- Le Classique – This weekend is the Derby of France as PSG hosts Marseille. This is the biggest game in France each season, regardless of where the teams are in standings. These are the only two French teams to have won European trophies. This season, both teams are not happy with how they have started. PSG is currently in third place, but they have their sights on the top of the table as the club has won the title for the last four seasons. Marseille has struggled recently as they have had some poor decisions made at the top. They are currently in the bottom half of the table as they sit with 3 wins, 3 draws, and 3 losses. Marseille have a new club owner in Frank McCourt and a new manager Rudi Garcia this season. Both clubs will look to make a statement as the rest of France and the world watches.
- How will Manchester City respond? – City traveled to Catalunya this week and came away on the wrong end of a 4-0 defeat. City actually played well for the most part before Claudio Bravo made a horrible mistake and handled the ball and was sent off. City has now failed to win in their last four games in all competitions. They are now level on points with Arsenal. When they take the field this weekend, they could no longer be on top of the table. How will Pep set up his team to respond? Will Aguero come into the team? How will he play? The pressure is building on Pep. How will City respond?
- Are Milan for real? – AC Milan looks like a team that might be back in the conversation. This weekend they face their perennial rivals for the title, Juventus. They might not have been in the conversation the last couple years but they are one of the most recognizable teams in the world. They are currently level on points with Roma and just 5 points behind Juventus. Roma will be massive Milan fans this weekend as they will need a victory from Milan to keep Juventus close. Milan will be looking to make a statement this weekend. This will be a massive game this weekend.
- Is this the weekend that the Madrid clubs slip up? As a Barcelona fan, I sure hope so. Atletico faces a tough trip to Sevilla and Real Madrid host Athletic Bilbao. Sevilla currently sits third in the table and is just 1 point behind the Madrid clubs. They have been very strong. The only team to beat them is Athletic Bilbao. Bilbao has suffered 3 defeats but has 5 wins, which is the same as Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona. Bilbao is 3 points back so a win will put them in the mix. If Sevilla and Bilbao both win this weekend, then the title race in Spain only gets more interesting as potentially 6 teams will all be within 4 points.
- How many unbeaten teams will we have in the Bundesliga after this weekend? – Right now there are four teams left that are unbeaten. Bayern Munich has won 5 games and drawn 2. Koln and Leipzig have each won 4 games and drawn 3. Hoffenheim has won 3 games and drawn 4. Munich faces a tough test this weekend when they host Monchengladbach. Gladbach have given Munich trouble over the last couple years but with Ancelotti in charge, maybe the story will be different. Koln might have the toughest game of the weekend as they travel to Berlin to face Hertha. The surprise undefeated team in RB Leipzig. The newly promoted side has been amazing and they will look to maintain their unbeaten run against Werder Bremen. Lastly, Hoffenheim will look to maintain their unbeaten run when they travel to Bayer Leverkusen. I think at least 1 of these teams will suffer defeat this weekend.
5 Games to Watch This Weekend
Chelsea vs. Manchester United – After a drab affair last Monday against Liverpool, Jose Mourinho now faces his old club this weekend. This will be one of the most watched games this weekend. Conte is without Kurt Zouma, but John Terry and Willian may be back. Mourinho has his whole team available except Phil Jones. Chelsea has looked good in their 3-4-3 formation. After losing two straight to Liverpool and Arsenal, they have won the last two games. United will be looking to get back to winning ways after back to back draws. Mourinho will not want to lose this game.
My Pick – Chelsea 3, United 1: Hazard, Costa (2), and Pogba
Brad’s Pick – Chelsea 2, United 2: Costa, Hazard, Ibrahimovic, and Pogba
Sevilla vs. Atletico Madrid – Jorge Sampaoli seems to have Sevilla rolling. He is without Tremoulinas and Krohn-Dehli. Look for Vietto to start up front with Vitolo and Nasri. Gameiro returns to face his old club as he lines up for Atletico. Cerci, Augusto and Moya are out. Gimenez is doubtful. Sevilla have looked strong this season but they are facing a tough opponent.
My Pick – Sevilla 1, Atleti 2: Vietto, Griezmann, and Niguez
Brad’s Pick – Sevilla 1, Atleti 1: Nasri, Koke, and Gameiro
Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Monchengladbach – Unbeaten Munich are without Ribery and Starke. Their opponents have a much longer list of injuries. Gladbach are without Drmic, Dominguez, Doncoure, Schulz, and Christensen. Thorgan Hazard and Raffael are doubtful. The injury list did not prevent Gladbach from getting a big win in Scotland. Look for Bayern to dominate this game.
My Pick – Bayern 2, Gladbach 1: Costa, Lewandowski, and Stindl
Brad’s Pick – Bayern 4, Gladbach 1: Lewandowski(2), Muller, Alonso, and Hahn
Milan vs. Juventus – Milan plays a very young team that features the future Italy goalkeeper in 17 year old Gianluigi Donnarumma. He has been remarkable. Suso and Niang have been great on either side of Bacca this season. Juventus are without Rugani, Chiellini, Asamoah, and Mandzukic. This means that Benatia, Bonucci, and Barzagli will start at the back. This looks to be a tight game but I am not sure Milan are ready yet for Juventus.
My Pick – Milan 1, Juventus 2: Niang, Higuain, and Pjanic
Brad’s Pick – Milan 2, Juventus 3: Suso, Bonaventura, Dybala, and Higuain (2)
PSG vs. Marseille – PSG will be without Javier Pastore. Veratti, Di Maria, and Motta are all doubtful. Marseille are without Cabella, Abou Diaby, and Veinqueur. Fanni and Alessandrini are doubtful. This could be a turning point in the season for both teams. Look for this game to be open but the squad strength of PSG might be the difference.
My Pick – PSG 2, Marseille 1: Moura, Cavani, and Gomis
Brad’s Pick – PSG 2, Marseille 0: Moura and Matuidi