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headline top games to watch on Oct. 1-7, 2021


Saturday, October 2

Man United vs Everton (English Premier League)

Dortmund vs Augsburg (BundesLiga)

Chelsea vs Southampton (English Premier League)

Torino vs Juventus (Serie A)

Brighton vs Arsenal (English Premier League)

Porto vs Pacos de Ferreira (Primeira Liga)

Sassuolo vs Inter Milan (Serie A)

Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona (La Liga)

Arouca vs Sporting CP (Primeira Liga)

Guadalajara vs Atlas (Liga MX)

Sunday, October 3

Rennes vs PSG (Ligue 1)

Crystal Palace vs Leicester (English Premier League)

Tottenham vs Aston Villa (English Premier League)

Espanyol vs Real Madrid (La Liga)

Lille vs Marseille (Ligue 1)

Liverpool vs Man City (English Premier League)

Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)

Benfica vs Portimonense (Primeira Liga)

Atalanta vs AC Milan (Serie A)

River Plate vs Boca Juniors (Argentine Primera Division)

Club America vs Pumas UNAM (Liga MX)

Tuesday, October 5

Barcelona vs Arsenal (UEFA Women's Champions League)

Wednesday, October 6

Italy vs Spain (UEFA Nations League semifinal 1)

Thursday, October 7

Belgium vs France (UEFA Nations League semifinal 2)

Uruguay vs Colombia (FIFA World Cup qualifying)

Paraguay vs Argentina (FIFA World Cup qualifying)

USA vs Jamaica (FIFA World Cup qualifying)

Venezuela vs Brazil (FIFA World Cup qualifying)

Mexico vs Canada (FIFA World Cup qualifying)

Most-watched soccer games on U.S. TV: Sept. 21-27, 2021

The broadcast of a goalless draw between Club America and Chivas Guadalajara screened on TUDN was the most-watched soccer games on U.S TV from Sept. 21-27, edging out a slew of Premier League games on NBCSN. Another Liga MX broadcast on TUDN that performed well was a goalless draw between Tigres UANL and Pumas UNAL, with an average of 311,000 viewers watching that game.

The second most-watched soccer game in U.S. TV last week was the North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham. The Gunners came out on top 3-1 thanks to electric performances from youngsters Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka. NBC Sports Network's Premier League broadcast averaged 623,000 viewers.

And last but not least, NBCSN's screening of a three-all draw between Brentford and Liverpool was the third most-watched game on U.S. TV last week. The game saw the mighty bees seize up to English giants Liverpool and forward Mohamed Salah break a record for reaching 100 Premier League goals in the least amount of appearances (151).

What are the must-watch games of this week?


Man United vs Everton this Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET live on NBC Sports, Universo, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, fuboTV, and Sling

After a thrilling 2-1 win over Villarreal in the midweek UEFA Champions League round, Man United return to Premier League action on Saturday, kicking off Matchweek 7 with their 7:30 a.m. ET showdown with Everton. It was Cristiano Ronaldo who won the Red Devils the three points at the death with his stoppage-time strike against the Yellow Submarine, meaning Solskjaer will look to his Portuguese forward for inspiration once more.

Man Utd's form has dipped as of late, with the English giants winning only twice in their last five outings across all competitions. Everton, meanwhile, have won their last three in a row and are level on points with Solskjaer's men in the Premier League table, making this an interesting encounter!

Atletico vs Barcelona this Saturday at 3 p.m. ET live on ESPN+

ESPN+ will bring live and exclusive coverage of Barcelona's La Liga showdown with Atletico Madrid this Saturday in what could be Ronald Koeman's final game in charge of the Catalan giants. Despite being unbeaten in the league so far this season, the Blaugrana are in the midst of a crisis, having only won three games in the Spanish top-flight while losing their two opening games in the UEFA Champions League.

The performances have also been abysmal, with little to no Culés holding any hope of seeing their club beat Diego Simeone's side. The defending champions sit two points ahead of Barcelona and while Suarez and Co. have endured a few hiccups of their own this season, they enter this clash as the favorites. Will Atletico add insult to injury for Barcelona or can the Blaugrana emerge triumphant at the Wanda Metropolitano? Tune in on Saturday to find out the answer.

