Weekend Boxset: El Clasico and the Revierderby



Having started to write TV previews for the upcoming weekend back when we were doing our football satire website The Onion Bag back in 2008, this weekend's boxset represents our 500th collection of previews.

Seven great matches to take you from Friday to Sunday. It's the Sound of Football Weekend Boxset.

Times for Friday and Saturday are BST (GMT +1), times for Sunday are GMT

Friday

Serie A: Sassuolo v Torino
19.45 on FreeSports
While Atalanta have been grabbing attention with their swashbuckling attacking play, another Serie A side has emerged playing in a style every bit as gung-ho. Sassuolo sit second in the early table and have won their last three games scoring four goals each time. A side from a small town between Parma and Bologna, Sassuolo owe their success to one man: Giorgio Squinzi - a chemist who made a fortune from a glue he invented. Squinzi sponsored a successful cycling team in the mid-90s but withdrew from the sport in 2002, disillusioned by the prevalence of doping. Cycling's loss was Sassuolo's gain, as he switched his money and energy into the side playing in the fourth tier of Italian football. Having never played above that level before, this season marks their eighth in the top flight. Squinzi sadly died a year ago this month but his two children seem eager to carry on his legacy. The club's success isn't based on buying in big names though - leading the line for them is Francesco Caputo, a 33 year old journeyman striker and part-time brewer enjoying the form of his career right now. He's even made it into the national side, scoring on his debut in a friendly against Moldova earlier this month. For Torino, the story isn't so great. They've suffered three defeats from three so far and it's hard to see them breaking that run here. GS


Saturday

Premier League: West Ham United v Manchester City
12.30 on BT Sport 1
Having lost their first game of the season at home to Newcastle, the prospect of facing a run of consecutive fixtures against six of the sides that finished in the top eight last season would have looked particularly daunting for David Moyes' side. Having been unlucky to lose against Arsenal, they beat Wolves and Leicester handsomely before staging one of the most memorable Premier League comebacks to draw 3-3 last weekend against Spurs. For the opening 20 minutes of the game they looked like the latest sacrificial lambs to be torn apart by Kane and Son, and were. Having been three goals down for over an hour of the game, the Hammers got one back through Fabian Balbuena with just eight minutes left on the clock. That was soon followed by an own goal off Davinson Sanchez, and the comeback was completed four minutes into injury time by Manuel Lanzini. All of which leaves them level on points with today's visitors (albeit having played a game more). Despite hardly looking at their best so far this campaign, the extent of the injury to Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk has meant City have leapfrogged Klopp's side in the betting to become favourites to lift the title. Such expectation rarely weighs on sides managed by Pep Guardiola but they are still to produce the sort of a performance we now expect from title favourites. GS


La Liga: Barcelona v Real Madrid
15.00 on LaLigaTV
An El Clasico that hardly promises to be a classic but maybe one to file under schadenfreude. Now under Ronald Koeman, Barcelona are still licking their wounds from summer's Champion League shaming and the unpleasantness surrounding Messi's transfer request. The home side go into this having bounced backed from a league defeat to Getafe with a 5-1 thrashing of Ferencvaros in midweek, a performance that saw wonkerkid Ansu Fati score and provide an assist. Even forgotten man Ousmane Dembele grabbed a goal. The Spanish media used the word "embarrassing" to describe Real Madrid's home Champions League defeat to, in effect, a Shakhtar youth team (the Ukrainian side having lost 10 first teamplayers to positive Covid tests). Following so quickly after a home defeat in the league to newly promoted Cadiz, the pressure is back once more on Zindane to deliver - something made even tougher with star man Eden Hazard out for a month. Who knows how much longer we in the UK will be able to enjoy matches like this legally at 3pm on a Saturday. What we do know is that for the money you could be spending on watching Fulham v Palace on pay per view at this time, you can get over two and half months of all the La Liga action. GS


Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund v Schalke
17.30 on BT Sport 3
There may be as little as 300 fans in the Westfalenstadion for what is widely acknowledged as the biggest derby in Germany. This is the second derby in as many weeks. Last week the club's two under 19's played out a hard fought 3-2 win for BVB. During the match, 15 year old Youssoufa Moukoko, scored a hattrick, and was racially abused by Schalke fans. The club immediately apologised to both Dortmund and the player. Look out for Moukoko later in the year after the lad turns 16 and gets bumped up to the first team. Schalke have a new coach after sacking David Wagner. Under Manuel Baum, they managed their first point against Union Berlin last Sunday. After the game, a group of S04 ultras assembled outside stadium demanding to speak with the players and coach. They told them that while the Union performance was an improvement, the team would need to improve significantly for the derby. Borussia, while in better shape, in general, than Schalke, had a tough time getting past bogey side Hoffenheim last Saturday and were taken to school by Lazio in the Champions League on Tuesday. On paper the home side are favourites but on grass, not so much. TD


Sunday

Scottish Premiership: Aberdeen v Celtic
12.00 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
"We've got to be more ruthless," said Aberdeen striker Marley Watkins before their game against Hamilton on Tuesday, "…we played some good stuff at times against Dundee United [which finished 0-0] and we were definitely the better team." While the on-loan Bristol City player may not have got on the score sheet, he got his wish. The Dons took a first-half 4-0 lead against the Accies before the visitors reclaimed some respectability with two goals in the second half. 19-year-old English striker Ryan Edmundson, another loanee, this time from Leeds, scored his first two goals for the club. Celtic, meanwhile lost the Old Firm game to Rangers and handed Steve Gerrard's team an advantage in the title race. The Bhoys' confidence might be buoyed slightly by their second half performance in the 3-1 Europa League defeat to AC Milan. Aberdeen are not Milan but if their strikers are feeling ruthless, they could give the champion's back line a hard time. TD


Premier League: Southampton v Everton
14.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Yes it's the Walcott Derby. El Thessico! The former England international and one time saviour of English football is back at Southampton, on loan from Everton. Of course the Premier League say that loan players can't play against their parent club. This is a hangover from Alex Ferguson's day when he insisted that United's on-loan Everton 'keeper Tim Howard be dropped for the game against his team back in 2005 (I think). It's a stupid rule which, like most stupid rules, favours the economically powerful. Anyway, the upshot is that poor Theo has to sit in the stands for his own derby. Speaking of Everton 'keepers, perhaps Jordan Pickford would prefer to be sat next to his old team mate. England's number 1 has received abuse and death threats following his unpunished foul on Virgil van Dijk in last week's Merseyside Derby, which has left the Dutch centre-half sidelined for the rest of the season. The challenge has been roundly criticised as premeditated by fans and pundits. Even Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum described it as "completely stupid". However, Everton also suffered an injury of their own, albeit far less severe: James Rodriguez will miss this games after being injured by what Ancelotti rather diplomatically called a "miss-timed tackle" from van Dijk. TD


Ligue 1: Lyon v Monaco
20.00 on BT Sport 1
Only at Bayern Munich could a double winning coach leave a club with his reputation tarnished. But the combination of a poor run of results and dressing room politics did just that to Niko Kovac. The Croatian (who I don't doubt made poor choices at the Rekordmeister) was fortunate enough to be on the market when Monaco were on the hunted for their firth coach in just two years. Kovac's impact has not been spectacular but he does seem to have settled the squad and they sit in a comfortable upper mid table position, early in the season. Wissam Ben Yedder is emerging as the key man. The classy attacking midfielder is in his best form since joining from Sevilla last year and has been handed the captain's armband. Given the brief interval between their Champions League semi-final defeat and the start if the season, Lyon can take encouragement from the fact that they have only lost one league game so far. Rudi Garcia will feel even more encouragement with a win against one of French football's traditional heavyweights. TD


Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry and Graham


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