And just like that, an international break appears to ruin the momentum of the domestic football calendar. It’s a good job there’s a fine weekend of fixtures to come, isn’t there?
Our matches are from all over the globe, with two from the Premier League, one from Serie A, one from LaLiga and one from the Liga MX.
All kick offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Leeds United vs. Manchester City
Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa will be out to ramp up the pressure on Pep Guardiola and Manchester City on Saturday night.
The newly-promoted outfit have enjoyed a strong start to life back in the top flight. Having done well in defeat at Liverpool on the opening day of the campaign, they’ve won consecutive matches against Fulham and Sheffield United. You suspect they’ll relish the chance to go at City.
For Guardiola, it feels as though Leeds are coming along at the wrong time, with his team clearly defensively and mentally vulnerable following their 5-2 hammering by Leicester. The home team are unlikely to take a backwards step and will be on the front foot throughout this contest at Elland Road, seeking to seize on any vulnerabilities from City.
If City can stave off what promises to be a chaotic start to the game, then Guardiola will back their superior quality to come to the fore. But at the moment, the Manchester outfit look anything but dependable and that should make for an intriguing affair.
Club America vs. Pumas UNAM
It’s the Clasico Capitalino in Mexico City this weekend, with Club America and Pumas UNAM seeking to inject some momentum into their respective Liga MX campaigns.
Both sides go into the game in mixed form, with Club America boasting the strongest attack in the division ahead of the weekend fixtures. Up top, Henry Martin and Federico Vinas have formed a strong partnership and have five goals each for the campaign already.
After a strong start to 2020-21, Pumas have lost some momentum in recent weeks, with a defeat to Leon followed up by a frustrating home draw with Necaxa, who are currently ranked 17th out of 18 teams in the division.
Pumas’ record at the Azteca leaves a lot to be desired in recent years too, having last won at the venue in the league in 2014.
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur’s relentless schedule will continue on Sunday, when they visit Manchester United in the most eye-catching of the Premier League’s fixtures this weekend.
Spurs were winners via a penalty shootout in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday against Chelsea, before hammering Maccabi Haifa 7-2 at home in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. It means there will be some tired legs in Jose Mourinho’s squad for the weekend match, although Tottenham should be in good spirits.
United were also midweek winners, as they coasted past Brighton & Hove Albion in the League Cup. That was the second of two meetings in quick succession between the sides, with the first being a 3-2 for the Red Devils that was eventually settled by Bruno Fernandes’ 100th-minute penalty.
Already, neither United or Tottenham appear to have enough to mount a serious title challenge this season in the Premier League. This fixture could see one of them land a heavy early blow in the race for a top-four spot though.
Juventus vs. Napoli
Sunday, October 4, 2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus are one of the most intriguing teams in European football this season and a set for a big test at the hands of Napoli on Sunday.
After winning his first game in charge routinely against Sampdoria, Pirlo’s side battled to a 2-2 draw against Roma in Week 2. Despite Adrien Rabiot’s red card when the Bianconeri were 2-1 down, Cristiano Ronaldo’s second goal of the night was enough for the champions to take a point back to Turin.
It means that Juventus are playing catch up to Napoli early in the season, with the Partenopei taking six points from a possible six to begin their Scudetto push. Gennaro Gattuso’s side have looked red-hot in attack so far, as they hammered Genoa 6-0 last weekend; a quartet of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, Hirving Lozano and Victor Osimhen will cause problems for anyone.
Juventus will need to be wary as a result and there were signs against Roma that as of yet, the team isn’t completely settled defensively under Pirlo. Even so, on home soil the Bianconeri remain a fearsome prospect.
Sevilla vs. Barcelona
Following a turbulent summer, Barcelona have actually enjoyed a strong start to life under new manager Ronald Koeman.
Despite going down to 10 men on Thursday, they were able to breeze past Celta Vigo 3-0. While Lionel Messi looks encouragingly zoned in after his summer transfer saga, Blaugrana supporters will also be encouraged by the form of Ansu Fati, who appears set for a breakthrough campaign.
The 17-year-old has already netted three times in Barcelona’s opening two matches and is providing a thrust that the team was lacking for long spells last term. Sevilla’s strong defensive setup will pose a different type of obstacle for him on Sunday though.
The Andalusians have won their opening two games of the campaign and morale seems to be high in their squad following the Europa League success last season. Julen Lopetegui will want to see his team keep in touch with the LaLiga heavyweights this term as such; winning on Sunday would be an excellent start.
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