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Derbies dominate mouth-watering weekend menu

Published: Friday 1 November 2013, 11.16CET
A feast of eye-catching derbies take centre stage on a weekend when AS Roma are seeking to extend their unprecedented unbeaten streak and AS Monaco FC face LOSC Lille.

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Published: Friday 1 November 2013, 11.16CET

Derbies dominate mouth-watering weekend menu

A feast of eye-catching derbies take centre stage on a weekend when AS Roma are seeking to extend their unprecedented unbeaten streak and AS Monaco FC face LOSC Lille.

Panathinaikos FC v Olympiacos FC (Saturday 18.30)
Historically, derbies between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos have been pivotal to the destination of the title. This year, though, it is all about prestige with 11 points separating the rivals. Olympiacos, the only undefeated team in the Greek Super League, have scored 29 goals and conceded just three in nine fixtures, with Kostas Mitroglou registering 12 in eight games. A young Panathinaikos side sit fourth in a season their coach Giannis Anastasiou is calling "transitional", though he stated they would approach the match with "respect but no fear".

Club Atlético de Madrid v Athletic Club (Sunday 17.00)
Defeat in the 2012 UEFA Europa League final against Atlético sparked a dip in form for the Leones, but the Basque outfit have since turned a corner under coach Ernesto Valverde and lie fifth in the Liga. Form teams do not come stronger than Diego Simeone's second-ranked Rojiblancos, however, and although the Argentinian continues to play down his side's achievements, Sunday's visitors to the Vicente Calderón know they face a huge test. "It's not easy to continuously play with the same intensity as we have been doing," Simeone said. "However [everyone at the club] is working extremely hard [in order to remain fresh]."

Cardiff City AFC v Swansea City AFC (Sunday 17.00)
On paper, 16th versus ninth – before Saturday's fixtures – may not appear too grand an occasion. Yet the first English top-flight meeting between these long-standing south Wales rivals promises to be unforgettable. Malky Mackay's Cardiff have made an encouraging start to life in the Premier League, but are sure to have their work cut out against Michael Laudrup's UEFA Europa League contenders. "It's a game we want to win, especially for the fans – they deserve three points," said Swansea defender Ángel Rangel. "We're trying to keep cool because at the end of the day you can get too excited."

Torino FC v AS Roma (Sunday 20.45)
After making history by becoming the first team to open a Serie A season with ten consecutive wins, Roma will try to maintain their perfect record when they visit Turin. "We must keep our feet on the ground, but our fans can certainly start to dream," said Marco Borriello, who got the only goal against AC Chievo Verona on Thursday. "Now we have another difficult match at Torino, so no time to celebrate." Rudi Garcia's side are five points above SSC Napoli and Juventus having kept seven successive clean sheets and conceded just one goal this term. Alessio Cerci, a former Giallorossi forward who has already scored seven times for the Granata in 2013/14, will pose a severe threat to the capital club's impenetrable defence.

LOSC Lille v AS Monaco FC (Sunday 21.00)
Monaco are level on points with Paris Saint-Germain FC, who host FC Lorient on Friday, and two ahead of their weekend opponents. Both coaches made changes for midweek French League Cup round of 32 ties – and both lost, Lille succumbing to Ligue 2 side AJ Auxerre and the principality outfit to Stade de Reims. "Lille are a hard team to break down," said Monaco's former LOSC defender Éric Abidal. "Players change but spirit remains – the club is built on this. They are one of our rivals at the top of the league."

Last updated: 03/12/13 20.13CET

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