Weekend Wanderings – Will bottom of the league Crystal Palace score their first goal of the season against fourth place Chelsea?
The international break is over and club football is ready for business once again.
With a catalogue of eye-catching fixtures, here are the five things you should be keeping an eye on this weekend.
1) United’s first major scalp or a resurgence for Klopp’s men?
This time last year we were building up to ‘Red Monday’ – a clash of two English heavyweights that was given blockbuster billing.
A sleep-inducing 0-0 draw was what followed.
This Saturday those two titans – Liverpool and Manchester United – do battle once again with arguably much more at stake.
Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils have enjoyed a barnstorming start, but are yet to play another direct rival at the top of the table, as well as missing key midfielders Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini.
Meanwhile Jurgen Klopp’s side are in the midst of a downturn in form and have had Sadio Mane ruled out for six weeks with injury.
Who will come out on top during Saturday afternoon’s headline act? We just hope it’s not another drab draw…
2) Will Crystal Palace actually score a goal?
Usually it’s a pretty exciting thing to have your name etched in history but the Eagles are writing records for all the wrong reasons.
They sit bottom of the table with zero points and no goals scored.
Wilfried Zaha could hand Roy Hodgson a timely boost, as he looks set to return from his knee injury this Saturday, but main striker Christian Benteke remains out.
So will the South London side manage to pull their resources together and score their all-important first goal of the season?
Unlikely – they have got reigning champions Chelsea…
3) Is Dortmund and Leipzig becoming the fiercest of rivalries?
Last season RB Leipzig’s trip to Dortmund was mired in controversy.
A group of Borussia fans attacked visiting supporters prior to the start of the game, amid protests about Leipzig’s links with Red Bull.
This Saturday the Westfalenstadion plays host to the two sides again and, similar to last time, Dortmund fans will once more protest against the away club.
All of this is sure to lead to a heated atmosphere and this is a fixture that has fast become one of the most fearsome rivalries in the Bundesliga.
4) Who will come out on top in the Derby della Madonnina?
Everyone loves a classic, historical derby and this Sunday one of the world’s most famous takes place as Inter play AC Milan at the San Siro.
The Nerazzurri currently sit third in Serie A, after four wins in their last five, whereas AC Milan – who made plenty of changes in the summer – are struggling to kick into gear and are off the back of consecutive league defeats.
Vincenzo Montella is under pressure to make Milan contenders once more and Luciano Spalletti is also facing the same level of scrutiny.
With both clubs backed by ambitious ownership there is much more than local pride up for grabs in this game.
5) Will Europe’s goal machines carry on impressing?
Much of Europe is heaping praise on Maurizio Sarri and Napoli – seven wins out of seven, they play great football and the team have scored more goals per game than any other side in Europe’s top five leagues.
Such is their start to the season many pundits are tipping them to win their first Serie A title since 1990 and put an end to Juventus’ extraordinary run of success.
This Saturday the likes of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Marek Hamsik will need to show what they are all about again as they travel to fifth-placed Roma – who have only lost once in the league so far.
This could very well be one of the games of the weekend.
Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992
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