With all 32 places for next summer’s World Cup dished out, domestic soccer will be the focus again until preparations begin for the Russia showpiece.
And for a lot of teams, this weekend is the trigger for a congested spell of fixtures, with matches coming thick and fast in a variety of different competitions. We’ve got a brilliant set of games at the beginning of this stint.
There are three city derbies from three capital cities, as the north London, Rome and Madrid rivalries will come to life. There’s also a testing contest for the league leaders in La Liga and the champions of Italy.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Some derbies in the Premier League are so laced with fear and loathing, often they struggle to live up to their billing. Matches between Arsenal and Tottenham don’t usually fall into that particular category.
For Spurs, this feels like a big one. Yes, they’ve made astounding progress under Mauricio Pochettino in recent years and yes they finished ahead of Arsenal last season. But in the matches against their fellow top-six sides away from home they’ve often struggled to show what they’re about.
Arsenal will be aware of that and having won all five of their Premier League home matches this term, will hold some confidence. Still, they have fallen well short against the division’s better sides this term, with Liverpool and Manchester City easily taking them apart.
With Harry Kane back, Dele Alli returning to form and Christian Eriksen in mesmerising fettle over the international break Spurs have the tools to do the same. Whether they have the confidence in themselves in what’ll be a white-hot atmosphere on Saturday afternoon is another matter entirely.
There’s been a curiousness about Barcelona’s La Liga season so far and it’s set to take another intriguing turn when they meet Leganes on Saturday.
Without ever really playing spellbinding football, manager Ernesto Valverde has been able to get a tune out of these players. So much so that they’re four points clear of Valencia at the summit of the standings and a whopping eight ahead of their bitter rivals and most likely challengers for the title in Real Madrid.