Every once in a while the stars align and the football Gods decide to treat us mortals with the blessing of an action-packed weekend.
Their choice could not have been the timelier this time around as there are as many as four high-profile derby games in store for all football aficionados across Europe just after for many – a chronically mundane international break.
Popping some corn and tuning in, or packing your stuff for a trip to the stadium even better, is all you need to do this forthcoming weekend.
Make sure to clear your schedule and also stay with us for the rest of this article as we will try to get you in the mood for some top-notch action.
Manchester United vs Arsenal
Curtain raises on the Premier League weekend early in the afternoon at Old Trafford with Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United playing host to Gunners, who are coming to town on the back of an impressive unbeaten run.
Arsene Wenger has led his team to quite a stretch which began after the defeat in the league opener against Liverpool and the French manager is keeping high hopes ahead of the Saturday’s clash.
Great rivalry between two of England’s top clubs aside, the forthcoming game will also be another instalment of the infamous rivalry between Mourinho and Wenger, this time in a different – red twist.
Arsene Wenger is in this game for a long time, but the French tactician has so far won only once in 15 encounters with the Portuguese counterpart. To add insult to injury, Mourinho on his part is yet to lose a Premier League game against the Gunners, while it is also worth mentioning that Arsenal’s last league win away at United came a firm decade ago – in 2006.
The Gunners have a huge mountain to climb and our own prediction goes in favour of the home team as well.
Most importantly though, for every true football fan’s sake, the Saturday’s Premier League is bound to be a proper feast.
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Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich
Switching our focus to Germany’s Bundesliga there is a biggest game of them all scheduled for Saturday afternoon at the Westfalenstadion.
Home side Borussia Dortmund and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich go head to head in the latest edition of Der Klassiker, a game which has become a global affair following the quick pace of Bundesliga’s rise back to the prominence.
Two of Germany’s biggest clubs have taken the regional pride up on the international scene with their encounters enjoying a fair share of worldwide support, from beer halls of Germany across China and all the way to the United States.
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Frantic atmosphere orchestrated and directed straight the famous ‘Gelbe Wand’ and the strong number of 28,000 standing fans will inspire the feverish support which has over the years become one of Bundesliga’s major selling points.
Bayern are arriving to town with a six-point gap, but more vulnerable than they’ve been in a while and Thomas Tuchel’s men are well aware of both the challenge and the opportunity which sit in front of them.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to his best, the BVB will be hoping for an important push towards the top and a possible rise to third in the table.
The reigning champions however are given 5/2 betting odds to emerge victorious and extend their unbeaten run against Dortmund in the Bundesliga, which is alive since April 2014.
Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid have become Real Madrid’s Kryptonite over the last couple of years as the Rojiblancos adopted a reputation of physically dominant scrappers who use their sheer strength to outwork and outfight the more talented and gifted rivals.
The approach yielded tangible results for Atletico Madrid over the most recent times with Simeone’s men losing to their city rivals only three times over the last 17 encounters in all competitions.
Real Madrid managers tried and failed to regain control over their neighbours and it is up to Zinedine Zidane to exert his tactical wisdom to go out and break the wall at Vicente Calderon on Saturday.
Zidane’s Los Blancos have seen a significant change in approach as Real Madrid are now more comfortable with sitting deep at the back, defending and looking for loose ends on the break.
The Madrid derby is coming at a difficult time for Los Rojiblancos who lost two of their last three La Liga matches and who regard the upcoming clash as a chance to make redemption in the title charge. Sitting in fourth and six points adrift of the league leaders Real Madrid, Simeone’s men regard the upcoming clash as a must-win.
Same view is adopted by Los Blancos who are one point in front of Barcelona and on a four-match winning streak. With so much at stake for both sides, we have no doubt that Saturday night’s derby will be a highly contested affair the crowd at the stadium will enjoy.
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AC Milan vs Inter Milan
Cherry on top of the action-packed weekend comes on Sunday night in Italy with Derby della Madonnina, arguably one of the most anticipated derbies of the Serie A and in Europe.
Boasting a long-lasting tradition, Derby della Madonnina is more than just a football match.
It is an event deeply rooted in the city’s folklore, a tradition and more than a sporting event. Above all, matches between the clubs from the city of Milano share a uniquely complex rivalry and burning passion.
With one and the same stadium to call their own, AC Milan and Inter Milan share more than just a venue as their turbulent tradition forged them into Serie A greats – into giants, currently on their knees however.
With Chinese investments occurring at both ends, better days are expected to come soon enough both for Rossoneri and Nerazzurri and perhaps the Sunday’s match is the perfect moment to mark the beginning of the new chapter in two clubs’ history.
#TBT ⏱ Did you know that the last time we played the #DerbyMilano on November 20th, Maldini scored his only Derby goal? ⚽ Read the history of that match on www.acmilan.com Sapevi che l’ultima volta che Milan e Inter si sono sfidate il 20 Novembre, Maldini ha segnato il suo unico gol in un Derby? ⚽ Leggi la storia di quel match su www.acmilan.com #MilanInter #weareacmilan
Milan and Inter endured contrasting starts to their respective seasons and find themselves in completely opposite positions ahead of the game.
Vincenzo Montella’s side are picking fruits of their brave youth approach, sitting third in the standings – one point behind AS Roma and only five adrift of the league leaders Juventus.
Inter on the other hand are coming fresh from yet another managerial change.
Frank de Boer ended up being wasted after only 89 days in charge with club owners showing little patience for his Dutch attack-oriented approach.
Sitting in ninth place with three defeats in last five Serie A matches, Nerazzurri are desperate to win on Sunday and give their new manager Stefano Pioli a warm introduction to one of world’s most contested affairs.
With as many as four games on the list, which one is your weekend’s favourite pick?