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Soccer

Bumper weekend awaits: El Clásico, Turin derby, Le Classique plus Liverpool-City

Cancel all plans this weekend as football fans are spoilt with a series of high profile games to look forward to with El Clasico the standout fixture.

Update:
Bumper weekend awaits: El Clásico, Turin derby, Le Classique plus Liverpool-City

Occasionally, the ‘football fixture-list’ gods smile down on the humble fan and serve up a weekend of unmissable action with the forthcoming few days a case in point with four massive high profile game in LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Premier League with the Derby della Mole kick starting the first of four huge games on Saturday night.

Serie A: Saturday 15 October

Turin derby: Torino-Juventus (1800 CEST/1200 ET) kick-off

There is no other word for it... Juventus are a club in crisis. The Serie A giants languish in eighth place in Serie A (Torino are in 10th), ten points behind current leaders Napoli and every bit as alarming, lie in third place in their Champions League group with just two games to go and a place in the Europa League beckoning for one of the leading pioneers of a closed Super League.

Meanwhile, Juve have taken just 13 points from their first nine matches of the Serie A season, their worst return at this stage of a campaign since 2015-16 (12) with Bianconeri chairman Andrea Agnelli forced to reject reports that coach Allegri would be fired following the loss in Israel.

Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus
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Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus Daniele Badolato - Juventus FCGetty

Juventus are winless in their last six away games in Serie A (D2 L4), their longest such run since they failed to win on seven consecutive road trips in 2010, but Allegri says the Bianconeri retain a sense of togetherness.

“It is not my personal challenge, it belongs to everyone,” he added. “It is not that one wins and the others lose, it is done all together.

The ‘Old Lady’ do have the upper hand when it comes to facing their city neighbours with Juve winning 74 of their 154 Serie A meetings with ‘Il Toro’ ending up as victors just on 35 occasions with 45 draws.

LaLiga: Sunday 16 October

El Clásico: Real Madrid-FC Barcelona (1615 CEST/1015 am ET) kick-off

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have made stunning starts to the 2022-23 LaLiga season with only goal difference both teams at the top of LaLiga with both sides recording seven wins and a single draw in their eight openers. The Catalan side have only shipped one goal in an impressive domestic start.

Both teams come into Sunday’s ‘El Clasico’ on the back of different outcomes in their respective Champions League matches as the arch rivals’ European results have left them in rather different frames of mind as they approach their 185th LaLiga meeting on Sunday.

CARLO ANCELOTTI
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CARLO ANCELOTTIJESUS ALVAREZ ORIHUELADiarioAS

While Madrid’s last-gasp equaliser against Shakhtar Donetsk sealed the tournament holders’ qualification for the last 16 on Tuesday, Barça’s equally late leveller at home to Inter Milan the following night was not enough to prevent the Italians from putting one foot in the knockout stages at the Catalans’ expense. Barça now need a minor miracle to avoid a second straight group-phase exit from Europe’s elite club competition. Given how deep the Blaugrana dug to fund a bumper transfer spending spree in the summer, the financial cost of Champions League elimination is one they can ill afford.

Both teams have injury concerns with Ceballos ruled out and Courtois a major doubt for Madrid whilst Héctor Bellerín, Ronald Araújo, Memphis Depay and Andreas Christensen all remain on the sidelines for Xavi’s side.

Premier League: Sunday 16 October

Liverpool-Manchester City (1730 CEST/1130 am ET) kick-off

Can anyone stop Manchester City this season in the Premier League? A huge test awaits Pep Guardiola’s side as they travel to Anfield and recent games between both sides have been hugely close affairs with a brace of 2-2 draws last season when both sides faced one another in the Premier League. The ‘Reds’ have yet to find a constant rhythm this season and City seem to have taken things to another level with the summer acquisition of Norwegian goal-machine Erling Haaland.

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool will experience a familiar rush heading into Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, despite writing off their Premier League title chances.

Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool
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Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool Andrew PowellGetty

Klopp has openly dismissed the possibility of the Reds contending for top spot this term, having already slipped 14 points behind leaders Arsenal and 13 adrift of champions City.

Liverpool have regularly been City’s closest challengers in recent seasons, twice taking them to the final day and winning the title themselves in 2019-20. As such, matches between the two teams have made for compelling viewing, with the championship seemingly on the line.

Yet Klopp, while acknowledging his side will not be celebrating come May, suggests the title element could still be relevant this weekend as Liverpool welcome City – “definitely the best football team in the world” – to Anfield.

His counterpart on the City bench, Pep Guardiola refused to look at the form book ahead of the clash. “In Anfield, winning or losing, we have behaved with an incredible personality. It’s a football game, Liverpool is important because of the quality they have.

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City
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Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester CityLynne Cameron - Manchester CityGetty

“Liverpool were going for a prestigious achievement of four titles. For two little details, they didn’t achieve what no English team has done. “I pay zero attention to them being in a good moment or bad moment. They know in the last years, we have fought for most of the competitions and titles, and it’s been really close.

Ligue 1: Sunday 16 October

PSG-Olympique Marseille (2045 CEST/ 1445 pm ET) kick-off

Is there ever a good time to play PSG? This week could be the perfect time to play Paris Saint-Germain, and then again it could be the worst possible time to face the Parisian giants. It’s been a chaotic week for the Ligue 1 champions, with rumours of in-fighting, betrayal, and possible walkouts.

Star striker Kylian Mbappe apparently wants out, and that in turn led to speculation about the possibility of football consultant Luis Campos and head coach Christophe Galtier departing as well.

Everyone remains for the time being and they must all now turn their attention to Sunday’s game, Le Classique.

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine forward Lionel Messi
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Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine forward Lionel Messi FRANCK FIFEAFP

Victory for Marseille will move them level on 26 points with PSG – victory for the Parisians at the Parc des Princes will likely have many already declaring them champions again even after just 11 games.

The omens, however don’t make great reading for the OM faithful as PSG have only lost one of their previous 25 games against Marseille across all competitions, a 1-0 Ligue 1 defeat in September 2020.

In fact, PSG’s nine wins from 11 home meetings with OM since the QSI takeover in 2011-12 is their joint-most against a single opponent.