AFC Champions League
Group stage, Matchday 4
A perfect reason to finally watch an AFC Champions League if you are yet to do this. First, to appreciate the level of the competition and see for yourself if it's really growing as the media say. Then, to experience how Cristiano Ronaldo is doing in Al Nassr. Finally, to check up on old acquaintances in Aymeric Laporte, Sadio Mané, Marcelo Brozović and others. Al Nassr are already through to the 1/8 finals with nine points after three games, and while Al Duhail are trailing by eight points, their last match was a seven-goal thriller, and we can hope for take two.
Portuguese Primeira Liga
It hardly comes as a surprise that Benfica, Sporting and Porto sit top of the league and are the only title contenders. Although it is early in the season, the outcome of the Clássico dos Clássicos can be a telling factor in the title tussle, especially if Sporting win and strengthen their position on the top. The evergreen Ángel Di María is pulling the strings at Benfica again like he did in 2007-2010, and one to watch at Sporting is Sweden striker Viktor Gyökeres who joined from Coventry City and already has six goals to his name.
UEFA EURO 2024 qualification will be on the line when Ukraine host Italy on a neutral pitch in Leverkusen. While Ukraine have just one match left to play, Azurri have two, and much will depend on how they fare against North Macedonia three days earlier. Should Luciano Spalletti's men win, they will need just a draw against Ukraine. If the reigning European champions fail, it will be Ukraine needing just a point to qualify. Ukraine lost 2-1 in their first encounter on September 12 and will hope that North Macedonia will extend their unbeaten run against Italy to four games.
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers
For me, Brazil against Argentina is the El Clásico of the national team football. Two of the biggest teams ever, the brightest stars and fierce regional rivalry. Can a neutral fan wish for more? Argentina sit top of the standings with four wins out of four, and Brazil will be hoping Maracanã would give them the extra push after they collected just one point in the two last qualifiers. A severe knee injury for Neymar means Vini Jr. and Rodrygo will have to carry the attack on their shoulders. Lionel Messi should lead the lines for the reigning world champions, fresh off winning the record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or.
Although Man City v Liverpool was not a big thing originally, their rivalry has grown to epitomise the very best in English football over the last ten years. "We've never had the two best teams and managers in the world together fighting it out," as former Liverpool mainstay Jamie Carragher put it in 2022. Three points separates the sides in the table as of 6 November, and I believe they will still be the title contenders come the end of the season. With Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah topping the scoring charts, I expect another mouth-watering episode of the Pep'n'Klopp saga.
Italian Serie A
Another derby on the menu, as Juventus will host Inter in Derby d'Italia, potentially for the top spot in Serie A standings. Inter have a far better squad on paper with the likes of Yann Sommer, Denzel Dumfries, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Lautaro Martínez running the show. Juventus are punching above their weight, at least for me, with a less experienced team and fewer big names, but they don't have to spend their energy on the UEFA Champions League having been suspended by UEFA this season. Do not expect goals galore as Juve rely on the back line once again, but make sure not to miss this game if you're a fan of tactical tussle.
UEFA Champions League
There are not many five-star matches between the biggest sides from the top-4 leagues in the UEFA Champions League group stage this season, but that does not mean the lack of exciting clashes. PSG v Newcastle is clearly one of them. Newcastle is a fine example of money well spent, as they returned to the biggest European competition for the first time since 2003 and have already routed the Paris side 4-1 in their first group meeting. Will they be able to withstand the pressure at Parc des Princes is a big question, though.
- Dortmund v Newcastle, UEFA Champions League – 7 November
- Stuttgart v Dortmund, German Bundesliga – 11 November
- Poland v Czechia, UEFA European Championship Qualifiers – 17 November
- Argentina v Uruguay, CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers – 17 November
- PSG v Monaco, French League 1 – 24 November
- PSG v Newcastle, UEFA Champions League – 28 November
- Real v Napoli, UEFA Champions League – 29 November