Semi-finals, second-leg (agg. 0:0)
A repeat of the classic Copa Libertadores 2000 final is the first treat of the month, coming with a strong South American flavour. Although Palmeiras are heavy favourites and strong at home, they were completely outplayed in the first leg on September 29, hardly threatened, and have to thank their goalkeeper Weverton for keeping it 0-0 at La Bombonera.
The Alviverde are also without injured winger Dudu and struggling in the final third, while the left-sided Valentin Barco and Edinson Cavani link up well for Boca. And in former Man United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, the Argentinians have a perfect shot-stopper if it comes to a shoot-out. I expect Boca to squeeze through to the final one way or another.
English Premier League
Just six months ago, Arsenal were having their best season in many years, top of the league and tipped to finally claim the title that has been evading them since 2004. That was until they travelled to Manchester City on Matchweek 33 and suffered a painful 4-1 beating that effectively ended their title dreams. Now, trailing City by a single point after a resounding 4-0 win at Bournemouth, the Gunners will be eager to make amends and prove to everyone they are in for a title race once again.
With Rodri suspended for three games after collecting a red card against Nottingham Forest on September 23, the Citizens are without their key midfielder until after the Arsenal match. What better time to strike? "I think Arsenal have got every chance [to win the league this season]," said former Gunners legend Ray Parlour in his exclusive interview with MightyTips.com. "You need a bit of luck along the way, but certainly they've got every opportunity to."
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers
Another spicy game of Latin American football, early in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers this time. Although it is just the third of the 18 matchweeks in the campaign, Brazil and Argentina are already top with two wins apiece, while Colombia and Uruguay look like they are set to compete for the third spot. La Celeste lost their last match against Ecuador and, with the Brazil fixture looming on October 18, can hardly afford another setback.
Despite boasting such talent as Porto's Mateus Uribe, Inter's Juan Cuadrado and Liverpool's Luis Díaz, Colombia mustered just one goal in their two previous outings and will continue to rely heavily on their defense. Do not expect goals galore here but do count on a proper fight.
UEFA European Championship Qualifiers
One of the top two European international matches in October, on par with the England v Italy that follows four days later. Home fans in Amsterdam will expect the Oranje to take revenge for a 4-0 defeat in the opening round of games when Kylian Mbappé scored twice.
Not an easy task though, as France are perfect on five wins out of five, with the Netherlands trailing by six points with a game in hand. That said, France's recent 2-1 friendly defeat against Germany may inspire the hosts and re-ignite their quest for the top spot in the group.
English Premier League
Brighton were a revelation of the last season in the Premier League and continue to surprise even without manager Graham Potter who left for Chelsea last September (and got sacked since then). Roberto De Zerbi picked up where Potter left off and enhanced the Seagulls' style which includes drawing teams out by baiting the press and sharp changes of pace and direction of the attack.
As of October 3, Brighton are the most prolific team in the Premier League with 19 goals, just marginally trailing Pep Guardiola's Man City in possession (62.4% v 66.5%) and shots (16.7 v 18.1). Although their 6-1 defeat against Aston Villa on September 30 cooled the optimism, I am still very eager to watch this battle of the two great tacticians.
Italian Serie A
There is no designated title for the Milan v Juventus matches, like Derby d'Italia for Inter v Juve, but it is a derby nevertheless and at least as fierce. Especially now, that Juventus are suspended from the European competitions by UEFA for breaking club licensing and financial fair play rules while Milan are flying high in the league, dreaming of their second Scudetto star.
The Rossoneri made a number of decent acquisitions in the summer bringing in the likes of Loftus-Cheek, Okafor and Pulišić. Juve, on the contrary, were very quiet on the transfer market, clearly lacking that UEFA Champions League money. What better time for Milan to make their mark on this Serie A campaign?
Spanish La Liga
Do you really need an explainer from me on why you should watch El Clásico? Well, because it's El Clásico! Despite numerous problems on and off the pitch, Barça and Madrid routinely occupy the two top lines in La Liga standings (as of October 3) and still boast of exciting players to watch.
Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski shows no signs of slowing down (some call it ageing), still a deadly finisher at 35 years of age with five goals to his name already. Real faithful are praying for the health of the new signing Jude Bellingham who is the league's top scorer while Vini Jr. is rediscovering his form after an injury. Who do you fancy here?
- Brighton v Liverpool, Premier League – October 8
- England v Italy, UEFA European Championship Qualifiers – October 17
- Uruguay v Brazil, CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers – October 18
- Liverpool v Everton, English Premier League – October 21
- Galatasaray v Bayern, UEFA Champions League – October 24
- PSG v Milan, UEFA Champions League – October 25
- Brighton v Ajax, UEFA Europa League – October 26
- Manchester United v Manchester City, English Premier League – October 29