MATCHDAY: Arsenal look to extend EPL lead; Barça turns
A preview of what’s happening in European football on Sunday: ENGLAND Premier League leaders Arsenal look to extend their lead with a win at Southampton.
A preview of what’s happening in European football on Sunday:
Premier League leaders Arsenal are looking to extend their lead with a win at Southampton. The side managed by Mikel Arteta have won nine of their 10 games this season at the top of the table and should add to that impressive record at the struggling Saints. Wolves host Leicester in a Midland derby which is also a first relegation battle between two teams in the bottom three. Tottenham will be looking to recover from their loss to Manchester United earlier in the week against Newcastle. Aston Villa take on Brentford after sacking Steven Gerrard as manager and Leeds take on Fulham at home in the day’s other game.
Xavi Hernández says he will rotate his roster when Barcelona host Athletic Bilbao ahead of their crucial Champions League game against Bayern Munich next week. Barcelona must beat Bayern and hope Inter Milan slip to maintain their chances of avoiding group stage elimination for a second season in a row. Barcelona are in second place six points behind Real Madrid while Bilbao are in sixth place in the Spanish league. The match is the first for Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde at Camp Nou since he was sacked from Barcelona in January 2020. Valverde led Barcelona to two Spanish league titles, the last the club won. Atlético Madrid visit Real Betis with both points levels in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Villarreal host Almería after they tumbled in the standings after just one win in six legs. Osasuna play relegation-threatened Girona looking for a second straight win to stay in the hunt for a Europa League spot, while bottom-placed Elche visit Espanyol.
Title rivals Napoli and Atalanta are both having tough games as they battle for top spot in Serie A. Napoli visit Jose Mourinho’s Roma and will be looking to drop three points back at the top of the table with an 11th consecutive victory in all competitions. Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti managed Roma, who are currently fourth. Atalanta are also unbeaten and just two points behind Napoli. It hosts Lazio, fifth. Udinese are level on points with Lazio and will look to get back on track at home to Torino after two draws, although they came against Lazio and Atalanta. At the other end of the table, Lecce visits compatriot Bologna, with both teams desperate for points to move away from the relegation zone.
Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin travel to Bochum before city rivals Hertha Berlin host Schalke for the visitors’ first game since their manager’s dismissal. Matthias Kreutzer is interim coach at Schalke after five straight defeats in all competitions proved too many for Frank Kramer on Wednesday. Schalke, who were promoted last season, are second from bottom but could overtake Hertha with a win as the home side have failed to win any of their last five games. But Hertha are showing signs of progress and should be able to secure their first home win of the season. Union are also on a five-game streak – all wins – but can expect a fighting performance from Bochum, who won the German Cup on Tuesday and can overtake Schalke with a win over surprise league leaders . Union can restore their four-point lead over Bayern Munich by beating Bochum.
Lorient must win in the middle of Troyes to regain second place in Lens after their victory in Marseille. But Lorient top scorer Torem Moffi, who has scored eight league goals this season, misses the game as he recovers from a right ankle injury. Fifth-placed Rennes and sixth-placed Monaco can both overtake Marseille if they win. Rennes are 19th from Angers and Monaco travel to face seventh-placed Lille. Canadian striker Jonathan David has scored in his last four games for Lille and needs a goal to move to the top of the scoring charts with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappé on 10.
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The Associated Press