Football fans are in for a treat as a host of big-ticket fixtures await them this weekend. Below, we’ve made a list of the best games in each of the top five leagues to help you decide your schedule for the weekend.
Fixture: Espanyol v Barcelona
Where: Cornella-El Prat
When: 23:45 GST, Saturday December 8
It’s derby day in Catalonia as a wounded Espanyol host league leaders Barcelona. In the last five derbies at the Cornella-El Prat, the hosts have bagged all three points on just one occasion. However, Barcelona were made to work hard for their three wins and can’t afford to rest on their laurels on Saturday.
Having scored eight goals already, Borja Iglesias will be looking to lead his team to derby glory against a Barcelona defence of questionable stability. Luis Suarez could make an early return from injury and play a part in the game. But Ousmane Dembele will be the key player for Barca as he looks to build on his exquisite display against Villarreal.
Fixture: Chelsea v Manchester City
Where: Stamford Bridge
When: 21:30 GST, Saturday December 8
In arguably the biggest fixture of the weekend, Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea will be hosting Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The visitors triumphed in the last two meetings between the two clubs at Stamford Bridge and start as favourites on Saturday as they look to extend their unbeaten run.
Naturally, Eden Hazard will be the key player for Chelsea. N’Golo Kante and Jorginho’s role in winning the midfield battle will be crucial as well. Raheem Sterling – who was rested in Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Watford – will be looking to build on his incredible run of form and earn his side an important away win.
Fixture: Juventus v Inter
Where: Allianz Stadium
When: 23:30 GST, Friday December 7
Juventus are unbeaten in the Serie A this season and the biggest threat to their run materialises in the form of Inter on Friday. The Nerazzurri have failed to win a single game in their last five outings at Juventus and start as underdogs on Friday.
You-know-who will be looking to assert himself in the crucial game. Cristiano Ronaldo has already scored 10 goals this season and will be looking to extend his tally. With eight goals and two assists to his name, Mauro Icardi will be the talisman for the visitors as they look to cut their opponents’ lead at the top of the table.
Fixture: Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund
Where: Veltins Arena
When: 18:30 GST, Saturday December 8
Schalke taking on Dortmund in the Ruhr Derby has always been an exciting clash, regardless of the form of the two teams prior to this particular meeting. The hosts have triumphed once in their last six games, just as many times as the visitors have. We have had a stalemate on four occasions, the most memorable being the 4-4 draw at Signal Iduna Park last season.
Daniel Caliguiri will be a big factor for the hosts in midfield, while Steven Skrzybski will be looking to lead the attack into battle. For the visitors, the lethal duo of Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho, not to mention former Barcelona striker Paco Alcacer, will keep the home defenders very busy indeed.
Fixture: Saint-Etienne v Marseille
Where: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
When: 00:00 (+1) GST, Sunday December 9
With Paris Saint Germain’s clash against third-placed Montpellier being postponed due to the civil unrest in the French capital, Saint-Etienne’s fixture against Marseille has the potential to be the biggest game of the weekend in Ligue 1.
The hosts have failed to win a single game in their last five meetings at home and will be looking to break the curse on Sunday. Marseille are fifth in the table and ahead of their opponents on goal difference only.
Florian Thauvin will be looking to extend his sensational run of form and impose himself on the opposition, having already scored 10 league goals in this campaign. Tunisia attacker Wahbi Khazri will be crucial to the hosts’ chances of salvaging something from the game.
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