Five different leagues, five different games; it’s shaping up to be a fantastic weekend for those who enjoy sampling different types of football.
Kickstarting the weekend will be a showdown between the second and third best teams in France last season on Friday night. That precedes a bumper Saturday, as there are entertaining and important matches to come from the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
PSG will be confident of overcoming a struggling Nice side on Friday at the Parc des Princes, although they’ll have to do so without the suspended Neymar.
The Brazilian was given his marching orders on Sunday when the Ligue 1 leaders made the trip to Marseille. Neymar was on the receiving end of plenty of rough tackles, was targeted by supporters who tossed objects at him from the crowd and eventually he lost his cool. It means his side will not be able to rely on his attacking brilliance here.
Even so, PSG still have so much quality and remain a joy to watch. When Neymar was off the field at the Stade Velodrome it was left for others to step up and Edinson Cavani did exactly that, rattling in a late free-kick to salvage a 2-2 draw. After winning the Golden Boy gong earlier in the week, Kylian Mbappe will be bristling with confidence too.
As for Nice, Lucien Favre’s men need a spark, having slumped to 14th in the French top flight with three losses in a row. The talent is there for them to pose problems for PSG, but given confidence is at such a low, this is going to be a tough assignment.
After very different fortunes in the Premier League last weekend, Manchester United and Tottenham both sampled different experiences from their respective League Cup matches ahead of their meeting this weekend too.
The Red Devils were able to eradicate some of the the bad memories from the 2-1 loss at Huddersfield Town on Saturday with a routine win over Swansea City. Spurs, having trounced Liverpool 4-1 in the top flight, inexplicably let a two-goal lead slip against West Ham United at Wembley in the League Cup, losing 3-2.
It’ll be intriguing to see whether that result does have any impact on Tottenham’s mindset heading to Old Trafford, as prior to the West Ham collapse they’d been imperious. Manager Mauricio Pochettino will hope his players simply endured a bad day at the office.
Both Spurs and United need to win too. A share of the spoils will give Manchester City the chance to move five points clear at the top of the pile later in the day, whereas the loser of the match would potentially be six back. In these types of season-defining encounters, United boss Jose Mourinho so often finds a way to get it right.
Both AC Milan and Juventus will be a little disappointed by the way in which they’ve each started the 2017-18 campaign. This match feels like a massive one as a result.
Encouragingly for those who will tune in to this fixture, each team comes into this one on the back of a strong midweek display. Juve continued their brilliant form in front of goal with a 4-1 win over SPAL, whereas Vincenzo Montella saw his side finally click into gear against Chievo with a 4-1 victory of their own.
For Milan, finding some kind of impetus was so important after four games without a win. In the match aforementioned, they showed some overdue affinity as an attacking force, with Suso leading the charge with a brilliant display on the right flank. The young winger has been one of a few bright spot for the Rossoneri this season.
Juventus have responded well to their home loss with Lazio, rattling in 10 goals in their last two Serie A matches. This will be a different type of test for Massimiliano Allegri’s side and with Napoli and Inter Milan performing so well, not an assignment that they can afford to fall short in.
After Bayern and Leipzig played out an enthralling match in the German Cup in midweek, the Bundesliga meeting between the pair should be encapsulating on Saturday evening.
Eventually it was Munich who made it through in their cup encounter at the Red Bull Arena, winning 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time. But Leipzig deserve great credit for their display, as they were down to 10 men from the 53rd minute after Naby Keita was given his marching orders for the third time in seven games.
Leipzig should take some confidence from their efforts when they head to the Allianz Arena. They can reflect on an excellent run in the Bundesliga too, with four victories in a row quietly positioning them just one point behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern have moved ominously alongside BVB, with Jupp Heynckes’ team slipping into an ominous gear since he stepped in to replace Carlo Ancelotti. While they were not quite at their best in midweek, the German champions are slowly finding a way to get through football matches again.
There aren’t many tougher away matches in La Liga for the elite teams than a trip to Athletic Club’s San Mames. It’s a test that awaits league leaders Barcelona on Saturday evening.
Despite a summer of upheaval and discontent, the start to the campaign has been one of major positivity for the Blaugrana. Not only have they rattled through their nine games so far with eight wins and one draw, their bitter rivals Real Madrid are five points behind. New boss Ernesto Valverde will not want to see his team offer Los Blancos any route back into the race.
At the moment this Barca side is tough to beat, as Valverde has simplified the setup and sought to get the best out of Lionel Messi. While that’s been to the detriment of some, especially an out-of-form Luis Suarez, at the moment it’s a play that’s working to great effect for the Blaugrana.
Athletic haven’t enjoyed a good beginning to 2017-18, as they’ve failed to cope with the summer departure of their former boss Valverde. But there’ll be a buzz at this wonderful stadium and typically, when Barcelona come to town, the side in red and white rally to give them a decent game.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $9.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season