Five Games to Watch

Five Games to Watch: Top of the table clashes in Spain, Italy, France, and Sweden

Title ramifications aplenty this weekend!

 
12:19pm on Friday 4th October 2019
By
Martin Macdonald

REAL MADRID v GRANADA

In this unlikely top-of-the-table clash in the Spanish Primera Division, Zinedine Zidane's unbeaten side take on Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Andalusians have made an impressive start to the new campaign under head coach Diego Martinez, having picked up 14 points from seven games to go second. Granada defeated Barcelona, relatively comfortably, 2-0 last month, so should certainly not be taken lightly by Los Blancos, who are coming off a disappointing 2-2 draw with Club Brugge in the Champions League. The last fixture between the pair took place in 2017 before Granada were relegated and then promoted again. Madrid won 4-0 away as James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata both scored two.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Eden Hazard
BEL
F (LC)
28
4(1)
357
0(0)
0
0
1
0
1.8
3.8
0.8/0.8
-
0.8
0.3
-
-
67.8
45.6
85%
27.0
1.8
16.6
1.8
1.0
0.3
5.8
-
-
-
0
40%
-
1.3
0
0
96
Extra note text etc..

We're still, patiently, waiting on the Belgian to perform to his best in the famous white shirt of Real Madrid. Another poor performance against Club Brugge won't silence the doubters, but this would be a good time to step up.

BARCELONA v SEVILLA

In the 2018-19 Liga season, Barcelona lost three out of 38 matches on their way to lifting the title. In comparison, we are just seven matches into the new campaign and they have already lost twice, to Athletic and Granada respectively. Their saving grace in the league is that neither Real Madrid or Atletico are flying high either, making them still within two points of the top spot. Bouncing back after the loss against Granada will not be an easy feat, though, as they travel to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to take on an unpredictable Sevilla side, who made a superb start only to lose two out of their last three. They last faced each other in February as Barca won 4-2 away thanks to a hat-trick from, you guessed, Lionel Messi, with Luis Suarez scoring the other.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Luis Suárez
URY
S (C)
32
6(1)
505
5(0)
0
1
1
0
0.9
1.4
0.5/0.0
-
0.4
0.4
-
-
40.3
28.5
72%
15.0
2.3
11.4
3.0
1.8
0.7
5.2
0.4
0.2
0.2
0
29%
-
0.9
0
0
89
Extra note text etc..

With Messi not fully fit, the impetus will be Suarez to be Barcelona's main man for until his team-mate is firing again. The Uruguayan's two superb goals against Inter in the Champions League suggest he has found a bit of form.

INTER v JUVENTUS

Even though this is and has always been a historical fixture in Italian football, this is the first in many years which could have genuine Serie A title ramifications for both teams and not just Juventus. Antonio Conte has revitalised Inter since taking over, and has overseen a perfect start domestically as they have won all six matches to top the table, with Juve in second. Maurizio Sarri's charges have slipped up once in the league so far as they drew 0-0 with Fiorentina, but a win at San Siro on Sunday will see them reclaim top spot, which they have become so accustomed to. The last competitive match between the two was in April last year when Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled out a Radja Nainggolan opener to earn Juve a 1-1 draw in Milan.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Cristiano Ronaldo
PRT
F (LC)
34
6
540
3(1)
1
2
0
0
0.5
1.5
0.3/0.2
-
-
0.5
-
-
55.3
37.5
82%
18.8
0.7
12.0
5.3
2.2
1.3
5.0
0.2
-
-
0
50%
-
1.0
0
0
97
Extra note text etc..

The Portuguese was Inter's scourge last year as it was he who denied them the win in the aforementioned 1-1 draw. He is yet to fully hit the ground running this campaign, but it could happen at any time. So beware, Nerrazzurri.

PSG v ANGERS

With Lyon and Monaco both being, well, awful, and with Marseille still finding their feet under new coach Andre Villas-Boas, an unlikely pretender has emerged as an early rival for PSG for the Ligue 1 top spot - Angers. Le SCO have won five out of their opening eight games and sit two points behind the Parisiens, who have relied on the brilliance of Neymar to see them through a succession of recent 1-0 wins. Angers have a pretty terrible recent record against PSG, and lost to them last season 2-1 and 3-1. Rachid Alioui has scored in half his league games so far, so could be key to gaining a positive result, while Kylian Mbappe is in line for a PSG league start after returning from injury.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Neymar
Neym arAM (C), W (L)
BRA
AM (C), W (L)
27
4
360
3(0)
0
3
0
0
0.5
3.3
0.5/0.5
-
-
-
-
-
88.8
57.3
78%
36.5
5.5
27.0
5.5
2.3
1.3
8.0
0.8
0.8
-
0
75%
-
0.5
0
0
96
Extra note text etc..

Whether the PSG fans love him or loathe him, Neymar has been delivering in recent games. Their last three victories in Ligue 1 have all finished 1-0, and it was the Brazilian who scored the vital goal each time.

DJUGAARDEN v HAMMARBY

While other European leagues are just heating up, the Sweden Allsvenskan is getting to the business end, with 26 games played so far. In what could have huge title consequences, 1st placed Djugaarden take on 3rd placed Hammarby at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm on Sunday, with just six points separating the pair. They have already faced each other once this campaign, at the end of April, and it was Hammarby who emerged 2-1 victors thanks to goals from Nikola Djurdjic and Vidhar Kjartansson.

PLAYER TO WATCH

 
Name
Team
Nationality
Position
Age
Apps
MOM
Fouls P90
Fouled P90
Tackles Att/Won P90
Aerials Att/Won P90
Intercept P90
Clearance P90
Err Chance P90
Err Goal P90
Touches P90
Passes P90
Pass comp %
Final Third P90
Long ball P90
Poss Lost P90
Shots P90
On Target P90
Blocked P90
Touches box P90
Big chance P90
Decisive
First
Equaliser
Penalty won
Clean sheet %
Saves P90
Goals con P90
Pen con
Pen saves
Form
Muamer Tankovic
SWE
AM, M (C)
24
26
2210
15(2)
7
2
2
0
1.3
1.3
0.8/0.6
-
0.7
0.4
-
-
52.3
35.5
81%
16.6
2.8
13.0
3.2
1.3
0.5
4.6
0.1
0.1
-
0
19%
-
1.1
0
0
69
Extra note text etc..

The 24-year-old is the league's top scorer, having netted 14 times in 25 appearances. If Hammarby as to close that six-point gap, this weekend would be a good time to score again.

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