Derby fever hits Europe: Merseyside, Rome, El Clásico, North London...
Cancel your plans for the weekend as once again the weekend's fixture-list gods throws up a series of spectacular games from across the continent.
Every so often the fixture-list stars align and we're treated to a veritable fest of football with this weekend's action being a case in point. Cancel that trip to Ikea and find yourself a place in front of the television, laptop, ipad on Saturday and Sunday as there is a game to suit all tastes as derby fever is set to sweep Europe.
Spurs vs Arsenal (North London Derby) 1330 (CET)
This will be the last North London derby staged at Tottenham's temporary home of Wembley Stadium with the "Lillywhites" set to return imminently to their revamped White Hart Lane ground. With both teams riding high and currently third and fourth respectively in the Premier League, a derby win would see Unai Emery's side move to within one point of their bitter rivals.
Red Star vs Partizan (Belgrade aka Večiti derbi) 1800
Saturday's game will be the 248th meeting between two of the fiercest rivals in world football. The match day atmosphere in the Serbian capital is not for the faint-hearted with as much focus on the colour and noise in the stands as the action on the pitch. Despite Red Star holding a comfortable lead at the top of the SuperLiga a win in the derby for both the red and white side or black and white side means a whole lot more than just three points.
Lazio vs Roma (Rome aka Derby della Capitale) 2030
Another derby between two evenly matched sides with Lazio in fifth facing their fourth placed city rivals. Along with the Milan and Tuirn derby games, the match-up between both Rome sides for many is the pinnacle of the Italian game with Lazio looking to avenge the earlier 3-1 loss in the first Serie A derby of the season.
Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (El Clásico) 2045
Okay, so not a derby in the strict sense of the word, however this game has become to be considered by many as the ´Derby of Spain´ with the fixture now regarded as the biggest domestic game in world football generating a global audience of millions. Santi Solari is presented with a perfect opportunity to avenge Wednesday's Copa del Rey 0-3 loss as the two biggest clubs in LaLiga go head-to-head again on Saturday.
FC Porto vs Benfica (O Clássico) 2130
Again, as per the Madrid-Barça clash, not a city derby but a game that stops the country as the Dragons of Porto face the Eagles from Lisbon. Things could not be closer at the top of Liga NoS with just one point separating Porto from their capital city rivals.
Sunday March 3rd
Bohemians 1905 vs Slavia Prague (Prague derby) 1500
Whilst the Slavia vs Sparta Prague game is the undeniable definitive derby of the Czech capital, the city derby between Bohemians and Slavia is a classic David vs Goliath clash with the humble Vršovice based men in green and white facing one of the powerhouses and current table-toppers in the Czech league.
Everton vs Liverpool (Merseyside derby) 1715
One of the few global derbies that is considered by many a "friendly rivalry" where fans of both sides can by and large sit together without the vitriol and bile so often present in clashes of this type. A game crucial for Liverpool's title hopes as Klopp's side hold a slender one point lead over Manchester City but there will be many among the "blue side" of the city hoping to be that fly in the ointment for "The Reds".
Napoli vs Juventus (Not a derby !) 2030
We're totally aware that this game is not a derby but it is, at least, on paper a cracker. The destiny of the Scudetto may be dictated by the winner at the San Paolo as Napoli trail Juventus by a massive 13 points and a win would at least chip into that lead and also see Ancelotti's side dent Juve's current unbeaten in Serie A claim. A perfect fixture to round off the weekend's action.