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Seven games to watch this weekend

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Barcelona squad (top L-R) Barcelona’s German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Barcelona’s French defender Samuel Umtiti, Barcelona’s Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona’s midfielder Sergio Busquets, Barcelona’s defender Gerard Pique (bottom L-R) Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s forward Gerard Deulofeu, Barcelona’s defender Aleix Vidal, Barcelona’s midfielder Andres Iniesta, Barcelona’s Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez and Barcelona’s defender Jordi Alba pose before the first leg of the Spanish Supercup football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on August 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE

There are too many great games this weekend to select five from, Italy is dripping with quality fixtures while tea-time serves up a rivalry at England. Here are the choicest seven games to watch this weekend:

Lyon vs Monaco Oct 13 19:45
Lyon have managed to play exciting football without getting great results. Coming off consecutive 3-3- draws doesn’t help either. Bruno Genesio’s side is currently on a run of five games without a win but he’d hope the international break would be a hard reset for his team going into the game against Monaco. Lyon are probably helped by the possible absence of highest goal scorer Radamel Falcao from the game as he only just returned on from his exertions with Colombia. Monaco are three points behind PSG and will be loath to fall even further behind.

Liverpool vs Manchester United Oct 14 12:30
Liverpool start the first of the long six weeks without talisman Sadio Mane against rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho has tried to play down the importance of the game in his press conference calling it just a three-point match but it still doesn’t take away the star power of the fixture. Manchester United are well-balanced, scalpel-sharp in attack and sturdy at the back but same cannot be said of Jurgen Klopp’s side who always seem to be a defensive error away from conceding. Liverpool’s attacking edged is also severely blunted by the absence of Sadio Mane through injury.

Juventus vs Lazio Oct 14 17:00
It is a huge weekend in the Serie A with top sides dueling, Juventus host Lazio to begin the first of a trio of games that has the Scudetto contenders in them. Lazio defeated Max Allegri’s side in the Italian Super Cup two months ago, and the side has even further improved since then. Ciro Immobile continues showing he is Italy’s hottest striker with his nine goals this season while Luis Alberto impresses behind Immobile. Juventus were knocked off the top of the League after their 2-2 draw to Atalanta last game week after they had blitzed to a two goal lead in the first half. The Bianconeri will hope to bounce back making the draw a blip, Paulo Dybala who missed a decisive penalty in the Atalanta game will be looking to make amends while adding to his 10 League goals this season.

Roma vs Napoli Oct 14 19:45
Napoli are the most exciting team to watch in the Serie A and sit atop the table still with a 100% record. Their toughest test before this game was against Lazio, Napoli went behind but rallied back to a 4-1 victory but against Roma it will not be as easy. While the Partenopei are devastating in attack scoring at least three goals in their last 11 Serie A matches, AS Roma look a well-drilled side that can effectively shut down the opposition while delivering in attack. Napoli also are burdened with the pressure of remaining at the top of the League.

Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona Oct 14 19:45
Barcelona play for the first time at the Wanda Metropolitano , Atletico’s new home. It isn’t a fortress just yet, in fact Chelsea defeated them there in the Champions League just weeks ago. Atleti aren’t at their best yet, struggling through games and dropping points were least expected (Leganes) but against Barcelona we could see the side fight tooth and nail for points. If things go according to Diego Simeone’s plan, the match could be the fillip they need. Barcelona on the other hand are the only team in the La Liga with an unblemished record winning seven out of seven and they have Lionel Messi in splendid form especially with his World Cup qualifying hat-trick for Argentina. Ernesto Valverde will sure hope Messi replicates his inspired performance at the Wanda Metropolitano.

AC Milan vs Inter Milan Oct 15 19:45
While AC Milan still look a blundering side in need of a lot of time to get their acts together, rivals Inter Milan have steadily shown under Luciano Spalleti that a Scudetto challenge isn’t beyond them. The Nerazzurri have dropped only two points all season and look to be getting into a bit of a groove while AC Milan could end up with three consecutive losses at the end of the game. A loss will not bode well for Coach Vincenzo Montella who is under substantial pressure and might be managing for his job on Sunday. Leonardo Bonucci hasn’t shown his best abilities in the red and black, his showings well shy of his days at Juventus and he leads the defence to face Mauro Icardi with six goals this season. AC Milan have failed every major test this season losing to Lazio, Sampdoria and AS Roma, against Inter Milan in the Derby della Madonnina it could be no different.

Niger Tornadoes vs Akwa United Oct 15 18:00
With 25 Million Naira on the line and a spot in the CAF Confederations Cup, the Aiteo Cup final promises to be an intense fixture between two League sides. The magic of the cup didn’t produce a non-league side in the finals with Katsina United Feeders going farthest before losing to Akwa United’s 8-2 aggregate win. Niger Tornadoes battled past defending champions FC Ifeanyi Ubah in the Semi Finals to book a place in their third final of this competition since 1982. Akwa United had to best Sunshine Stars over two legs to emerge finalists for a second time in three years after their victory in 2015. Akwa United are favourites in the match to hold at the Soccer Temple in Agege with dignitaries watching including the CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad and the NFF president, Amaju Pinnick.



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