>Another weekend of football hots up with most of Europe’s leagues back in full swing, so here’s the highlights to keep an eye out for.
Sports Pundit’s Game of the Weekend
Nothing beats the Derby della Madonnina this weekend especially with the Scudetto race so tightly poised between the top two, with AC Milan a chance to move within 3 points of Inter, and with a game in hand.
Milan’s recent revival certainly has re-opened the title race and Inter have lost the initiative. Indeed, Inter have only won three of their last six Serie A encounters and a loss here would cause great concern for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Ronaldinho’s form for Milan suggests they’ll be difficult to stop but we shouldn’t forget Inter won this fixture earlier in the campaign 4-0 and they are the masters of grinding out results.
Here’s a battle of two genuine giants with Werder currently sitting sixth and Bayern, on the charge, in third. And while Bayern push for the title, Werder are battling having not won in their last five Bundesliga matches despite enjoying a 23-game unbeaten streak earlier in the campaign.
Bayern, on the other hand, have won their last seven games in all competitions and are flying with intent. But a trip up to the Weserstadion won’t be easy especially with ex-Bayern man Claudio Pizarro back from a knee problem for Bremen. Franck Ribery, though, is fit to return for the Bavarians.
Can Leeds United add another big scalp to their list after knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup earlier this month? The League One leaders certainly weren’t done any favours by the draw with a trip to White Hart Lane, but you never know.
Tottenham midfielder Aaron Lennon was desperate to face his former club but will miss due to a groin injury. Spurs, though, have plenty of quality and remain favourites, especially with Leeds in a slump since their victory at Old Trafford.
Juve boss Ciro Ferrara is under intense pressure right now and a meeting with in-form Roma isn’t ideal for him. Roma are actually up to third in Serie A now, with Juventus recently dropping to fifth after 4 losses in their last 5 matches.
The injury crisis at the Old Lady has hurt their hopes recently with Ferrara robbed of Vincenzo Iaquinta and David Trezeguet amongst others. Roma boss Claudio Ranieri returns to Turin after his axing from the Juve post.
New AZ boss Dick Advocaat gets his chance to get his side’s season back on track with a tough trip to Amsterdam. Don’t forget AZ are the current Dutch champions despite their woes this term.
Martin Jol’s Ajax have incredibly scored 54 goals in 18 games this campaign with Luis Suarez leading the charge with 18 strikes. They remain a remote hope of the Eredivisie title but really need 3 points here.