After another week of European action it’s almost time for some of Europe’s biggest clubs to head back to domestic action, writes Alasdair Hooper
And this weekend, across the continent, there are a host of tasty match-ups and narratives.
Here are just five of the top fixtures you should be keeping a beady eye on.
1) Who will claim the first piece of domestic silverware?
This Sunday brings us the grand finale of the tournament with everyone’s favourite name– the Carabao Cup.
On Sunday Wembley Stadium plays host to Arsenal and Manchester City.
Following Monday night’s shock FA Cup exit to Wigan, Pep Guardiola’s side enter this game in a peculiar state in that – for once – they don’t look as unconquerable as they once did.Embed from Getty Images
For opponents Arsenal, who were in Europa League action as recently as Thursday, they may just sense a chance to upset the odds with silverware proving to be a massive motivating factor.
Will this be the first trophy Guardiola secures at City or will Arsene Wenger enjoy another cup-winning trip to the national stadium?
2) Mourinho v Conte – the feud continues
On Sunday afternoon at Old Trafford there will be no shortage of narratives from football writers.
Even though you have two top teams going toe-to-toe, which has an appeal in itself, you also have the ongoing Paul Pogba selection saga and the rift between the two bosses.Embed from Getty Images
Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte both enter this tie on the back of draws in the Champions League but considering the animosity between the pair you just know they will be determined to get all three points.
With Chelsea in fourth on 53 points and United in second on 56 – and plenty of competition for Champions League qualification – every point matters.
This looks set to be another intense clash.
3) Can Manchester City Women get back to the WSL1 summit?
On Saturday we are treated to a top-of-the-table clash in the WSL1 as Manchester City host Chelsea Ladies.
Nick Cushing’s side fell to their very first defeat of the league campaign on Wednesday after Ellen White’s brace handed Birmingham City a 2-0 win.
As a result City slipped down a place to second with Chelsea leapfrogging them into top spot courtesy of their midweek win against Yeovil.
Just one point separates the sides and – considering the quality on show – this is guaranteed to be an entertaining and closely matched affair.
4) Will PSG’s behind the scenes drama spiral out of control?Embed from Getty Images
It seems a strange thing to say about a team currently sitting 12 points clear in their respective league table but all is not well at Paris Saint-Germain.
With rumours of infighting behind the scenes in the squad, coupled with their recent Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, manager Unai Emery finds himself in a precarious position.
Suggestions in the French press claim the Spanish boss is potentially ostracizing the Brazilian contingent – including Neymar – thanks to his surprising decision to drop club captain Thiago Silva for the Madrid game.
Whether there is much truth in that remains to be seen but this weekend the club face a mightily tough fixture as third-placed Marseille come to town.
Should Rudi Garcia’s side come away from Paris with a win then things could get ugly ahead of the crucial second leg Champions League tie against Real Madrid.
5) Can AC Milan continue their upward trajectory amid bankruptcy rumours?
Off the pitch it hasn’t been the best of weeks for the Rossoneri after it was rumoured club president Yonghong Li faced bankruptcy in China.
The Milan president released a statement labelling the reports as ‘fake news’ but, while that has been going on, on the pitch the club have steadily improved.
With Gennaro Gattuso at the helm the club have won four and drawn one of their last five to bring them back into contention for European qualification.Embed from Getty Images
This Sunday they can make another big statement as they travel to the capital to face Roma.
Despite their 2-1 Champions League defeat to Shakhtar, Eusebio Di Francesco’s side remain stern opposition and in Alisson they have a goalkeeper in tremendous form.
This could well be another intriguing encounter in a weekend full of superb fixtures.
You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992