Liverpool vs Man City this Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET live on NBC Sports, Telemundo, fuboTV, and Sling

As was said about last weekend's clash with Chelsea, Man City's trip to Liverpool this Sunday could have huge bearing on this season's title race. Guardiola's men, who are the defending champions, showed that they are still the team to beat with their 1-0 triumph over the Blues at Stamford Bridge and will look to pull off another crucial victory, this time at the iconic Anfield.

The Cityzens enter this clash on the back of their 2-0 midweek defeat to PSG in the UEFA Champions League, which was a huge blow. Liverpool, on the other hand, smashed Porto 5-1 on Tuesday and are top of the table not only in their Champions League group, but also in the Premier League. Victory over Man City would see them move four points clear of De Bruyne and Co. but beating the title holders will be no easy feat.

Atalanta vs AC Milan this Sunday at 2:45 p.m. ET live exclusively on Paramount+

Two of Italy's best and most exciting teams will lock horns over the weekend with Atalanta taking on title challengers AC Milan in a highly-anticipated Sunday clash. While the Rossoneri are yet to win a game in the UEFA Champions League, Pioli's men continue to produce lovely performances, with the Serie A giants sitting behind only first-placed Napoli in the Italian top-flight table. Atalanta, on the other hand, have endured a few bumps along the road, picking up only three wins from their six Serie A games so far. However, with Gian Piero Gasperini still at the helm, one can always expect La Dea to give any team a run for their money. This clash will be brought to the U.S. screens exclusively on Paramount+ so make sure to mark your calendars.

This week in women's football saw the men's and women's leagues in Australia join forces with a rebrand. Also, check out what games to watch in the USA this weekend.

From 'W-League' to 'A-League Women'

From now on, there will not be an A-League and a W-League in Australia. The leagues will now be called 'A-League Men' and 'A-League Women' to make football in Australia more inclusive. 

The A-Leagues will move to a unified social media channel for men's and women's football on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and will launch a new website, creating a single realm for Australian football fans and increase the reach of women's football.

The reveal of the new brand is the latest in a series of announcements regarding professional football in Australia since December 2020:

  • Women's league expansion to three teams in two years.

  • Launch of a new Club Championship, which will award a piece of silverware at the end of the season to the club that accumulates the most combined points between their men's and women's teams.

  • Historic Collective Bargaining Agreement to drive up standards and bring equity to the sport in Australia.

The brand unification and new features to football in Australia will take effect before the start of the A-League Men 2021-22, which is scheduled to begin on Nov. 19, 2021. The A-League Women will kick off on Dec. 3, 2021.

Six games on ATA Football this weekend

ATA Football will screen six games exclusively online this weekend. The action will begin on Friday at 3 p.m. ET when Montpellier host FC Fleury 91 for a Division 1 Feminine fixture.

FA WSL reigning champions Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion will resume football action on ATA early Saturday at 6:30 a.m. ET. A Serie A Women clash between Roma and league leaders Juventus is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. ET. Saturday games on ATA Football will end with Aston Villa hosting FA WSL leaders Arsenal at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Sunday matches will begin with Division 1 Feminine champions PSG taking on Guingamp at 6:45 a.m. ET. Lastly, ATA Football will close weekend play with an encounter between Birmingham City and Manchester United, two clubs that are living a tough start to their 2021-22 season. The kick-off is set for 1:45 p.m. ET.

Friday, Oct. 1

Division 1 Feminine: Montpellier vs. FC Fleury 91 at 3 p.m. ET

Saturday, Oct. 2

FA WSL: Chelsea vs. Brighton at 10:30 a.m. ET

Serie A Women: Roma vs. Juventus at 8:30 a.m. ET

FA WSL: Aston Villa vs. Arsenal at 12:15 p.m. ET

Sunday, Oct. 3

Division 1 Feminine: PSG vs. Guingamp at 6:45 a.m. ET

FA WSL: Birmingham City vs. Manchester United at 1:45 p.m. ET

NWSL games on Paramount+ and Twitch

The National Women's Football League enters its last month of regular season play on Friday with two games.

