A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Sunday:
Manchester City and Liverpool meet in the first blockbuster match in the Premier League this season. The teams have split the last two titles and are expected to be the frontrunners again, though City has started slowly after mostly playing without a recognized striker at the start of this season because of injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. Jesus could start at Etihad Stadium, while Liverpool — which will go top with a win — also has to make a decision up front with in-form Diogo Jota threatening Roberto Firmino’s place in attack. If Liverpool doesn’t win, Leicester could end the eighth round as the leader with a victory over Wolverhampton. Arsenal is at home to Aston Villa and Tottenham visits West Bromwich Albion.
The coronavirus resurgence in Europe has impacted Spanish league games for Sunday. Real Madrid will travel to Valencia without Eden Hazard and Casemiro after both tested positive. A larger outbreak for Granada has forced the team to ask the league to postpone its match at second-place Real Sociedad. The league has not officially responded. Sociedad, which has won four league matches in a row, has the chance to retake the lead from Atlético Madrid. Real Madrid is seeking to keep its advantage over Barcelona which the Catalan club reduced to five points on Saturday. Madrid’s opponent, Valencia, hasn’t won in four rounds. Villarreal visits Getafe aiming to stay near the top of the table after only one league loss in eight games.
League leader AC Milan will be looking to bounce back after its first defeat in more than eight months. Milan’s 23-match unbeaten run ended in a 3-0 defeat at home to Lille in the Europa League on Thursday. It hosts Hellas Verona in the Italian league knowing it will end the weekend in top spot. It is a point above second-place Sassuolo which drew against Udinese on Friday. Juventus and Atalanta can move level with Sassuolo with wins but they have tricky matches against Lazio and Inter Milan, respectively. Also, Genoa hosts Roma, Napoli visits Bologna and Torino welcomes Crotone in an early relegation fight.
Bayer Leverkusen hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach with fourth place in the Bundesliga at stake. Both sides have been scoring freely in recent games and the focus will be on forwards Lucas Alario and Alassane Pléa. Alario has taken advantage of Patrik Schick’s injury to score five goals in his last three league games for Leverkusen, and Pléa got a hat trick in Gladbach’s 6-0 Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday. Gladbach is unbeaten in the Bundesliga since losing to Dortmund in the opening round, while Leverkusen is one of only two unbeaten teams in the division. Wolfsburg, the other, hosts Hoffenheim earlier Sunday.
Lille remains the only unbeaten side in the French league but will drift five points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain if it loses at Brest. The home side is down in 14th spot and its leaky defense will be wary of attacking midfielder Yusuf Yazici. The Turkey international has caught the eye recently after netting back-to-back hat tricks away from home in the Europa League. Depending on Lille’s result, Patrick Vieira’s Nice can move up to second spot with a French Riviera home win against Monaco. Elsewhere, Saint-Etienne coach Claude Puel is under pressure heading into his side’s derby game at Lyon.
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