Football Weekend Preview: Manchester Derby Comes To Town

Football Weekend Preview: Manchester Derby Comes To Town

The football league resumes after a bumper mid-week of interesting matches in the Champions League and the Europa League.

Here is a preview of some of the star matches starting with the English Premier League:

MANCHESTER CITY VS MANCHESTER UNITED

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho resume rivalries on Sunday as Manchester City host Manchester United at the Etihad.

The first Manchester derby of the 2018-19 season arrives with both clubs facing difficult questions: United’s are on the pitch, with City’s off it.

United have recovered from a disastrous start to the campaign, but a nine-point gap between them and first-placed City after just 10 games means anything less than a win could all but spell the end of their title hopes before December has even begun.

The Premier League champions, meanwhile, are facing serious allegations of financial wrongdoing after German magazine Der Spiegel – via the platform Football Leaks – claimed city had misled Uefa to avoid Financial Fair Play penalties.

United and City each beat each other on their own turf last season: City won 2-1 at Old Trafford in December before United sealed a 3-2 comeback win at the Etihad in April – a result which did not ultimately cost City the title, but prevented them from being coronated in front of their rivals.

 

CRYSTAL PALACE VS TOTTENHAM

A back-in-form Tottenham Hotspur makes the 20-mile trip south to Crystal Palace on Saturday evening with the aim of keeping pace at the top end of the Premier League.

Despite all the recent negativity, Spurs head into this weekend’s London derby sitting fourth in the table and five points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Palace’s biggest problem has been on home soil, where the surprise draw against in-form Arsenal saw them pick up only a second point of the season from a possible 15 – the worst-such return of any side in the top flight.

Five matches without a win at Selhurst Park is the Eagles’ longest run at the start of a season since 1997-98, when going 15 games without picking up three points, and things do not get any easier this weekend with the visit of fourth-placed Tottenham.

Following on from bad results against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League and Man City in the Premier League, Tottenham has got their campaign right back on track over the past week-and-a-half with three wins on the spin.

 

LIVERPOOL VS FULHAM

Liverpool can return to the top of the Premier League table with a win over Fulham at Anfield on Sunday.

For a few hours, at least.

With both Chelsea and Manchester City playing later in the day, the Reds have the chance to plant their flag first as the battle for the 2019 title continues.

Jurgen Klopp’s side came away from the Emirates Stadium satisfied enough with their 1-1 draw against Arsenal last weekend.

James Milner had fired the visitors into the lead in north London, only for Alex Lacazette to peg them back with a late leveller.

A draw was a fair reflection of an entertaining contest, which saw Liverpool maintain their unbeaten run after 11 games of the new season.

They go into the weekend behind only Chelsea on goal difference and reigning champions City, who lead the chasing pair by two points.

 

CHELSEA VS EVERTON

Chelsea meets Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, looking to take their turn at the top of the Premier League table.

The Blues play after title rivals Liverpool and before pacesetters, Manchester City faces their derby with United.

That means the EPL lead could change hands three times throughout the day.

Maurizio Sarri remains unbeaten since taking the reins in west London.

The Italian has guided his team to eight wins out of 11, leaving them two points behind leaders City ahead of this weekend.

In-form Alvaro Morata ensured the run continued last Sunday, scoring twice in a 3-1 London derby win over Crystal Palace at the Bridge, with Pedro grabbing the other.

It was a result that kept the 2016 champions a smidge ahead of third-placed Liverpool on goal difference.

But they face the Reds’ fellow Merseysiders just when they’ve hit a good run of form themselves.

The Toffees have won four of their last five in the Premier League, hoisting them up to ninth in the table.

 

ARSENAL VS WOLVES

Arsenal is seeking a return to winning Premier League ways when they play Wolves at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The Gunners had been on a blistering run of EPL form under new boss Unai Emery.

But back-to-back draws have stemmed their charge up the table for the time being.

Last week’s stalemate with title-chasing Liverpool was great fun, as Alex Lacazette rescued a late point for the hosts following James Milner’s opener.

The previous week’s 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace was also disappointing in terms of result, rather than performance.

Arsenal head into the weekend handily placed in fifth in the Premier League, a point behind arch-rivals Tottenham and just five points shy of Manchester City at the top.

