Manchester City vs Chelsea weekend preview
The weekend is finally here and it is always a joy to every football fan because it’s always football time, But this weekend Manchester City vs Chelsea weekend preview is more than that as it brings extraordinary fixtures that are promising to be thrilling ones.
At the time of publishing this article, about five of Saturday’s Premier League games have survived the ongoing COVID-19 situation in England’s top league.
The main clash of the day sees leaders Manchester City meet runners-up Chelsea in the early kick-off, in what is their second encounter since the Champions League Final clash last May – where of course Chelsea emerged victoriously. Pep Guardiola’s side won the reverse fixture back in September so Thomas Tuchel will be out for revenge, and the chance to cut the 10 points lead City currently hold over Chelsea in the table.
Manchester United returns to Premier League action for the first time since the defeat to Wolves at Old Trafford as they travel to an Aston Villa side who’ve been very active in the January transfer window. Could we see some involvement for Steven Gerrard’s new signings Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne?
From the other games, the six-pointer between Newcastle United and Watford looks particularly key. A win for the Magpies would see them move out of the relegation zone and crucially, leapfrog their opponents.
Across the borders in Germany, Bundesliga leaders Bayern have had a week to stew on last weekend’s home defeat to Gladbach, so watch out for their trip to FC Köln. The Billy Goats are no pushovers this season though and they come into this game on the back of three straight wins that have seen them move up to sixth in the table.
Still, in Germany, third-placed Hoffenheim, who are unbeaten in seven face Union Berlin (7th), another side pushing for European qualification, and Bayer Leverkusen (5th) are the next big team Gladbach will be looking to turn over as they begin to recover from a relatively poor first half of the campaign.
Moving on to Spain, not to be outdone by the ongoing Supercopa tournament that has seen four of Spain’s top sides spend the week in Saudi Arabia, back home all the attention will be on the Copa del Rey, where we have reached the Round of 16.
Especially as the draw brought together city rivals, Real Betis and Sevilla who will play out the 136th competitive edition of ‘El Gran Derbi’ on Saturday night.
In Italy, Juventus will be in Serie A action against Udinese just a few days after missing out on their Super Cup equivalent, the Supercoppa to Inter Milan.
The last-minute defeat to rivals Inter on Wednesday night came thanks to a goal scored in stoppage time, at the end of extra-time and prompted manager Massimiliano Allegri to describe football as having been invented by the devil, such is its cruelty! We’ll see what he has to say should Juve get back to winning ways.
Back home, at The Africa Cup of Nations, the second round of group games continue across the weekend and on Saturday that means we get matches from Group D.
Here, Nigeria will look to back up their impressive victory over Egypt to seal qualification for the knock-out stages by beating Sudan. And the aforementioned Salah’s side needs to kick-start their tournament as they go up against Guinea-Bissau, the nation currently ranked 106th in the world.
The big games keep coming on Sunday, with the North London Derby the most high profile of them all – although one team has requested for the postponement of the clash. Spurs ‘welcome’ near-neighbours Arsenal to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where they remain unbeaten in the three derbies played at their new home.
With just two points separating the sides in the top six of the Premier League table (Arsenal are 5th, Spurs 6th), the result could be pivotal as we head into the second half of the campaign. Particularly with Spurs having two games in hand on their rivals.
Third-placed Liverpool will also be in Premier League action on Sunday as they host Brentford and for the second weekend in a row, West Ham plays Leeds United no doubt looking to repeat the 2-0 win they enjoyed in the FA Cup last Sunday.
In Spain, fans will be glued to the Spanish Supercopa being hosted in Riyadh, which will see Athletic Club play Real Madrid in this season’s final.
The Basque side was considered unlikely winner last year having overcome both Madrid and Barcelona to lift the trophy. And their confidence will be high after they came from behind to beat Atletico Madrid to reach this stage.
Madrid though is a different proposition this season – top of La Liga, scoring freely thanks to the form of Karim Benzema and fresh from beating arch-rivals Barcelona in the Clásico played on Wednesday night.
Still, on Sunday, there are four group matches from the Africa Cup of Nations and in Group E, the Ivory Coast come up against Sierra Leone, and the heroic goalkeeper kept a clean sheet against reigning champions Algeria in their opening game.
In the other game in the group, Algeria – unbeaten in 35 international games probably can’t afford to drop any more points when they play Equatorial Guinea after drawing the first one.
From Group F, we’ll be looking out for the game between AFCON debutants Gambia and Mali, who both won their opening games – against Mauritania and Tunisia respectively.
In Serie A and with neither Milan nor Napoli playing until Monday, Inter has the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table. They face the always-entertaining Atalanta, in Bergamo on Sunday evening.
After last week’s collapse to Juventus, losing 4-3 despite leading 3-1 with half an hour to go, Roma fans will hope Cagliari provides less stiff opposition and a chance to bounce back.
Strugglers on paper, Cagliari won only one of their first 19 games of the season but do come into Sunday’s game off the back of consecutive wins over Sampdoria and Bologna.