Football Across Europe: September 30 | Chelsea & City Battle in London

Premier League (England)

Matchday 7 in the English Premier League all centers around one marquee matchup that promises to have far-reaching implications: Chelsea’s hosting of league leaders Manchester City. While City have won their last three league bouts by a combined 16 goals, the Blues have found their stride as well and could push their way into the forefront with three points. Tottenham, Arsenal, and Liverpool are all coming off wins, but should be desperate to regain ground in the table. Injury-riddled Manchester United still sit in second with five straight wins in all competitions. Let’s take a close look into all the big matches:

Chelsea vs. Manchester City: Chelsea have a golden chance to force their way back into the thick of the EPL title chase when Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge in one of the biggest matches of the season. The Blues have rebounded in full from a disastrous start, getting 13 points out of their last potential 15 with Alvaro Morata firing on all cylinders and Eden Hazard back to full fitness. Antonio Conte’s men looked to be in huge trouble in their quest for a repeat, but suddenly appear as the biggest threats to the two Manchester clubs. As for City, they have appeared unstoppable in recent weeks but could be without Sergio Agüero for up to two months after he suffered broken ribs in a car accident. Will Gabriel Jesus be able to raise his game enough to keep City scoring and become even bigger title favorites?

Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace: With 16 points from 18, Manchester United are on quite a run of form to open the season. They have five wins from their last five matches in all competitions and welcome the struggling Crystal Palace to Old Trafford on Saturday. The Eagles made a change at the helm, but were the latest victims of the Manchester City buzz saw last weekend, losing 0-5. Romelu Lukaku continues to score for United, though they will likely be without Anthony Martial, who suffered an injury in the Champions League midweek and will join Paul Pogba on the injury report. Still, an upset in this match would certainly be quite a story.

Huddersfield Town vs. Tottenham: Huddersfield Town have become the darlings of the Premier League with a shock early season run to eighth, but a result at home to Tottenham would turn heads all across England. The Terriers did well to even achieve promotion and secured seven points through their first three games, but have since fallen somewhat back down to earth. Meanwhile, Spurs have seen a mixed bag of EPL results with convincing wins followed thereafter by frustrating draws. Harry Kane, Dele Alli and crew still sit fourth in the table, but they could take a serious tumble should they fail to take care of business in West Yorkshire.

Newcastle vs. Liverpool: Liverpool returned to winning ways last weekend away to Leicester, then traveled all the way to Moscow midweek for a Champions League match which saw them frustrated and settling for a draw. On Sunday, they travel to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United and former Reds manager Rafa Benítez. After a slow start, it had been three straight league wins for the Magpies before a 0-1 stumble away to Brighton last weekend. Sadio Mané is free to return for Liverpool following his three match ban and will likely lead the attack. Philippe Coutinho, who scored last weekend and in Moscow, will also likely feature.

La Liga (Spain)

Real Madrid vs. Espanyol: It may be early, but Real Madrid are in a very uncharacteristic spot in the La Liga table as they enter a home affair with Espanyol. Los Blancos currently sit sixth in the league, some seven points shy of Barcelona and behind teams like Valencia and Real Betis. Cristiano Ronaldo has just recently returned from suspension, so he will have to get on a hot streak with the likes of Isco and Gareth Bale to bring Madrid back into contention to defend their title. Meanwhile, Espanyol have seven points in their last three games following a drubbing to Barcelona and look to further spoil the Spanish giant’s domestic campaign.

Barcelona vs. Las Palmas: For all the gloom and doom of Barcelona‘s summer, they’ve seen a peerless start to their La Liga campaign with six wins in six matches. They look to keep that going in a Sunday bout with Las Palmas at the Camp Nou. While new addition Ousmane Dembele remains out with a long-term injury, the usual suspects Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are carrying La Blaugrana to victory after victory. Messi not only leads La Liga in goals, but his nine on the season are already four more than anyone else. Las Palmas have two wins in six matches, and need all the results they can to avoid the relegation zone.

Serie A (Italy)

AC Milan vs. Roma: AC Milan welcome October and Roma to the San Siro on Sunday for a clash of iconic Italian football clubs. While it is Napoli and Juventus seemingly unstoppable in the early going in the Serie A table, these two clubs are level on points and will be looking to distance themselves from the other. For Milan, it was a 0-2 stumble last weekend to Sampdoria before recording a 3-2 win in the Europa League on Thursday over Croatian side Rijeka. Roma have won their last three league matches by a combined scoreline of 10-1 and will be looking to stay hot in Milan.

Bundesliga (Germany)

Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich: If their 2-2 draw last Friday in the league to Wolfsburg didn’t lead to some frustration for the Bavarian giants Bayern Munich, the 0-3 drubbing midweek at the hands of PSG in the Champions League most certainly did. They will have to try to rebound on the road, visiting Hertha in Berlin on Sunday. Hertha has five points from their last five Bundesliga matches after winning to open the season. They will need to hope that Bayern Munich’s funk continues for at least one more match.