With just one title race still being run in earnest across European football’s top five divisions, for the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign we’ll have to take enjoyment from games in isolation.
The one title tussle of major interest is in Italy, although what looked at one point like it was going to be a five-horse race is on the verge of becoming a two-way scrap. The leaders face a tough challenge on Sunday, while one of the sides seeking to cling onto them will face high-class opposition.
Elsewhere, there are games from England, Spain and France that may not have a massive say in determining who finishes with silverware, but should be absorbing 90 minutes’ nevetheless.
At one point Burnley looked capable of gatecrashing the top six in the Premier League, although they will take on United in search of some impetus.
The Clarets have been unable to muster a win in their last six games and while they still sit in seventh place in the table, there are a number of sides beginning to close the gap to them. At Turf Moor, in front of their own supporters and against an illustrious name would be a tremendous time to get confidence up again.
United’s pursuit of Alexis Sanchez has hogged a lot of headlines this week, but the Red Devils did lodge an important win on Monday against Stoke City. And while a 12-point gap to Manchester City still feels insurmountable, Jose Mourinho will be desperate to establish United as the best of the rest for now.
With the weather turning nasty at this time of the year, this match is likely to be a dogfight at times, especially given the pragmatic nature of both bosses. However, the result will tell us a lot about what to expect from both sides in the final part of the season.
ATALANTA VS. NAPOLI
Sunday, January 21, 6:30 a.m. ET, beIN SPORTS Connect and fubo Premier
After the winter break in Serie A, league leaders Napoli face a difficult reintroduction into top-flight Italian football, as they visit Bergamo for a testing showdown against Atalanta.
The hosts have lacked consistency this term in the main, although lately La Dea have struck up some form and now find themselves out of the top six only on goal difference. Manager Gian Piero Gasperini has steered his side to some big wins this season too, with their victory over Juventus earlier in the campaign a particular highlight.