Weekly Recap

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)

Bundesliga

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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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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