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Five Games to Watch: Manchester Derby, and the Prague Derby!
Five Games to Watch

Five Games to Watch: Manchester Derby, and the Prague Derby!

Plus Serie A and Liga fixtures with Champions League qualification connotations

 
11:18am on Saturday 7th March 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

MANCHESTER UNITED v MANCHESTER CITY

Sunday 8th March, 1630 GMT

Man City currently find themselves in a bit of purgatory situation in the Premier League as they have no way of catching Liverpool in the championship race, but are seven points clear of Leicester in third with a game in hand.

As such, there is more riding on this one for Man Utd as they continue their desperate pursuit to return to the Champions League. After four games without defeat, the Red Devils are three points adrift of Chelsea in fourth - the team they impressively beat 2-0 at Stamford Bridge a couple of weeks ago.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men put in what has probably been their best performance of the campaign in the last league fixture against City as they went to the Etihad and won 2-1 after goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

However, since then City beat them 3-1 at Old Trafford in the League Cup, which is where Sunday's fixture takes place.

PLAYER TO WATCH

31 yrs - S (C) - Man City
95
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1342
Played matches
21
16
3
Shots P90
4.83
Shots On target P90
1.81
Successful passing %
81%
Final third passes P90
12.07

After being surprisingly dropped for the Champions League game versus Real Madrid, Sergio Aguero has scored two goals in two games including the match winner during the week against Sheffield Wednesday tp put City through in the FA Cup.

Atalanta v Lazio" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/serie-a-Atalanta-bc-ss-Lazio/preview/1744846">

Atalanta v Lazio

Saturday 7th March, 1700 GMT

Unfortunately, until the outbreak of the coronavirus subsides in Italy, there will be speculation as to whether Serie A games will take place behind closed doors, or even take place at all.

Should this one go ahead, though, then we are in for a cracker.

Without putting the commentator's curse on proceedings, there should be goals in this one as Atalanta and Lazio are the two biggest scorers in the league with 70 goals and 60 goals respectively. Seven of those for Atalanta came in their last fixture as they destroyed Lecce 7-2.

The Biancocelesti, meanwhile, continued their 21-match unbeaten run in the league after beating Bologna 2-0 - a result which put them top of the league, with Inter and Juventus still having games in hand, though.

The last game between Atalanta and Lazio was a cracking affair which ended 3-3, with the latter coming back from three goals down to earn the draw.

PLAYER TO WATCH

30 yrs - ST (C) - Lazio
91
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
2186
Played matches
26
27
7
Shots P90
4.16
Shots On target P90
2.06
Successful passing %
76%
Final third passes P90
13.50

In that 3-3 draw, Lazio had to rely on a double, including a last-minute equaliser, from Ciro Immobile to earn the point. Atalanta probably enjoy better teamwork than Lazio, but Immobile is undoubtedly the biggest match winner on the pitch.

SLAVIA PRAGUE v SPARTA PRAGUE

Sunday 8th March, 1600 GMT

The biggest fixture in the Czech Republic takes place this weekend as Slavia Prague host Sparta Prague in the Prague derby.

After 23 matches so far in the Czech First League, Slavia are in pole position to claim the championship as they are 10 points clear of second placed Viktoria Plzen. Sparta are on an awful run of just two victories out of their last eight which has went across the winter break.

Slavia have dominated the recent fixtures in the derby, winning the last three 3-0, 2-1, and 3-0, with the last scoreline coming in the Czech Cup.

Indeed, Sparta haven't defeated their city rivals in four years.

PLAYER TO WATCH

29 yrs - AM, M (C) - Sparta Praha
53
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1697
Played matches
20
Won matches
8
3
10
10
10
10

Guelor Kanga may not be in particularly good form at the moment, having not scored since December, but he remains joint top scorer in the league with 10 goals. What a time it would be to reclaim his form on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid v SEVILLA" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/primera-division-club-atletico-de-madrid-sevilla-fc/preview/1696634">

Atletico Madrid v SEVILLA

Saturday 7th March, 1500 GMT

Atletico Madrid proved against Liverpool that they have still got the nack to turn up in big matches, and they have another one to turn up to in this week as they face Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano.

This one could certainly have consequences as to who qualifies for next season's Champions League as Atletico are in fifth, two points behind Sevilla in third, with Getafe sandwiched in between.

Unfortunately for Atleti, they are simply drawing far too many games, as they have actually won as many as they have drawn this season (11).

All the signs point to this being a tight affair, as each of the last three games between the pair have ended 1-1.

Los Colchoneros also have the small matter of the return leg against Liverpool coming up, too, so will that be playing on their minds?

PLAYER TO WATCH

22 yrs - S (C) - Sevilla FC
79
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1677
Played matches
24
7
2
Shots P90
2.84
Shots On target P90
1.13
Successful passing %
58%
Final third passes P90
7.67

Youssef En-Nesyri scored two in the recent 3-2 victory against Osasuna and finally looks to be finding his feet at Sevilla after signing from Leganes in January.

Dortmund" href="https://www.footballcritic.com/Bundesliga-borussia-monchengladbach-bv-borussia-09-Dortmund/preview/1669703">

GLADBACH v Dortmund

Saturday 7th March, 1730 GMT

The Bundesliga remains a four horse race as any team from Bayern, RB Leipzig, Dortmund, and Gladbach could conceivably by crowned champions at the end of the campaign.

The teams currently third and fourth, Dortmund and Gladbach, face off in a potentially cracking encounter this weekend, with the latter able to go above BVB should they claim all three points.

Since the dramatic 4-3 loss against Leverkusen, Dortmund have won four games in a row including the superb victory against PSG in the Champions League.

Gladbach's recent record in this fixture is poor, as they haven't defeated Dortmund in five years in a run which stretches over 10 games.

They have already faced each other twice this season, with Lucien Favre's side winning 1-0 in the league and then eliminating Gladbach from the DFB-Pokal with a 2-1 win a few days later.

PLAYER TO WATCH

19 yrs - S (C) - Dortmund
90
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
422
Played matches
7
9
0
Shots P90
3.63
Shots On target P90
2.56
Successful passing %
71%
Final third passes P90
8.32

Erling Haaland has scored nine goals in seven Bundesliga appearances since moving to Dortmund in January. After being rested on the bench from the start against Freiburg, he'll be hungry to get back among the goals should he start this one.

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