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Old Trafford showdown tops weekend bill

Published: Friday 8 November 2013, 9.08CET
First host second in Greece, Arsenal FC aim to complete an "amazing week" with a win at Old Trafford and FC Spartak Moskva continue a testing run of fixtures: behold the weekend.
Old Trafford showdown tops weekend bill
Manchester United's Robin van Persie in action against former club Arsenal ©Getty Images features

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Published: Friday 8 November 2013, 9.08CET

Old Trafford showdown tops weekend bill

First host second in Greece, Arsenal FC aim to complete an "amazing week" with a win at Old Trafford and FC Spartak Moskva continue a testing run of fixtures: behold the weekend.

Russia: FC Spartak Moskva v FC Zenit (Sunday 10.30)
The visit of the leaders is the second of three successive games against Premier-Liga title rivals for third-placed Spartak. Beaten 3-1 at home last Sunday by FC Lokomotiv Moskva, Valeri Karpin's side cross the Russian capital next weekend to play champions PFC CSKA Moskva.

Zenit, meanwhile, have drawn their last two matches, against FC Amkar Perm and, in midweek, FC Porto. "Spartak are not participating in European competition and have more time for recovery," said Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti, whose team are three points clear of the pack.

England: Manchester United FC v Arsenal FC (Sunday 17.10)
Having kept clean sheets against Liverpool FC and Borussia Dortmund, Wojciech Szczęsny hopes to cap the most testing period of Arsenal's season so far with a third straight victory. The Gunners head to the north-west on a high following Wednesday's eye-catching defeat of Dortmund and with the incentive of putting 11 points between themselves and David Moyes's men.

"It would be an amazing week to get nine points out of the three games," the Poland goalkeeper said. "Not a lot of people expected us to do so. There's not a better time for us to go to Old Trafford. We're confident, we're enjoying our football, so we're looking forward to it."

Turkey: Fenerbahçe SK v Galatasaray AŞ (Sunday 18.00)
While Galatasaray aim to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat by FC København on Tuesday, leaders Fenerbahçe will attempt to move nine points ahead of their fourth-placed neighbours. The fact they have not lost a Süper Lig home game to their arch-rivals since December 1999 gives them huge confidence, while the visitors are without goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and with midfielder Wesley Sneijder a major doubt. For Fenerbahçe, the return of Turkey right-back Gökhan Gönül after three matches is a further boost.

Fenerbahçe defender Bruno Alves said: "There's no room for error in these games. We have to play like a team. In these matches your emotions also come into play and it's important to control them."

Greece: Olympiacos FC v PAOK FC (Sunday 18.30)
While unbeaten leaders Olympiacos have shaken off their other challengers, PAOK sit three points behind before their trip to Piraeus. The hero of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League win against SL Benfica, Olympiacos goalkeeper Roberto said: "We have recorded two very important wins this week, over Panathinaikos and Benfica. Our confidence is high and we firmly believe we can defeat PAOK. Playing at home with our fans on our side, we fear nothing and we can defeat anyone."

However, PAOK winger Miroslav Stoch, who has been exchanging texts with injured compatriot Vladimír Weiss of Olympiacos, warned: "We can upset Olympiacos and win at the Karaiskakis. We have been waiting a long time for this match and we know what it means to our fans. It will be a chance to measure ourselves against the leaders and on Sunday we will know where we stand."

Italy: Juventus v SSC Napoli (Sunday 20.45)
"My wish is to lead Juventus to their third Scudetto in a row – it's our main target," said Carlos Tévez recently. Although the Argentina forward arrived in Turin just a few months ago, he is clearly eager to send a message to Juventus's supporters as they face Napoli, with both teams three points adrift of AS Roma.

The former Manchester City FC striker is feeling "better and better" at his new club yet knows a tough game is looming, while Napoli's Christian Maggio commented after helping defeat Olympique de Marseille in midweek: "We got a good result and our confidence is high, but now we are focused on Juventus. Nothing else matters."

France: AS Saint-Étienne v Olympique Lyonnais (Sunday 21.00)
If St-Étienne have lost their last six home 'Derbies du Rhône et de la Loire', they can legitimately hope for a better outcome this time. Indeed, the seventh-placed Verts have been beaten only once at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Ligue 1 this season, while struggling Lyon, 12th in the table, have suffered four straight league defeats on the road.

The Gones will also be impeded by the fact they were playing in Croatia on Thursday, though coach Rémi Garde rotated his team at HNK Rijeka. "We are playing many competitions at the moment with a limited squad. But all the games count, especially on Sunday," he said.

All times CET

Last updated: 08/11/13 17.33CET