By RYAN TOLMICH
Domestic leagues make their triumphant return this weekend, with the English Premier League leading the way with a clash of top four hopefuls.
Manchester City, unbeaten in their last four games, take on Tottenham, who conceded 11 goals to the reigning champions in the pair’s meetings last season. Meanwhile, Chelsea, who have surged to six wins in their opening seven games, travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.
Serie A also boasts a meeting of two of the league’s traditional powers as Napoli and Inter look to rebound from lackluster starts to their seasons.
In addition, Barcelona look to increase their lead atop La Liga against the surprising Eibar, Borussia Dortmund attempt to stop their skid in a matchup with Cologne and Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Marseille take on Toulouse.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
After a two week break, Manchester City and Tottenham are set to kickoff the Premier League’s return to action.
Man City enter the weekend with a short-staffed midfield due to injuries to Fernandinho and Samir Nasri. Midfielder Yaya Toure is also questionable due to his participation in recent international contests. Meanwhile, Tottenham may need to turn to backup goalkeepersMichael Vorm as starter Hugo Lloris recovers from a thigh injury.
Meanwhile, Chelsea look to pick up the team’s seventh win in eight games when they take on underdogs Crystal Palace, who topped Chelsea 1-0 last season. Palace’s upset chances could receive a boost from the absence of Diego Costa, whose status is uncertain due to a hamstring injury.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s Premier League action:
Manchester City vs. Tottenham
Arsenal vs. Hull City
Burnley vs. West Ham
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea
Everton vs. Aston Villa
Newcastle vs. Leicester City
Southampton vs. Sunderland
Queens Park Rangers vs. Liverpool
Stoke City vs. Swansea City
Despite disapointing starts to their 2014-15 campaigns, Napoli and Inter have a chance to add some life to their seasons when the two traditional powerhouses collide Sunday.
Napoli and Inter enter the weekend in seventh and 10th, respectively, with each team having slumped to two losses in their first six games. Napoli enter the weekend with the benefit of momentum, having picked up two straight wins, while Inter enter off of drubbings at the hands of Fiorentina and Cagliari.
Juventus, on the other hand, will look to continue their run atop the table going when they take on last-place Sassuolo. The reigning champions have allowed just two goals all season, both last time out against Roma, and remain unblemished on the young season.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s Serie A action:
Roma vs. Chievo Verona
Sassuolo vs. Juventus
Fiorentina vs. Lazio
Atalanta vs. Parma
Cagliari vs. Sampdoria
Hellas Verona vs. Milan
Palermo vs. Cesena
Torino vs. Udinese
Inter Milan vs. Napoli
In a matchup of perennial power versus surprising upstart, Barcelona takes on Eibar at the Camp Nou.
Eibar, who earned direct promotion to La Liga for the first time in the club’s history last season, have fared well thus far in their first campaign in the top flight. Eibar currently sit in ninth place, but face a task of a whole new level when they visit Barcelona, who will be playing their last league game without the suspended Luis Suarez.
The two Madrid sides are also in action this weekend, as Real Madrid visits Levante and Atletico Madrid hosts Espanyol.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s La Liga action:
Levante vs. Real Madrid
Athletic Bilbao vs. Celta Vigo
Barcelona vs. Eibar
Cordoba vs. Malaga
Atletico Madrid vs. Espanyol
Deportivo La Coruna vs. Valencia
Elche vs. Sevilla
Villareal vs. Almeria
Borussia Dortmund’s season-starting slump is threatening to derail the club’s season before it even gets going.
Having lost four of their first seven games, BVB already sit 10 points behind leaders Bayern Munich, whose run atop the Bundesliga looks set to continue. If BVB are set to have any hope of climbing back into the race, the club will need to start racking up points, starting this weekend against Cologne.
Meanwhile, Bayern, who have picked up 17 points from the opening seven games, take on last place Werder Bremen.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Bayern Munich vs. Werder Bremen
Mainz vs. Augsburg
Hannover vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
Freiburg vs. Wolfsburg
Stuttgart vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Cologne vs. Borussia Dortmund
Schalke vs. Hertha Berlin
Hamburg vs. Hoffenheim
Paderborn vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Olympique Marseillie are running rampant through Ligue 1.
After picking up a loss and draw in their opening two games, Marseille have won seven straight to surge to the top of the league table. Having already amassed a five point lead, Marseille will look to increase that advantage Sunday against eighth-place Toulouse.
Second-place Bordeaux will also see action this weekend in a matchup with Caen, who have picked up just eight points from their first nine games.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Lorient vs. Saint-Etienne
Lille vs. Guingamp
Metz vs. Rennes
Monaco vs. Evian
Nantes vs. Reims
Nice vs. Bastia
Olympique Marseille vs. Toulouse
Bordeaux vs. Caen
Montpellier vs. Olympique Lyon
What games stand out to you this weekend? See any upsets on the horizon?
Share your thoughts below.