Club football returns with a bang after the international break with Jose Mourinho and Julen Lopetegui fighting for their futures and Milan dueling for pride
Chelsea v Manchester United
Stamford Bridge hosts a classic Premier League game, with José Mourinho returning to face his old club (twice), now lead by a glittery Maurizio Sarri. Chelsea want to continue to stay at the top of the league, and need to beat United to do so.
But the Red Devils have everything needed to win this game, and doing so would be the necessary result to kick start a different kind of campaign, after struggling so much in the opening months. Mourinho’s defensive footballing philosophy is the opposite of Sarri, who is good friends with Pep Guardiola. Stamford Bridge will salute José and also continue to praise Sarri, with an interesting atmosphere to be expected. This promises to be an explosive game.
Inter v AC Milan
The Derby della Madonnina was a global classic even when the two sides were experiencing their worst seasons a couple years ago. Imagine now that they are starting to get back to where they belong.
It’s a vital game in the race for a top-four finish. The clash between Argentinians Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi. The tactical battle between expert Luciano Spalletti and the rookie Gennaro Gattuso. A massive match-up at the San Siro.
We keep on training with our minds set on the derby ?
Concentrazione massima a Milanello ?#MILANosiamonoi pic.twitter.com/kdMn2nIJ7q
— AC Milan (@acmilan) October 18, 2018
Barcelona v Sevilla
Barcelona host Sevilla at the Nou Camp, but it’s not the Blaugrana who lead the table this time. The visitors go into the match with a point more than the Catalans, hoping to get at least a draw and maintain that distance.
The ups and downs for Barcelona need to come to an end, and this is the right time for it to happen, with Champions League football coming up on Wednesday. Lionel Messi and co need to wake up, or else fighting for the domestic title could get complicated.
Real Madrid v Levante
On paper, this is one of the easiest games of the season for Los Blancos. The three time European Champions hosting Levante. On paper, though. Because Real Madrid are facing one of their biggest crises ever, unable to score for four matches, losing three of them and falling behind in La Liga table down to 14 points, sitting in fourth.
Julen Lopetegui is under fire, and results are needed as soon as possible. Nothing is set is stone, of course, but the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure continues to dominate in Madrid, and only a series of victories could completely blow away the legacy of the Portuguese striker and open a new era at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich
Believe it or not, Bayern currently sit in sixth place in the Bundesliga, and haven’t won a game in almost a month. Unreal for the usually dominant Bavarians, who can’t lose any more ground if they are to compete for the Bundesliga title this season. Wolfsburg are a solid side, and a difficult team to play against, especially away from home. This is a vital test for coach Niko Kovac, who could be sacked if Bayern don’t manage to get the three points.