Weekend Boxset: Merseyside and Milan derbies



Carlo Ancelotti goes for derby glory in Merseyside while his old Milan side try to regain top spot in Serie A from their local rivals in what promises to be a fiery rematch of Lukaku v Zlatan.

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

All times are GMT

Friday

Championship: Watford v Derby County
19.45 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
With a career that began with him being bought by Brighton with the proceeds from a competition organised by Coca-Cola, Colin Kazim-Richards was never going to have the most straightforward career. The list of counties he's played club football in reads as follows: England (all four levels), Turkey, France, Greece, Netherlands, Scotland, Brazil, Mexico. He's also won 37 caps for Turkey. I've not meticulously gone through every game of his seventeen year career but if I was to hazard a guess, I wouldn't be surprised if he's played in over 250 different grounds around the world. Having been picked up out of contract in October on a 1 year deal, the 34 year old is Derby's top scorer this season and is helping Wayne Rooney's side turn a corner, pulling them clear of the relegation zone with genuine potential of a top half finish. While there's 20 points between them, the form these sides are in suggests this will be a much closer game than the table would suggest and given their defensive strengths will probably be settled by a single goal. GS


Saturday

Premier League: Southampton v Chelsea
12.30 on BT Sport 1
Unsurprisingly, Thomas Tuchel has taken a Chelsea squad full of very good players and turned them into a good team. His side are unbeaten in six, on a run of five straight wins and have conceded just once since he jumped into the role at the end of January. Ralph Hassenhuttl's journey in that short space of time has been far different. From being level on points just a month ago, Chelsea look on course for the Champions League while Southampton fans are trying to assure themselves that they only need to find a couple of wins from the remaining fixtures to avoid relegation. While Tuchel is new to the Premier League, the two managers have met across two seasons in the Bundesliga. Having lost both fixtures against Dortmund when he was in charge of Ingolstadt, Hassenhuttl's only victory against Tuchel came in RB Leipzig's first home game in the top flight in 2016, Naby Keita with a late winner. That early season win gave them the three points they finished ahead of Dortmund, to finish the campaign second to Bayern, which was when Tuchel was relieved of his duties as head coach of BVB. This looks like it's only going one way, but Southampton have to turn a corner at some point. Don't they? GS


Bundesliga: Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayern Munich
14.30 on BT Sport 3
After a quiet 19/20 season following the departure of Rebic, Jovic, and Halle, Eintracht Frankfurt are having another terrific season and currently lie third in the Bundesliga table. The man of the moment is Andre Silva. The Portuguese centre forward joining last season from Milan, initially on loan and has come to fruition this campaign with 18 goals already, making him the second top scorer in the league. Sadly, Eintracht don't have the clout to keep hold of their best players and already the rumour mill is churning out links to Manchester United. But there is more to Adi Hütter's team and I don't just mean the returning Luca Jovic from Real Madrid. Mercurial midfield maestro Daichi Kamada has ten assists and left-winger Filip Kostic is bang in form. Yep, SGE are full of goals. And they'll need them too because so are, Bayern Munich. The league leaders and Champions have scored 61 (sixty-one) goals so far. 25 of them from a certain R Lewandowski. But they like to concede a few as well. Last Monday we all marvelled as they shipped three in their match against third-bottom, Bielefeld. If this one ends goalless then I'll turn in my badge and gun. TD


Premier League: Liverpool v Everton
17.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Remember a year or so back when Liverpool were playing their second string against teams and still beating them? On the day Carlo Ancelotti took over Everton, just before Christmas 2019, Liverpool were winning the Club World Cup in Doha. When an FA Cup Merseyside derby came around just two weeks later, Klopp took the chance to rest key players and fielded a reserve side that included three debutants. They won 1-0, with Curtis Jones getting the winner at a packed Anfield. Looking back at that time now, and the unbreakable self-belief Liverpool had then, it becomes easier to imagine that the problems they are facing now are more than just as a result of missing a few key players through injury. Consecutive implosions against City and Leicester now mean that Champions League qualification will be an uphill struggle for the Reds - though that competition provided a glimpse of what they can do when they beat RB Leipzig 2-0 in midweek. With the opportunity to draw level with their city rivals, this is Ancelotti's chance to give Everton fans their first derby win in more than a decade and their first win at Anfield this century. Makes it even more of a shame that no one will be inside the ground to see it. GS


Sunday

Serie A: Milan v Inter
14.00 on Premier Sports 1
A large mural by Milanese street artists SteReal and KayOne has gone up opposite the San Siro in anticipation of one of the most important Derby della Madonnina in years. The artwork, titled Face to Face, Heart to Heart, appeared last Sunday morning and depicts the clash between Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their side's Coppa Italia quarter final last month. The incident at the end of the first half saw the two hurling clearly audible insults at each other - a war of words (thought to go back to when the two were playing at Manchester United together) continued in the tunnel as the teams went off for the break. Both players were booked in the initial fracas and Zlatan was later sent off when Milan were leading, Lukaku equalised from the spot and Christian Eriksen grabbed a winner for Inter in the seventh minute of injury time. Last weekend, Inter with their win against Lazio, took top spot in the table from Milan who had gone down 2-0 to Spezia. It's already shaping up to be a great title race in Italy - this match could prove to be a turning point in it. GS


Premier League: Arsenal v Manchester City
16.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
The League Cup tie between these sides, just before Christmas, was match two of the all-competition 17 game winning streak that City are enjoying right now. In that run they have accumulated more Premier League points than Arsenal have all season. They've scored 46 goals and conceded just six. They are cruising to their third title in four seasons and will, more than likely, hoover up whatever other silverware is on offer. The League Cup defeat did prove to be a short-lived turning point for the Gunners who enjoyed a mini-run of wins afterwards but have recently slumped back into the indifferent form that has dogged them under Arteta. If they can find the sort of performance that saw them get the better of City in the FA Cup semi-final in July, then maybe they can cause an upset. Because it would genuinely be classed as an upset were this Arsenal side to get anything against this City side right now. GS


Ligue 1: PSG v Monaco
20.00 on BT Sport 2
It's been something of a breakthrough week for PSG. Their 4-1 Champions League win over Barcelona established their credentials as potential winners. The result also confirmed Barca as a spent force and further enhanced the reputation of Kylian Mbappe as a big-game performer. That meme of Pique desperately pulling at the French striker's shirt perfectly illustrated the events of the evening. It also proved, conclusively, that Mbappe is a corporeal being and not some frictionless extra-dimensional entity. This weekend, the Ligue 1 champions return to the relative mundanity of domestic matters. Or do they? Currently, PSG are fighting a title race with Lille and their next opponents are unbeaten in 11 games. Indeed, Monaco have only dropped points in two of those. Mbappe's former club have shot up the table thanks to the ever-reliable Wissam Ben Yedder and occasional German international Kevin Volland. Between them, they have assisted 11 and scored 25 goals. Niko Kova─Ź will be banking on his forward line to catch their hosts on the hop. TD


Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry and Graham
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