LEAGUES

This Weekend: The North London Derby, Supercopa Final and more

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FotMob - 4 days ago

The best action to follow this weekend


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Saturday

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 At the time of writing, five of Saturday’s Premier League games have survived the ongoing COVID-19 situation in England’s top league.

The main draw sees Manchester City meet Chelsea in the early kick-off, in what is their second encounter since the Champions League Final clash last May. Pep Guardiola’s side won the reverse fixture back in September so Thomas Tuchel will be out for revenge, and the chance to cut the 10 point lead City currently hold over Chelsea in the table.

Manchester United return to Premier League action for the first time since defeat to Wolves at Old Trafford as they travel to an Aston Villa side who’ve been very active in the transfer window. Could we see some involvement for Steven Gerrard’s new signings Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne?

From the other games, the six-pointer between Newcastle United and Watford looks particularly key. A win for the home side would see them move out of the relegation zone and crucially, leapfrog their opponents.

🇩🇪 Bundesliga leaders Bayern have had a week to stew on last weekend’s home defeat to Gladbach, so watch out for their trip to FC Köln. The Billy Goats are no pushovers this season though and they come in to this game on the back of three straight wins that have seen them move up to sixth in the table.

Elsewhere in Germany, third placed Hoffenheim, who are unbeaten in seven face Union Berlin (7th), another side pushing for European qualification and Bayer Leverkusen (5th) are the next big team Gladbach will be looking to turn over as they begin to recover from a relatively poor first half of the campaign.

🇪🇸 Not to be outdone by the ongoing Supercopa tournament that has seen four of Spain’s top sides spend the week in Saudi Arabia, back home all the attention will be on the Copa del Rey, where we have reached the Round of 16.

Especially as the draw brought together city rivals, Real Betis and Sevilla who will play out the 136th competitive edition of ‘El Gran Derbi’ on Saturday night.

🇮🇹 In Italy, Juventus are in Serie A action against Udinese just a few days after missing out on their Super Cup equivilant, the Supercoppa.

A last gasp defeat to rivals Inter on Wednesday night came thanks to a goal scored in stoppage time, at the end of extra-time and prompted manager Massimiliano Allegri to describe football as having been invented by the devil, such is it’s cruelty! We’ll see what he has to say should Juve get back to winning ways.

🏆 At The Africa Cup of Nations, the second round of group games continue across the weekend and on Saturday that means we get matches from Group D.

Here, Nigeria will look to back-up their impressive victory over Egypt to seal qualification for the knock-out stages by beating Sudan. And the aforementioned Pharaohs need to kick-start their tournament as they go up against Guinea-Bissau, the nation currently ranked 106th in the world.


Sunday

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 The big games keep coming on Sunday, with the North London Derby the most high profile of them all. Spurs ‘welcome’ near neighbours Arsenal to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where they remain unbeaten in the three derbies played at their new home.

With just two points separating the sides in the top six of Premier League table (Arsenal are 5th, Spurs 6th), the result could be pivotal as we head into the second half of the campaign. Particularly with Spurs having two games in hand on their rivals.

Liverpool are also in Premier League action on Sunday as they host Brentford and for the second weekend in a row, West Ham play Leeds United no doubt looking to repeat the 2-0 win they enjoyed in the FA Cup last Sunday.

🇪🇸 We’ve already alluded to the Spanish Supercopa being hosted in Riyadh, but Sunday will see Athletic Club play Real Madrid in this season’s final.

The Basque side were considered unlikely winners last year having overcame both Madrid and Barcelona to lift the trophy. And their confidence will be high after they came from behind to beat Atletico Madrid to reach this stage.

Madrid though, are a different proposition this season – top of La Liga, scoring freely thanks to the form of Karim Benzema and fresh from beating arch-rivals Barcelona in the Clásico played on Wednesday night.

🏆 There’s four group matches from the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday and in Group E, the Ivory Coast come up against Sierra Leone and the heroic goalkeeper who kept a clean sheet against reigning champions Algeria in their opening game.

Mohamed Kamara, who plays in his country’s local league earned our MOTM and a rating of 8.97 for that performance but he’ll have to be on form again to keep out one of the tournament’s most potent strike forces.

In the other game in the group, Algeria – unbeaten in 35 international games probably can’t afford to drop any more points when they play Equatorial Guinea

From Group F, we’ll be looking out for the game between AFCON debutants Gambia and Mali, who both won their opening games – against Mauritania and Tunisia respectively.

🇮🇹 In Serie A and with neither Milan nor Napoli playing until Monday, Inter have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table. They face the always-entertaining Atalanta, in Bergamo on Sunday evening.

After last week’s collapse to Juventus, losing 4-3 despite leading 3-1 with half an hour to go, Roma fans will hope Cagliari provide less stiff opposition.

Strugglers on paper, Cagliari won only one of their first 19 games of the season but do come in to Sunday’s game off the back of consecutive wins over Sampdoria and Bologna.

🇬🇷 Lastly, another huge European derby to point you in the direction of, the clash between Athens rivals Panathinaikos and Olympiacos.

Defending Greek champions Olympiacos are unbeaten and running away with the league this season but the reverse fixture against Panathinaikos was one of just the three games in which they’ve dropped points – that one finishing goalless. We’ll be hoping for goals on Sunday!


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Cover Image from IMAGO