Un…domestic cup runs cut off in their prime. Instead, Monaco are busier than a honey bee after a round of redundancies. Top of the table in the league with the title in their hands. In the Champions League final four as the club that no-one wants to play, and a Coup de France semifinal clash to come.
In an increasingly multi-tasking world for Monaco, the Monte Carlo outfit has to put thoughts of the side’s Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund to one side, and refocus on Ligue Un and a tough old task against Lyon. With PSG expected to make light of Montpelier, Leonardo Jardim’s men are facing a Lyon side trying to secure fourth and a Europa League spot.
Historically, Monaco have not had the best of records against Lyon with just two wins from 15 but there is something rather special about the Mediterranean outfit this season, with Monaco proving that it has been able to balance three balls – so to speak – with a 14-match unbeaten run in Ligue Un.
A couple of other factors might well be working in Monaco’s favor – 90 goals in 32 league games, for starters - and Lyon being punch drunk still from Thursday’s Europa League battle with Besiktas. So far, this season Monaco has cleared every hurdle in its path. Another awaits on Sunday in the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.