Another superb weekend is upon us and we have every reason to look forward to this weekend. We have to give some level of credit to ourselves for being absolutely spot on with our upset of the week from the French Ligue 1 last week with Stade De Reims nicking a well deserved point against extravagant Monaco. We take a chance again this week and look into our crystal ball to highlight the big games of the weekend and pick out results that may change the entire landscape of European Football even if its just for a week,
Our first port of call happens to be France; where defending champions; Paris Saint Germain take on Arch Enemies Olympic Marseille; in a 2nd against 3rd top of the table clash; both clubs are separated by a single point, both teams are notorious for winning games which they take the leads in; it would be interesting to know who can seize the initiative early on between both sides. PSG look more poised to win this with three straight wins whilst Marseille have only mustered a solidarity goal away and a point. It must be said though that Marseille have not beaten PSG in their last five meetings in all competitions and while they have enjoyed a similar record to PSG domestically, Baup’s side have struggled in Europe this campaign.
Elsewhere in France, Monaco will welcome Saint Etienne, a big clash on paper would see Lyon travel to Montpellier and struggling Bordeaux will host Sochaux.
In Italy, Juventus and Milan seek to bounce back from a disappointing campaign in the champions League this mid week to set the motion running. In the last two years; Juve have set the pace in Serie A with the rest langing behind. Juve look poised to get victory at their Juventus Stadium, when they face epileptic Milan; Milan are winless in 3 in all competitions with numerous injuries; the famous Milan Lab must be on multiple shifts right now.
In another key fixture, Roma will look to extend their 100 per cent Serie A record when Rudi Garcia’s side take on Inter in a mouth-watering clash tomorrow. Garcia’s men have won all six games so far this season and have a two-point cushion over second-place Napoli, but Inter have home advantage and will be out to close the gap at the top.Like Roma and Napoli, they are unbeaten in the league and sit fourth with 14 points.
Elsewhere, Lazio go head-to-head with Fiorentina. Lazio and Fiorentina currently sit in sixth and fifth respectively, with only one point separating them after they both drew last week.
In England, there is a small matter of another London Derby; Tottenham take on West Ham with Spurs at home for the second straight derby; the lilly whites look like a team thats building something quite special and should get the better of all too physical West Ham; the Olympic stadium might just be up for grabs but the big game will see unbeaten Everton travel to Manchester City. Everton aim to continue their strong recent Premier League record against Manchester City. The visitors have won nine of the past 12 league meetings between the two, with City triumphant just twice during that time. The Etihad has been a happy hunting ground for Everton of late too, with three wins and a draw from their last five visits to the ground. They will make the journey this term in good spirits, with genuine hopes of adding to their recent run.
City, under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, have had a mixed start to the season so far, winning three, drawing one and losing two of their opening six league matches. Their most recent league outing ended in a surprise 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa, while on Wednesday they were comprehensively beaten 3-1 at home by Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League. They are the Premier League’s top scorers this season with 14 so far, but they have been susceptible to conceding soft goals and currently sit seventh in the table, five points adrift of leaders Arsenal. Pellegrini’s side have lost a league-high number of points from winning positions (six), a figure that is in stark contrast to last season, when they dropped just seven points from winning positions across the entire campaign. However, they will take comfort from the fact that they have found the net in 53 successive home Premier League games in a run going back to November 2010.
Should Everton win on Saturday, it would represent the first time the club has won four successive league games since March 2008. Their latest victory came in Monday’s 3-2 win over Newcastle United at Goodison Park, with
on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku scoring twice either side of a Ross Barkley strike. That brace took Lukaku to three league goals for the season and in his last six Premier League appearances, and the Belgium international has averaged a goal every 37 minutes he has been on the pitch.
Elsewhere in England, Manchester United will look to avoid three consecutive Premier League defeats for the first time since 2001 when they travel to Sunderland. The last time that scenario occurred United fell to defeats against Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham before going on to finish third in the table. For Sunderland, history is against them going into this one because they have only managed to take just eight points from a possible 72 from their Premier League encounters with Manchester United.
