Weekend Wanderings: Barcelona vs Real Madrid, Man Utd vs Chelsea, and more
After another weekend of shock results, crazy comebacks and great goals there will certainly be more of that on the horizon.
On Saturday and Sunday, we are treated to yet more rivalries that should grab every neutral’s attention.
Alasdair Hooper picks out the games you can enjoy in this Weekend Wanderings.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid (Saturday, 3pm)
Arguably the fixture that garners the highest attention across world football, it’s the latest El Clasico.
But it’s also a fixture that holds a lot of interest because neither of these footballing giants are in top shape right now.
For Real Madrid they go into the game off the back of two losses that no one expected.
Last weekend they suffered a shock defeat to newly-promoted Cadiz before succumbing to a 3-2 defeat in the Champions League to a Shakhtar Donetsk side who were without 13 first-team players due to coronavirus.
With or without fans, the pressure is always high at Real Madrid and that kind of form can’t go on for too long without consequences.
Barcelona, meanwhile, also haven’t had things their own way. Aside from their comfortable Champions League win on Tuesday against Ferencvaros they were also on the wrong side of an upset last weekend when they lost 1-0 to Getafe.
The politics of the club also remains a hot talking point so both sides will be desperate for three points, as well as the added motivation of contributing to their rival’s woe.
Manchester United vs Chelsea (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Want to see plenty of attacking quality in a game with little defensive solidity? Then this might be the game for you.
While that might be a bit harsh on individual players you get a sense that the lack of assurance in defence is what is holding back Manchester United and Chelsea from being at their absolute peak again.
But aside from that it also presents us with an exciting possibility with plenty of goals on Saturday evening.
Manchester United vs Chelsea is always a big fixture, but you just know there will be even more question marks surrounding the side that comes off second best.
Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke (Saturday, 5.30pm)
This famous German derby is always an exciting affair, but you get the impression there is a real mismatch to proceedings this time around.
Dortmund remain set on a title challenge this year, even with the odd slip-up under Lucien Favre, but they will be the overwhelming favourites going into this Revierderby
That’s because Schalke are in a desperate position at the start of the season. They are second bottom with just a point and have already sacked a manager in the form of David Wagner.
Manuel Baum is now the man in the manager’s hotseat and he followed up with a 1-1 draw against Union Berlin last weekend.
But it will take something very special to turn the tide quickly. Could the energy of a historic derby help give Schalke the boost they need?
Aberdeen vs Celtic (Sunday, 12 noon)
Speaking of the fallout after a derby, let’s focus on Celtic.
The reigning Scottish Premiership champions were evidently second-best in their defeat to Rangers last week and that prompted a number of fans on social media to call out Neil Lennon and his tactics.
While it’s premature to think the club will make some sort of drastic call in the near future there is an incredibly strong desire not to mess this season up – what could be the ’10-in-a-row’ campaign.
That means Celtic can barely afford any slip-ups, particularly when Rangers are playing so well, so this weekend’s game against Aberdeen presents a real challenge.
The Dons come into the game after a 4-2 win in midweek and they remain one of the strongest outfits in the division. If the team are up for it and defensively sound, then Celtic will have their work cut out for them.
Arsenal vs Leicester City (Sunday, 7.15pm)
Rounding off the weekend is another Premier League tie that should be big on goals – Arsenal and Leicester.
Both sides are among the most exciting projects in the league, with both looking to finish in Champions League spots, and they are both neck and neck on nine points.
The teams will be in Europa League action on Thursday night but perhaps the biggest difference will be the potential return of a certain Jamie Vardy.
The Leicester number nine had to sit out the defeat to Aston Villa but could be back to play against the Gunners. He also has a terrific record against them with 10 goals in 11 games.
You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992
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