Another weekend of domestic matches across the continent is upon us after an exciting bunch of mid-week European games in the Champions League and Europa League.
A clash between two of England’s most historic clubs will take centre stage on Sunday when Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford. Premier League newcomers Leeds United, who have thrived since their promotion, meet with Leicester City, which is sure to be a fun-filled match as well.
Over in Ligue 1, Lyon and Lille clash, with the latter having gone undefeated through eight matches this term. In Italy, Napoli and Sassuolo will play one another as both sides have been a pleasant surprise so far this season, tied for second place in Serie A. Lastly in the Bundesliga, league-leaders RB Leipzig will look to continue their perfect start as they visit Borussia Monchengladbach.
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Manchester United vs Arsenal
Lots of history exists between these two sides and without a doubt, it should be an intriguing fixture.
United enter Sunday’s clash in their best form of the season thus far, going unbeaten in four matches across all competitions. Wednesday saw the Red Devils destroy RB Leipzig 5-0 in the group stage of the Champions League behind Marcus Rashford’s hat-trick. Then last weekend in England, they played to a scoreless draw with Chelsea. Prior, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men grabbed victories against PSG in Europe and Newcastle in domestic play.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 28, 2020
They’ve conceded just one goal during this span and have looked a lot more put together in all areas of the pitch. After winning just once in their first four league matches, Manchester United have looked to hit a turning point. Rashford is in wonderful form and the addition of Edinson Cavani up top should give them some necessary depth when needed. Nevertheless, they’re still 2-1-2 and 15th in the Premier League table, so three points will be crucial this weekend at home.
Arsenal had a busy summer where they brought in several reinforcements such as centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes and midfielder Thomas Partey, but they’re definitely not where Mikel Arteta would like them to be. The Gunners are coming off two straight defeats in England against Leicester City and Manchester City, but on a positive note, they were both 1-0 losses. Goals have been few and far between for Arsenal, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring just once so far this season. But, Alexandre Lacazette looks to have found his form in the final third, already netting three times.
A convincing 3-0 win over Irish outfit Dundalk in Europa on Thursday should give Arteta’s squad a sense of confidence heading into his huge clash against an in-form United side. Tough meetings against Aston Villa and Leeds follow so it will be important for Arsenal to try and grab at least a point this weekend as they sit in 11th place with a 3-0-3 record.
The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last 13 outings against Arsenal on home soil, dating back to 2006. But, the hosts are winless in their first three matches at Old Trafford this term.
Leeds United vs Leicester City
Leicester City will get their first look at Leeds on Monday when Marcelo Bielsa’s side welcome the Foxes to Elland Road.
The Peacocks have been a breath of fresh air this season, sitting in sixth place currently. Their possession-heavy, attacking style of play has seen them beat the likes of Aston Villa, Fulham, and Sheffield United. They also gave Liverpool a serious run for their money on Matchday one, losing 4-3 in a goal-filled thriller. Along the way, Bielsa’s men also tied Manchester City in a hard-fought clash.
🤩 This man! This team! pic.twitter.com/zomR4ccuLe
— Leeds United (@LUFC) October 23, 2020
Leeds have been arguably the most exciting team to watch in the Premier League this season. Every player on the pitch has a tremendous work rate and they do a great job of stringing together short, compact passes as they move into the final third. Last weekend, they handed Villa their first defeat, beating the Lions 3-0 thanks to Patrick Bamford’s hat-trick, giving him six goals on the season and putting him third in the goal-scoring race. Leicester City will undoubtedly have their work cut out for them.
Brendan Rodgers’ men have enjoyed a productive start to the campaign, currently sitting in fourth spot. Jamie Vardy has continued to bag goals at a high rate, scoring six times already. Leicester beat Arsenal last weekend 1-0, thanks to a world-class ball from Youri Tielemans to set Cengiz Under free, who crossed a perfect ball onto Vardy’s head for the winner. Under, who is on loan from Roma, has already looked to be a valuable signing for the Foxes, giving them another pacey winger on the right who can assist and score goals.
There are concerns as to how Leicester’s backline will hold up with the absence of centre-back Caglar Soyuncu who is out indefinitely with a groin injury. But so far, 19-year old Frenchman Wesley Fofana has filled in nicely for the Turkish international, playing the full 90 minutes in their last four matches across all competitions. Leicester has won three straight coming into this clash with Leeds after their two Europa League victories against Zorya Luhansk last week, then AEK Athens on Thursday.
Lille vs Lyon
Ligue 1 table-toppers Lille will be looking to continue their dominance when they host last year’s Champions League semifinalists, Lyon.
