Real Madrid v Celta Vigo, Bournemouth v Newcastle and more – live!

Hola readers. It’s Zinedine Zidane’s second coming as Real Madrid manager this afternoon. When he first took the Madrid job, in January 2016, his opening match in charge was a 5-0 thrashing of Deportivo. He could do with a similar display this afternoon to spread some positive vibes around the Bernabéu, which has been a despairing place at times this season. The visitors are Celta Vigo, who are in the midst of a slump.

They have taken only four points from 11 games without the injured Iago Aspas. They need to start picking up points quickly. That match kicks off at 3.15pm GMT (4.15pm CET) and I’ll be keeping a close eye on it. There has already been a clear sign from the club that they will be giving Zidane their full backing. They signed the Brazilian defender Éder Militão from Porto for €50m in midweek. He won’t be playing this afternoon as he can’t join until the summer and while he isn’t a galáctico-style signing, his purchase is an early statement of intent from the club.

Back in England, there are three Premier League matches: Bournemouth v Newcastle, Burnley v Leicester and West Ham v Huddersfield. Newcastle can go above the Cherries on goal difference if they win on the south coast. They would be on 37 points and tantalisingly close to securing survival.

Another team for whom survival is at the forefront of their minds, is Burnley. They’re just one place and two points above Cardiff, who occupy the 18th-placed relegation spot. Sean Dyche needs to find a way to liven up his side’s stodgy meat and potatoes football if they’re to pick up some points. With Cardiff not playing this weekend, it’s a great opportunity to put some clear daylight between themselves and the relegation zone. Leicester visit Turf Moor today, though, and Brendan Rodgers’ side were particularly sparky last time out, when they beat Fulham 3-1.

And Huddersfield are in the capital this weekend – I know this because I saw their team bus parked up outside the Premier Inn in Kings Cross yesterday. For the sake of their players, I hope they didn’t stay there. I have nothing against budget hotels, but that particular part of London can be a bit wild in the evenings. You’d expect West Ham to beat Huddersfield comfortably at home but the Hammers are a ridiculous team. You never know what they’re going to do.

In the big one in the Championship, it’s currently 0-0 at Elland Road, where second-placed Leeds are dominating the game against third-placed Sheffield United. The second half has not been long under way there. And look in on Watford v Crystal Palace in the FA Cup with Scott Murray here.

Here are the rest of the fixtures in the Championship:


Photograph: The Guardian

Aston Villa v Middlesbrough could be interesting, with the home side looking to close in on a play-off spot. They can move a point behind fifth-placed Boro if they win. Preston are play-off contenders too. They’re having a strong finish to the season too and might be worth keeping an eye on as they take on Birmingham. West Brom are in action again. They beat Swansea 3-0 in their first match since Darren Moore’s bizarre sacking.

I’ll also be keeping an eye on the action in Leagues One and Two. Hit the links for the fixtures.


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