?It’s now March and the same title races we were gushing over towards the end of 2019 are still bloody tight.
The Premier League is done and dusted despite Liverpool’s recent blip, but it’s still anyone’s guess who lifts the trophies of Spain, Germany and Italy.
Real Madrid’s win in El Clasico last Sunday saw them leapfrog the Catalans at the summit La Liga, while RB Leipzig’s draw at home to Bayer Leverkusen means that Bayern hold a three-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga – with three teams within six points of the Bavarians.
And don’t let the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak distract you from the most exciting Scudetto race in years. Lazio’s win over Bologna means Simone Inzaghi’s side now sit top of the table, two points ahead of Juventus and a further six ahead of Inter – with a smattering of games in hand for the chasing pack.
Atletico Madrid vs Sevilla (Saturday, 15:00)
An important clash in the race for the top four in La Liga, Atleti
In what’s been an indifferent campaign for Los Rojiblancos, Diego Simeone will know just how important his next two fixtures are in defining his side’s campaign – the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Liverpool
Julen Lopetegui’s side currently occupy third in the table, two points above this weekend’s opponents after a mightily impressive 3-0 win away at the typically stout Getafe and a 3-2 home win against an enterprising Osasuna outfit.
Despite the Liverpool fixture on the horizon, Simeone can ill-afford to rotate too heavily for this crunch encounter.
Barcelona vs Real Sociedad (Saturday, 17:30)
It’s been hard to define Quique Setien’s start in Catalunya as Barça boss but one thing’s for sure, he can ill-afford to lose back-to-back games in La Liga ahead of Real’s trip to Betis on Sunday night.
Real Sociedad will be no walkover, mind. A side packed with technicians including Mikel Oyarzabal and Martin Odegaard along with a versatile forward in Alexander Isak, Saturday’s visitors will pose a significant threat to Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal in this one.
A tricky game for the Catalans.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 17:30)
Widely regarded as the most entertaining division in Europe at the moment – vertigo-inducingly high lines might have something to do with that – a strong case could also be made for the Bundesliga
Two of Germany’s finest go head to head on Saturday evening, as Dortmund
The arrival of Emre Can in January has certainly helped BVB stiffen up defensively, while their attack remains as potent as ever despite scoring just the one in the win over Freiburg last weekend.
This promises to be an intriguing tactical battle played at a frenetic pace. One you simply can’t afford to miss.
Chelsea vs Everton (Sunday, 14:00)
Everton are a serious side, and are set for a bright future with Don Carlo at the helm at Goodison Park.
With Mason Holgate spraying diagonals to all corners, Richarlison causing mayhem in the channels and Dominic Calvert-Lewin bullying opposition defenders, the Toffees have proved a tough proposition for every side they’ve come up against under the Italian boss.
Next up is a trip to Stamford Bridge to take on a Chelsea
Manchester United vs Manchester City (Sunday, 16:30)
Whisper it, but is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer actually doing a half-decent job at Old Trafford?
Nine games unbeaten, safely through to the FA Cup quarter-finals and Europa League round of 16, just two points adrift of the top four. Things aren’t looking so bad for the Red Devils all of a sudden.
And with Bruno conducting United
The Sky Blues have looked more like their back-to-back title-winning sides in recent weeks, producing a fantastic performance to beat an albeit rather average Real Madrid side at the Bernabeu ten days ago before lifting yet another Carabao Cup after a 2-1 win against Aston Villa
Juventus vs Inter (Sunday, 19:45)
The coronavirus outbreak in Italy has wreaked havoc on Serie A
And one of the games subject to cancellation two weeks ago was the monumental Derby d’Italia between Juventus
Despite Lazio currently occupying top spot, Sunday’s clash certainly feels like the most crucial of the season thus far; with not only the title on the line (sort of), but potentially Maurizio Sarri’s job as well.
Nevertheless, Antonio Conte and his well-drilled Inter unit will feel confident of toppling this not-so imperious Juve side behind closed doors in this one.