Christophe Galtier’s side has started off the season with a bang, winning five of their first eight matches, while tying three times. Lille is currently on an eleven-game unbeaten streak in league play dating back to last term, the longest current run of any side in Ligue 1.They’ve scored 14 goals and conceded just three, a testament to how reliable their backline has been. Jonathan Bamba has scored three goals and assisted another four, while Burak Yilmaz has netted three times as well.
8 – Lille are unbeaten after 8 games of a Ligue 1 season for the 3rd time ever:
2020/21 – W5 D3
2010/11 – W3 D5, 1st at the end of the season
2001/02 – W5 D3, 5th at the end of the season
Each of the last 7 teams unbeaten at this stage ended on the podium
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) October 26, 2020
Lille have had Lyon’s number in recent memory, going unbeaten in their last seven appearances against them. The visitors have also won just once in twelve games dating back to 2016 on the road against Lille.
Lyon also enters this match in fine form. They haven’t lost since mid-September, a span of five matches. Rudi Garcia’s men have grabbed two straight victories after their 4-1 routing of Monaco last weekend. Memphis Depay has been lethal in front of goal, already scoring five times.
With a vibrant attack also consisting of Karl Toko Ekambi, Moussa Dembele, and Houssem Aouar, Lyon is full of boatloads of talent who can hurt their opponents in a number of ways. This will be arguably Lille’s toughest fixture yet this season, so this should be a very entertaining clash as Lyon look to play spoiler and break Lille’s impressive streak.
Napoli vs Sassuolo
These two sides enter this match in good form, currently tied for second place. Surprisingly, even ahead of both Juventus and Inter Milan in the latest Serie A table.
Napoli looked to be improving towards the end of last season under Gennaro Gattuso. This term, they’ve brought it up another level, currently playing wonderful football. They’ve lost just once in league play on Matchday three to Juventus, but other than that, Napoli have dominated their Serie A opponents.
The Blues have scored 14 goals in just five domestic matches and conceded just once per game. They even ran riot of a high-flying Atalanta side who were unbeaten, burying them 4-1 two weeks ago. Mexican Hirving Lozano is off to a hot start, already bagging four goals. The likes of Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne have also provided moments of brilliance in the final third with a couple of goals each.
💪 | 4️⃣ matches 4️⃣ wins
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) October 25, 2020
Sassuolo, who finished in eighth last season, find themselves two points off league leaders AC Milan. They’ve scored more goals than any other team in Italy, with striker Francesco Caputo already finding the back of the net five times.
However, Sassuolo hasn’t really faced any tough opponents yet as Napoli will be their first real test. They’re coming off a 3-3 draw with bottom of the table Torino last weekend and will be looking for just their second victory in the last 14 matches against Napoli. The hosts however, will be hungry to hand Sassuolo their first defeat of the 2020/21 season.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs RB Leipzig
Gladbach welcomes top of the table, RB Leipzig, to Borussia-Park in what should be a tasty fixture.
Borussia isn’t off to the best start, currently in sixth place in the Bundesliga table with a 2-2-1 record. They will have their work cut out for them on Sunday as they’ve never beat Leipzig in a competitive match. Their attacking duo of Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea, who combined for 20 league goals last term, have scored just a goal each so far.
On a positive note though, Monchengladbach is in the Champions League after finishing in fourth last season. In their first two group stage matches, they tied two quality sides in Inter Milan and Real Madrid by 2-2 scorelines. Having gone unbeaten in their last six matches across Germany and Europe, there will be a sense of hope that Gladbach can find a positive result against Leipzig.
🎙️ #Rose: "You never know what you come up against with @RBLeipzig_EN, whether they will play a back-three or four. Leipzig have stepped up their game in many regards under Julian Nagelsmann, particularly on the counterpress."#DieFohlen #BMGRBL pic.twitter.com/0KGeJScPn5
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) October 29, 2020
Leipzig has run riot in Germany, currently 4-1-0. With such a great record of success against Borussia Monchengladbach, they will be heading into this fixture with tons of confidence. After a 5-0 defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday in the Champions League, Julian Nagelsmann’s side will be eager to get back to their winning ways as well after an embarrassing performance.
Aside from this loss, Leipzig’s backline has looked brilliant in league play, conceding only three times. Their attack meanwhile, has received contributions from many different players, with Emil Forsberg and Yussuf Poulsen leading the line with two goals each. Leipzig hasn’t played any of the big boys like Dortmund or Bayern Munich yet, so it’ll be important to get victories in these matches where they’re the clear favourite.