European soccer weekend: What to watch in the main leagues
What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
Manchester United is going through its first sticky spell of the Premier League season, with a loss at Huddersfield following a dull goalless draw against Liverpool. Getting its title challenge back on track won’t be easy this weekend considering Tottenham is heading to Old Trafford.
Spurs have won all four of their away games in the league, scoring 12 goals in the process — with Harry Kane netting six of them. They have taken advantage of United’s wobble to pull level on points with Saturday’s opponent. Both teams are five points behind first-place Manchester City.
City, the league’s only unbeaten team, visits West Bromwich Albion with Sergio Aguero needing one goal to break the club’s all-time scoring record of 178.
Fourth-place Chelsea is away to Bournemouth and fifth-place Arsenal is at home to Swansea.
Crystal Palace, on just three points after nine games, will stay in last place even with a home win over West Ham.
— By Steve Douglas, Manchester.
Unbeaten Barcelona gets to face another lackluster opponent as it tries to keep up momentum atop the Spanish league.
After playing against last-place Malaga last weekend, Barcelona takes on an Athletic Bilbao team that has only one victory in its last 10 games in all competitions.
Athletic’s latest disappointing result was a 1-1 draw at third-division club Formentera in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
To make things worse, Athletic has lost seven straight games against Barcelona in the league.
Barcelona has won eight of its first nine league games and has a four-point lead over Valencia, which plays at next-to-last Alaves on Saturday.
Third-place Real Madrid, five points off the lead, plays at Girona on Sunday. Fourth-place Atletico Madrid hosts Villarreal on Saturday.
— By Tales Azzoni in Madrid.
After losing on penalties at home to Bayern Munich in the German Cup on Wednesday, Leipzig will not lack motivation when the sides meet again in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Leipzig, which is on a four-game winning streak in the league, is just a point behind Bayern and can overtake the home side if it manages to end Jupp Heynckes’ unbeaten start on his return as coach.
Bayern’s last league game, a 1-0 win at Hamburger SV, showed Heynckes still has some work to do to mold the side into the ruthless outfit that captured a Champions League-Bundesliga-German Cup treble in 2013 in his last stint in charge.
Still, Bayern is level on 20 points with league leader Borussia Dortmund, which has dropped four points after drawing its last two games.
Dortmund visits promoted Hannover on Saturday. A three-way tussle for the title is shaping up.
— By Ciaran Fahey.
AC Milan relieved some of the pressure that had been building on coach Vincenzo Montella with a 4-1 midweek win over Chievo Verona but the Rossoneri will be put to the test again Saturday against six-time defending Serie A champion Juventus.
Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci won’t face his former club after being banned for two matches for elbowing an opponent in the face.
Also Saturday, Roma hosts Bologna three days before welcoming Chelsea to the Stadio Olimpico in the Champions League.
On Sunday, leader Napoli faces Sassuolo to warm up for its Champions League match with Manchester City and fourth-place Lazio visits last-place Benevento.
On Monday, second-place Inter Milan visits struggling Hellas Verona and is looking to stay unbeaten.
— By Andrew Dampf, Rome.
The last time Nice visited Paris Saint-Germain, it was very much involved in the title race.
But Nice is woefully out of form heading into Friday’s match, having lost six league games so far — two more than all of last season, and sits just one point above the relegation zone.
One minor relief for Nice is that PSG forward Neymar is missing through suspension after being sent off last weekend. Nice should welcome back top scorer Mario Balotelli following a calf injury.
Defending champion Monaco has been out of sorts and trails league leader PSG by four points after 10 games. Coach Leonardo Jardim’s side played well in patches against Caen last weekend, but a win away to Bordeaux on Saturday would be a surer sign his team is back on track.
Elsewhere, fifth-place Marseille looks to make it six league games unbeaten when it travels to struggling Lille on Sunday.
— By Jerome Pugmire in Paris.
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