It was difficult to pick out five fixtures for this weekend, as there are so many enticing encounters across the soccer landscape over the next couple of days. But in my eyes, here are the best five contests.
There’s a bit of everything in there. A massive derby, title defining contests and financial juggernaut taking on unbeaten pretenders. Enjoy!
All kick off times are Eastern Time
Manchester City vs Everton. Saturday, 7:45am, NBCSN
The Premier League weekend gets underway at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, as Manchester City play host to unbeaten Everton.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side will be hoping to bounce back from two straight defeats, but Roberto Martinez’s side have proven a tough nut to crack this season and will be going into the game on the back of three straight league victories themselves.
Everton have also been something of a bogey team for Manchester City down the years. Under previous boss David Moyes, the Merseyside outfit have won on four of their last six visits to the Etihad. And with confidence clearly high in the Everton ranks, Toffees supporters will be hoping they can make the short trip back to Merseyside with at least a point to show for their efforts.
City have been stuttering away from home as of late in the Premier League, but on their own patch they remain an imperious outfit (aside from being on the end of a Bayern Munich masterclass). Their previous home outing in the Premier League was the 4-1 demolition of Manchester United, and they will be keen to get back to winning ways here.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich. Saturday, 12:30pm, GolTV
If there were any doubts as to how Pep Guardiola might improve this Bayern Munich team, they were dispelled on Wednesday night. The world was watching as Die Bayern took Manchester City to pieces on their own patch: relentlessly hunting the ball, passing with incisive purpose and showcasing a real killer instinct in front of goal.
They get back to domestic action at the BayArena on Saturday in a contest that is shaping up to be a crucial fixture. Bayern trail Borussia Dortmund on goal difference, who have started the season in superb fashion too. But Die Borussen have a tough game themselves, as they travel to Borussia Moenchengladbach.
So potentially, it could be a weekend where Bayern can pull ahead of their title rivals. And you feel opportunities will be limited for Guardiola’s side to do so in a league that is looking increasingly duopolistic.
But that said, Leverkusen will be no pushovers for the European Champions, as they sit just one point behind the top two in the Bundesliga standings. They too sampled midweek success in Europe and have an excellent home record to boot. Joachim Löw is expected to attend the game to run the rule over Bayer’s Stefan Kießling, so expect the prolific front-man to be right up for this one after already netting five times so far this season.
Internazionale vs AS Roma. Saturday, 2:45pm, beIN SPORT Play
If you’re after a glamor tie in Serie A this weekend, then AC Milan are taking on Juventus on Sunday afternoon in what promises to be an intriguing game. But if you’re looking for a match between two sides bang in form, then Internazionale vs AS Roma is definitely the game of the weekend in Italy.
I Giallorossi will travel to the San Siro with a 100% record, after being guided to a magnificent start by their boss Rudi Garcia. Despite selling stars like Erik Lamela, Maarten Stekelenburg and Dani Osvaldo to English teams, the capital club have regrouped and really pulled together. Their recent 5-0 victory over Bologna was a prime indicator of the magnificent form they are in, with Roma icon Francesco Totti looking better than ever.
Inter too, have started the season well. After an uncharacteristically poor showing throughout the course of last season, I Nerazzurri look in much better fettle under former Napoli Walter Mazzarri. Players like Ricky Alvarez and Rodrigo Palacio are rejuvenated under the new regime, and in front of their own supporters they will be hopeful of ending Roma’s perfect start.
With neither side featuring in European competition this season, expect both to be refreshed coming into this one. It should be a cracking encounter between two teams who love to attack.
Marseille vs Paris Saint-Germain. Sunday, 3pm, beIN SPORT
One of the biggest games in French football will take place at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday evening, as big spenders PSG make the trip to the South coast of France to play Marseille.
The Velodrome had a roof put on it over the summer, and it has cranked up what was already an intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams to another level.
But if any side from Ligue 1 can go there confident of picking up all three points then it is the big-spenders from the capital. Laurent Blanc’s side look to be clicking into gear and this was evident as they trounced Benfica 3-0 in their midweek Champions League contest. Zlatan, Cavani and co have some catching up to do on leaders AS Monaco, who they trail on goal difference, but a win here would lay down a significant marker.
Marseille too, won’t have given up hope of challenging for the title and a win here could potentially send them to the top of Ligue 1. They will be keen to respond after being run ragged by Champions League runners-up Dortmund in midweek.
River Plate vs Boca Juniors. Sunday, 5:15pm, GolTV
The Superclasico! For anyone who has yet to tune in for one of these games, it is an absolute must that you do so this weekend. It is a fixture that encapsulates the passionate, fiery nature of Argentinian football, and one that sees some of the most extravagant displays of football fandom anywhere in the world.
The rivalry between these giants of Argentinian football is over 100 years old so as you can imagine, it is a contest rich in tradition and history.
The game will be played at River’s Estadio Monumental, and the home side are in excellent form heading into this one, having won the last three games on the bounce on their own patch.
But Boca are also looking in decent shape, having won two and drawn one of their last three games. The two teams occupy fourth and fifth spot in the league, but a win in this one could see either side go second in La Primera Division come the end of the weekend.
There have been six red cards in the last six meetings between the two, so expect plenty of tension and no shortage of tackles. If you’re a sucker for fans and players with unbridled passion, then you cannot miss this one. A fine contest to cap off an excellent weekend of football.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter: @MattJFootball
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