The North Carolina Courage will look to avenge their loss last week when they face the Washington Spirit at WakeMed Soccer Park on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Racing Louisville and Gotham FC will clash at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Chicago Red Stars and Orlando Pride will resume NWSL action on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Kansas City and the Houston Dash will step onto Legends Field at 8 p.m. ET. And lastly, Cascadia rivals Portland Thorns and OL Reign will clash at Providence Park. OL Reign can go level on points with the Thorns at the top of the table if they find an away win.

Friday, Oct. 1

NC Courage vs. Washington Spirit at 7 p.m. ET

  • USA: Paramount+

  • International: Twitch

Racing Louisville vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC at 7:30 p.m. ET

  • International: Twitch

Saturday, Oct. 2

Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride at 7:30 p.m. ET

  • International: Twitch

Kansas City vs. Houston Dash at 8 p.m. ET

  • USA: Paramount+

  • International: Twitch

Portland Thorns vs. OL Reign at 10 p.m. ET

  • USA: Paramount+

  • International: Twitch

Biggest stories of the week

Major break for rebel clubs involved in European Super League chaos

Earlier this year, the football world was thrown into chaos after 12 clubs announced they were going to try and form a breakaway league known as the European Super League. This concept had been buzzed about years before, with even one of AC Milan's former executives, Adriano Galliani being quick to deny that Milan were one of the clubs pushing for a new tournament way back in 2009.

Well, despite Galliani's denials, France Football clearly knew what they were talking about, or at the very least, they had some sort of proverbial crystal ball. Because 12 years later, in April 2021, 12 teams decided to try to form exactly the same type of tournament that Milan were involved in back in 2009.

In any case, the whole business went up in smoke even before getting off the ground, as all of England's "Big Six":  Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham, plus Atletico Madrid, quickly jumped ship. They were soon followed by Inter and Milan, leaving just three teams: Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus.

UEFA decided to react, threatening the three clubs with sanctions and possible expulsion from the Champions League if they didn't line up. Yet the three continued to dig in their heels, leading to an impasse, with some wondering if anything would come of it.

Well, all three are featuring in this season's Champions League, and now, UEFA have decided to drop any legal charges. In addition, UEFA have announced they won't fine the other nine teams who were involved in the attempt to form their own organization. In May, the nine teams had agreed to pay a combined fine of €15 million and were set to be docked five percent of annual UEFA revenues for one season.

So, in short, this whole business will be put to rest like nothing has ever happened. A serious case of much ado about nothing, or is this truly the end of this whole saga?

Only time will tell.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates new UCL record with 95th minute winner

Cristiano Ronaldo broke the Champions League appearance record by featuring for Manchester United in Wednesday's clash with Villarreal and capped it off with a vital goal. The 36-year-old Portuguese ace fired the Red Devils to a sensational comeback win by scoring in the 95th minute to secure them their first three points of the new campaign. Ronaldo reached 178 appearances in the European cup competition after taking to the field against the Yellow Submarines, surpassing Iker Casillas to become the outright player with the most appearances. In the end, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner sealed the memorable day by scoring the winning goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side after Alex Telles had cancelled out Paco Alcacer's opener with a brilliant volley.

Guardiola sings Messi's praises after Argentine's stunning goal in PSG 2-0 Man City

Football fans were anxiously awaiting Lionel Messi's first goal in a PSG shirt and on Tuesday, the Argentine finally got his name on the scoresheet for his new club, and what a stunning opening goal it was from the six-time Ballon d'Or winner!

La Pulga made his return in Les Parisiens' highly-anticipated UEFA Champions League showdown with Man City, having sat out their last two Ligue 1 fixtures due to a knee injury. The 34-year-old once again started alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in Pochettino's front three in his reunion with former manager Pep Guardiola. However, while the French giants enjoyed a lovely first half, entering the break with a 1-0 lead, that advantage came courtesy of an Idrissa Gana Gueye goal as Leo, Neymar, and Mbappe once again struggled to combine efficiently in the first 45 minutes.

Fortunately, that came to an end in the latter stages of the second half, with the Argentine and Frenchman combining for PSG's second goal. After finding time and space to run at the Man City defense, Leo managed to cut in from the right wing, and after playing a lovely one-two with Mbappe, the former Barcelona star smashed an unstoppable shot past Ederson to kill off the game.

