☄️ Five key clashes not to be missed this weekend

☄️ Five key clashes not to be missed this weekend

As ever, there's a host of tasty action to pick from this weekend across Planet Football.

Our job is to locate the cream of the crop for you, as well as all of the spicy details. Here goes. One match from each of Europe's top five leagues.

🛋 Saturday 11 December

🇩🇪 RB Leipzig vs Mönchengladbach

You'd be forgiven for thinking that there's a typing error on the current Bundesliga table, considering the mess that both Leipzig and Gladbach find themselves in this season. Leipzig moved quickly to sack Jesse Marsch this week and appoint Domenico Tedesco in his place with the club dropping out of the Champions League and languishing in 11th in the Bundesliga after three consecutive top-flight defeats.

It's not all doom and gloom though for Die Roten Bullen though. In Christopher Nkunku they possess a red-hot talent who has two goals and an assist in his last three matches against Gladbach. Leipzig did also pick up a consolation win over Man City in their final group stage match in the UCL. 

Gladbach finds themselves in 13th although the sides are level on 18 points. Both teams are desperate for three points that might potentially kickstart their campaign, but a defeat is unthinkable. 

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Liverpool vs Aston Villa

Reds hero Steven Gerrard enjoyed a fabled Liverpool career, but his mind will be firmly focused on the job at hand this weekend, namely, taking his Aston Villa team to Anfield with the mission of claiming three Premier League points. 23 years after his professional debut for Liverpool and it's all come full-circle for Steven Gerrard. This should be a cracking game of football, too. 

🌞 Sunday 12 December

🇮🇹 Hellas Verona vs Atalanta

With Giovanni Simeone spearheading their attack, Verona is one of the most watchable sides in Serie A at the moment. Their 16 matches this term have produced a total of 60 goals, only Lazio's encounters have produced more (62) in the entire division. Giovanni, son of Atletico Madrid boss Diego, has 11 top-flight strikes making his name a relevant one in the Capocannoniere race.

And what of Atalanta? Gian Piero Gasperini's side gave themselves too much to do in Thursday's rearranged Champions League showdown with Villarreal, going 2-0 won at halftime and they were 3-0 behind just six minutes into the second period. They pulled two goals back but a 2-3 defeat means that they'll drop down to the Europa League.

For now, the team from Bergamo must focus on their supreme Serie A form. They've won five matches on the bounce and now find themselves just four points adrift of the summit. Juventus and Napoli are two of their victims in that run. With a wide-open Scudetto race in 2021-22, why can't Atalanta be the champions of Italy? Their football is guaranteed entertainment, one way or another, so don't miss this one. 

🌶 HOT STAT: These sides have combined to net 16 goals in the first 15 minutes of Serie A matches this campaign. 

🇫🇷 PSG vs Monaco

Kylian Mbappé doesn't need much motivation to shine on the grandest stages, but he'll be especially hyped for this one against his old club. It seems almost inevitable that the 22-year-old will leave PSG at the end of this season but he seems determined to go out on a bang. Mbappé has seven goals and eight assists this season in Ligue 1 and bagged a brace on matchday 6 of the Champions League, where PSG will draw one of Ajax, Juventus, Liverpool, Man United, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the round of 16. That takes the prodigious Frenchman's tally to 31 goals in Europe's premier club competition. That's more than Wayne Rooney, Samuel Eto'o, Kaka and Robin van Persie managed in their entire careers.

But back to domestic matters for Mbappé and his superstar teammates, and it's a meeting with Monaco. The Monégasques won't be challenging for the title this season, but they've won their last two after a string of three draws and will have realistic designs on finishing in a Champions League place. Watch out for Aurélien Tchouaméni, Monaco's 21-year-old midfield powerhouse who's recently been called up to the French senior side. Side note: The last nine meetings between these giants of French football have produced 40 goals so we should be in for a treat. 

🇪🇸 Real vs Atléti

There's extra spice this season with the likes of Eduardo Camavinga, David Alaba and Rodrigo de Paul all in line for their first taste of the unique atmosphere that only a capital clash in Spain can deliver. Here's a recap of the five most recent Madrid Derbies to whet the appetite. 

🌶 HOT STAT: Atlético has received at least three yellow cards in their last ten LaLiga matches away to Real Madrid. 

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