Why Saturday's Triple Derby Day Will Be The Best Day Of Football All Season


Derby Saturday might just be the best day of televised football you'll sit down to watch all season.

 

Tottenham-Arsenal

The action starts with a North London lock-in at 12.45pm, as Spurs' pick up their quest to avoid a 19th successive 'St Totteringham's Day' - the annual celebration of smug Arsenal types confirming a higher league position than their sorry rivals.

The narrative is as compelling as ever. Spurs can leapfrog Arsenal with a win and come into the game with Harry Kane hotter than Harry Styles right now. Christian Eriksen, meanwhile, is looking like the player we always thought he would be. The pair have earned Spurs 28 of their 40 points this season, which is frightening whichever way you look at it.

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League : News Photo

Thanks to those two, there's a sense Mauricio Pochettino has really got something going. Spurs fans will come into this derby believing they can make a statement of superiority that might linger until the season's end.

And then there's Arsenal, boasting the Premier League's player of the season in Alexis Sanchez and fresh off a 5-0 blitz of Aston Villa, which saw Mesut Ozil actually play football well and Theo Walcott's legs back in perpetual motion, moving very quickly indeed.

Hope abounds for both teams. Our hope should be that for one of them it's crushed in spectacularly entertaining fashion over a lunchtime pint, as the big names claim the moment and goals pour in. Anything close to the successive 5-2 derbies at the Emirates in 2012 will do nicely please.

 

Atletico Madrid-Real Madrid

With that settled it's to the Vincente Calderon at 3pm, where Atletico Madrid "welcome" Real Madrid's rich list and we should fully expect to see the re-birth of Fernando Torres continue with a perfect hat-trick.

Here's a derby that's burning bright for all the right reasons. Champions Atleti need a win to close the gap in La Liga. They've already already won at the Bernabeu this season and knocked the Galacticos out of the Copa del Rey for good measure.

Torres, as ever, will be a focal point, but Mario Mandzukic and Antoinne Griezmann are enjoying fine campaigns for Diego Simeone's warriors elect and they've lost at home just once in the league all season. If Madrid own star power, Atleti own spirit, and their sustained challenge is a tribute to belief and unity in Simeone's image.

Real Madrid CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - Copa del Rey: Round of 16 : News Photo

Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid have won nine of their last 10 on the road in the league and scored a grotesque 35 goals along the way. Cristiano Ronaldo will be back from suspension at the Vicente Calderon, and then there's Gareth Bale.

The brilliant winger can't buy a cheer at the Bernabeu, so perhaps he'll be relieved to be in the away dressing room, such is the intense media focus on his every jeer from the Madristras at home. Whatever he's feeling right now, Bale's pride demands he illuminates this game on Saturday.

Could we see his best performance yet in a Madrid shirt? Or might we see him try so hard to placate his audience he gets it wrong? Either way, they'll be tackles flying all around him and emotions will overflow. We're in for a scorcher.

 

Everton-Liverpool

The trilogy is complete on Merseyside at 5.30pm, as Everton look to put one over on a resurgent Liverpool and awake from a lull that has lasted most of the season.

Tottenham's Aaron Lennon could have been involved in the lunchtime opener, but instead he'll be unleashing his frantic leg speed at Goodison. Lennon is set to start for Everton in a fixture that has delivered no shortage of drama in recent years - most recently the 3-3 draw saved by a late Daniel Sturridge goal last season.

Everton could badly use an injection of faith. Last season's fifth-placed finish under Roberto Martinez was as invigorating as this campaign has been infuriating for the club's fans. No manager, however bright, can linger too long without a sense of direction from his team.

Liverpool v Everton - Premier League : News Photo

It's Liverpool first and then the Chelsea steamroller for Everton. Four points would be considered a victory to springboard from, six a triumph. Two bad defeats and they'll be calling for Roberto's handsome head on a stick.

Martinez won't admit it, but how he wishes his team caught Liverpool before they started to find their way back again. Brendan Rodgers' men have won five of their last six in the league and the return of Sturridge is another good news story along the way.

They're still a Luis Suarez and more short of Europe's elite, however, and it's worth noting Suarez scored for Liverpool on their last visits to Goodison. For the Reds to win this one it's hard to see anything but a star turn from either Sturridge or Raheem Sterling, or both.

The closest thing to Suarez will be wearing a blue shirt and named Romelu Lukaku.

 

All in all, not a bad day of football to look forward to is it?

Oh, and if you're wanting an earlier start there's always the Melbourne derby for breakfast at 8.30!