Domestic football returns from the international break in style this weekend as there are a number of top clashes around Europe’s top leagues. Here’s a look at the top five games this weekend:
Manchester United vs Arsenal
Action starts in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime as Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford. The Gunners would go top of the table, at least temporarily, with three points, whilst United are in desperate search of three points themselves to get back in the race for the top four.
This match will also see Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger renew their rivalry with the two at war previously when the Portuguese manager was in charge at Chelsea. This game is important for the Gunners boss as he looks to prove he has the capability of winning the Premier League once more and to show that his first victory over Mourinho last season was no fluke.
Manchester United have a whole host of injuries – Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling being the most important in defence, whilst Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended up front. Alexis Sanchez proved his fitness earlier in the week by scoring a brace for Chile as he appears to be fit to start this one up front. Arsenal are in good form so we’re favouring an away win.
Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich could drop to second before they kick off at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday evening as Red Bull Leipzig are in action on Friday. Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to end the weekend within three points of the defending champions.
This weekend sees the most popular game of the year in Germany as two heavyweights collide in Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. The Bavarians have had the better of this rivalry and the league for each of the past three seasons but Thomas Tuchel’s side will be looking to turn it around on Saturday.
There are currently six points between these two so defeat is not an option for the hosts if they’re to sustain any serious title challenge this season. Bayern Munich certainly haven’t been at their best all season but remain unbeaten. We can see this one ending in a draw.
Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid
Saturday evening finishes with the final La Liga Madrid derby at the Vicente Calderon Stadium. League leaders Real Madrid will be looking to make a statement versus their rivals before Barcelona are expected to pick up three points at home to Malaga on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid have made an inconsistent start to the season and find themselves six points back of Zinedine Zidane’s side heading into the weekend. Both sides have had players flying all over the world during the international break, giving them limited time to prepare for such a huge game. One player the visitors are hoping to have back is Sergio Ramos as he is back in training following a recent injury.
Diego Simeone has masterminded some results in this fixture over the past couple of seasons and we’re confident with a solid defence and a good counter-attack game that they can do the same on Saturday night too. We’re calling an upset with an Atletico Madrid win.
Leeds United vs Newcastle United
Two English heavyweights meet in the second tier on Sunday lunchtime when in-form Leeds United host Championship leaders Newcastle United. Elland Road hasn’t been full for some time now but a big crowd is certainly expected for this televised game.
After a slow start Garry Monk has got his Leeds team rolling, now sixth in the division on a three-game winning streak. They are also unbeaten in their last five home matches, winning four. However, Rafa Benitez is bringing a team on a seven-game winning streak down to Leeds on Sunday, currently three points ahead of second place and eight ahead of Huddersfield in third.
This match should give us some indication whether Leeds are promotion contenders or not, whilst there’s little left to learn about the Magpies – they look capable of running away with the division! A Newcastle win is on the cards in our books.
AC Milan vs Internationale
The weekend draws to an end on Sunday with the Milan derby. AC Milan currently hold an eight point lead over their city rivals and are five off the top of Serie A.
Both teams have South American stars up front – Milan with Carlos Bacca and Inter with Mauro Icardi. Defensively neither side is as strong as they have been though both do have very good goalkeepers. It’s the red and blacks who are heading into this fixture in the better form.
Whilst these are the only two teams to both beat and take points off leaders Juventus this season, neither are expected to mount a title challenge. However, their ambition is Champions League football for next season and three points would go a long way towards that. We think this one will end in a draw though.
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