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Dec 5, 2019, 8:30:00 AM

A fiery-hot Manchester derby headlines this weekend’s football pageant provides its inputs on the top-notch fixtures which headline this weekend’s domestic schedule across Europe.

A revitalized Manchester United travel a few miles to the Etihad Stadium for the 45th Manchester derby in the Premier League against current holders Manchester City. The Red Devils, sixth on the points table, have lost 10 of the past 16 league derbies and are likely to extend the record on Saturday. City returned to winning ways at Burnley and start as the odds-on favourite in the home fixture.

Liverpool, who maintained their eight-point lead in the title race with a 5-2 derby win against Everton at Goodison Park, travel to Dean Court to take on Bournemouth. Top-four duo Leicester City and Chelsea are well-placed to collect three points from their trips to Aston Villa and Everton. Tottenham and Arsenal, meanwhile, might stumble against Burnley and West Ham respectively as Watford could falter once again in the league, this time against Crystal Palace.

In the Bundesliga, hostilities will be renewed at the Borussia-Park when table-toppers Monchengladbach cross swords with reigning champions Bayern Munich. The Foals lead the Bavarians on the points table for the first time since 1997, although, the record 29-time German Championship winners will take away the bragging rights from the contest. Julian Nagelsmann hosts former employers Hoffenheim at the Red Bull Arena, and the 32-year-old Leipzig is gunning for a win to stay in pursuit of leaders Monchengladbach.

The Serie A gears up for two blockbusters fixtures as Inter Milan square off against AS Roma and Juventus take the road to Lazio for a top-half clash. Inter, under the tutelage of Antonio Conte, will have the upper hand in this fixture based on the output this season. However, as Roma have won four of the last five games, scoring thrice in each, the Nerazzurri must certainly not drop their guard against the Giallorossi.

Juventus, a point below leaders Inter in the title race, take on a nine-game unbeaten Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico. While they have a tough task at hand to preserve their unbeaten status, the Bianconeri are tipped to extend their current count to 15 games without a loss.

La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid look to continue their neck-in-neck battle for the top spot, with convincing victories over Mallorca and Espanyol at home. The most decorated clubs in Spanish football history are equal on points at the summit of La Liga and aim to avoid any setback this weekend, given the 'El Clasico' is almost upon us.

Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain look to prolong their ascendancy in Ligue 1 with an easy result at Montpellier. Neymar’s second-half penalty goal against Nantes was his first league goal since October 5, is expected to feature on the scoresheet yet again and help PSG maintain their five-point advantage over Marseille. Second-placed Marseille got the better of Angers on matchday 16 and gear up for a tricky contest against Bordeaux. Upon closer inspection of either side’s form guide, we believe a drama-filled stalemate is on the cards.

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Words: William Paul

Images: PA