Matchday seven in the 2021/22 Primeira Liga season is upon us, with the latest round in the Portuguese top-flight set to kick off as early as this Friday. Typically, the top teams will not be called into action until the weekend but this time around, this is not the case as two of the country's biggest clubs will take to the field on September 24 to get things underway.
They are none other than Sporting CP and Porto, with these two heavyweights scheduled for action at 2 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. ET respectively. The Lions and the Dragons enter this round with one goal and one goal only: to gain ground on league leaders Benfica.
Speaking of the Eagles, they will take to the field on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. Jorge Jesus' men are the only standing team with a perfect record and will be keen on maintaining this run past round seven, but as you will see later on in this preview, Benfica will not be in for an easy ride.
Then there is Sporting Braga, who have endured a dip in form in the past few weeks, as they aim to climb back up the table when they visit Santa Clara in the final two games on Sunday. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Primeira Liga matchday.
League standings ahead of Matchday 7 in the Primeira Liga
Top games to watch on Matchday 7 in the Primeira Liga
Sporting CP vs Marítimo: The defending champions will kick off this round with their clash vs Maritimo as Sporting Lisbon gear up to host their fellow Portuguese side at the Estádio José Alvalade this Friday. The Lions find themselves in third but are level on points with second-placed Porto, with goal difference alone separating the two sides. However, what truly matters is the four-point gap between the title holders and current leaders Benfica, a gap which the Lison outfit look to overturn sooner rather than later.
A huge factor behind this is Sporting CP's recent form in the league. Rúben Amorim's side have drawn in two of their last three outings in the Primeira Liga, being held to 1-1 stalemates by Sporting Braga and Porto in succession prior to their 1-0 triumph over Estoril. Maritimo, on the other hand, are winless in their last four league outings, having last triumphed in their Matchday 2 encounter with Belenenses. Will Paulinho and Co. compile their misery? Tune in to find out.
Gil Vicente vs Porto: Fresh off their 5-0 thrashing of Moreirense, a result which saw Porto return to winning ways after a slip-up in Lisbon, the Dragons are gearing up for an interesting encounter with Gil Vicente, a team who sit seventh in the table.
As mentioned above, Sérgio Conceição's side are level on points with third-placed Sporting CP and are only one ahead of fourth-placed Estoril. This means that not only could a slip-up translate into the widening of Benfica's four-point advantage at the top, but it could also result in the Portuguese giants temporarily dropping out of the top three. The hosts are winless in their last four league outings and have racked up only two triumphs from their opening six games, meaning they are not the favorites for the three points, but it should make for an interesting encounter nonetheless.
Vitória Guimarães vs Benfica: The Eagles will be facing a team that is unbeaten in their last five games and they are none other than Vitória Guimarães. Pepa's side are 10th in the table and that's due to them drawing four of their opening six encounters, but the fact that four out of six teams have struggled to beat them should be a concern for Jorge Jesus' side.
However, we should not forget that the league leaders boast a 100 percent record so far this term. Will this run come to an end this weekend? Catch this game on Saturday to find out the answer.
Who's in and who's out for Matchday 7 in the Primeira Liga?
Here are the list of players ruled out for the upcoming round from the Primeira Liga top clubs:
Porto: Augustin Marchesin
Sporting CP: Pedro Goncalves Pote
Benfica: Haris Seferovic, Nemanja Radonjic