Premier League leaders Arsenal travel to West Brom on Sunday looking to secure a club-record ninth straight top-flight away victory. Arsene Wenger’s men are on a scintillating run of nine wins and a draw from their last 10 games in all competitions, with West Brom being the only team to hold them when they drew 1-1 in the League Cup last month. However, Arsenal still came through that tie on penalties, meaning they have lost just one of their last 20 matches at The Hawthorns. Meanwhile, Chelsea head to Norwich City hoping it will be a case of fourth time lucky in the search for a first Premier League away win this season. Jose Mourinho will be well aware that he has secured maximum points in just one of his last eight league games on the road as Chelsea manager ahead of Sunday’s match at Carrow Road. Whoever gets the nod in attack from Mourinho will be under pressure to become the first Chelsea striker – aside from Romelu Lukaku, on loan at Everton – to score in the Premier League this season. Chelsea boast an excellent record against Norwich, winning five of their previous six league encounters, but Mourinho has warned against complacency when they meet Chris Hughton’s side.
In Spain, the new San Manes welcomes Valencia as Bilbao under new management try to build on the foundations of Marcelo Biesla success under tough circumstances; Valencia have endured a really tough start to the season with Valencia suffering a numb er of disciplinary issues with some of his your players; but expect fire works from this star match of the weekend as bottom clubs go for the jugular.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid will be keen to atone for their recent poor form at Levante when they travel to the Valencian club on Saturday. In their last four trips to the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia, Madrid have won just once, although that came last season courtesy of a 2-1 triumph, which was sealed by a late Alvaro Morata goal.
Prior to that, Real had not won – or even scored – on their previous three trips to face Levante. A win will hold even bigger significance for Carlo Ancelotti after last week’s 1-0 reverse at home to Atletico Madrid, Real’s first league defeat of the 21st century to their city rivals.
Barcelona will look to maintain their perfect record in La Liga this season when they host lowly Real Valladolid on Saturday. Gerardo Martino’s side have won all seven of their league fixtures so far, scoring 24 goals and conceding just five. Valladolid have suffered defeat against Barcelona in each of the last seven league meetings, conceding 23 goals in the process, while they last tasted victory in this fixture with a 2-1 home success in October 2002. Overall, Valladolid have won just three times in 30 meetings between the two sides and their last triumph at Camp Nou came in November 1997. Martino’s charges remain unbeaten in all competitions this season, with only the two draws against Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup blighting their record. By contrast, Valladolid are winless in their last four games and currently sit just two places and three points above the bottom three.
In Germany, two big games will be going down this weekend. First up is the “Borussia clash” where something has definitely got to give when they meet tomorrow. Borussia Dortmund will look to continue their impressive recent form against Borussia Monchengladbach. The Bundesliga leaders have not lost to Monchengladbach in their last four league games, with 5-0 and 2-0 victories in 2012 sandwiched by 1-1 draws.
Dortmund will come into the game as favourites, having dropped points only once in the league this season and being fresh from a 3-0 win over Marseille in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Jurgen Klopp’s men have scored 10 goals in their last three games and have also kept clean sheets in all of them, they have also been in fine scoring form, hitting 21 goals in their seven league matches.
However, Dortmund’s only dropped points in the league came on the road and on Saturday they face a Monchengladbach side with an impressive record at Borussia-Park. Lucien Favre’s men have won all three games at home in the league this season, scoring 11 goals in the process while conceding just twice.
In the other game, Bayern Munich can complete a full house of unbeaten matches and move closer to a new league record if they emerge from the BayArena unscathed this Saturday. Not since losing to Bayer Leverkusen almost a year ago have Bayern been beaten in the Bundesliga. The 33 games since means they are a game away from completing a full season’s worth of unbeaten matches, edging them closer to Hamburg’s record of 36.
However, Leverkusen know how to stop them having triumphed 2-1 in Munich last October, and they will be keen to further extend their own club-record start to the season by moving above their opponents this weekend.
The games will be mind-blowing no doubt and that makes them a “must-see” this weekend.