Derby weekend: Previewing the best matchups to watch

This weekend provides soccer fans with some derby action, featuring two clubs from the same geographic location playing against each other. Whether the teams involved are found at the top or bottom of the table, these matches produce a fan fervor rarely seen in other sports.  Let’s take a close look at this weekend’s matchups.

North London DerbyTottenham vs. Arsenal

Since their first match in 1887, these two teams have played 179 times, with Arsenal winning 77 of the matches.

With this match taking place at White Hart Lane, Arsenal is a slight favorite to take all three points in what is expected to be a close, low-scoring game.

The pubs will be filled, fans will be out in droves and the players will be amped before and during the match. Neither of these teams are true contenders for the top spot in the EPL, but for both of these North London teams, Saturday’s match will harbor a championship feel in its own right.

Merseyside DerbyEverton vs. Liverpool

Everton has had a disappointing campaign thus far, finding themselves in twelfth position, after ending last season in fifth.

Liverpool has fared somewhat better and currently finds itself in seventh position. But with neither team able to climb up the table much beyond their current position, the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park allows both teams to focus on their local rivalry for a day.

Liverpool is a slight favorite to win, and these two teams have a long history as adversaries, having played a total of 223 matches. Liverpool has won 89 times.

Looking at the game’s storylines, Steven Gerrard’s illustrious career will soon take him to Major League Soccer, making this the last Merseyside Derby he will participate in. The only certainty in this match is that the beer will flow and the fans and players will be stoked. And in Liverpool, it will be neighbor vs. neighbor.

Madrid DerbyAtletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid

El Derbi Madrileño has been played 155 times since 1928, with Real Madrid winning 85 times. With Madrid having a banner year, it would seem that this game would be out of reach for Atletico to walk away with any points.

Hold that thought.

Atletico’s manager Diego Simeone has had great success since taking the helm, and they are currently only seven points behind Real Madrid for the top spot in La Liga.

These two teams have faced each other twice this season, with Atletico taking four of the six available points. But no matter who has the better of play in the Madrid Derby, the real winners are the fans, who will see two top-notch local clubs go head-to-head in what is certain to bring out the best of the players on the pitch.