The Derby du Rhone

Lyon v Saint Etienne
Friday, 19:45
BT Sport 3
The renewed competitiveness of this rivalry is another reason to watch Ligue 1 in an era when PSG process to the title. The perfect start to the weekend on the continent, the Rhone derby has thrown up some crackers in recent years.
Lyon have lost four of their last nine encounters with Saint Etienne but won 5-0 at the Stade Geoffrey Guichard a year ago. Nabil Fekir almost sparked a riot when he held up his shirt, Messi style, to the crowd after scoring a goal.
Lyon are better resourced and more talented, capable of beating Manchester City in the Champions League. Fekir aside, this young OL team is packed with potential and scouts continue to be bowled over by Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar. Les Verts on the other hand are based around a curious mix of Tyne and Wear misfits from Wahbi Khazri and Mathieu Debuchy to Remy Cabella and Yann Mvila.
Saint Etienne lack glamour but the blend of grit, guile and experience has made them an awkward opponent under Laurent Blanc's former assistant Jean Louis Gasset. Khazri has chipped in with six goals this season and veteran full-back Debuchy is also rolling back the years.
Ultimately Lyon should have too much for them. But the table doesn't lie. Only a point separates them and Saint Etienne won't go quietly into the night. Take Lyon to win but both teams to score @ 3.00.

La Liga Title clash

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona
Saturday, 19:45
Eleven Sports 1
La Liga is super tight at the moment and come Sunday night Sevilla or Alaves could be sitting top of the pile. In order for that to happen both will have to take care of business and hope Atletico and Barcelona cancel each other out at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night.
The Catalans need to bounce back after Quique Setien's Real Betis stormed the Camp Nou and deservedly won 4-3 before the international break. Doing so against Atleti is easier said than done.
No one in Spain has a better home record or defence than Diego Simeone's side and the Argentine also seems to have Ernesto Valverde's number. He has got the better of him in six of their last 11 encounters. Luckily for Barça, Lionel Messi always raises his game against Atleti. He has put 28 goals past them over the years which goes some way to explaining why the last time the Catalans lost to Atleti in La Liga was all the way back in 2010.
But these games are rarely easy. It certainly helps Barça that Diego Costa is in the midst of a horrible run of 18 games without a goal. Talk of a shifting him off to China and replacing the former Chelsea striker with Edinson Cavani is growing. But that's a story for another day.
Atleti still have other match winners, most notably Antoine Griezmann, and held Barça to a draw here last season. Why not back the same outcome this time around @ 3.40?

Derby della Lanterna

Genoa v Sampdoria
Sunday, 19:30
Eleven Sports 2
Sunday's Derby della Lanterna is bound to be an emotional occasion in light of the Morandi bridge tragedy that continues to cast its shadow over the city of Genova. The game itself could be tense with both teams on three-game losing streaks.
Genoa shot themselves in foot when they fired Davide Ballardini. Revelation Krzysztof Piatek remains Serie A's top scorer but hasn't found the net since Ivan Juric stepped into the breach after the October internationals. The Croat, now in his third spell as Genoa coach, is still without a win and is likely to be sacked if the Grifone lose this weekend. It'd be the second time he has lost his job after a bad result in the derby.
His opposite number Marco Giampaolo is catching some flak from fans who expect Samp to be challenging for Europe this season. After defending brilliantly and starting to win on the road, they have lost their way a bit and the turnover of players in the summer has caught up with them. Nevertheless Samp have a clearer identity than Genoa and greater depth of talent.
Giampaolo has promised to go for it on Sunday, recalling how an attempt to manage the game in April ended in a disappointing stalemate after three straight wins over their rivals. Vowing not to make the same mistake twice, I'm inclined to put my faith in Giampaolo and back a Samp triumph @ 2.92.
Back Lyon Win & BTTS @ 3.00 v St Etienne
Back the Draw @ 3.40 in Atletico Madrid v Barcelona
Back Sampdoria @ 2.92 to beat Genoa

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