Big, big matches this weekend across the continent. And to add to the build-up, numbers of attacks from players and fans (luckily only verbal) have stained the covers of many of the local newspapers making the weekend clashes that much more combustible. A lovely holiday treat as mainland Europe heads into the winter break until after the New Year.
Espanyol vs Barcelona – Espanyol’s ultras, known as La Curva, released a video in preparation for this weekend’s derby, and made the following declaration regarding their crosstown foes, “they are not a rival. they are the enemy.” Barcelona’s outlawed ultras known as Boixos Nois then announced on their website that they will travel to Cornellá with or without tickets. Combine that with Espanyol’s seven wins in seven at home, and Barcelona’s seven wins in seven away, and you can expect an extremely volatile confrontation both on and off the pitch.
Chelsea vs Manchester United – SAF has blamed Chelsea’s lack of transfer activity and over reliance on youth as the reason for their decline. Meanwhile, his club is arguably the worst it’s been in years, they have not spent much money on new players, and the youth in his side are not that convincing either. But when your team is top of the league, you look like a genius and nobody complains. Manchester United’s last victory at Stamford Bridge came way back in 2002, a statistic that should not be taken lightly. As for Chelsea, a loss here coupled with United’s game in hand make this a nine pointer.
AC Milan vs Roma – Roma, now ten points behind the league leaders, will like their chances with a superhero forward in their midst. Unfortunately, he won’t be playing in defense to push back Ibra and his minions. Good luck.
Marseilles vs Lyon – Only four points separate 1st and 6th place in Ligue 1. Lyon sit two points and two places ahead of Marseilles in third place, so there is much on the line for two of Frances juggernauts. Lyon have not lost in the league since October 2, vaulting them from 18th to 3rd in the league in just a few months, while Marseilles have slid off the peak since starting brightly back in August and September. Lyon are in good form and both teams desperately need the win for their own reasons.