Weekend Wanderings: West Brom on brink of relegation while Inter could give Napoli control of Serie A

With a number of fates decided last weekend – including Sunderland’s relegation to League One – this weekend sees more clubs battling for survival and titles. Alasdair Hooper covers the key games across Europe where there’s still plenty to play for. 

Time is quickly running out on the 2017/18 season.

For some, titles have already been wrapped up but for others at the bottom of the table the battle is well and truly on to save themselves.

Here is what you should be keeping your eye on in this weekend’s football.

1) Will West Brom take another step towards their inevitable fate?

While their battling comeback last weekend against Liverpool was impressive, West Brom still lie on the brink of relegation.

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This weekend their inevitable fate could be sealed, as they must win to stand even the remotest of chances at staying in the top flight.

Their opponents are Newcastle, whose run of good form came at exactly the right time to steer them away from trouble.

Rafael Benitez’s job at the helm has been an impressive one and he could seal the Premier League’s first casualty this weekend.

2) Will Burton claim a crucial third successive victory to lift them away from trouble?

Last week an incredible comeback from Burton Albion against Sunderland relegated saw the Black Cats relegated into League One.

While pitiful Sunderland are one thing, Burton now have an opportunity to lift themselves out of the drop zone against Bolton.

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The two teams go head to head on Saturday afternoon with Bolton currently one place above the drop zone on 40 points.

Burton – who’s lack of financial power is often talked about – are two points behind so a win for Nigel Clough’s side will lift them above struggling Bolton.

Depending on Barnsley’s result against Brentford, the result of this game will be crucial in determining who stays in the Championship and who goes down.

3) Will Ross County’s new managerial duo inspire them to survival?

Continuing the theme of relegation battles, the Scottish Premiership’s basement side Ross County could yet find some hope of survival.

After appointing Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson as co-managers this week it is hoped they can get a crucial result this Saturday.

The reason is that Hamilton – in freefall and a financial mess after falling victim to a scammer – host them.

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Hamilton are one place above the relegation play-off place on 30 points – three points ahead of the Dingwall side – and they are just one goal better off on goal difference.

Should Ross County’s new management team inspire them to a positive result suddenly things look incredibly bleak for Martin Canning and his team.

4) Will Inter help to give Napoli control of the Serie A title race?

Last weekend, Kalidou Koulibaly’s last-gasp winner for Napoli against Juventus caused an earthquake of emotion and blew the Serie A title race wide open again.

Just one point separates the Old Lady in first and the Naples side in second.

While Napoli’s run-in is far from easy, Juventus’ is arguably harder – particularly this weekend when they travel to the San Siro to face Inter.

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As well as being long-standing rivals Inter have their own Champions League ambitions, considering they currently lie in fifth, and a win could hand Napoli a real advantage in them claiming a first league title since the days of Maradona.

A win against Fiorentina on Sunday would put Napoli two points clear if Juventus fall in Milan.

5) Will Manchester City Women make the Champions League final?

While Chelsea Ladies could still come back from their first leg 3-1 defeat against Wolfsburg fellow English club Manchester City stand a real chance of getting to the Champions League final.

Nick Cushing’s team battled to a 0-0 draw against Lyon and should they put in a similar type of performance they could easily get a crucial goal.

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The French side have home advantage, and the experience of being defending champions, City possess enough quality to really make a statement on the European stage.

This Saturday, with a 1.45pm kick-off, we will see just how the game will play out.

Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992


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