• Arthur Barratt

WEEKEND WATCH: COULD NEW CONTENDERS EMERGE?


La Liga


Key Match: Atletico Madrid v Barcelona


Sunday 22nd, kick off 20:00


Atletico Madrid are having one of the most underrated seasons in Europe this year, they currently sit third on 17 points, and have two games in hand on leaders Real Sociedad on 20 points.


In comparison Barcelona are in eighth, and have just one win in five league games, though they did thrash Betis last time out.


The club faces one of its biggest challenges of the season on Sunday against Atletico, who are unbeaten in 23 games.


Ex-Barcelona star Luis Suarez will face his former side for the first time since joining Atletico in the summer. The Uruguayan has been in fantastic form, grabbing 5 goals in 6 league games, he could very well come back to haunt his old club.


His partnership with Joao Felix has solved Atletico’s goalscoring problems. The Portuguese had a difficult first season in Madrid, but has 5 goals and 2 assists in the league for his club this year.


Barcelona’s top scorer in comparison is Ansu Fati, his 4 league goals this season at just 17-years-old is very impressive, but Barcelona cannot rely on him.


Lionel Messi has been in terrible form since his transfer saga over the summer, he will really need to start performing if Barcelona are to turn their season around.


If Atletico can win on Sunday it will put them in very good stead to be title contenders. The club have not beaten Barca in their last 20 games against the club, with their meeting on Sunday being their best chance to in years.


Their competitiveness this season, along with Sociedad, has given the league a much needed refresh.


Other Notable Fixtures:


Sevilla v Celta Vigo, Saturday 21st, kick off 17:00


Villarreal v Real Madrid, Saturday 21st, kick off 15:15


Serie A


Key Match: Napoli v AC Milan


Sunday 22nd, kick off: 19:45


With Juventus floundering in fifth and Inter Milan struggling even more in seventh, this year’s title race in Italy is wide open, with Fabio Capello saying this week that both AC and Napoli should be considered contenders.


Milan are currently top of the table on 17 points, with Napoli just behind on 14, meaning that they could catch up to the leaders with a win.


Hirving Lozano looks to have finally settled at the San Paolo, with 4 goals in 6 league games this season, with him likely to be Napoli’s biggest threat against an AC defence which has proven to be leaky at times this year.


Lozano’s form is nothing compared to that of 39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic though, the Swedish veteran continues to defy expectations and is still one of the best strikers in Europe, netting 8 goals in 5 league games this season.


With how close the title race in Italy can be, this game is of huge importance. AC have plenty of attacking quality but expect Napoli to go for it and try and take advantage of being the home team.


Other Notable Fixtures:

Inter Milan v Torino, Sunday 22nd, kick off: 14:00

Juventus v Cagliari, Saturday 21st, kick off 19:45


Bundesliga


Key Match: Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund


Saturday 21st, kick off 19:30


After losing Der Klassiker, Dortmund need a win to get their title challenge back on track. Their game against out of form Hertha Berlin this weekend should provide the perfect opportunity.


Berlin are in 12th, with one win in five games, though they did beat Augsburg comfortably 3-0 last time out.


Their standout performer has been Matheus Cunha with 4 goals and 2 assists in the league this year, Dortmund would be wise to be wary of his ability. Berlin will be relying on him to have a good game on Saturday.


Dortmund’s attack is likely to cause Berlin a host of problems, with Erling Haaland scoring 6 goals in 6 league games.


In terms of English talent Jude Bellingham has looked good in Dortmund’s midfield, but Jadon Sancho has been disappointing, getting just 2 assists and no goals in 6 matches.


Keep an eye out for this result, if Dortmund get anything other than a draw their title challenge could be over.


Other Notable Fixtures:

Bayern Munich v Werder Bremen, Saturday 21st, kick off 14:30

Eintracht Frankfurt v RB Leipzig, Saturday 21st, kick off 17:30