It’s a bumper return to club football after the international break with the pick of the action coming from the big three leagues; Premier League, Serie A and La Liga, with some top sides facing off and stars meeting their former clubs.
Saturday 4:15pm European time - Spanish La Liga
La Liga has been wide open so far this season, with Real Madrid and Barcelona not at their best, so this game looms large. Villarreal currently sits second on the table, while Real are two points back with a game in hand in fourth. But Real have lost two of their past four in the league, while the Yellow Submarine are unbeaten at home and undefeated in their past nine matches in all competitions. However, their last loss was a heavy 4-0 defeat at Barcelona, so the question remains, can they mix it with the best? We’ll find out on Saturday, with Real making the visit, although defensive duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are under injury clouds.
Saturday 6:30pm European time - English Premier League
This season’s English Premier League title race also feels open, with second-placed Tottenham shooting into contention on the back of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min’s irresistible partnership and the signing of Gareth Bale. Spurs are unbeaten in their past seven league games. Now they face a Manchester City side sitting down in 10th albeit with a game in hand. Pep Guardiola, who signed a new deal during the week, will be sweating on Raheem Sterling’s fitness after picking up a knock on England duty. City are unbeaten in their past nine games in all competitions but haven’t been able to string together back-to-back league wins for two months.
Saturday 9pm European time - Spanish La Liga
Third-placed Atletico Madrid play host to eighth-placed FC Barcelona in Saturday’s late kick-off which has an enticing sub plot in the form of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan was deemed surplus to requirements at Camp Nou in the off-season and found his way to the Mattress Makers for a cheap fee. He’s since netted five goals to lead Atletico to a strong early position, three points behind the leaders with two games in hand having won their past four La Liga games. Could this be their year? Meanwhile, Barcelona are battling inconsistency and internal issues, leading to only one win in their past five league matches. But Barca are unbeaten in their past 20 league meetings with Atletico.
Sunday 8:15pm European time - English Premier League
Champions Liverpool entertain leaders Leicester City on Sunday, with this fixture re-scheduled from Saturday, following both sides’ recent hectic schedule. The Reds, who are third and drew 1-1 with Man City last time out, have a heap of issues with Mohamed Salah unavailable having tested positive to coronavirus while away with Egypt. Defensive trio Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk all have injuries too, but Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson are expected to be passed fit to play after recent scares. The Foxes have won their past three league games, with Jamie Vardy equal top scorer, and they’ll be boosted by the return to fitness of Wilfred Ndidi.
Sunday 8:45pm European time - Italian Serie A
Italian Football Federation vice-president Demetrio Albertini boldly declared “whoever wins will consolidate their progress and move even faster towards Scudetto contention”. The question is are third-placed Napoli and early surprise leaders AC Milan actually title contenders or are they pretenders. Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli have been close in recent seasons without genuinely threatening Juventus, while the Rossoneri have endured a lean spell but appear rejuvenated with Stefano Pioli at the helm and the ageless Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front. Gattuso coming up against his former club is another interesting twist in a mouth-watering Sunday night clash.