League action returns in full force this weekend as the English Premier League stages back-to-back derbies. After a two-week international break and the cancellation of some crucial matches due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the North London derby on Saturday and the Manchester derby on Sunday will be good news for EPL fans. The Champions League will also make a comeback this week.
Here are some games you should watch out for this week.
Manchester City v Manchester United (Sunday, 6:30 p.m.)
The biggest clash of the weekend involves familiar foes Manchester City and Manchester United, with both sides aiming to outdo each other since what seems like the dawn of time. In recent years, however, Manchester’s blue half have won the lion’s share of plaudits due to their fluid and pragmatic approach to the game, while the once-dominant red half have struggled for an identity since their iconic’s departure. director Sir Alex Ferguson.
–Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 28, 2022
This time too, City are heavy favorites on their own turf against a United side who started the season with two straight defeats before winning four straight EPL matches. However, United fans will be quite wary of their side’s form, having grown accustomed to blowing hot and cold in recent years.
Although they are in better touch now, with wins over league leaders Arsenal and an out-and-out Liverpool, they are perfectly capable of capitulating, just as they did against Real Sociedad in the Europa League on 9 september.
The last time they met in the Premier League, City demolished United 4-1 as they marched to another Premier League title. This season, with the addition of Erling Haaland, the club are almost unstoppable.
The Norwegian striker has started like a house on fire for his new club, already scoring 11 goals in just 7 Premier League games. Even though Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have become one of United’s best defensive duos of late, the shadow cast by Haaland is long, threatening to swallow up any kind of resistance they might have to offer.
Lisandro Martinez, in particular, will be under the pump because of the difference in height between him and the colossal Haaland.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 29, 2022
United are set to start with Marcus Rashford, Antony and Jadon Sancho as the front three while Antony Martial, who has just recovered from injury, is set to come off the bench. Cristiano Ronaldo’s status for this game remains unclear.
Ten Hag will have a dilemma on his hands if he wants to start the Portuguese talisman, which could force him to bench one of his front three. Casemiro, meanwhile, is set to get his first Premier League start of the season.
Arsenal v Tottenham (Saturday, 5 p.m.)
The fiery North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham will add a new wrinkle to the longstanding rivalry between these two powerhouses when they clash on Saturday. This time however, the scenario has added incentive as Arsenal are top of the table and Tottenham are third with just a point separating them.
Earlier this year, Tottenham shattered Arsenal’s Champions League dream by beating the Gunners 3-0 in May, and you can bet anything the Mikel Arteta-led side will be looking for revenge. That might be easier said than done as Tottenham are unbeaten this season so far while Arsenal’s perfect record has been chipped away by United.
Home advantage, however, will be in the Gunners’ corner as Tottenham have a rather unenviable record at the Emirates Stadium. They have won once in their last 29 visits to this stadium.
17 – Tottenham’s 17 points from seven Premier League appearances this season is their joint-best at this stage of a campaign, tied with 2016-17 when they finished runners-up to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea. To push. pic.twitter.com/Jm7LMoxWbt
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 17, 2022
What makes it even harder for the Lilywhites is that their side are riddled with injuries and could be without the services of Hugo Lloris, Dejan Kulusevski and Ben Davies. A bright spark, however, will come in the form of Son Heung-min, who after a slow start to the season, caught fire just before the international break, scoring a hat-trick 13 minutes after coming off the bench against Leicester City. Son, Harry Kane and Richarlison are set to start on Saturday as Conte pulls out all the stops for a win.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have no significant injuries to worry about other than Emile Smith Rowe, who was not a nailed down starter. Their attacking force of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus are all fit and ready to play, looking to blast their closest rival and maintain an iron fist on the top of the table.
Inter Milan vs Barcelona (Wednesday, 12:30 a.m.)
Barcelona travel to the San Siro to take on Inter Milan in a crucial Champions League clash. Both sides are desperate for a win after suffering identical 2-0 defeats to the defending champions Germany. Barcelona are in good form in La Liga but Inter have had an indifferent start to the season, languishing seventh in Serie A after a 3-1 thrashing at the hands of Udinese.
The Nerazzurri have met the Blaugrana 10 times and come away with just one win, losing 6 in the process. One thing that could go Inter’s way is the spate of injuries that Barcelona players have suffered while on international duty or away from it. Jules Koundé, Ronald Araújo and Héctor Bellerín are all out for the foreseeable future, leaving a big hole in Barca’s defence. Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong will also be absent, but they have played a fairly limited role this season.
Inter, meanwhile, are hoping striker Romelu Lukaku can return from injury in time for the clash. Midfielder Marcelo Brozović will also not play a role in this match after suffering an injury in the international team for Croatia.
Liverpool v Brighton (Saturday, 7.30pm)
Inter v Roma (Saturday, 9:30 p.m.)
Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid (Saturday, 10 p.m.)
Chelsea vs Milan (Champions League, Thursday, 12:30 a.m.)