American Exports: Brad Guzan, Aston Villa look for another big scalp with Manchester City in town
AMSTERDAM – With Americans set to suit up for key contests all across Europe, including red-hot Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, we're here once again to help you plan those weekend pub raids. All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Brad Guzan – Aston Villa vs. Manchester City (Saturday, 10 am on Mun2/NBC Sports Live Extra)
Fresh off a Man of the Match showing against Norwich, the American will make his third attempt at defeating Citeh. The EPL runners-up swept last season's series from the American, including a tight 1-0 decision at Villa Park, where Saturday's hosts have dropped three league games in a row. This time, Guzan & Co. must go without Christan Benteke, Charles N'Zogbia and Jores Okore.
Jozy Altidore – Sunderland vs. Liverpool (Sunday, 11 am on NBCSN)
The US striker remains goalless in league play and his team winless at the bottom heading into a Round 6 visit from the Reds. With Steven Fletcher out, Altidore seems a safe bet to start and take aim at former Sunderland netminder Simon Mignolet. Liverpool seemed to be over their traditional struggles on Tyneside during the last decade, but have won just one of the last four there.
Fabian Johnson (H'heim), Jermaine Jones (S04) – Hoffenheim vs. Schalke (Saturday, 9:30 am)
The Hoffenheim man should retain his left back place this week, while Jones could be relegated to bench duty in a fight between two sides trying to get into the better half of the table. The visitors arrive with several injury woes, including the absence of attack aces Julian Draxler and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Just to add more degree of difficulty, Schalke have yet to win in five tries at Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
Timothy Chandler – FC Nürnberg at Werder Bremen (Sunday, 9:30 am)
The FCN right back has been rounding back into form lately, with the next test against a Bremen team that only two wins from their last 13 Bundesliga home contests. Nürnberg, who edged last season's series between the two, have two wins and a draw from the last three in Bremen. They will, however, head north without striker Daniel Ginczek.
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Alejandro Bedoya – Nantes at Rennes (Saunday, 8 am on beIN Sport Play)
The US midfielder should beat a toe knock to get his first taste of Nantes' main derby. Bedoya returned to full training on Thursday. The Canaries, who are winless in five away from home, are typically rude guests at Stade de la Route de Lorient, and have earned an even 3-3-3 split on their last nine Ligue 1 visits. As a bad omen, Rennes are currently carrying a 401-minute shutout streak.
Aron Jóhannsson – AZ Alkmaar vs. PSV Eindhoven (Saturday, 2:45 p.m. on ESPN3)
Intangibles could be on the side of the Kaasboeren when they host the last Dutch unbeaten, league leaders PSV. Top gun Jóhannsson has scored in five of his six league contests at home for AZ, including one off the bench against their weekend visitors last season. Earnie Stewart's boys have also posted a 3-2-1 record in the last six clashes at AFAS-Stadion. What's more, the Farmers must do battle without Luciano Narsingh, Georginio Wijnaldum and Zanka.
BEST OF THE REST
Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea – Stoke City vs. Norwich City, Sun. 8:30 am on NBC Sports Network
Sasha Kljestan – Anderlecht vs. Lierse, Sun 8:30 am
Conor O'Brien – Odense BK vs. FC Midtjylland, Sun. 1 pm
Terrence Boyd – Rapid Vienna vs. RZ Pellets WAC, Sat. 1 pm
Steve Clark – Hønefoss vs. Viking, Sat. 9:30 am
Mikkel Diskerud – Rosenborg at Sarpsborg 08, Sun. 1 pm