Oh the weather outside is frightful, but these games are so delightful. But since there's not many to show, let us go, let us go, let us go. Sorry for the brief Christmas interlude. It isn't snowing outside and it has been a rough week so the weak slate of games this morning has me understandably bummed out. But I'll make the best of it with a three course meal of European football fun and look forward to a stacked card for tomorrow. We'll start off in England, which will just open the wound that Charlie Austin signed with Southampton for the paltry sum of £4m.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Manchester City FC vs Crystal Palace FC (10:00 AM ET/NBC Sports)
The true main events come tomorrow in the Premier League, but today has a halfway decent undercard with the best of that bunch being Manchester City against Crystal Palace. Arsenal's blown game against Liverpool in the midweek makes top of the table an attainable goal today for the Citizens. A win over Palace would put them ahead of both Arsenal and Leicester City on goal differential. Their task at hand for today is a Crystal Palace side that is in a bit of a funk after being European place contenders for the entirety of 2015. The biggest blow in their recent run of poor form was a midweek loss to bottom Aston Villa in which Palace could barely muster a shot on Villa backup Mark Bunn's net. Even though this has been a Premier League season where you have to throw the form table out the window on many occasions, I can't see City not getting at least a point at home. Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, and David Silva are just too dynamic a quartet for even the disciplined Palace defense to handle at the moment. If City score within the first 15 minutes, this game is going to spiral really quick for the visitors. I think that they'll be able to hold their own for the first half, but will just get worn down by a relentless City attack in the second half.
PREDICTION: Manchester City 2 Crystal Palace 0
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Paris Saint-Germain FC vs Toulouse FC (11:00 AM/beIN Sports)
Our second game is the first part of a double header on beIN Sports heading into the afternoon. It should be entertaining not because the game will be particularly competitive, but for the fact that a lot of goals could end up in the back of the net. Paris Saint-Germain have once again proved to be both the irresistible force and the immovable object in Ligue 1 this year boasting the division's best attack and defense. They have yet to lose (17 wins, 3 draws) and with Angers' loss Friday afternoon sit a cool points adrift of their closest challenger with just under half a season to go. Today brings in poor Toulouse, a team currently in the relegation zone who have given up the second most goals in Ligue 1 (34 allowed) this year. The one bright spot in an otherwise grim season for Le Tef is midfield maestro Wissam Ben Yedder. The Spurs transfer target has been on fire since the calendar turned to 2016 scoring five goals in all competitions since the new year began, including a hat trick against Stade de Reims in his last Ligue 1 game. He ended 2015 just as hot scoring three goals in the final two games of last year, a much needed win and draw for his side. Now it would probably be a loser's bet to go against Ben Yedder getting one today, even against PSG's vaunted defense. But if he's getting one, that means Toulouse is attacking for at least a good part of the game. And that means that PSG will be able to counter with the greatest of ease and it is going to get ugly for the home fans.
PREDICTION: PSG 5 Toulouse 1
ITALIAN SERIE A
SSC Napoli vs US Sassuolo Calcio (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports)
Our last game of the day completes the beIN doubleheader with some top of the table action from Serie A. Sassuolo threw some fuel into the competitive fire at the top of Italy's first tier by defeating Inter Milan 1-0 last week. This allowed both Napoli and Juventus to pass Inter in the table and be in control of the proceedings as 2016 kicks off. The former is now the league leader and are well deserved in being one of Europe's most entertaining squads. Marek Hamsik, Gonzalo Higuain, and Lorenzo Insigne aren't quite Barcelona's MSN, but the trio easily make up Italy's most formidable goal scoring force. Higuain is far and away the leader for the Italian Golden Boot, the Capocannoniere. His 18 goals are 7 more than his closest competitor and he looks to be the first man in quite some time with a realistic opportunity to take a shot at the Serie A record of 36 goals in a season. Insigne has been a stellar deputy for Higuain, scoring 8 himself and assisting in a league high 6 more instances. They were a duo until lately when the struggling Marek Hamsik has begun to catch fire. He's scored in his last three games after not having scored since August. Who did he score against then? Yup, Sassuolo. I don't want to downplay though the amazing things that i Neroverdi are doing this year under Eusebio Di Francesco. It is just that going into the lion's den that the San Paolo has been this year, with three men on absolute fire for their club, I don't see anything positive coming from this game for Sassuolo.
PREDICTION: Napoli 3 Sassuolo 0
I hope you enjoy these surefire crackers this morning into the afternoon. You can transition right from your European football to your NFL Playoffs and have a full football Saturday. Be sure to come back again tomorrow where we'll do it all again with an even bigger schedule to work with. You can follow along on Twitter @TREVORutley or @B3WHYC3 and as always crack open that AM beer and have a magnificent day!