The weekend ahead is littered with the usual slate of key matches around Europe, and a pair of Premier League clashes headlines the action.
The drama begins early in England, where Manchester United looks to get back on track in the Premier League facing reigning champion Leicester City (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN). It marks a rematch of their Community Shield tilt, which United won on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's header to secure the first trophy of Jose Mourinho's Old Trafford tenure, but the bloom has fallen off the rose since then.
While watching rival Manchester City stay perfect, United just stopped a three-game losing streak across all competitions with a League Cup win over mighty League One midtable side Northampton Town. Questions persist for Mourinho and his high-priced collection of talent. When will Paul Pogba start validating his lofty pricetag? Can Mourinho find the best use of captain Wayne Rooney? Is it time to let Marcus Rashford spread his wings, especially with Anthony Martial out with a head injury?
Of course, there's the subplot of Mourinho vs. Claudio Ranieri, one of his many nemeses in the dugout. Things stayed cordial in the Community Shield, and Ranieri isn't one to be baited into a sideshow, but the fact that Mourinho was axed by Chelsea after losing at Leicester last season and having that being followed by Ranieri–who Mourinho unceremoniously replaced at Chelsea in his first stint with the club–winning it all, adds another thick layer to the matchup.
This season, Leicester has regressed, as many would have expected. The mid-table Foxes have already lost twice after losing just three times all of last season, and there's been an air of inconsistency around their play, whereas last season games played out to a certain script more often than not. A Leicester win and statement at Old Trafford would go a ways in restoring the champions' glow and provide a nice boost before a Champions League clash vs. Porto–and it'd also vault the Foxes over the Red Devils in the table through six games.
Here are some of the other top matches to keep an eye on around the continent: