The top televised soccer games from Europe this weekend feature a Barcelona-Real Madrid battle for the top spot in the La Liga table. In England longtime rivals Tottenham and Arsenal meet in a neighborhood derby in which little more than bragging rights will be at stake.
La Liga: Real Madrid (23-3-8) has won seven straight games since soccer resumed in Spain last month, with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois giving up just a goal in the last six matches. While that has lifted Real over Barcelona and into first place in the league race, it hasn’t been able to shake Barca, which lies just a point back. Real will try to extend that lead when it plays host to Deportivo Alaves (9-17-8) on Friday (BeIN Sports, 1 p.m. PDT), but anything short of a victory would open the way for Barcelona (23-5-7) to move back into first with a win or draw at Real Valladolid (8-12-15) on Saturday (BeIN Sports, 10:30 PDT). Barca’s Lionel Messi, who leads the league in both goals and assists, has scored or set up 11 of his team’s 17 goals over the last 10 games. One more assist will make him just the second player in league history with 20 in a season.
EPL: A chance to grab a European tournament berth is likely beyond both Arsenal and Tottenham, but records mean little heading into Sunday’s North London Derby (NBCSN, Telemundo, 8:30 a.m.). Eighth-place Arsenal (12-8-14) is two spots and two points ahead of Spurs (13-11-9), with the teams playing to draws in their last two meetings. But Arsenal is unbeaten in its last four EPL games, having allowed just a goal, and Tottenham, which will be at home, has won just two of its last seven.