Weekend Preview: North London derby; Napoli tests mettle against Lazio

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There aren’t quite many fixtures that take anticipation as the North London derby, and it rears its head again this weekend, as on Saturday lunchtime, Spurs and Arsenal meet at Wembley. The Gunners have had a good run at the national stadium of late, and will need it once more, as they lie four points behind their fifth-placed rivals, and five behind the desired top four spot. It doesn’t get much bigger than the derby in the English capital.

In Italy, however there might not quite be a derby to rival the one upcoming in the Premier League this weekend, but there is a big game nonetheless. Napoli have done well to ward off the advances of Juventus and retain top spot in Serie A, but they face a stern test this weekend, as third-placed Lazio, still reeling from Monday night’s loss to Genoa, their second league defeat in a row, travel to San Paolo hoping to avoid a third straight setback.

Napoli’s title-chasing rivals, Juve, also have a stern test of their own, as the champions, who hit top gear last week and scored seven against Sassuolo, travel to the Artemio Franchi, to face a Fiorentina side that are still in transition this season, but have a chance of moving within a point of the European places.

In Spain, faltering champions Real Madrid will have their UEFA Champions League game on Wednesday with Paris Saint-Germain in their sights, but first on the domestic front, where they haven’t had much success, Los Blancos host Real Sociedad, another side not quite replicating last season’s league form. Los Txuri-Urdin lie in 14th place, although they are closer to sixth place than they are to 18th, and will hope to claim a scalp as they prepare for their own midweek European game, at home to Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Premier League leaders Manchester City play host to Europa League chasing Leicester, Bundesliga pacesetters Bayern Munich welcome Schalke to the Allianz Arena, Barcelona play host to Getafe, while relegation rivals Stoke and Brighton go head-to-head in the Premier League.

Valencia host to Levante in the Valencia derby, Los Che aiming to end their torrid run of form, Inter are also another side in a rut, the Nerazzurri are winless in 10 as they welcome Bologna to the San Siro, PSG travel to Toulouse, Clarence Seedorf begins his Deportivo tenure with a Monday night game against Betis, while Borussia Dortmund play host to relegation-threatened Hamburg in the Bundesliga, and Atletico Madrid take a trip to La Rosaleda to face Malaga, who lie at the foot of the La Liga table.

Fixtures

Premier League: Tottenham v Arsenal; Manchester City v Leicester; Huddersfield v Bournemouth; Stoke v Brighton; Chelsea v West Brom; West Ham v Watford; Southampton v Liverpool; Swansea v Burnley; Newcastle v Manchester United; Everton v Crystal Palace

Bundesliga: Dortmund v Hamburg; Bayern Munich v Schalke; Stuttgart v Borussia Monchengladbach; Werder Bremen v Wolfsburg; Hoffenheim v Mainz; Frankfurt v Koln; Hannover v Freiburg; RB Leipzig v Augsburg; Leverkusen v Hertha BSC

La Liga: Real Madrid v Real Sociedad; Athletic Bilbao v Las Palmas; Deportivo v Real Betis; Sevilla v Girona; Celta Vigo v Espanyol; Valencia v Levante; Villarreal v Alaves; Leganes v Eibar; Malaga v Atletico Madrid; Barcelona v Getafe

Serie A: Napoli v Lazio; Inter v Bologna; SPAL v Milan; Roma v Benevento; Crotone v Atalanta; Chievo v Genoa; Sassuolo v Cagliari; Torino v Udinese; Sampdoria v Hellas Verona; Fiorentina v Juventus

Ligue 1: Toulouse v PSG; Lyon v Rennes; Nantes v Lille; Dijon v Nice; Angers v Monaco; Guingamp v Caen; Bordeaux v Amiens; Strasbourg v Troyes; St. Etienne v Marseille; Metz v Montpellier.

 

Photo credit: @BBCSport

About Olakunle Ajao 254 Articles
Olakunle Ajao is a Mass Communication student at the University of Lagos. Commonly known as 'The Major' by friends and fiends alike, he has quite the obsession with football, watching, reading, writing and playing- although he's not very good at that last part.

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