Several top clubs meet in Europe’s best three leagues this weekend with major tests for Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Napoli.
Saturday 9pm European time - Spanish La Liga
Villarreal may be 12th and Barcelona may be seventh but this looms as a blockbuster for two strong Spanish outfits who have had their issues this term. Unai Emery’s Europa League winners have only won one of their past league fixtures, while the Catalans are winless on the road this La Liga campaign. Barca are under a new boss with Xavi Hernandez taking over from Ronald Koeman and enjoying a winning start last weekend. Another three points while ending their away day blues, will be significant.
Sunday 3pm European time - English Premier League
English champions Manchester City host David Moyes’ emerging contenders West Ham United, who have backed up last season’s top-six finish with an impressive start to this campaign, sitting fourth, having recently beaten Liverpool. City knocked off Paris Saint-Germain in midweek in the Champions League, even without Kevin De Bruyne who tested positive to COVID-19. The Hammers knocked City out of the League Cup on penalties earlier this season but actually haven’t beaten them in regulation time since 2015. The Blues are already 12 points ahead of eighth-placed United.
Sunday 5:30pm European time - English Premier League
Interim Manchester United boss Michael Carrick has his Premier League assignment against current leaders and reigning European champions Chelsea, so it doesn’t get much tougher for the former midfielder. The Red Devils were thrown in turmoil after last weekend’s 4-1 hammering from lowly Watford, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked, but they backed that up with a strong 2-0 win away to Villarreal in midweek to restore some belief. Chelsea had Romelu Lukaku on the bench in midweek after injury while they welcomed back Timo Werner who scored as a substitute.
Sunday 8:45pm European time - Italian Serie A
Italian league leaders Napoli stumbled to a 3-2 defeat against champions Inter Milan last weekend, ending their near-perfect start to the new campaign and they could have slipped to second spot by the time kick-off comes around, depending on AC Milan’s result against Sassuolo earlier on Sunday. Napoli have collected 16 of a possible 18 points at home this term, conceding only twice. Lazio have been inconsistent, losing last weekend to Juventus to slip to sixth, 11 points off the pace. The Romans have only managed one win on the road too, but the pressure is on Napoli to get back to winning ways after one point from their past two games.
Sunday 9pm European time - Spanish La Liga
New La Liga leaders Real Madrid host third-placed Sevilla in Sunday’s prime timeslot, with both sides coming into the game in excellent form. Los Blancos have won their past five games in all competitions and have only dropped points once in their past eight. Sevilla are undefeated in La Liga in their past six games and only trail Real by two points on the table, meaning victory on Sunday night could see them go top, depending on second-placed Real Sociedad’s result against Espanyol earlier in the day.