A friendly reminder that World Cup 2022 kicks off in less than a month.
Unlike previous World Cups, this edition will be preceded by a period of intensive club football action, with most elite clubs across Europe playing a game every three days.
From Manchester United’s match at Chelsea to the Sao Paulo derby in Brazil, here are the five games you should keep an eye out for today:
Chelsea vs Manchester United
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, UK
When: 4:30pm (16:30 GMT)
Chelsea and Manchester United find themselves on similar stages of their respective trajectories.
After a summer of upheaval, both are in the nascent stages of a project focused on success as much as it is on long-term sustainability.
They are both helmed by progressive, modern managers whose imprint on the team is visible in the first few months on the job. The two sides are separated by a point on the table, with Chelsea ahead in fourth.
Erik ten Hag is beginning to find his feet at Manchester United and his side enter today’s game at Stamford Bridge fresh off a dominant 2-0 win at Tottenham on Wednesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who refused to come on as a substitute in the midweek win, has been dropped from the squad and won’t be involved in the game today.
Graham Potter has quietly steadied the ship at Chelsea and is yet to lose a game. The visit of Manchester United is the first real test he’ll face in what has been a comfortable start to his time in West London.
Real Madrid vs Sevilla
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
When: 8pm (19:00 GMT)
Following Karim Benzema’s coronation as the world’s best player, winning the Ballon d’Or on Monday, the Bernabeu will have the opportunity to garland their talisman in their Saturday night game against Sevilla.
The last time these two sides met was in April, when Benzema grabbed an injury-time winner in a game they came back from being 2-0 down. Following an uncharacteristically slow start to the season, Benzema was back among the goals in last week’s 3-1 win over Barcelona.
Madrid are three points clear at the top of the table. Sevilla have won just one of their last seven games in all competitions.
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool
Where: City Ground, Nottingham, England
When: 12:30pm (11:30 GMT)
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool seem to have turned a corner following impressive wins over Manchester City and West Ham United in their last two league outings.
Darwin Nunez looks more settled in the Liverpool front line and now has three goals in his last four appearances.
Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, lie at the bottom of the table with just one win in their first 11 games. The threat of relegation looms large over the club whose summer outlay in the transfer window was the highest in Europe.
The fastest player in the #PL this season 💨
— Liverpool FC USA (@LFCUSA) October 21, 2022
Santos vs Corinthians
Where: Urbano Caldeira Stadium, Sao Paulo, Brazil
When: 7pm (22:00 GMT)
The two biggest teams of Sao Paulo take on each other in the Clássico Alvinegro in Brazil today.
Santos currently lie in 12th while Corinthians are fifth.
The last time these two sides met was in the 2nd leg of the Copa do Brasil, where Santos prevailed 1-0.
Fiorentina vs Inter Milan
Where: Artemio Franchi Stadium
When: 7:45pm (18:45 GMT)
While Inter Milan have had a difficult start this season and currently lie eighth, they have shown signs of a turnaround in recent weeks.
Following their impressive draw at Camp Nou against Barcelona in the Champions League, Simone Inzaghi’s side have won their last two league games and will be hoping to continue their rise up the table.
While the title already seems out of reach for the team that finished runners-up last season, they are only four points away from Roma in fourth. While this fixture between two of the traditional powerhouses of Italy used to be a standout fixture, Fiorentina’s flagging has removed some of the sheen attached to it.