We have a lot of exciting games coming up this weekend in the world of football. I don’t know why that is, but I’m gonna say it’s because stupid international football is back after this weekend to take away all this excitement. (I really hate international week.) Without further ado, let’s see what we have on tap this week.
Chelsea – Arsenal: Arsenal head to Stamford Bridge to face league leaders Chelsea, who demolished them last time the two teams played in the Andre Mariner Game. While Jose Mourinho downplayed that game’s impact on this one, his (nemesis?) Arsene Wenger is still pissed about losing 6-0 in his 1000th game and said that his team is out for revenge.
This game is also significant because of Cesc Fabregas. The Chelsea midfielder, as you all know, used to play at Arsenal and was slated to come back until Wenger said no, because apparently he didn’t think Cesc and Mesut can play together. This game is full of subplots upon subplots. The EPL: More drama than TNT.
Valencia – Atletico Madrid: With Diego Simeone back on the sidelines, Atletico Madrid are a different beast. Fresh off of pulverizing Sevilla last weekend, Atletico took care of business in the Champions League, beating Max “Look, ma! Hands” Allegri’s Juventus and finally getting back on track in their group.
Valencia, meanwhile, look to welcome Alvaro Negredo, set to make his debut for the club after his move from Manchester City. Valencia getting a result here would be a strong statement of intent for their expectations under new owner Peter Lim, while the reigning champions will set out to prove that they are no one season wonder.
Tottenham – Southampton: The Mauricio Pochettino Derby promises to be a barn burner. Pochettino leaving and Liverpool raiding their squad was supposed to destroy Southampton, and yet they come into this game doing better than they were last season. Ronald Koeman has picked up right where Poch left off, improving the squad with quality purchases from the Eredivisie. Graziano Pelle’s hold up play and scoring prowess is reminiscent of a North London striker with great hair, while Dušan Tadic has been a better player than the player Brendan Rodgers paid £25 million for. Spurs, meanwhile, are gonna Spur. While Pochettino has made some notable strides in Tottenham’s style of play, the results are yet to come. Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen have been brilliant in flashes, and other midfielders like Nacer Chadli and Ettiene Capoue have also improved. The strikers, though, remain as Spursian as ever.
Roma – Juventus: Under Antonio Conte, Juventus have enjoyed a reign of dominance in Serie A, winning the last three scudettos. Conte is gone, replaced by Max Allegri, but La Vecchia Signora still finds herself at the top of the table. The strongest challenge to that dominance so far has been Rudi Garcia’s Roma squad, who have the same number of points but are behind on goal difference. They come into this game without possibly four starters, including Daniele De Rossi, perhaps their most important player. That hasn’t stopped Totti and company from getting a positive result and drawing 1-1 last week against Manchester City at the Etihad, which is more than I can say about Juventus. Still, the odds are slightly in favor of Max and his squad, if only because I can’t see Roma’s midfielders handling Pogba and Vidal without DDR.
Dortmund – Hamburg: If this isn’t Dortmund’s best chance to get back on track in the league, I don’t know what it’s going to take. Jurgen Klopp’s side beat up on Anderlecht midweek to get themselves back on track, but they’re winless in three in the Bundesliga. So this is an interesting fixture from that angle. American fans may want to pay attention to this game because of Julian Green, who may start for a…not-good Hamburg team.
PSG – Monaco: If Monaco weren’t so boring, this team would probably get more mention. The fire sale at the principality club has shed the team of practically all its talent, and PSG, fresh off beating Barcelona, come in on a high.