Now that the international break is about to end, we can finally start thinking about watching European club football at the weekend. It is a welcome relief to most fans of the beautiful sport as they prefer club football over international fixtures.
Although hundreds of European club games will be played over the weekend, we have handpicked five mouth-watering clashes you should watch.
On that note, here are five top European club fixtures to keep an eye out for this weekend.
#5 Sporting Lisbon vs Porto (Primeira Liga, Saturday, 7.30 PM UTC)
Sporting Lisbon versus Porto remains one of the biggest fixtures in Portugal even though the contest has been largely one-sided in recent past, with the Dragons dominating the head-to-head record against Saturday’s hosts.
While the defending champions are coming into the game on the back of a shock loss against Maritimo, Sporting comfortably beat Portimonense in their previous outing.
The weekend’s game is expected to be played at a high tempo and it remains to be seen how Porto fare without one of their most influential players in the last few years after Alex Telles switched to Manchester United on deadline day.
#4 Manchester City vs Arsenal (Premier League, Saturday, 4.30 PM UTC)
This Premier League fixture features two heavyweights who have had very contrasting fortunes in recent seasons.
While Manchester City have undoubtedly been one of the most successful clubs in England over the last decade, Arsenal have slowly lost their identity, falling behind the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur in the English football hierarchy.
The Citizens will be hungry for a victory over the Gunners, who got the better of them in the semi-finals of the FA cup last season.
After losing 5-2 to Leicester City and drawing 1-1 with Leeds United, Manchester City would be desperate to return to winning ways in the league and mount a serious title challenge.
With Arsenal starting the season in good fashion and making a few key signings over the summer, the game could swing in any direction. However, Manchester City remain the favourites to get the job done at the Etihad on Saturday.
The battle between Pep Guardiola and his former deputy Mikel Arteta also adds an intriguing subplot to the weekend’s fixture.
#3 Inter Milan vs AC Milan (Serie A, Saturday, 4.00 PM UTC)
Moving on to the Serie A, we have a thrilling Derby della Madonnina between Inter Milan and AC Milan on Saturday. Unfortunately, fans will be missing from the iconic San Siro stadium in one of the most anticipated fixtures of Italian football.
With AC Milan currently occupying the second spot in the standings on goal difference, the Rossoneri will be desperate to maintain their perfect start to the Serie A season and grab the bragging rights by beating their fierce local rivals at the weekend.
On the other hand, Inter, who are also unbeaten in the league, will look to win the game and move past AC Milan in the Serie A table.
#2 Celtic vs Rangers (Scottish Premiership, Saturday, 11.30 AM UTC)
Said to be worth £120 million to Scotland’s economy before the pandemic wreaked havoc, the Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers is one of the most highly-anticipated, hotly contested and important rivalries in the football calendar.
The Glasgow derby may not have world-famous superstars like El Clásico (Barcelona vs Real Madrid) or be as colourful as El Superclásico (Boca Juniors vs River Plate), and it may not even be as downright vicious as the Derby delle Capitale (Roma vs Lazio) or the Clássico dos Milhões (Flamengo vs Vasco da Gama), but it certainly is the most fervent.
The winner of the game will lead the standings and it certainly adds more spice to the overall nature of the weekend’s high-voltage contest.
#1 Everton vs Liverpool (Premier League, Saturday, 11.30 AM UTC)
Everton will be facing a highly-motivated Liverpool side when the Premier League champions visit Goodison Park for the first Merseyside derby of the season on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side will head into the derby three points clear of Liverpool, with the Toffees having won all four of their opening Premier League fixtures and currently sitting atop the standings. On the other hand, Liverpool were thrashed 7-2 in their last outing against Aston Villa before the international break.
Optimism has never been so high in and around Everton, who will look to earn their first win over Liverpool in exactly a decade.
But with the Reds set to welcome back Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara – all of whom played no part in the heavy defeat at Villa Park – Everton will have their work cut out at the weekend.