Key clashes in England and France, plus Cristiano Ronaldo looking to break an unwanted free-kick drought.
IN ENGLAND …
• Can Manchester United bounce back from FA Cup exit?
Monday’s FA Cup defeat to Arsenal ended United’s hopes of winning silverware in Louis Van Gaal’s first season in charge. Attention now switches to the Premier Leage where a frantic battle for the 3rd and 4th Champions League spots is taking place between five clubs. On Sunday, United, currently in 4th spot, entertain sixth-placed Tottenham in what may turn out to be one of the pivotal encounters in the race for Europe.
IN FRANCE …
• Will this be a pivotal weekend in the title race?
With just four points separating the top three, third host first as Lyon travel to Marseille. Four hours before they clash on Sunday, second-place Paris Saint-Germain, who are a point behind the leaders, are at sixth-place Bordeaux.
IN ITALY …
• Second time lucky for Zeman?
Sacked in December, Zdenek Zeman is back at Cagliari after they dismissed Gianfranco Zola on Monday. Three points at home to Empoli would put the side who are third from bottom in Serie A within touching distance of safety.
IN SPAIN …
• Can Ronaldo finally score from a free-kick?
Real Madrid’s Portuguese superstar has failed to find the net with his last 51 dead-ball efforts, last scoring with a set-piece strike in La Liga almost a year ago, against Sevilla on March 26 last year. Maybe he’ll let Gareth Bale take them against Levante on Sunday?
IN SCOTLAND …
• Can Dundee United stop Celtic winning the domestic treble?
Celtic face Dundee United in the League Cup final on Sunday. It will be the first of two meetings within the space of four days for the sides as they face each other again on Wendesday in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.
With Celtic enjoying a six-point advantage at the top of the Scottish Premier League, Dundee United in the cup competitions stand in their way of a domestic treble.
IN AFRICA …
• Will any heavyweights fall at the first fence?
First-leg games in the African Champions League first qualifying round include holders ES Setif of Algeria away to Gambia’s Real Banjul and record eight-times winners Al Ahly of Egypt travelling to Rwanda to take on APR.
IN UNITED STATES …
• Is failure in England a recipe for success in MLS?
Friday night’s MLS game features Houston Dynamos against new boys Orlando City. The fixture brings together two British coaches who would struggle to find employment in the upper echelons of English football.
Houston’s Owen Coyle was out of work for a year after being fired by Championship side Wigan Athletic, while for Orlando boss, Adrian Heath, the highlight of an indistinguished career in management came 15 years ago with a brief spell in charge of second tier Sheffield United.