Weekend Wanderings – Relegation six pointers, a WSL title clash and an intense derby

It’s another big week with some massive fixtures at the top and bottom of leagues everywhere.

In particular, Saturday could prove to be a pivotal day in deciding Premier League relegation while WSL fans get to enjoy another crucial head-to-head in the title race.

Alasdair Hooper takes a look at the games you can look forward to in his Weekend Wanderings.

Bournemouth v Aston Villa (Saturday, 3pm)

For anyone questioning the exclusion of Sunday’s game between Tottenham and Manchester City in the Premier League, no I haven’t forgotten it.

Quite simply there are more important games on this weekend – one of which takes places at the Vitality Stadium.

Just two points separate Watford in 19th and Brighton in 15th place with this relegation battle proving to be one of the toughest yet.

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Two of the teams in trouble go head to head on the south coast with Eddie Howe’s side – who are 18th on 23 points – taking on an Aston Villa squad that are two places and two points ahead.

Aston Villa will be buoyed by their midweek result that sent them to the Carabao Cup final and there is simply no denying just how vital points are at this stage of the season, for whoever wins this it could prove to be a valuable lifeline.

West Ham United v Brighton and Hove Albion (Saturday, 3pm)

Saturday afternoon isn’t just about a relegation six-pointer, as the London Stadium plays host to another one at the exact same time.

In many ways this game is similar to the one taking place in Bournemouth with West Ham, on 23 points, going up against Brighton, on 25 points.

Neither side has tasted league victory in their last four attempts but the general sense of crisis seems to be swirling around West Ham at the moment; the home fans are angry and that could easily translate inside the stadium.

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Likewise, for all the praise Graham Potter has received, Brighton’s results haven’t been consistent.

Once again it’s a game that could prove to be a devastating blow to the side the comes off worse.

Manchester City Women v Arsenal Women (Sunday, 2pm)

The standout WSL fixture this weekend is a big one as table toppers Manchester City host second-placed Arsenal.

The game comes just four days after the two sides met in the Continental Cup semi-final, with the Gunners taking the spoils that day with a 2-1 win.

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As ever with these games you can expect it to be a close-run affair, particularly with both sides battling it out for the league title while there’s also the threat of third-placed Chelsea who have a game in hand.

Away from the results business this game also marks the final match in charge of Manchester City for Nick Cushing before he heads to New York City in the MLS.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid (Saturday, 3pm)

The Madrid derby has always been an intense fixture and Atletico under Diego Simeone has added a sense of fire these last few years.

However, this time around the gap is far larger. Real Madrid are fighting for the title and currently sit top of the league but Atletico are 10 points off in fifth.

Quite simply Simeone’s current team do not score enough. In 21 games they have scored just 22 goals.

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To put that into perspective Manchester City have scored 65 goals in 24 games while there are 10 teams below Atletico in La Liga that have scored more or the same as them.

Zinedine Zidane’s side are enjoying a strong run themselves but will want to keep it up with Barcelona just two points behind them in the title race.

But the incentive of Champions League football and halting their rivals might kick Atletico into gear.

RB Leipzig v Borussia Monchengladbach (Saturday, 5.30pm)

Speaking of title races the Bundesliga continues to heat up in that regard and this weekend table-toppers RB Leipzig host third-placed Monchengladbach.

This comes after a disappointing defeat last weekend for Leipzig against Frankfurt where head coach Julian Nagelsmann bemoaned his team’s lack of efficiency.

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While they still sit top of the table after that setback Bayern Munich are roaring back into life and are just a point behind them.

Of course, Monchengladbach still have title ambitions of their own having led the way for much of this season. They are only two points behind Leipzig themselves.

Not many were expecting these two sides to be part of the title challenge, but they’ve proved their credentials thus far.

Who can gain a vital boost this Saturday with a crucial three points?

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992

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