By JUSTIN FERGUSON
After an eventful transfer deadline day and a highly entertaining international break, the top leagues in Europe are back in action this weekend as the domestic seasons start to pick up steam.
While some of the other leagues lack a true marquee matchup this weekend, Serie A’s Week 3 schedule boasts one of Italy’s biggest rivalries, Juventus vs. Inter Milan. On Saturday, these two giants of Italian soccer will square off in Turin for an early-season Derby d’Italia match.
Defending league champions Juve will enter their home stadium Saturday as favorites, but they will be facing a different type of Inter squad than the one they have beaten in four out of their last five league meetings. Both Juventus and Inter Milan have started the season with back-to-back wins, and Saturday’s visitors have arguably been more impressive through the first two match weeks.
In England, the weekend’s top matchup will be at Goodison Park, where American goalkeeper Tim Howard and Everton look for their first win of the season in a home match against Chelsea. The Toffees have had a fair amount of success against Chelsea in recent years, as the Blues’ 2-1 win at Goodison last season was their first in five road matches against Everton—and Chelsea had only scored once in those earlier four visits.
Here is a closer look at the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
Arsenal fans will most likely get their first look at deadline day signing Mesut Özil on Saturday as the Gunners travel to Sunderland. Manager Arsene Wenger has not revealed if the German star midfielder, who arrives from Real Madrid, will start for Arsenal against the winless Black Cats. While Arsenal have rebounded from their opening loss to Aston Villa with four straight victories in Champions League and EPL play, Sunderland are coming off a disappointing 3-1 loss against newly promoted Crystal Palace.
Tottenham will also be in the spotlight Saturday as they take on Norwich City at White Hart Lane. Spurs’ eventful transfer window of purchases and one record-breaking sale is now over, and all the focus will be back on the field for Andre Villas-Boas’s squad. Tottenham, who lost to North London rivals Arsenal before the international break, have yet to score from open play this season, winning their other two matches, 1-0, on Roberto Soldado penalty kick goals.
Here are this weekend’s matches in the English Premier League:
Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace
Aston Villa vs. Newcastle United
Fulham vs. West Bromwich Albion
Hull City vs. Cardiff City
Stoke City vs. Manchester City
Sunderland vs. Arsenal
Tottenham vs. Norwich City
Everton vs. Chelsea
Southampton vs. West Ham United
Two of the four 3-0-0 sides in La Liga will battle it out Saturday, when Villarreal host Real Madrid. Newly promoted Villarreal posted two thrilling comeback victories before a dominating shutout of Osasuna two weeks ago. Their perfect return to Spain’s top division will be put under extreme pressure this weekend as Real Madrid, fresh off their world-record signing of Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, look for another win ahead of their first Champions League group stage match next week.
Defending champions Barcelona are on top of the league table through the first three weekends of the season, and they will be back at Camp Nou on Saturday for a match against winless Sevilla. In their last league match at home, Barcelona scored seven goals on Levante. Sevilla are routinely a top-half side in La Liga, but the sales of several key players and frustrations from those still at the club could be the start of a very long season for Unai Emery and his players.
Here are this weekend’s matches in La Liga:
Atletico Madrid vs. Almeria
Levante vs. Real Sociedad
Barcelona vs. Sevilla
Villarreal vs. Real Madrid
Granada vs. Espanyol
Getafe vs. Osasuna
Malaga vs. Rayo Vallecano
Real Betis vs. Valencia
First-place Borussia Dortmund are eying another win to add to their perfect start to the Bundesliga campaign, and they will be favorites at home against Hamburg this Saturday. While rivals Bayern Munich were forced to share points during their last league match, Dortmund took full advantage with another close win against Eintracht Frankfurt. Dortmund have won their last three matches by one goal each, and their defense will face a tough test from rising Hamburg, who are coming off a 4-0 win against Eintracht Braunschweig.
Bayern Munich won the UEFA Super Cup before the international break, and they will be looking to get back on track in the Bundesliga with a win before the start of their Champions League title defense. Manager Pep Guardiola’s side will host Hannover 96, who have won back-to-back matches against Schalke 04 and Mainz. Hannover had two awful performances against the league champions last season, as Bayern outscored them 11-1 in their dominating run to the title.
Here are this weekend’s matches in the Bundesliga:
Hertha Berlin vs. Stuttgart
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Wolfsburg
Bayern Munich vs. Hannover 96
Augsburg vs. Freiburg
Mainz vs. Schalke 04
Werder Bremen vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Borussia Dortmund vs. Hamburg
Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
Eintracht Braunschweig vs. Nurnberg
While Juventus and Inter square off Saturday, the other two clubs from Torino and Milan will also face each other in Serie A action. Both AC Milan and Torino have one win and one loss from the first two weekends of the season, but the Rossoneri are coming into this match at San Siro with the momentum. Milan finished off PSV in Champions League playoff action and defeated Cagliari before the break while Torino were beaten by a second-half charge from Atalanta.
Napoli are on top of the Serie A table through their first two matches, and Rafa Benitez’s men will have to play well to keep their place at the top intact through this weekend. Before their midweek visit from Borussia Dortmund in Champions League play, Napoli host Atalanta, a side that has given them real trouble in the past. Napoli snapped a winless run against Atalanta at the end of last season on a late Goran Pandev goal—a strike that helped maintain their hold on second place in the league during Milan’s late charge up the table.
Here are this weekend’s matches in Serie A:
Inter Milan vs. Juventus
Napoli vs. Atalanta
Torino vs. AC Milan
Fiorentina vs. Cagliari
Hellas Verona vs. Sassuolo
Lazio vs. Chievo Verona
Livorno vs. Catania
Udinese vs. Bologna
Sampdoria vs. Genoa
Before they return to the Parc des Princes for a massive clash with AS Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain will kick off a road trip with a Friday league match. The Parisians travel to face Olimpiakos after their visit to Bordeaux, who held them to just one goal in their two meetings last season. The 2013 Coupe de France champions are tough defensively, and they have a good chance at handing the defending Ligue 1 champions their first loss of the season.
Monaco are the only other undefeated side in the league, and they will be at home this weekend to take on Lorient. The newly promoted big spenders pulled off a 2-1 comeback victory over traditional power Marseille the last time they were in action. Emmanuel Riviere and Radamel Falcao have been on fire for Monaco in their first four matches, scoring all eight of the club’s goals.
Here are this weekend’s matches in Ligue 1:
Bordeaux vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Toulouse vs. Marseille
Ajaccio vs. Evian Thonon Gaillard
Guingamp vs. Bastia
Montpellier vs. Stade de Reims
Nantes vs. Sochaux
Valenciennes vs. Saint Etienne
AS Monaco vs. Lorient
Lille vs. Nice
Lyon vs. Stade Rennes
Which European matches are you looking forward to the most this weekend? Think Inter Milan can get a result at rival Juventus? See another draw for Everton? Excited to see Özil’s debut for Arsenal?
Share your thoughts below.