Weekend Wanderings: Manchester United v Manchester City as the Lionesses play the USA in their opening game of the SheBelieves Cup and Barcelona take on Real Sociedad

We are edging ever closer to the defining part of the season, and there’s also the small matter of international football to pick apart.

With big matches both domestically and internationally there is plenty at stake. Alasdair Hooper is back with all the games that you can look forward to in this Weekend Wanderings.

Manchester United v Manchester City (Sunday, 4.30pm)

The headline grabbing fixture looks set to be Sunday’s Manchester derby. While the title is obviously beyond reach there is still a lot riding on this result.

For Manchester United it should, in theory, be another indicator of where they actually are as a team and a project.

Results have picked up of late and the team find themselves in fifth place. The addition of Bruno Fernandes appears to have helped from a creative perspective but is this just another false dawn?

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But the problem is the fact that we’ve been here before this season. As soon as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side seem to have turned a corner there is a result that brings them back down to earth.

Manchester City are a side capable of that, even without a league title or Champions League qualification to fight for.

Japan v England (Sunday, 6.15pm)

This piece is being written before England play the USA in their opening game of the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday night.

All being well Phil Neville’s side will have picked up a positive result ahead of Sunday evening’s game against Japan, which looks set to be a real test particularly with the Olympics around the corner.

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It’s well known that Japan have been preparing their team with Tokyo 2020 in mind and, while winning the SheBelieves Cup would be great, many eyes will be on the England players who could feature for Great Britain at the tournament.

Let’s also not forget the younger England faces who could make an impact for the Lionesses – players such as Grace Fisk, Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp.

Scotland v Iceland (Saturday, 2pm)

Speaking of Great Britain and the Olympics, there will be plenty of interest in Scotland and how they perform at the Pinatar Cup.

Shelley Kerr’s team beat Ukraine 3-0 on Wednesday night in their opener, with West Ham striker Martha Thomas scoring twice.

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On Saturday, the Scots play Iceland, who beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in their opening game, and it should serve as another marker as to where the team are before returning to Euro 2021 qualifying next month.

But there will of course be watching eyes looking at players who might work their way into that Olympics squad.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 5.30pm)

With the battle at the top of the Bundesliga continuing to ebb and flow, this Saturday we have the battle of the two Borussia clubs – Monchengladbach and Dortmund.

While Bayern have stretched out a small lead at the top of the table, third-placed Dortmund and fourth-placed Monchengladbach are well within reach.

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Lucien Favre’s side are just four points behind Bayern and they are in good form having won their last three league games. Marco Rose’s Monchengladbach team are just two points behind their opponents this weekend.

This looks set to be another crucial encounter in deciding who comes out on top of the Bundesliga.

Barcelona v Real Sociedad (Saturday, 5.30pm)

For a team currently second in La Liga and fighting for the title, all is not well at Barcelona.

Last weekend’s loss in El Clasico increased the volume of criticism surrounding the club and the team need to bounce back quickly.

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This weekend they face a tough test at Camp Nou with the visit of Real Sociedad, one of the in-form teams in La Liga.

The Basque side are currently sixth, just two points off the Champions League places, and last time the two teams came face-to face it was an extremely entertaining 2-2 draw.

With the likes of Martin Odegaard and Alexander Isak on form, Sociedad will surely provide a stern test for Quique Setien’s team.

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992

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