The celebrations were jubilant, with the Parc des Princes bursting into a roar after the summer marquee signing scored his first goal for the club. After the final whistle, the Argentine was the talk of the town—nothing out of the ordinary for this South American genius—with even Guardiola heaping praise on the diminutive forward. 

"The (Messi) goal was fantastic," Guardiola said. 'We know it's impossible to control Leo during the whole 90 minutes but he was not much in touch with the ball.

"We know quite well when he can run and get close to the box he is unstoppable. We knew it already, we spoke about that, we cannot control them for 90 minutes, these huge talents.

"The only options I know is to defend deep for 90 minutes deep and pray or to take the ball and try to play your game. We played our game. Our attackers could be more aggressive and say, 'oh, I can score - I have this quality..' This is what they have to do in the future."

Even Pep could not help but appreciate Messi's goal vs Man City


KOEMAN OUT? Benfica destroy Barça as Blaugrana side hits new UCL low-point

If you thought that things could not get uglier for Barcelona after their 3-0 loss against Bayern, you will be in for a surprise when you find out that not only did they pick up a similar score against Benfica, but the team also failed to show an improvement after that first clash.

The team led by Ronald Koeman never found a way to keep Darwin Núñez or Joao Mario at bay, and the duo crafted this three-nil win without almost any opposition. Things could have gotten uglier for Barcelona if Nuñez had been accurate in front of goal, as he failed to score a one-on-one chance against Marc-André Ter Stegen and also hit the post on another action where the German goalkeeper left an open net.

Barcelona are ranked fourth in this group after two games, meaning that they will virtually need to win all their remaining games to stand a chance of making the next round. Needless to say, Barcelona fans have stepped up to demand Koeman's sacking with immediate effect.

Other key headlines from the world of football

Juventus sign first-ever sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency platform

According to reports, Juventus have now signed an exclusive partnership with cryptocurrency platform Bitget. As part of the deal, the company, which is based in Singapore, will get to feature their logo on the sleeve of Juve's kits.

Bitget, as per additional financial reports, has an average daily trading volume of over $5 billion, thus making it the largest platform of its kind in the cryptocurrency arena. 

While specific financial details haven't been released to the public, Bitget, in addition to being a sleeve sponsor, will also become the official cryptocurrency exchange partner for La Vecchia Signora.

Juve aren't the first Serie A club to dip their toes into cryptocurrency - both Roma as well as reigning Scudetto champs Inter have also signed exclusive partnerships with DigitalBits recently.

Salah, Mane and Milner land UCL milestones as Liverpool hit Porto for five

Forward Mohamed Salah and substitute Roberto Firmino both hit a brace to inspire Jurgen Klopp's side to the big 5-1 win over Porto in the UEFA Champions League, with Sadio Mane also getting on the scoresheet. Young midfielder Curtis Jones was heralded for a remarkable showing that resulted in him providing three assists in the night's maul. On the assist chart, the former's compatriot James Milner also added another to his name to compliment his reputation in the art.

Needless to say Porto still managed a consolation through Mehdi Taremi to deny the English club a clean sheet amid the horrible night that their goalkeeper Diogo Costa had to endure. On the subject of individual accolades, Salah's goals on Tuesday night made him only the third African player to score 30 or more goals in the UEFA Champions League, after Didier Drogba (44) and Samuel Eto'o (30). On the other hand, his teammate Sadio Mane has now scored five goals against Porto in the UEFA Champions League, the most by a Liverpool player against a single opponent in this competition. 

For James Milner, his assist for Mane meant that no player has provided more assists in the UEFA Champions League for Liverpool (excluding qualifiers) than him. The Englishman is now level with Steven Gerrard's tally of 12 assists in the competition's history.

Andrea Pirlo emerges as one of the heavy candidates to replace Koeman at Barcelona

Despite his poor debut campaign at Juventus, Andrea Pirlo is being eyed as a possible replacement for Ronald Koeman. The Italian manager, who is a free agent after being sacked by the Old Lady, is hugely admired by Blaugrana president Joan Laporta, as per transfer expert Fabrizio Romano. However, it should be stressed that no official contact has taken place with the Italian. Furthermore, the Spanish giants are said to be exploring several other options such as Belgium national team boss Roberto Martinez and club legend Xavi Hernandez.