There are big games and derby games wherever you look in Europe this weekend, as we gear up for one of the most fascinating set of fixtures of the season.
There are two games from Serie A, a league with what is now comfortably the most exciting title race on the continent. Elsewhere, there are bitter local scores to settle in the Premier League and the Bundesliga, before the weekend is rounded off with a huge clash from France.
All kick offs are in Eastern time, enjoy the weekend and enjoy the games!
Liverpool vs. Everton
Liverpool will be out to end their recent poor form in the Premier League on Saturday night, when they welcome an inconsistent Everton team to Anfield.
The Reds may have earned a commendable 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in midweek, but domestically they are enduring a torrid run, with three successive defeats behind them. Manager Jurgen Klopp will be encouraged by some recent displays though, not to mention Liverpool’s dominant record in this fixture down the years.
Everton’s push for a top-four spot has stuttered as of late, suffering back-to-back losses to Fulham and Manchester City before this one. However, they have been dangerous away from home in 2020-21, with their last away loss coming on November 1; they have taken 17 points from a possible 21 in their previous matches away from Goodison Park.
That form may indicate Everton have a chance in this one, although history shows just how big a task this will be for Carlo Ancelotti’s team. They haven’t won at Anfield since 1999 and haven’t been in front at the stadium since 2012.
Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund
Saturday, February 20, 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Fresh from a memorable 3-2 win over Sevilla in the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund will be out to pour more misery on the rivals Schalke in a campaign to forget.
Erling Haaland continued to add to his glowing reputation for Dortmund on Wednesday, as he struck twice in the impressive success over the La Liga side. Interim manager Erdin Terzic will hope that the striker can carry that form into their domestic matches, where things haven’t been going quite so well.
Dortmund are down in sixth going into the derby with just one win in their last six top-flight outings. However, a match with Schalke represents a perfect opportunity to add some momentum back into their campaign.
Schalke appear doomed at the foot of the table, with a solitary victory to show from their 21 games. With nine points between them and the relegation playoff spot, manager Christian Gross will know the team’s recovery needs to start this weekend.
AC Milan vs. Inter Milan
Sunday, February 21, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN+
The biggest Milan derby in a decade? It certainly feels so, as Inter and AC Milan go into this showdown first and second in the Serie A standings respectively.
Milan have led the way for much of the campaign, although they relinquished their grip on top spot last weekend after a 2-0 defeat to newly-promoted Spezia. They also had a draining game in the Europa League on Thursday, drawing 2-2 with Red Star Belgrade in a pulsating contest.
Inter were the beneficiaries of Milan’s loss last weekend and an accomplished performance against an in-form Lazio saw them move up into top spot. With Juventus off the pace and other sides struggling for champion-like consistency, a win for Antonio Conte’s team would make them massive favorites for the Scudetto.
Not only is top spot up for grabs, both teams will be out to settle some scores after an ill-tempered meeting in the Coppa Italia last time they met. The nose-to-nose clash between Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been immortalized as a mural in Milan ahead of this showpiece encounter.
Atalanta vs. Napoli
Sunday, February 21, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Thoughts of a title push may be beyond Atalanta and Napoli, but the attacking quality on the field on Sunday means this isn’t one to be missed.
Napoli remain infuriatingly inconsistent but showed a dogged determination to compliment their attacking flair last weekend when they battled to a 1-0 win over Juventus. It kept them within a point of the Bianconeri and if Gennaro Gattuso can find a dependable formula, they have the personnel to comfortably finish in the top four.
Atalanta are in sixth and level on points with their opponents going into this encounter. Gian Piero Gasperini’s team have been let down by too many draws this term, although when they’re in full flight it’s difficult for any outfit to contain them.
The two sides will know each other well too, having played each other twice already this month—they drew 0-0 in Serie A, before Atalanta got the best of a Coppa Italia quarter-final, winning 3-1. If Gattuso’s side can find a way through this tussle, it’d feel like a significant sign of progress.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Monaco
Fresh from their historic win over Barcelona in the Champions League, PSG will turn their attention back to the domestic title battle on Sunday when they welcome a rejuvenated Monaco to the capital.
Mauricio Pochettino would’ve been delighted with the way his side performed at the Camp Nou, dominating Barcelona and surely putting the tie beyond doubt with a rampant 4-1 win. While there will be some tired legs in the squad after a huge effort, confidence will surely be sky-high among the players.
While that’s a worry for Monaco, they will be confident of causing problems for the champions. Since their title-winning season in 2017, this is arguably the best the principality club have looked, with last weekend’s draw to Lorient ending a run of seven straight Ligue 1 wins.
Following his iconic hat-trick against Barcelona, all eyes will be on Kylian Mbappe again on Sunday against his former club. If he performs anywhere near to the standard he did on Tuesday, then a long night is on the cards for the visitors.
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