Heavyweight clashes are scarce on the European football calendar this weekend, making the next few days an ideal opportunity to check out some other exciting outfits in 2020-21.
The only meeting between two juggernauts comes in the Premier League on Sunday, as well as another intriguing encounter to come from English football’s top flight. Saturday sees showdowns in Germany and France, while on Sunday it’s the Women’s FA Cup final.
All kick offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. RB Leipzig
Saturday, October 31, 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
The standout fixture of the Bundesliga weekend sees Monchengladbach and Leipzig out to bounce back after disappointments in the UEFA Champions League this week.
Leipzig have enjoyed a strong start to the domestic season and are top of the pile going into this round of fixtures. However, they were hammered 5-0 by Manchester United in midweek and despite their brilliant Bundesliga start, a loss of that magnitude will knock some confidence out of a team.
Monchengladbach were able to get a draw against Real Madrid, although they threw away a two-goal lead late on on home soil. Marco Rose will want to see his team take the positives from that encounter, although as is the case with Leipzig, the manner of the result means it’ll be tough to shake off.
Still, Monchengladbach have the firepower to hurt Leipzig if they turn in a similarly catastrophic defensive performance. Reconfiguring that back line will crucial for manager Julian Nagelsmann if his team are to take three points back to Leipzig.
Nantes vs. PSG
Following a slow start to the Ligue 1 campaign, PSG are beginning to find their step and they will need to be on form if they’re to get the better of Nantes on Saturday.
PSG weren’t at their free-flowing best in Europe, eventually overcoming Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0. Moise Kean, on loan from Everton for the season, was on hand to score both goals in a tight encounter and the early signs indicate he will be able to add another attacking dimension to what is already a stacked forward line.
Neymar did go down with an injury in the Champions League and he’s expected to miss a couple of weeks as a result. That will give Rennes some confidence against the Parisians, although they will travel to the Parc des Princes well aware that they’re underdogs.
Everton vs. Manchester City
Sunday, November 1, 9:30 a.m. ET, The FA Player
While the coronavirus pandemic led to the early cancellation of the Women’s Super League in England, the FA Cup has been extended from last season, leaving Manchester City and Everton to fight it out for the prize.
City being in the final isn’t a major surprise, as they’ve long been one of the most fearsome forces in English football. Gareth Taylor has a number of world-class performers to choose from, with Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis considered some of the best players on the planet in their respective positions.
It means Everton are the big underdogs for this fixture, although Willie Kirk’s team will take some confidence from the team’s quarter-final success over Chelsea. They recovered from a 1-0 deficit that day and have been one of the most improved sides in the WSL this season.
One player to watch out for will be City forward Chloe Kelly. She shone with Everton before making the move to Manchester in the summer and the Toffees defense will need to be alert to prevent her from having an impact on this fixture.
Manchester United vs. Arsenal
Sunday, November 1, 11 a.m. ET, Peacock Premium (free trial)
Manchester United and Arsenal is no longer a title-defining clash in the Premier League, but it’s always fascinating when they meet.
It’s the Red Devils who will most likely go into the game feeling better about themselves. In the 5-0 hammering of Leipzig they were able to overpower their opponents late on, with Marcus Rashford tearing into a ragged defense and scoring a hat-trick; the England international will surely start on Sunday after his heroics in midweek.
As for Arsenal, there’s been a small momentum loss as of late. Leicester City were able to do a job on them on Sunday, stifling the attacking talent the Gunners possess and then springing forward late on to snatch the game 1-0. With United also potent on the counter-attack, Mikel Arteta will need to find a way of making his team more resistant to those fast breaks.
Arteta has masterminded some big wins over high-profile opponents since taking charge at the Emirates Stadium and he’ll need all of his tactical insight and invention to tame a United side that’s in their best form for a long, long time.
Leeds United vs. Leicester City
Leeds and Leicester have been two of the most captivating outfits to watch in the Premier League so far this season, meaning Monday’s match between the two should be the perfect way to cap off the weekend.
Leicester may have slipped up in losses to West Ham United and Aston Villa this term, but they’ve been able to secure impressive wins on the road against Manchester City and most recently Arsenal. It’s a successful blueprint they’ll seek to adhere to at Elland Road.
Leeds pose as tough a challenge as there is in the Premier League at the moment though, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side catching a number of opponents off guard with their intensity and ingenuity. Patrick Bamford is one of the most in-form strikers in the country too, as he rattled in a hat-trick last time out against Aston Villa.
If Leeds can secure a win here against a team expected to challenge for a spot in the top four this season, then they’d move on to 13 points for the campaign. As such, their ambitions would surely shift away from simply staying afloat in the top flight and towards a much more exciting target for supporters.
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