Football Forensic: Previewing the five games to watch across Europe this weekend

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola

GIVEMESPORT has partnered with FotMob to launch a brand new feature. Each week, we’ll be bringing you statistical previews of the top five matches taking place over the coming weekend.

How time flies. It feels like only yesterday we were advising you on the best games to spend your weekend watching and yet here we are again, seven 24-hour spells later, imparting our wisdom in identical fashion. 

That's a pretty convoluted way to explain that we've picked out five fantastic fixtures from across Europe for you to watch this weekend, using our good friends Fotmob to take a deeper look at some of the statistics behind them, but it's a pretty convoluted world we live in these days. 

So, without further ado, from the British Isles to quite literally the very, very edge of the continent itself, here's the games you should be watching between now and Monday...

Swansea vs Norwich

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke

Competition: Championship
Kickoff: Friday, 8.15pm GMT

The Championship is quickly becoming this feature's resident curtain-raiser and while many will protest that there are surely going to be numerous top-flight encounters of superior quality throughout Europe this weekend, don't write off Swansea and Norwich so quickly. 

Respective managers Steve Cooper and Daniel Farke are well-known for their expansive styles of play, and that shared perspective has taken Norwich to four points clear at the top of the Championship and Swansea to within a point of the second automatic promotion spot. 

Indeed, both teams could well be playing in the Premier League next season and underlining their top flight credentials is the fact Brentford are the only Championship team to lose less league games than the pair this season with a mere four defeats apiece. 

While you'll be hard-pressed to find a more feared attacking pair in the second tier than the Canaries' Teemu Pukki and Emi Buendia (25 goal involvements combined), the good news for Friday night's hosts is that the latter's still serving a two-game suspension. That could well be the difference in a key Championship contest. 

Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray

Fenerbahce fan

Competition: Super Lig
Kickoff: Saturday 4pm GMT

Dubbed 'The Intercontinental derby', this iconic footballing rivalry boasts the unique idiosyncrasy of technically spanning two continents. Fenerbahce and Galatasaray represent the Asian and the European sides of Istanbul respectively and, as you can imagine, they aren't exactly on friendly terms with each other.

Despite almost merging together at the start of the 20th century, the two clubs have since become the most recognised and most successful sides in Turkish football, and hence their Istanbul-based rivalry resonates around the entire country. It was even once a matter of class with Fenerbahce the blue-collar club and Galatasaray seen as more sophisticated, although that social cleavage is far less prevalent these days. 

In exclusively football terms, Fenerbahce boast more Turkish titles with 28, but they haven't lifted the domestic crown since the 2013/14 season. It's a good job they're currently top of the league then, with Galatasaray (and Besiktas) just three points behind them in the table. 

Enjoying superior goal difference, a Galatasaray win this weekend would see them leapfrog the hosts and possibly take top spot. However, five of the last six meetings have ended in draws, which gives a pretty strong indication of the likely result this Saturday - especially with so much on the line in the title race. 

Juventus vs Roma

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Competition: Serie A
Kickoff: Saturday, 5pm GMT

With a game in hand on the three teams above them, including Saturday's opponents Roma, Juventus will know a win this weekend could be crucial in their bid to win a tenth consecutive Serie A title. 

The Old Lady are still recovering from a wobbly start to the campaign but they now have a run of six wins in eight under their belts, albeit their most recent defeat being a particularly costly one against fellow title contenders Inter Milan. 

Roma will be hoping that becomes a repeat occurrence for the reigning champions, who have conceded the fewest goals of any Serie A side this season despite struggling for consistent results. Roma, meanwhile, are the third-top scorers in the division despite none of their players actually hitting double figures yet this term (Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the closest on nine). 

Juventus have slightly edged the last six encounters, winning three and drawing one, although there's something to be said for Roma's record there considering they've always been the underdogs. 

Giallorossi will fancy their chances on Saturday then, in what feels like something of a season-defining contest for Juventus. 

Liverpool vs Man City

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola

Competition: Premier League
Kickoff: Sunday, 4.30pm GMT

If you're going to watch any Premier League game this season, it might as well be this one. Since Pep Guardiola's arrival at the Etihad in 2016, Liverpool and Manchester City have steadily become the elite rivalry in English football, dominating the title race and often coming across each other in the auxiliary competitions as well. 

Jurgen Klopp's side finally toppled the Citizens last season to claim their first ever Premier League title but it's Sunday's visitors who are once again in the driving seat, currently enjoying a three-point lead at the division's summit with a game in hand. 

The contrast in style between City's possession domination and Liverpool's ruthlessness on the counter-attack always makes their meetings delicately poised and usually produces a solid supply of goals - 15 have been scored during the last five meetings. 

Disappointingly, Sunday's encounter will be largely defined by absences as much as anything else, with key players Virgil van Dijk, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero all sidelined, while Sadio Mane could miss the game as well. 

Based on current form, Manchester City are the favourites for this one. While they haven't conceded in a staggering six Premier League games, Liverpool have failed to net in five of their last seven.

Marseille vs PSG

Neymar vs Marseille

Competition: Ligue 1
Kickoff: Sunday, 8pm GMT

"Le Classique" is France's answer to El Clasico, pitting the two biggest clubs within the country's two biggest cities who are accordingly French football's two most successful teams against each other. 

Such is PSG's financial wealth that this rivalry's inevitably a lot less competitive than it was during its height in the 1990s, but nonetheless it was indeed Marseille who finished second to PSG last season and if you need any evidence of how bitter their encounters can be, just look at the reverse fixture back in September. 

Dubbed "The Battle of Paris", there were an incredible five red cards, while Marseille's Alvaro Gonzalez was (wrongly) accused of racism in a heated affair. Their 2020 Trophee des Champions clash went a lot smoother last month, but clearly both sets of players won't need to much excuse to lose their cool if the challenges start coming in thick and fast. 

Marseille are really up against it here. Mauricio Pochettino has won five of his seven games in charge since replacing Thomas Tuchel, five of the last six meetings have resulted in PSG wins, Kylian Mbappe is Ligue 1's top scorer with 15 goals, and Marseille have won only one of their last nine Ligue 1 fixtures. 

Nonetheless, you can never rule out the likes of Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet from doing something special, while January signing Arkadiusz Milik will be eager to impress after scoring upon his first Marseille start in midweek. 

Download FotMob and keep abreast of all the weekend's action.

News Now - Sport News