Weekend Wanderings – Derby fixtures heat up across Europe, can David Moyes get off to a flying start and will Leeds bounce back?

After the eventfulness of international football domestic club action returns, which – particularly for Italians – is probably something to be deeply thankful for.

Across Europe we are getting a bonanza of derby fixtures so here are five things you should be keeping an eye on this weekend.

1) Who will be kings of North London?

Embed from Getty Images

Kicking of the Premier League action this weekend is a derby encounter that never fails to disappoint.

In terms of league form Mauricio Pochettino’s impressive Tottenham side are the current top dogs with Arsenal continuing to stutter.

Arsene Wenger doesn’t believe his side are underdogs going into the fixture – though to admit that would give him a world of woe.

However, should Spurs win they might just emerge as the next best challenger to Manchester City – ahead of Manchester United – but such is the volatile nature of this fixture form often proves irrelevant.

At 12:30pm on Saturday afternoon be prepared for anything.

2) Will Zidane or Simeone earn a much-needed pick-me up?

Embed from Getty Images

As well as the North London derby, Saturday also brings us the Madrid derby – with both sides desperate for all three points.

Despite all the pre-season talk revolving around how Barcelona were in crisis-mode the Catalans have proved to be the most impressive outfit so far in La Liga this term.

With Valencia also flying high in second the two Madrid clubs have slipped up by their usual standards – with Real lying in third and Atletico in fourth.

Zinedine Zidane and Diego Simeone are both under pressure to turn things around and start challenging Barcelona who sit eight points clear of both sides – this upcoming game will prove crucial.

The Saturday night derby will also be the first time the match has been held at Atletico’s new Wanda Metropolitano stadium and it will be interesting to see if that has an effect.

3) Who will reign supreme in the Derby della Capitale?

To complete the hat-trick of Saturday derbies, Serie A brings you the Rome derby between Lazio and Roma.

The capital sides are separated by just a solitary point – with Roma in fifth and Lazio in fourth – and hostilities between the two sets of fans are always spicy.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite their impressive Champions League performances Eusebio Di Francesco’s Roma haven’t been quite as remarkable domestically.

Plus, with 41-year-old Simone Inzaghi making a real name for himself at Lazio, there is plenty to fight for on Saturday evening.

4) What can we expect from David Moyes?

Back in the Premier League West Ham travel to Watford on Sunday for their first game since David Moyes took charge.

It was an appointment that was derided by many but Vicarage Road will offer us a glimpse into the latest man to take over the Hammers – can we expect the manager who did so well at Everton or the person who appeared utterly uninspiring as Sunderland trundled towards relegation last year?

Embed from Getty Images

The Scot has had almost two weeks to prepare his team so fans will be keen to see the results.

Additionally, it will also be fascinating to see how Watford perform as Moyes’ former club Everton try to pursue Hornets manager Marco Silva.

5) Will Garry Monk dish out some punishment to his old employers?

On Sunday the Championship serves up a fixture between two sides who really ought to be doing better than they are as Leeds host Middlesbrough.

Garry Monk transformed Leeds last season into a genuine play-off contender, despite the contentious ownership, but decided to seek pastures new in the summer by joining recently-relegated Boro.

However, despite large swathes of money spent and most of the squad remaining intact, Monk’s men haven’t set the division alight as many predicted – they currently sit fifth.

The man to replace Monk at Elland Road was Thomas Christiansen whose side made a barnstorming start to the new season.

But Leeds’ fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the worse as they have won just once in the league since October 1.

Can Monk deliver another depressing blow to his old team or can Christiansen’s side bounce back?

Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: