And so we enter the second weekend of December, the countdown to the New Year taking visible shape, and (again, if you’re Nigerian) the fuel scarcity is-it-or-isn’t-it is rapidly moving like a transfer saga.
But on Sunday, all that is likely to be put aside for a while at least, as arguably the most anticipated game of the season, the Manchester derby, will take place at the Theatre of Dreams. Hosts Manchester United are eight points behind opponents and runaway leaders Manchester City, so this one has a fair bit more than bragging rights up for grabs.
But the Mancunian derby won’t have all the spotlight this Sunday, as up in the North-West as well, there’s the *small matter of a Merseyside derby at Anfield, as goal machine Liverpool welcome neighbours across Stanley Park Everton, who have begun life under a new manager in confident fashion. Again, up for grabs.
*It’s really not that small.
But even before those games take centre stage, a day earlier we’ll be served with the thrill of the Derby d’Italia, with Serie A leaders Inter Milan travelling to the Juventus stadium to face the champions, with only two points and places separating both sides. Plenty will be riding on that one.
In Spain, there’ll be no grand top flight derby to rival proceedings in Italy and England, but before La Liga starts to feel left out, Real Madrid hosting Sevilla and Barcelona travelling to Villarreal are always matches to behold, and those are the headline acts for the weekend over there.
Elsewhere, Dortmund’s quest to get out of their long winless run continues with a home game against Werder Bremen, Atletico Madrid travel to floundering Betis, while Milan vs Bologna is Gennaro Gattuso’s first home league game as manager.
Napoli will have an eye on the Inter-Juve game, and they’ll be keen to return to the top of the Serie A when they host Fiorentina, Chelsea play visitors to West Ham, Bayern Munich travel to Frankfurt, and Lille’s mini-revival will face quite the test when they travel to Paris Saint-Germain, who will be feeling rather irked after two defeats in succession.
Premier League: Manchester United v Manchester City; Liverpool v Everton; West Ham v Chelsea; Burnley v Watford; Crystal Palace v Bournemouth; Huddersfield v Brighton; Swansea v West Brom; Tottenham v Stoke; Newcastle v Leicester; Southampton v Arsenal
Serie A: Juventus v Inter; Napoli v Fiorentina; Lazio v Torino; Chievo v Roma; SPAL v Hellas Verona; Cagliari v Sampdoria; Udinese v Benevento; Sassuolo v Crotone; Milan v Bologna; Genoa v Atalanta
La Liga: Real Madrid v Sevilla; Alaves v Las Palmas; Getafe v Eibar; Deportivo v Leganes; Valencia v Celta Vigo; Real Sociedad v Malaga; Real Betis v Atletico Madrid; Levante v Athletic Bilbao; Espanyol v Girona; Villarreal v Barcelona
Ligue 1: PSG v Lille; Nantes v Nice; Amiens v Lyon; Marseille v St. Etienne; Monaco v Troyes; Toulouse v Caen; Metz v Rennes; Guingamp v Dijon; Angers v Montpellier; Bordeaux v Strasbourg
Bundesliga: Stuttgart v Leverkusen; Dortmund v Werder Bremen; Frankfurt v Bayern Munich; RB Leipzig v Mainz; Hamburg v Wolfsburg; Borussia Monchengladbach v Schalke; Koln v Freiburg; Augsburg v Hertha BSC; Hannover v Hoffenheim