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This weekend we return to domestic action across Europe’s major leagues, following the Champions League taking centre stage mid-week. We begin with a Friday night match, as current Ligue 1 champions Monaco play host to mid-table Montpellier. Despite having their squad torn apart by Europe’s elite this summer, Monaco have started the season well, with 6 wins from the opening 7 games. To coincide with that, forgotten man Radamel Falcao has rediscovered the type of form that made him one of the world’s most sort after strikers, with 11 goals in the league already this season! Montpellier on the other hand have just 2 victories from their first matches, whilst only scoring 4 goals and with that in mind, should find the trip to the principality extremely challenging.
Elsewhere in France, PSG take on third place Bordeaux after comfortably despatching Bavarian giants, Bayern Munich, in the Champions League last night. Both of these sides are undefeated in the league this season and therefore, this could well prove to be PSG’s toughest domestic test as of yet. That being said, PSG look like they’ve stepped up a gear this year and the additions of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have surely almost ensured that the Ligue 1 title is wrestled back from Monaco at the first attempt.
Moving over to Spain now and we see high-flying Barcelona welcome Las Palmas to the Nou Camp, as they look to maintain their 100% start to the season. The Catalonians have recorded 6 wins from their opening 6 matches in La Liga this season, whilst notching 20 goals and conceding only 2! Many wondered whether the sale of Neymar would hinder their progress, particularly as they lost out both domestically and in Europe to rivals Real Madrid last season, however, at present, it looks to have had a zero effect on results. Las Palmas have had a relatively understated start to the season, picking up just 2 wins from 6, one of which was against lowly Malaga who themselves have just on1 point this season. Having eventually avoided relegation by 8 points last season, the Canarian outfit would have been looking for progress and perhaps a mid-table finish this year, but as things stand, it looks like another difficult campaign for Pako Ayestaran’s men.
Finally this week, Real Madrid play host to Barcelona’s Catalonian rivals, Espanyol, as they welcome the former Watford manager, Quique Sanchez Flores and his men to the Bernabéu. Having only managed 3 wins from their opening 6 league matches, Real appear to be saving their best form for the Champions League, having comfortably beaten Borussia Dortmund 3-1 earlier this week and therefore cannot afford anything other than 3 points this weekend if they want to keep up with Barcelona. Despite his aging legs, Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be ever more important for Real, as it’s whilst he’s been banned domestically that they’ve struggled for form. The Portugal captain returned last weekend at Alaves, hitting the woodwork twice and also has 4 goals in 2 games in the Champions League already. The key for Quique Sanchez Flores here will be to nullify Ronaldo and then he may well be half way to getting something tangible from this match.
Some key highlights are outlined below:
|29/09/2017||19:45||Soccer||Ligue 1||Monaco v Montpellier|
|30/09/2017||14:30||Soccer||German Bundesliga||FC Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund|
|30/09/2017||16:00||Soccer||Ligue 1||PSG v Bordeaux|
|30/09/2017||19:45||Soccer||Primera División||Leganés v Atlético Madrid|
|01/10/2017||14:30||Soccer||German Bundesliga||Hertha Berlin v FC Bayern Munchen|
|01/10/2017||17:00||Soccer||German Bundesliga||1. FC Koln v RB Leipzig|
|01/10/2017||17:00||Soccer||Italian Serie A||AC Milan v AS Roma|
|01/10/2017||19:45||Soccer||Italian Serie A||Atalanta v Juventus|
|01/10/2017||14:00||Soccer||Italian Serie A||Benevento v Inter|
|01/10/2017||20:00||Soccer||Ligue 1||Nice v Olympique Marseille|
|01/10/2017||15:15||Soccer||Primera División||Barcelona v Las Palmas|
|01/10/2017||17:30||Soccer||Primera División||Valencia v Athletic Club|
|01/10/2017||19:45||Soccer||Primera División||Real Madrid v Espanyol|