If you sat through the multitude of goalless draws around the international break, you’re probably chomping at the bit for club football to return. Well it’s back with a bang across Europe this weekend and in particular there are four big derbies to get the juices flowing.
We all love grudge matches: Tension, atmosphere and if we’re lucky, a glut of goals. There’s normally some intriguing sub plots going on and stand out facts galore, so we’ve put our stats hat on. Enjoy!
Arsenal v Tottenham
We start off with the first Premier League fixture since the break and it’s the return of the North London derby. The tides have somewhat shifted with Spurs currently enjoying a greater league position than their rivals and the Lilywhites finished above the Gunners for the first time in the 21st century last season. But for all that, they haven’t won a trophy in nine years and despite Arsenal’s Premier League struggles they’ve bagged three FA Cups in four years.
There’s almost a guarantee of goals in this one, you have to go back to 2009 for the last goalless draw and all the way back to 1998 for the last 0-0 when Arsenal have been at home. That’s 44 out of 46 games where there has been at least a goal. The last three derbies at the Emirates have been 1-1 so it may be another stalemate on Saturday.
Roma v Lazio
The Derby Della Capitale is always an incredible spectacle but there’s even more riding on it than normal this season as both teams have dreams of the Serie A title. It’s fourth v fifth in the league and a defeat for either team would be a major setback.
Roma have the upper hand in the all-time standings but modern history could favour the team in Sky Blue and White: Not only are they on a current six game winning streak, they also beat their arch-rivals in the Coppa Italia last season and won their ‘away’ fixture in April. The team that has scored first in league derbies haven’t lost in five years, so that first goal will be crucial.
İstanbul Başakşehir v Galatasaray
It might not have the gravitas of a battle between the traditional Turkish powerhouses, but new kids on the block Istanbul are making seismic waves by starting to consistently challenge for the Super Lig. Runners up last year, they are currently three points behind their opponents on Saturday who sit top of the table.
Istanbul have not lost in 27 home games and will definitely fancy their chances after reminding themselves of the 4-0 thumping they gave Gala back in April at the Fatih Terim stadium. It’s a relatively new fixture this, with just 17 games between the two before Saturday. But it’s a game that gets bigger and bigger with each new meeting.
Atlético Madrid v Real Madrid
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. That probably explains why these two hate each other so much. They’ve met 12 times since 2015 and although Real have only won three of these in regulation, they did break Atleti hearts twice in the Champions League final.
This will be the first derby at their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium and it will be interesting to see if the home crowd will be able to create the atmosphere that occurred at the old Vincete Calderon Stadium. One thing is for sure though, Diego Simeone’s side will not wilt: they have not conceded three goals in a La Liga game since November 2016 when they were… at home to Real Madrid.