Sometimes the game is about the key to the city, somewhere on the football field it is a clash of different religions or a historically rooted class struggle. Well, somewhere they just hate guys from neighboring villages and yell at each other with clenched fists and mouths covered in mustard. Football derby. You won’t find a bigger rivalry in the sports world. And this Saturday there will be quite a few of them.
1:30 p.m Old Firm derby, Celtic – Rangers
As much as the average football fan spoiled by the Champions League or the hits in the top European leagues leaves the Scottish league cold, several times a year his attention is directed towards the harsh north of the British Isles. The derby between Celtic and Rangers far surpasses Scotland in its importance. And not only because they are rivals from Glasgow and historically the most successful teams in the country.
It takes going back 37 years and one whole Sir Alex Ferguson in Aberdeen to look at the last season in the Scottish top flight in which neither Celtic nor Rangers won the title. However, in order to capture the rivalry between the two clubs, we have to get to their very essence. Not only football plays its role, but also politics and religion.
Rangers are Protestants, Celtic Catholics, that’s a known fact. The strongly religious ex-Celtic coach Neil Lennon (and a Northern Irishman and a redhead to boot) is even referred to as “the walking corpse” by the hard core of Rangers fans. Last season, manager Ange Postecoglou managed to return the title to a more patriotic part of Glasgow after Rangers ended Celtic’s nine-year reign in 2021.
Even this year, these two will probably compete for the top finish. The green “The Bhoys” had a better start to the season, who did not lose a single point in five rounds and collected an impressive score of +20. Kyogo Furuhashi, who scored six goals, contributed the most to this. However, the blue “The Gers” have only two points less and they intend to jump over their rival in the match.
Last 20 competitive matches: 9 Celtic wins, 2 draws, 9 Rangers wins
1:30 p.m Merseyside derby, Everton – Liverpool
The Toffees have entered their worst season in more than a decade, and unless Frank Lampard wants to follow Scott Parker as the second sacked manager of the Premier League this season, a point gain would be in his hands. He will have the improved form of only twenty-one-year-old Anthony Gordon at hand. As soon as Chelsea became interested in him and Everton put a price tag of 60 million pounds on him, he started to burn. With two goals, he secured two valuable draws at Brentford and Leeds.
But now the whole of England will be under scrutiny. The famous Merseyside derby with Liverpool pays for one of the biggest matches in the country, in which the Karamelkas have not been doing well lately. In addition, there is Jürgen Klopp and his overwhelming desire to turn the helm back on the winning wave. Only a 9-0 win over Bournemouth remains from a bad start to the season, to which – to the shock of all Fantasy Premier League players – Mohamed Salah did not contribute at all. However, the Egyptian star is doing well at Goodison Park, scoring three times in the last two matches.
Last 20 competitive matches: 1 Everton win, 9 draws, 10 Liverpool wins
Speaking of derbies, we can’t forget London either. After all, how often does it happen that four clubs compete in one day and one hour within the city? It’s true, in no case will the radical wing of the fans sneak around with the subway in a desire to intimidate the rival’s supporters – as happens, for example, in the North-London derby – but still. Losing to the neighboring team always feels a little worse…
4:00 p.m Chelsea – West Ham
In both camps, they would rather choose Millwall for a real fight, and so the match will have a very attractive plot for the Czech spectators, more like something cut out of the workshop of the Defensive Football Fan Club. Both Chelsea and West Ham have a shooting depression. The Blues have scored six goals in the opening five rounds and have only been worse off in Premier League history twice (1993/94 and 1995/96). And that’s still nothing against the Hammers’ disastrous record. West Ham have scored just two goals, share the league’s worst attack with three other clubs and are experiencing their biggest goalscoring crisis since 1994.
Football connoisseurs will certainly notice that Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, but also, on the other hand, Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen or summer signing Gianluca Scamacca are far from ideal form. Attention will therefore be drawn to Raheem Sterling, who is probably the only capable offensive player in both teams at the moment. Or will we get a show from brand new signings Lucas Paqueta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? But he will miss the first game after coming to the blue jersey…
Last 20 competitive matches: 10 Chelsea wins, 4 draws, 6 West Ham wins
4:00 p.m Tottenham – Fulham
This is not a big neighborhood rivalry either. More like a meeting of two old acquaintances who bump into each other in a shop from time to time and out of politeness give each other directions. Both teams are enjoying a great start to the season so far, Tottenham is, despite Son Heung-min’s poor form, unbeaten in third place, Fulham is surprising in eighth position.
Who is the favorite in the match is clear without a deeper observation, but for the sake of a comprehensive service, let’s remember that Fulham has already managed to surprise several times on Tottenham’s ground. In the last four away matches, the Cottagers beat the favorites twice – last January (1:1), and then in 2013, when Dimitar Berbatov decided on the closest win for the guests. Doesn’t he still shine in the shirt of a Premier League rookie, some famous Balkan killer? Yep, now Fulham have Aleksandar Mitrovic!
Last 20 competitive matches: 13 Tottenham wins, 4 draws, 3 Fulham wins
18:00 4:00 p.m Derby della Madonnina, AC Milan – Inter
One quick coffee at home before leaving, another on the way to the stadium – but in no case a cappuccino, the game is only played in the early evening – and then just let yourself be carried away by the stormy atmosphere at San Siro. Italian fans are particularly passionate and thanks to one of the most memorable
football history will probably never fade, even the memory of the infamous Milan derby in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2005. The legendary goalkeeper Dido may still have pain in his shoulder even years later.
On this day in 2005:— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) April 12, 2020
A UEFA Champions League quarter-final between Inter Milan & AC Milan was abandoned when a flare hit Milan goalkeeper Dida
It gave us this iconic photo of Marco Materazzi & Rui Costa pic.twitter.com/W7NvguE0AT
In Milan, they are certainly enjoying the fact that after a while the derby again means a relevant battle for the top of the table. In the spring, they finished their pursuit of the dream title of the Rosonerri, they are currently one point ahead of the Nerazzurri. Although fans might have been keen to see Ibrahimović face off against Lukaku, they will have to wait until the second half of the season due to health issues. Therefore, Lautaro Martínez or Olivier Giroud, who lit up the last league derby with two goals, should appear in the viewfinder.
Last 20 competitive matches: 4 AC Milan wins, 7 draws, 9 Inter wins