European soccer weekend: What to watch in the main leagues
By The Associated Press
Feb. 08, 2018
What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
Tottenham and Arsenal will both feel at home when they meet at Wembley Stadium for a north London derby in the Premier League.
Tottenham is the host for Saturday's game, with the national stadium acting as its temporary home this season while a new venue is being built at White Hart Lane. Yet, Arsenal almost knows the ground just as well having played there nine times since 2009 in various competitions — and winning on each occasion.
"It won't feel too much 'away' in that situation," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.
Arsenal heads into the derby in sixth place, four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham with 12 games remaining. Losing would deal a major blow to Arsenal's chances of grabbing one of the four Champions League qualification spots for next season.
Manchester City holds a 13-point lead going into Saturday's home match against Leicester, which is again without Riyad Mahrez. The Leicester winger hasn't trained since being denied a move to Man City at the end of last month.
Second-placed Manchester United visits Newcastle on Sunday, third-placed Liverpool is away to Southampton on the same day, and fourth-placed Chelsea hosts last-placed West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
— By Steve Douglas in Manchester
Leader Napoli and second-placed Juventus each face difficult matches in their ongoing duel for the title.
Juventus visits hated rival Fiorentina on Friday and Napoli hosts third-placed Lazio on Saturday.
Only one point separates Napoli and Juventus, while Lazio trails 14 points behind.
Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi will be out for up to a month after tearing a leg muscle last weekend, while Napoli's top scorer Dries Mertens is expected to play despite a twisted left ankle.
On Sunday, fourth-placed Inter Milan looks to end a two-month winless streak when it hosts Bologna and fifth-placed Roma hosts basement side Benevento.
AC Milan visits relegation-threatened Spal in Ferrara on Saturday.
— By Andrew Dampf in Rome
Atletico Madrid has another good chance to add pressure on leader Barcelona when it plays at last-placed Malaga on Saturday.
After cutting Barcelona's lead to nine points with a win over third-placed Valencia in the last round, Atletico visits a Malaga side which hasn't won in seven matches, including five straight at home.
Atletico, coming off two straight league victories, has won the last four matches against Malaga.
Barcelona, which lost points in the last round in a 1-1 draw at city rival Espanyol, hosts midtable Getafe on Sunday.
Valencia, nine points behind Atletico, hosts city rival Levante later on Sunday, while fourth-placed Real Madrid, 19 points off the lead, hosts Real Sociedad on Saturday.
— By Tales Azzoni in Madrid
Bayern Munich is so far ahead in the Bundesliga - 18 points - that it appears the team only has records left to aim for as Schalke visits on Saturday.
Robert Lewandowski, the league's top-scorer with 18 goals so far, can become the first to score in 11 home games in succession since Jupp Heynckes managed the same feat while at Borussia Moenchengladbach in 1972-73.
Heynckes, now Bayern coach, hopes to maintain his perfect home record since returning in October. The only blot in his 20 games across all competitions was a defeat at former side 'Gladbach in November.
Domenico Tedesco's Schalke side should provide Bayern with one of its sterner tests, though anything but a home win would be a major surprise. Schalke hasn't won a league game in Munich since 2009.
Also Saturday, Borussia Dortmund hosts relegation-threatened Hamburger SV, and second-placed Bayer Leverkusen welcomes Hertha Berlin.
Leipzig starts the 22nd round against visiting Augsburg on Friday.
By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin
The country's two most decorated clubs meet in the French league when second-placed Marseille travels to bitter rival Saint-Etienne.
Marseille, the only French club to win the Champions League back in 1993, is enjoying its best season in years. Rudi Garcia's side is on a nine-game unbeaten streak in all competitions and has scored 15 goals in its last two matches.
Saint-Etienne — which has 10 league titles to its name, one more than Marseille — made several signings during the winter transfer window in a bid to salvage its erratic season. Close to the bottom three before the Christmas break, the club injected a big dose of experience into its shaky team by signing Paul-Georges Ntep, Mathieu Debuchy, Yann M'Vila and Neven Subotic.
Debuchy's arrival had an immediate impact as he scored on his debut in a 2-0 win over Amiens that took Saint-Etienne four points above the danger zone.
Eleven points clear at the top, Paris Saint-Germain travels to Toulouse on Saturday, ahead of a trip of greater importance to Real Madrid next week for their Champions League last-16, first-leg match.
Defending champion Monaco, which holds third place two points ahead of Lyon, is at Angers.
By Samuel Petrequin in Paris
More AP soccer coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer