You will not see a better football weekend this year. That is a guarantee.
From the Theatre of Dreams to the Vicente Calderon to the Signal Iduna Park to the San Siro, down South to the Loftus Versfeld and back home to the Nyayo stadium...It’s an overflowing menu of football action from around the football world. The word football would be an understatement. A football fiesta it is.
Manchester United welcomes Arsenal to the Theatre of Dreams, or is it the Theatre of Screams? It all depends with which side your support. A tremendous fixture by all standards. The race at the top of the log is getting tighter and with Christmas fast approaching, dropping points at this hour in time is quite suicidal for either of the two.Fellow compatriots at the top - City, Liverpool and Spurs - have howed no intent of letting their feet off the gas pedal, and both Jose and Arsene understand why a victory in this one is extremely crucial.
He tie at Old Trafford will be an acid test to both side’s strengths considering a number of their regulars will be out either through injury or suspension. The biggest casualty has to be The Red Devils, who will have to do without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are also out with injuries. The Gunners have a couple of injury worries too; with Alexis Sanchez not fully fit, and speedstar Hector Bellerin out for a couple of weeks.
This is an extremely close contest, whereby the match could be tipped in anyone’s favour depending on who the managers opt to start off with. Arsenal’s scoring form is certainly impressive, and should be expected to come out on top, albeit against an unpredictable United. The verbal flare up between the two managers could be witnessed once more, as an infamous ‘bus driver’ comes up a ‘specialist in failure’ for what is arguably the division’s most fierce contest.
League leaders Liverpool make a trip to the Saint Mary’s stadium and what a test it looks to be for the Kops! Only Burnley and Spurs have stopped Liverpool on the road this season, and Saints players will have to earn every dime of their wages, to stop the division's most potent attack currently. In five League ties at St Mary's they have only lost to Chelsea.
Liverpool has a habit of conceding and coming up against Southampton, this could be a low-scoring tie, likely to end in a draw.
Another classic encounter on Saturday sees The Signal Iduna Park play host to the Bundesliga’s most high profile clash between Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
Both sides are desperate for a victory, to set their campaign on track, as Christmas approaches. Bayern is keen to maintain the unbeaten run, with possibly all three points collected, while Dortmund is keen to avoid defeat, as it struggles with fine-tuning its season.
The great runs of RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim have put Dortmund on notice, and going into this one, there is certainly no room for error.
Two familiar foes from Madrid clash late in the night for what looks like the perfect pudding to a satisfying Saturday feast.
It’s a no-holds barred contest. For Real Madrid, everything is at stake - The bragging rights and the three points. Real is currently top of the Log, and will look to extend its stay at the top. Zidane has engineered a perfect run for his side, who are unbeaten in all competitions. Atletico is currently 4th in the table with 21 points, and will be desperate for a victory, to remain in the top 4.
Real Madrid has won 15 games at Vicente Calderon, lost 4 to and drawn 7. The last 6 games have been shared equally among them with 2 wins and 2 draws to each. Considering Atletico’s form, I don't expect Diego Simeone to stop Zidane.
Down South, the Absa Premiership action returns and the highlight of the coupon is flying African Champions Mamelodi Sundowns up against Kaizer Chiefs.
After its Continental exploits, Downs will be playing catch up, and hope to keep up with the pace of the league leaders. Pitso Mosimane and his boys are currently 12 points adrift leaders Wits. Chiefs are a point behind The Clever Boys, and are unbeaten so far. In six matches, Amakhosi are yet to concede.
This is a match where the backlines on both sides will play a key role, and we are likely to witness fewer goals.
Although Tusker has been crowned the Kenya Premier League champion, there’s a small revenge tie against Gor Mahia. Neither side really needs the two points. However, bragging rights are more important here, with Tusker looking to assert its authority as the undisputed league champ, while Gor looks to finish the season on a high, a point behind Tusker.
Tusker defeated Gor Mahia 1-0 in controversial fashion in the first leg, and will look to hand K’Ogalo another defeat and complete the double. A first over the league defending champions this season. This could a low scoring with less than three goals likely to be witnessed here.
The Milan derby seal the business on Sunday, as AC Milan takes on Inter Milan.
Historically, this has been a fierce derby, although in recent years, both teams have been on a steady decline, and have both lacked quality. In spite of the decline in fortunes, the Derby della Madonnina remains compelling spectacle.
Both sides have managed some commendable results at the San Siro already this season, including victories over Juve. Over the years, this fixture has been a low-scoring affair, and in this one we expect fewer goals too.
|Krylya Sovetov Samara||