This weekend promises plenty of domestic excitement with three fierce rivalries on the agenda.
Saturday’s El Clasico that takes the headlines but, with the Derby della Capitale and Napoli against Juventus, there is plenty on the line in both Italy and Spain.
Form usually goes out of the window for El Clasico but Real Madrid’s recent results have been stuttering and they were punished for their profligacy in front of goal against Barcelona on Wednesday as they crashed out of the Copa del Rey.
In that match, Barca only had two shots on target but still managed to win 3-0 thanks to Luis Suarez’s brace and an own goal from Raphael Varane.
That result made it five games out of six where Barca have won away in the Bernabeu and, having also triumphed 5-1 when these two met at Camp Nou in October, they seem to have the edge on Real.
Santiago Solari will take the positives from Wednesday’s decent performance without any end product although his team again look set to come up short.
Slightly earlier is the game at the Stadio Olimpico where an out-of-sorts Lazio ‘host’ in-form Roma. I Biancocelesti have not won any of their last four and have scored just once in that time.
Meanwhile, the Giallorossi are back to where they want to be, winning their last four.
That old cliche about form and derbies may have some truth to it and Lazio will certainly hope that is the case. However, they have beaten their local rivals just twice since 2013 and look unlikely to improve that record on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, Juventus can continue their procession towards an eighth straight Scudetto by winning at Napoli.
These two are by far and away the best two teams in Italy but the Bianconeri’s 13-point advantage shows they are still well clear of their nearest rivals.
It has been a case of so near yet so far for the Partenopei this season.
Whether it be domestically or in Europe, they have fallen agonisingly short in the big games, coming third in a Champions League group involving Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, while also dropping points against both Milan clubs and Roma.
Juve are still on course for their second ever unbeaten domestic season and were the easy 3-1 winners when these two met in Turin.
Massimilano Allegri’s men may not be super-slick but they are the kings of grinding out results and a repeat of last season’s 1-0 win at the Stadio San Paolo seems a great price at 27/4, as does the away win outright.