Alex Mott·31 March 2023
Alex Mott·31 March 2023
With the final international break of the season over, we’re in the home stretch for domestic club football.
And what a weekend to start it off with five mouth-watering occasions for you to enjoy.
It was almost exactly one year ago that Manchester City hosted Liverpool at the Etihad in what proved to be one of the games of last season.
Jürgen Klopp’s men travelled to east Manchester looking to claim a victory that would take them a point above City and into top spot in the Premier League, having lost just twice all campaign.
As it was, the sides played out a thrilling 2-2 with Sadio Mané claiming the Reds equaliser just after half time.
What a difference a year makes.
In 2023, Liverpool are currently sixth in the table and need a victory on Saturday to try and salvage something from a disastrous campaign.
City, meanwhile, are hot on the heels of league leaders Arsenal and know that anything other than a win could hand the Gunners an almost unassailable advantage in the race for the title.
This one should be absolutely fascinating.
Boca Juniors v River Plate. Rangers v Celtic. Real Madrid v Barcelona.
Three of the great rivalries in football, with neutrals from all over the globe watching these games despite having no affinity to either side, such is their draw.
The Hertfordshire derby between Luton and Watford may not have the same glamour but this weekend’s match-up at Kenilworth Road promises just as much drama.
This rivalry is always a fiery occasion but this time around there’s some added spice in the form of Luton boss Rob Edwards.
Edwards was hired by Watford at the start of the season to turn their fortunes around but joined the long list of coaches fired by the Pozzo family after just a few months.
The Hatters swooped in for his services soon after that sacking and have climbed the Championship table ever since.
Luton have lost just once since Boxing Day and will go into third place with a win here.
“In the VIP stands, you don’t see Bernard Lama, instead it’s Kim Kardashian and the like. It’s a show business club, football isn’t the priority, no.”
Patrice Evra didn’t hold anything back when he spoke to RMC this week, claiming that the circus surrounding Paris Saint-Germain is holding them back.
The reigning French champions have been suffering in recent weeks following their exit from the Champions League, with rumours swirling around the potential departure of coach Christophe Galtier and the possible exit of Lionel Messi this summer.
All this continues in the background as Lyon come to town on Sunday.
Laurent Blanc’s side have been dealing with their own problems this term but, with Alexandre Lacazette in the goals, OL could genuinely cause an upset here.
Tune in on Sunday to see if Napoli can go one step further towards a historic Scudetto.
The Partenopei host Milan in what would normally be considered a tough test for the home side in their bid for only a third Serie A title.
But the way Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and co. have been playing this term, it could be a cakewalk against the Rossoneri.
The Georgia international has formed one of the great partnerships with Victor Osimhen — who is injured for this encounter — and are now just five wins away from lifting the league trophy.
Stefano Pioli’s side meanwhile are in the middle of a slump which could see them fall out of the Champions League places.
Defeats to Fiorentina and Udinese in recent weeks have seen the San Siro side be reeled in by fifth place Roma, making this match at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona absolutely vital.
But the game of the weekend comes from the Allianz Arena on Saturday as Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker.
The biggest game in German football got a little bigger during the international break with the shock news that Bayern sacked coach Julian Nagelsmann despite the club still being on course for a potential treble.
The Bavarian side opted to act quickly in their search for a new manager and went for former Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel.
The stage is set then for a barn-stormer of an occasion with Dortmund currently top of the table by one point.
The Schwarzgelben have gone 11 games without defeat in the Bundesliga and won’t be planning on ending that this weekend.