>Sunday is the day to look forward to this weekend with Madrid and Rome hosting major derbies, while Liverpool and Chelsea face off in a Premier League beauty.
Sports Pundit’s Game of the Weekend
English leaders Chelsea make the journey to Anfield to face Roy Hodgson’s improving Liverpool on Sunday. The Reds have won their past two Premiership matches and they will be buoyed by their midweek win over Napoli in the Europa League with Steven Gerrard, who loves playing against Chelsea, hitting a hat-trick.
Nevertheless, 13 points and 12 league places separate these two sides, so the Blues should fancy their chances of taking the points back to London. Chelsea’s away record isn’t nearly as impressive as their home record, but their midweek 4-1 win over Spartak Moscow suggests they’ve got plenty of firepower, although they’re still without Frank Lampard due to injury.
Stade Rennais|Stade Rennes v Olympique Lyon> French Ligue 1’‘Saturday, 9pm (CET)’’
High-flying Rennes play to French giants Olympique Lyon on Saturday, in a match which sees Jimmy Briand return to his former stomping ground. The real question here will be where are Lyon at and can Rennes keep up their surprise run?
Rennes had been top of Ligue 1 until last weekend’s fixture against Marseille was postponed allowing Brest to move into pole position. Claude Puel’s Lyon are down in tenth but are on the improve having collected 10 points from their past four matches. Worth a look.
Shock Serie A leaders Lazio face Eternal City rivals AS Roma on Sunday in a game full of intrigue. Can Lazio keep up their surprise run and can Claudio Ranieri’s Roma get their season back on track?
Roma have collected seven points from their past three matches, including last weekend’s 2-0 win over Lecce, but they will be without star man Francesco Totti after he was sent off in that match. Lazio, who are four points clear at the top, have won their five in a row in Serie A with Hernanes and Cristian Ledesma their star men.
Another derby in a big European city takes place on Sunday when Jose Mourinho’s Real face crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Atletico have been unconvincing recently, with their midweek 2-1 win over Rosenborg in the Europa League not without a bit of luck, while they’ve collected just four points from their past four La Liga matches to sit sixth. Real are leading La Liga and with Cristiano Ronaldo firing will be hard to stop. But the form guide often gets thrown out in derbies.
Portugal’s top two face off on Sunday in a game which Benfica desperately need to win to halt FC Porto’s charge towards the title.
Porto have shot to a seven-point lead at the top with 25 points from nine matches, while Benfica – last season’s Portuguese champions - lead the pack but have been unconvincing on the road. The challenge will be to stop Porto’s incredible attacking options in Hulk (8 goals this season), Silvestre Varela and Radomel Falcao.