Weekly Recap

Weekly Soccer Recap: Arsenal-Manchester United delivers thriller, Neymar suffers first PSG loss and finals set for MLS and Liga MX

Weekly Soccer Recap: Arsenal-Manchester United delivers thriller, Neymar suffers first PSG loss and finals set for MLS and Liga MX
The Houston Dynamo season came to an end in Seattle as they fell to the defending MLS Cup Champions Seattle Sounders FC. Nigel Brooks

Club play is heating up all over the world as the year is winding down. The race in La Liga got a little more interesting with this weekend’s results and two finals will take place this week in North America.

Premier League

Teams in England had double duty this week and the top three clubs took advantage to extend their lead. Manchester City almost let up some points but a Raheem Sterling goal in stoppage time gave them the full three points on Wednesday, followed by a win on Sunday over West Ham. Manchester United also went two-for-two ending with what will go down as one of the memorable matches of the 2017/18 season against Arsenal. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, Paul Pogba’s showcase ended with a red card meaning he will miss the Manchester Derby.

Chelsea and Liverpool also took six points this week while Arsenal got a 5-0 win on Wednesday before Sunday’s loss vs. United. Tottenham was the big loser as they drop out of the top 5, having put pressure on City for the top spot at one point.

Top 5: Manchester City (43), Manchester United (35), Chelsea (32), Liverpool (29), Arsenal (28)

La Liga

Atlético Madrid and Sevilla were the big winners this week as both picked up three points while others in the top five slipped up. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid both drew this week, which is of bigger concern to Real as the defending champs fall to fourth place. Valencia lost this week and missed an opportunity to come within striking distance of Barcelona. It still looks like Barça’s title to lose but there’s a lot of weeks left on the calendar and the race got much closer.

The 5: Barcelona (36), Valencia (31), Atlético Madrid (30), Real Madrid (28), Sevilla (28)


The Bayern Munich locomotive is picking up speed as they—after a loss last week—picked up three points to extend their lead thanks to a loss by second place Leipzig. That loss was delivered by Hoffenheim, a 4-0 home win, who are now in the top five. Mönchengladbach suffered a tough loss, 3-0 at Wolfsburg, as they miss out on a chance to move up to second. Schalke drew but stays in third while Dortmund’s loss drops them down to sixth.

Top 5: Bayern Munich (32), RB Leipzig (26), Schalke 04 (25), Mönchengladbach (24), Hoffenheim (23)

Ligue 1

PSG went down this weekend but no one was able to take advantage. The defending champions won midweek but were surprised by Strasbourg in a 2-1 away loss. The good news was that none of the other top teams took advantage of their double fixtures this week to pick up six points. Lyon, Monaco and Marseille are fighting each other for second place when one of those could’ve run away and pulled closer to PSG in case the Parisians have another slip up.

Top 5: Paris Saint-Germain (41), Lyon (32), Monaco (32), Marseille (32), Nantes (27)

Serie A

Napoli simply cannot be beat—until they were. That loss came at the hands of Juventus and as a result, Inter Milan are the new leaders in Italy. Inter picked up a 5-0 win over Chievo Verona while Roma and Lazio picked up three points themselves. Gennaro Gattuso's managerial debut for the Rossoneri began with a 2-2 draw at last place Benevento. To add insult to injury, the tying goal was scored by Benevento’s goalkeeper in stoppage time.

The top 5: Inter Milan (39), Napoli (38), Juventus (37), Roma (34), Lazio (32)

Major League Soccer

The 2017 MLS season has come to an end for Columbus Crew SC and the Houston Dynamo. The two “underdog” clubs could not find a way to prevent a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup final which is what we’ll see when Toronto hosts Seattle once more for this year’s crown.

Only one goal was the difference in the Eastern final as a play of brilliance resulted in Jozy Altidore’s goal to secure a return trip to the MLS Cup, which Toronto lost last year at home on penalties. The other series was not so close as Houston—needing at least two goals—conceded three to the defending champion Seattle Sounders FC, who will look to go back-to-back.

MLS Cup 2017:

Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounder FC

Liga MX

The semifinals in Liga MX where no contests as the two Monterrey area clubs dismantled their opposition to set up their first derby encounter in a league final. Tigres defeated Club America 4-0 on aggregate while Monterrey did one better, 5-0 on aggregate, against Monarcas Morelia. The two heated rivals will now meet for the ultimate bragging rights. Tigres will be looking for their sixth title while Monterrey fans hope their club can match their rivals five championships.

Liga MX Apertura 2017 final: Monterrey vs. Tigres

MVP of the Week - David de Gea

Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea is enjoying the best season of his career at Manchester United—one that is putting him in the discussion of best goalkeeper in the world. This weekend he was a key part of United’s 3-1 win at Arsenal, providing 14 saves to deny the likes of Sánchez and Alexandre Lacazette. If United are to challenge rivals City for the title—starting with the upcoming Manchester Derby—de Gea will likely play another big game.

Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Dec. 5:

1:30 p.m.- FC Barcelona vs. Sporting CP (FS1)

1:30 p.m.- Manchester United vs. CSKA Moscow (FS2)

1:30 p.m.- Chelsea vs. Atlético Madrid (FOX Sports Southwest)

1:30 p.m.- Bayern Munich vs. PSG (FOX Soccer Facebook)

Wednesday, Dec. 6:

1:30 p.m.- Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund (FS1)

1:30 p.m.- Liverpool vs. Spartak Moscow (FS2)

1:30 p.m.- Tottenham vs. APOEL (FOX Sports Southwest)

1:30 p.m.- Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Manchester City (FOX Soccer Facebook)

Thursday, Dec. 7:

7:30 p.m.- Tigres vs. Monterrey (Univision Deportes)

Friday, Nov. 24:

1:20 p.m.- Stuttgart vs. Bayer Leverkusen (FS2)

Saturday, Dec. 2:

6:30 a.m. - West Ham vs. Chelsea (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - Frankfurt vs. Bayern Munich (FS1)

8:30 a.m. - Dortmund vs. Werder Bremen (FS2)

9:15 a.m. - Real Madrid vs. Sevilla (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - Newcastle vs. Leicester City (NBC)

11:30 a.m. - Mönchengladbach vs. Schalke 04 (FS2)

3:00 p.m.- Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC (ESPN/UniMás)

Sunday, Nov. 26:

6:00 a.m. - Southampton vs. Arsenal (NBC Sports)

8:15 a.m. - Liverpool vs. Everton (NBC Sports)

9:15 a.m. - Real Betis vs. Atlético Madrid (beIN Sports)

10:30 a.m. - Manchester United vs. Manchester City (NBC Sports)

1:45 p.m. - Villarreal vs. Barcelona (beIN Sports)

6:00 p.m.- Monterrey vs. Tigres (Univision Deportes)

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More changes are coming in MLB. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Ronald Acuña Jr. and Corbin Carroll just got a little more dangerous. Same for Bobby Witt Jr., Elly De La Cruz and the rest of baseball's fastest players.

Major League Baseball wants umpires to crack down on obstruction, and the commissioner's office outlined plans during a call with managers this week. MLB staff also will meet managers in person during spring training to go over enforcement.

The increased emphasis is only on the bases and not at home plate. The focus is on infielders who drop a knee or leg down in front of a bag while receiving a throw, acting as a deterrence for aggressive baserunning and creating an increased risk of injuries.

“I think with everything, they’re trying to make the game a little safer to avoid some unnecessary injuries," Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said Friday at the team's facility in Florida. “The intentions are always good. It comes down to how it affects the players and the games. I’m sure there will be plays where one team doesn’t like it or one team does.”

With more position players arriving at spring training every day, the topic likely will come up more and more as teams ramp up for the season.

“We'll touch on that. We'll show them some video of what’s good and what’s not,” Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You know, it’s going to be a little adjustment.”

Making obstruction a point of emphasis fits in with an ongoing effort by MLB to create more action. Obstruction calls are not reviewable, which could lead to some disgruntled players and managers as enforcement is stepped up, but it also means it won't create long replay deliberations.

A package of rule changes last season — including pitch clocks, bigger bases and limits on defensive shifts and pickoff attempts — had a dramatic effect. There were 3,503 stolen bases in the regular season, up from 2,486 in 2022 and the most since 1987.

MLB changed a different baserunning rule this offseason, widening the runner’s lane approaching first base to include a portion of fair territory. MLB also shortened the pitch clock with runners on base by two seconds to 18 and further reducing mound visits in an effort to speed games.

“Last year, you know, a lot of our preparation was around like, especially just the unknown of the clock and making sure like we’re really buttoned up on that," New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "These guys are so used to it in so many ways that sometimes I even forget.”

Increased enforcement could lead to more action on the basepaths. But a significant element of MLB's motivation is injury prevention.

Top players have hurt hands or wrists on headfirst slides into bases blocked by a fielder. White Sox slugger Luis Robert Jr. sprained his left wrist when he slid into Jonathan Schoop's lower left leg on a steal attempt during an August 2022 game against Detroit.

“It’s been happening for a while. It’s been getting out of control," Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I know some of the players complained about it the last two years.”

While acknowledging his reputation as a significant offender, Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott didn't sound too worried about his play.

“We like to fight for outs at second base,” he said. "It’s never on purpose, blocking the base. For me, or someone covering second to the shortstop side, it’s a natural move for your knee to go down to reach the ball. It’s never intentional. I guess we’ll figure out how to maneuver around that.”

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