SPANISH LA LIGA
Celta Vigo vs Valencia CF (10:00 AM ET/beIN Sports ñ)
I have been a supporter of Valencia since the days of David Villa and David Silva. I know, look at me the historian naming off players from the mid-2000's. In the European football realm that is a long time for me though. Over the years Valencia has been just behind the super powers in the Spanish game in the pecking order for European qualification. They were fourth in La Liga last year and navigated the Champions League qualifying rounds to make the group stage. Los Che look decent enough to progress to the knockout rounds even after a disappointing loss to Belgian club Gent, but are going to need a lot of work in the league if they are going to make it to the UCL again in 2016-17. One of the teams ahead of them shaking up the status quo is Celta Vigo. I've ranted and raved about the teams that Celta has beaten before this season so I'll save you the puffery this time. Celta fans are riding high right now, but enjoy it while you still can. Teams such as Barcelona and Arsenal are coming for your strike force of Nolito and Iago Aspas in January. And they're coming hard. As for this game, it pains me to say, but Celta should continue their early season (can it still be considered early season, whatever) brilliance with a win at the Balaidos.
PREDICTION: Celta Vigo 2 Valencia 1
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Stoke City FC vs Chelsea FC (12:30 PM ET/NBC)
Of all the teams floundering this season, none bring more smiles to more faces than the trials over at Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea side. The Special One's Blues sit 15th in the Barclays Premier League table and have already leaked 22 goals on the season. They let in 32 in the entire 2014-15 title winning season. The mess in London got that much messier last week as Liverpool put three unanswered by them after Ramires put Chelsea up early on. Today's opponent, Stoke, doesn't have that type of fire power, but they are just as adept as Chelsea are in parking the bus if they get nick a first half goal. Jose Mourinho is on the hot seat, but that seat is outside of the stadium today as he serves a stadium ban for his antics at West Ham last month. He's gone as far as to say he'll watch the game "from an iPad in the street" and given his track record of foolishness in the past I wouldn't actually put it past him to actually do just that. He'll at least be able to hear a raucous Brittania Stadium chanting in unison "You're gonna get sacked in the morning." as the champs suffer another embarrassing loss.
PREDICTION: Stoke City 1 Chelsea 0
Hamburg SV vs SV Darmstadt 98 (12:30 PM ET/Fox Sports 2)
The late Bundesliga game of the day pits mid-table clubs Hamburg and Darmstadt in what could be a sneakily good game. I can admit I only want to pick this game to go against Celtic rivals Hamburg, but when you look at the tie itself there is some good stuff bubbling underneath the surface. Both teams let in and score goals in their respective positions today, Darmstadt at home and Hamburg as visitors. Also, the middle of the Bundesliga is so congested that one decisive win could propel a team up to five spots in the table. As the fight for Europa League places begins to intensify later on, games like today become that much more important to win. Hamburg has the more seasoned batch of talent in Lewis Holtby, Johan Djourou, and Bundesliga Highlander Ivica Olic, but I am going to take the plucky newly promoted side to actually hold court on their home turf for just the second time this season. No bias necessary.
PREDICTION: Darmstadt 2 Hamburg 1
ITALIAN SERIE A
Atalanta BC vs AC Milan (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports)
If you've watched soccer even for as little as I have in my life, you know how big of a juggernaut AC Milan used to be. They could easily be mentioned in the same breath as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United when it came to European dominance in the late 80's all the way to the mid 2000's. Since then, the most fashionable club in Italy has fallen under wave after wave of mismanagement leaving the once proud club out of European competitions for an unheard of two consecutive years. That may seem a bit petty to you, but imagine if you rooted for the Patriots in the NFL or Spurs in the NBA and your team missed the playoffs two consecutive years. You'd be rip shit. That is what is the case for Milanistas right now with their Rossoneri. The team is tremendous (4-0-1) at home (they are at the San Siro today) but find themselves hard pressed to win if Colombian striker Carlos Bacca isn't on the mark. With all this being said, I am picking Milan to win today and jump into the European places, but it will be a fight. Atalanta is better than they've been in the past, and be sure to keep an eye on 20 year old Alberto Grassi because he could be donning the colors of the Azzurri sooner rather than later.
PREDICTION: AC Milan 3 Atalanta 1
What games or teams would you like to see featured tomorrow and in the future? Have you found a new team or new league you enjoy because of these previews/picks? Let me know at my own personal Twitter @TREVORutley or the site's @B3WHYC3. Until tomorrow, keep those suds flowing and enjoy the day's games everybody!!