Manchester United hopes to hang on to its six-point lead at the top of the Premier League when it hosts Blackburn on Saturday (TV: Setanta Sports USA, live, 10 am ET). Second-place Chelsea visits last-place Wigan (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, live, noon ET).
United has a shot at repeating its 1999 treble. It's through to the
semifinals of the FA Cup, where it faces Wigan, and it's qualified for
the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
''All the incentives are there,'' United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told
the Manchester Evening News.
''The run-in to the league campaign, the FA
Cup and Europe offers
fantastic incentives to all the players, the club and the fans. It is
an exciting time here.''
(Chelsea has a shot of winning four trophies. It's already won the
English League Cup title, and it's still in contention in the EPL, FA
Cup and Champions League.)
The weekend's big match takes place at Anfield, where fourth-place
Liverpool hosts third-place Arsenal on Saturday (Setanta Sports USA,
live, 7:40 am ET). The game comes less
than three months after Arsenal beat Liverpool, 3-1, at Anfield in the
FA Cup and 6-3 in the League Cup in the space of three days.
SPAIN. Unlike Manchester United
and Chelsea, Barcelona no longer has to think about Europe, having been
knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool, and Sevilla coach Juande Ramos says that will be to
its advantage in the race for Spain's La Liga title.
''The remaining calendar is advantageous to Barca because the chasing
teams all have to play each other,'' Ramos said. ''Also, they are not in
Valencia and us. Samuel
Eto'o and Lionel Messi
have just recovered from long-term
injuries, are fresh, and could be key in the next couple of months.''
Barcelona and Sevilla are tied for first place in La Liga going into
weekend action. Barcelona hosts Deportivo Coruna on Saturday (TV:
GolTV, Sunday, 5 pm ET), while
Sevilla plays at Osasuna on Sunday (GolTV, live, 3 pm ET),.
GERMANY. If Bayern Munich
has any hope of defending its Bundesliga title, it will have to win at
home against leader Schalke 04 on
Saturday (GolTV, live, 9:30 am ET). Bayern is nine points behind leader
Schalke after throwing away five
points in their last two games -- a 1-1 tie at home to
Werder Bremen and a 1-0 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt.
ITALY. AC Milan's
ambitions of returning to next
season's Champions League will be tested when it plays at Roma on
Saturday (TV: GolTV, delay, 4 pm ET). The six-time European champions
are fifth in Serie A,
four points behind fourth-place Palermo. The top four Serie A teams
qualify for the Champions League -- the top two to the group stage and
the next two to the qualifying stage. After beginning with an
eight-point penalty, Milan has gained momentum in the last two months,
winning six of its last eight games.