We are into the business end of the football season as league champions are set to be decided and cup finals to be determined.
Manchester City are closing in on the English Premier League title, Bayern Munich are starting to pull away at the top of the German Bundesliga, Internazionale have a nice cushion at the top of Italy’s Serie A, but the Spanish La Liga looks to be a three-horse race between Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
We still have the Champions League and Europa League finals and following those is the delayed Euro 2020 tournament to look forward to. Here are the biggest football matches to watch in 2021:
The next UEFA European Football Championship is set to get underway on 11 June 2021; 12 months later than originally scheduled. It is still expected to take place over 12 countries with the final on 11 July at London’s Wembley Stadium.
England versus Scotland in Group D is one of the standout games, with the latter of the two rivals qualifying for their first major tournament since 1998. Group F is the group of death, featuring world champions France, current holders Portugal and footballing giants Germany. Portugal beat France in the final five years ago.
Finland and North Macedonia will be making their debuts in the competition this summer. Of the six groups, four of them will have the top three progress whilst only the top two from the other two groups will make up the Round of 16 knockout stage. This format debuted at Euro 2016.
Host cities include Rome, Munich and Amsterdam and you can follow detailed Euro 2020 coverage on FootballBlog.co.uk this summer. In all there will be 51 matches taking place over the course of the month so you can expect fresh content every day discussing all the important topics.
Champions League final
We are down to eight clubs left in this season’s Champions League with the quarter-finals taking place next month.
Defending champions Bayern Munich will meet Paris Saint-Germain in a repeat of last season’s final and arguably the highlight of the round.
The German giants saw their odds move from favourites to second following the draw as Manchester City saw their odds shorten as a result of drawing Borussia Dortmund. The Black and Yellows currently find themselves down in fifth place in Germany, but this should be an exciting tie with the two attacks on display.
Dortmund’s former head coach, Thomas Tuchel, can’t do anything wrong at Chelsea currently. Unbeaten in the Premier League since taking charge back in January, the Blues upset La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid with a 3-0 aggregate victory in the Round of 16. The Blues face FC Porto in the next round after the Portuguese side upset Juventus in the last round to make this stage.
Three Premier League sides remain in the competition with the other being Liverpool. Although Jurgen Klopp’s side made a weak attempt to defend their Premier League title they have an excellent opportunity to reach the Champions League final for the third time in four seasons. They come up against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals with the winner set to take on Chelsea or Porto for a place in the final.
Europa League final
The Europa League is down to the quarter-final stage too with England and Spain the only nations with more than one representative left (two each).
Two of those go head-to-head as Manchester United have drawn Granada, with the first leg taking place in Spain next month. Granada finished seventh last season to qualify for the tournament in what was their first season back in La Liga.
They eliminated Napoli in the Round of 32 and are currently in the top half of their domestic league but will do very well to eliminate Manchester United at this stage.
Ajax versus AS Roma is arguably the toughest matchup to predict on paper heading into the quarter-finals, whilst Villarreal and Dinamo Zagreb make up the draw. Roma are the only Italian side left in either of this season’s European competitions.
The match that tops the list of world’s biggest football rivalries, the whole world stops and takes notice when Real Madrid face Barcelona. The Santiago Bernabeu plays host on Saturday 10 April in what will be a match with huge implications.
Neither Spanish giant is out of the title race yet, although they both currently trail Atletico Madrid. Barcelona now only trail the league leaders by four points as both Madrid sides have dropped points in recent weeks, whilst Ronald Koeman’s men have won 12 of their last 13, including scores of 6-1 and 4-1 in their last two.
Real Madrid were 3-1 winners at Camp Nou back in October but it’s fair to say their rivals have greatly improved since. Pressure is also on Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane as his side sit in third, though are the only side out of these two left in the Champions League.
Who knows what, if anything, will be on the line when England’s two most successful clubs meet at Old Trafford in May? Manchester United are currently second in the Premier League table, but too far behind Manchester City to have a realistic chance of winning the title for the first time since 2013.
Liverpool’s title defence was very weak to say the least and now they find themselves on the outside looking in at qualification to next season’s Champions League as they currently sit in seventh spot and five points outside the top four.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side came away from Anfield with a 0-0 draw back in January, in what looked like a good result at the time. A week later they were 3-2 winners at home in the FA Cup fourth round.
Always an important fixture in the Premier League, expect millions of fans all across the world to tune into this one, particularly if a top four place is at stake.