Not just City and United on this Super Sunday

Come 4pm on Sunday afternoon, the eyes of British football will be firmly focused on the Etihad Stadium, as Manuel Pellegrini and David Moyes take charge of their first Manchester derby when City host United in the first all-Mancunian affair of the season.

However, if Premier League hype doesn’t cut your mustard and you’d rather spend your Sunday afternoon like a true football hipster rather than bend to the commercial muscles of Sky’s Super Sunday, you won’t be short of choices this weekend.

Two hours before City and United kick-off, another derby, ironically involving a team clad in blue and one clad in red (well, red and yellow), enters its 139th chapter as Roma and Lazio square up one another in the Derby della Capitale.

Having announced that club legend Francesco Totti has signed a new contract that will extend his career beyond the current season, the 36-year-old’s 22nd with the Giallorossi, Roma enter the derby on the back of an unbeaten start to their Serie A campaign.

Under former Lille manager Rudy Garcia, Roma are the only team alongside Napoli to have won their first three league games but haven’t beaten their cross-town rivals in the last five meetings in all competitions, including the 1-0 defeat in last season’s Coppa Italia final.

However, despite losing Erik Lamela, Pablo Osvaldo and Marquinhos this summer, Roma, bankrolled by y U.S. investors, have secured the signings of Erik Strootman from PSV, Adam Ljiaic from Fiorentina Mehdi Benatia from Udinese and, ehm, Gervinho for a combined £55.7m.

Early signs have been promising, Roma have Serie A’s second-joint best defence and second-joint best attack and have looked an altogether more solid proposition than they had done at anytime under Luis Enrique and Zdenek Zeman.

Lazio, meanwhile, have started positively enough, winning two of their three opening Serie A fixture after a summer in which maverick president Claudio Lotito has made limited spending to a bare minimum, with Lazio’s only three arrivals joining as free agents.

Normally a cagey and tense affair, the last five meetings between the two sides have nevertheless produced 14 goals, therefore expect plenty of drama at the Stadio Olimpico.

They might not share the same city but PSG and Monaco definitely share a penchant for inflated bank accounts and a collection of players resembling a keen fantasy football manager’s secret dream.

The two sides, widely tipped to make this season’s Ligue 1 a two-horse race, arrive into Sunday’s clash in scintillating form, with Monaco leading the table with 13 points after five games and PSG two points behind.

Claudio Ranieri’s side spent £146m this summer, not your average newly-promoted side’s budget by any stretch of imagination, and have so far reaped the benefits of their investments.

Radamel Falcao, a £50m purchase from Atletico Madrid, has led the line magnificently so far, netting four goals in his first five league appearances, while Geoffrey Kondogbia, who cost £18m from Sevilla, has impressed since his arrival.

Add to the pair the likes of Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abidal and former Porto duo James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho, signed for a combined £62m, and it’s not hard to fathom why Monaco are confident to challenge PSG all the way this season.

 

Things aren’t exactly bad in the French capital either. Having replaced Madrid-bound Carlo Ancelotti with Laurent Blanc, the Parisians have picked up where they had left in May, winning games and scoring goals for fun – four against Olympiacos on Tuesday, at least two in their last three league games.

After arriving from Napoli for £m, Edinson Cavani hasn’t wasted time settling into life in France and scored twice in his first five appearances for PSG, of which only three have been starts.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic signing a new contract to extend his current deal, PSG look favourites to retain the title and mount a serious challenge in Europe but beating Monaco – thus securing a ninth win in the last 11 matches on home turf – on Sunday night won’t be easy.

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