Borussia Dortmund’s crazy run, Alex Iwobi, Chelsea v Arsenal: The Big Weekend Preview

Thomas Woods offers his weekly preview of the biggest and best weekend football action as well as the major talking points from around the world.
The National Illustration
The National Illustration

Previewing the best of this weekend’s action as well as the footballing world’s biggest talking points.

Will United bounce back?

Manchester United’s form has come in two patches this season so far.

The first four games of the season – if you include the Community Shield win over Leicester City – they were pretty impressive and whispers of a title challenge ran round Old Trafford.

Then along came Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City juggernaut with a demoralising victory in the derby and United’s season has unravelled from there.

Are they in crisis? No. Does Jose Mourinho know his best team? No. Can they still win the title? Yes

Saturday’s visit of champions Leicester becomes a vital match. Win that plus next week’s home game against Stoke City and United will be rolling again ahead of games against Liverpool and Chelsea.

How many goals will Dortmund score?

Borussia Dortmund host Freiburg on Friday and it could be a goal feast.

In their last two games, Dortmund have netted 11 goals with nine different scorers. Manager Thomas Tuchel called Tuesday’s 5-1 win at Wolfsburg “incredible” and he’ll be delighted that his side are developing into one of the most exciting young teams in Europe, with players like Christian Pulisic and Ousmane Dembele impressing.

Their one issue? They are already three points behind Bayern Munich who are equally dominant of the rest of the Bundesliga.

More football

• Premier League predictions: Man United roar back, Liverpool light it up

• Barcelona v Atletico Madrid: Heavyweights battle and leave bruised

• Serie A: Gonzalo who? Arkadiusz Milik erasing Napoli’s sour taste in Italy

Barcelona without Messi again

The Spanish champions are again facing a spell without Lionel Messi after he limped off holding his groin in the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

The major concern is whether he will be fit for the Uefa Champions League tie at home to Manchester City on October 19 but in the meantime we’ll get another interesting look at how Barcelona cope without their main man. They travel to Sporting Gijon at the weekend.

Players to watch

Alex Iwobi, Arsenal

The Nigerian midfielder has played twice in the Premier League for Arsenal this season and assisted three goals. After a breakthrough season in 2015/16, Iwobi, 20, has a big chance to cement a first-team spot in Arsene Wenger’s team.

Arsenal are always looking for goals from midfield and they’ve lost Aaron Ramsey to injury. Saturday’s home game against Chelsea gives Iwobi the platform to show just what he can do.

Scott Sinclair, Celtic

Sinclair has always had bags of talent, particularly his ability to run with the ball at pace. His career in England was a bit of a let down, especially a long spell sitting on Manchester City’s bench. But the forward has made a great start to life in Scotland and, by scoring in each of his five first games, he has matched the achievement of Jimmy McGrory. Celtic’s home match against Kilmarnock on Saturday is a chance to make it six and a place in the record books.

Matches to watch

Arsenal v Chelsea, Saturday, 8.30pm

Take away the 2015/16 Community Shield and Arsenal’s last competitive victory over Chelsea was a 5-3 thrashing at Stamford Bridge in November 2011. That’s a run of 10 games and Arsenal haven’t even scored against Chelsea in seven matches.

Arsenal appear to be hitting their stride after three straight Premier League wins, scoring nine times. Chelsea, meanwhile, are coming off a home defeat by Liverpool and Wenger will feel like victory is there for the taking.

Besiktas v Galatasaray, Saturday, 9pm

One of the main Istanbul derbies will be a tasty affair. There’s a fair bit of quality on show – Lukas Podolski and Wesley Snjeider at Galatasaray while ex-Al Ahli man Ricardo Quaresma plays for champions Besiktas. Throw in a touch of Nigel de Jong and this could be a volatile affair.

Fiorentina v AC Milan, 10.45pm, Sunday

AC Milan have started the season pretty well and Colombian striker Carlos Bacca, who spent all summer being linked with a move away from the club, has netted five times.

They clash with Fiorentina, who are looking to improve on finishing fifth last season.

This is a battle for momentum at the top of the table and should be a cracker.

Your football weekend – pick of the TV games

(All games on BeIN Sports)


Bundesliga - Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg, 10.30pm

Ligue 1 - Toulouse v Paris Saint-Germain, 10.45pm


Premier League - Manchester United v Leicester City, 3.30pm

Bundesliga - Hamburg v Bayern Munich, 5.30pm

Premier League - Liverpool v Hull City, 6pm

Premier League - Swansea City v Manchester City, 6pm

Primera Liga - Sporting Gijon v Barcelona, 6.15pm

Serie A - Palermo v Juventus, 8pm

Premier League - Arsenal v Chelsea, 8.30pm

Serie A - Napoli v Chievo, 10.45pm

Primera Liga - Las Palmas v Real Madrid, 10.45pm


Primera Liga - Atletico Madrid v Deportivo, 6.15pm

Premier League - West Ham United v Southampton, 7pm

Serie A - Fiorentina v AC Milan, 10.45pm

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Published: September 22, 2016 04:00 AM


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