After a week chock-full of action, there are yet more crucial fixtures coming up this weekend. With several sides having to readjust after a busy few days of European competition, teams will need to be at their best to grab valuable points. Alasdair Hooper takes us through the games we should be keeping an eye on this weekend.
Liverpool v Tottenham (Sunday, 4.30pm)
The headline fixture of the weekend is the clash between two of the big six, who are enjoying vastly different fortunes.
While Liverpool’s winning run may have come to an end against Manchester United last week, they picked up an important Champions League victory in midweek against Genk.
Jürgen Klopp’s side were off the pace in their draw at Old Trafford. They will know they can’t afford to play that way again this Sunday at Anfield.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are still in the midst of a results crisis, despite a midweek Champions League win lifting some of the gloom.
However, that doesn’t erase the fact that Spurs lie 13 points behind leaders Liverpool, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side sitting seventh.
With three losses and three draws in nine games, Tottenham’s fortunes need to turn around quickly.
Arsenal Women v Manchester City Women (Sunday 2.30pm)
Sunday also brings us a top-of-the-table clash in the WSL, and — although it’s early days — it is sure to prove decisive in dictating who wins the title at the season’s end.
For Arsenal, it’s a second blockbuster league fixture in a row, after they played and lost to Chelsea in their previous WSL game.
They will want to get back to winning ways immediately. What better way to do that than to take points off Manchester City, the one remaining side with a 100 per cent league record?
Nick Cushing’s side have played four and won four – without conceding a goal – but now have to cope with the loss of Aoife Mannion to an ACL injury following the Champions League game against Atletico Madrid.
City are also arguably a little light in attack; if there’s one collection of forwards that will test their back line vigorously, it’s this Gunners team.
Schalke v Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Things are incredibly close at the top of the table in the Bundesliga.
Borussia Mönchengladbach currently sit top with 16 points, while Bayer Leverkusen, in ninth, are just two points behind.
Dortmund (one of the pre-season favourites) are among the mix, despite a stuttering start to the season. They are currently fourth on 15 points – but they travel to their rivals, Schalke, who are also fighting at the top of the table.
Schalke are just a point and three places behind Dortmund. This game also sees a certain David Wagner return to his old club where he was once a coach of the second team.
This fixture looks set to be a closely fought and intense affair.
Swansea City v Cardiff City (Sunday 12pm)
In the Championship, this weekend is similarly all about rivalries and derbies. The headline-grabber has to be Sunday’s South Wales derby between Swansea and Cardiff.
What’s more, both sides are very well matched. After an incredible start, Steve Cooper’s Swansea have dipped, while Cardiff are just four places and four points behind their rivals.
Each side knows there are vital points at stake here but — more importantly — so are the bragging rights.
Who can claim them this time around.
Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United (Saturday, 12.30pm)
Finally, we also see a Yorkshire derby in the Championship, as Leeds United travel to face Sheffield Wednesday.
This is another game between two sides with top-of-the-table ambitions: Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday currently sit second and third respectively.
There is just a point between Marcelo Bielsa and Garry Monk’s teams, although Sheffield Wednesday crucially go into this match on the back off a morale-boosting midweek win.
This is set to be a great fixture between two of the Championship’s best performers.
You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992