Just when we’re back in the swing of things across Europe, the international break punctures the domestic season; something really should be done about that.
Anyway, it means this weekend’s matches should be cherished, as the big leagues complete what is effectively a false start to 2017-18. And there’s always the added significance about these matches ahead of a two-week hiatus; those 14 days will drag if you’ve been on the end of a defeat.
In Italy two sides hoping to push for Champions League spots will meet on Saturday, while Sunday is packed with four intriguing contests. Two come from the Premier League, as four top-four hopefuls go toe-to-toe; rounding off the day are heavyweight contests from France and Spain.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time; enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
ROMA VS. INTER MILAN
The spotlight in Italian football may have been on AC Milan this summer, but Roma and Inter Milan are two teams who will be confident of pushing hard at the summit of the standings.
In 2016-17, it was the Giallorossi who were the biggest challengers to Juventus. It’s been a summer of significant upheaval at the Stadio Olimpico, though; they have a new director of football in Monchi, a new manager in Eusebio Di Francesco and are without their longstanding talisman Francesco Totti.
With their city rivals spending big, there’ll also be an onus on Inter to perform well this season. And they’ve recruited smartly off the pitch, bringing in former Roma boss Luciano Spalletti, and done some good work on the pitch too; keeping the likes of Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic is crucial for their campaign.
Confidence should be high with both sides heading into this one after they each secured wins in Week 1. With Spalletti heading back to his former home, expect a fiery atmosphere and a fascinating contest.
CHELSEA VS. EVERTON
After getting their swagger back on Sunday with a win over Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea face a potentially tricky clash with Everton at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Blues boss Antonio Conte flung some new faces into the starting XI for the match against Spurs and moved away from the 3-4-3 setup that’s served him so well so far. The champions responded in style, shutting down Tottenham’s creative talents and taking their chances when they materialised.