Pretty much all of the major European leagues have already been settled for this season, with Manchester United, by reclaiming the Premier League from their city rivals last week, joining Bayern Munich, who sealed the Bundesliga a couple of weeks ago, in the winners’ circle. This weekend both Juventus and Barcelona have the opportunity to close their respective leagues provided that their nearest rivals drop points. Real Madrid have the small matter of the Madrid derby to deal with ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Dortmund next week, and with a 4-1 defeat to overturn, may have their focus shifted for the game.
English Premier League
With the Premier League wrapped up and no further competitions to play for this season, Manchester United (23/10) travel to Arsenal (5/4) in what could be their last game of any importance this season. However, whereas United have little more than pride and sense of occasion to play for, Arsenal are in the middle of a tight London tussle with Chelsea and Tottenham for the remaining Champions League places for next season. With Chelsea (4/11) at home against Swansea (8/1) and Spurs (21/20) travelling to Wigan (14/5) both expecting to keep the pressure on Arsenal, who are currently sitting in third place, the Gunners will know that victory against United will set down a marker for this final stretch of the season to their London rivals.
Italian Serie A
Juventus (8/13) go into the Turin Derby against Torino (9/2) on Sunday afternoon knowing that a victory against their city rivals and a slip up by Napoli (1/3) at bottom placed Pescara (8/1) will seal their 29th Serie A title. In either case, the Turin derby is always a passionately felt affair, and Juventus will not need the added motivation of the title to spur them on. Milan (1/3), after their defeat to Juventus, saw their automatic Champions League berth slip away, but have the chance to come back at home against Catania (17/2) on Sunday night. Milan’s loss last week provided an opportunity for Fiorentina (Evens) to close the gap to them, and the Tuscan side have another chance to keep the pressure on the Rossoneri with a victory at Sampdoria (14/5).
The highlight of the weekend in Spain is the Madrid derby, where Atletico (13/8) host Real (6/4) in a warm up to the Copa Del Rey final on May 17. This derby game could not have come at worse time for Jose Mourinho’s men, as Real are still reeling from their 4-1 defeat at the hands of Dortmund in the Champions League semi-final first leg and have the return leg to worry about on Tuesday night. Atletico, on the other hand, will see this game as an opportunity to get back level on points with Real in second place. Barcelona (4/6), also suffering from a 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Bayern midweek, will have to pick themselves up in time for their trip to Athletico Bilbao (15/4), who will see this as as good an opportunity as ever to face the mighty Catalans.