 

Here is a preview of some matches in the Spanish La Liga:

ATLETICO MADRID VS ATHLETIC BILBAO

Atletico Madrid will play host to Athletic Bilbao at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday afternoon, seeking to make it nine games unbeaten in La Liga.

Diego Simeone’s side is fresh from beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the Champions League, a win which went some way to restoring pride from their 4-0 defeat in the same fixture a fortnight ago.

Bilbao, meanwhile, is currently in 17th in the League, having failed to register a league win since August.

 

BARCELONA VS REAL BETIS

Barcelona welcomes Real Betis to the Camp Nou after their exertions in the Champions League where they drew away at Inter Milan 1-1.

The good news is Lionel Messi should be back for this match after a layoff due to a shoulder injury.

Real Betis’s form has been inconsistent with losses in their last two away matches.

 

CELTA VIGO VS REAL MADRID

Celta Vigo has been performing slightly above expectation this season, with 14 points in their opening 11 games. Currently sitting 11th in the table, Celestes have lost just once at home all season – picking up two wins and four draws.

Real Madrid under the reign of caretaker manager Santiago Solari, following the dismissal of Julen Lopetegui, Los Blancos’ weekend win against Valladolid stopped a run of five league games without a victory.

Currently lying in 6th place with 17 points, Madrid’s underlying performances suggests their struggles in front of goal could only be temporary.

 

The German Bundesliga also hosts some very interesting matches:

BORUSSIA DORTMUND VS BAYERN MUNICH

Borussia Dortmund welcome Bayern Munich to Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, as the two sides face off in the 120th edition of Der Klassiker.

The league leaders prepare to host the reigning champions in what promises to be a mouth-watering tie, with the teams separated by four points at the top of the Bundesliga.

The Schwarzgelben are top of the league after a fantastic unbeaten run. However, they fell to their first defeat of the season on Wednesday, losing 2-0 to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Bayern beat AEK Athens 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, almost securing qualification to the next round of the Champions League in the process. Die Roten sit third in the table, after having won six successive Bundesliga titles.

 

The star matches in the Italian Serie A are:

ATALANTA VS INTER MILAN

All eyes will be on Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia when Atalanta and Inter face each other in the Serie A derby. The Orobici made a very slow start to the season, but they have been in a splendid form of late.

Following back-to-back wins over Chievo and Parma, Atalanta defeated Bologna on the road in their last league match and, no doubt, they are brimming with confidence ahead of Sunday’s football match against Inter.

The Nerazzurri hammered Genoa 5-0 at the weekend, with the team retaining the second position in the Serie A standings.

 

AC MILAN VS JUVENTUS

AC Milan welcome table-toppers Juventus to the San Siro looking to end a poor run of recent form against the Old Lady.

Juventus’ domination over the Serie A over the last seven years has coincided with their dominance of this fixture, with AC Milan struggling to secure one point let alone three when they come up against Juve.

Ominously for AC Milan, this has been Juventus’ best ever start to a league season, winning 10 of their 11 games, averaging at least two goals a game.

One thing is for certain, the Rossoneri will have their work cut out against this Juventus team that are rampant in attack and solid in defence.

To add to AC Milan’s challenge, Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have acclimatised to his new surroundings after a slow start to the season where he didn’t score in the opening three fixtures.

 

ROMA VS SAMPDORIA

Roma is ranked on the 2nd place in the standings with 87 points, 90 goals scored and 38 goals received in the last 38 league events. They have failed to win 7 of their last 38 matches in Serie A.

In their last match, they won against Genoa. Roma lost only one match from the previous 5 played before this event with Sampdoria.

The attacking skills of Roma are very good. Roma won 4 of their last 5 matches.

Sampdoria are ranked on the 10th place in the standings with 48 points, 49 goals scored and 55 goals received this season in Serie A. In their last match they lost against Napoli.

Sampdoria lost 2 of their last 5 matches before this game with Roma.

 

GENOA VS NAPOLI

Third-placed Napoli travels to Genoa on Saturday, hoping to reduce the deficit from Serie A leaders Juventus, who face Milan on Sunday.

The Neapolitans are unbeaten in seven matches since their defeat to Juve and will travel to the Marassi, the same stadium where they lost 3-0 against Sampdoria in September.

Meanwhile, Genoa sits 13th in the league and haven’t won since September, losing their last two consecutive matches.

 

 

 

 

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