MATCHDAY: Man U hosts Wolves; Barca without Messi vs Eibar
A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Tuesday:
While Manchester United has one of the Premier League’s best away records, it has struggled at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side hosts Wolverhampton Wanderers, with only two wins from seven home games. United drew against Leicester on Saturday despite taking the lead twice, while Wolves snatched a late leveler in its last game against Tottenham.
Arsenal goes to Brighton fresh from ending a seven-match winless run by beating Chelsea. Former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is a year into his first managerial role at the club and, despite delivering the FA Cup in August, was starting to feel the pressure given such a barren spell. Arsenal is in 15th place, a place and three points above Brighton.
Southampton’s winless run was stretched to three matches by a 0-0 draw with Fulham on Saturday. After only two days’ rest, the Saints host West Ham looking to rediscover the form that saw them briefly top the table during a seven-game unbeaten run. While defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu is due to return from suspension, three key players are expected to be ruled out through injuries: center back Jannik Vestergaard, winger Nathan Redmond and forward Danny Ings.
Leeds could be without three first-choice central defenders again for Tuesday’s game at West Bromwich after Diego Llorente’s latest injury setback. Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa was without captain Liam Cooper, Robin Koch and Llorente against Burnley on Sunday but still won. Midfielder Kalvin Phillips was deployed in a back three alongside Luke Ayling and Pascal Struijk. West Brom grabbed a draw at champion Liverpool on Sunday to boost its survival bid.
Burnley, whose four-game unbeaten run was ended by Leeds, takes on a Sheffield United side enduring one of the worst-ever starts to an English season. United is still searching for its first win after 15 matches while sitting in last place. Burnley is two points and two places above the relegation zone.
Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona’s match at Eibar with an unspecified right ankle problem. Ronald Koeman’s team returns with the rest of the Spanish league after a short, weeklong winter break. Barcelona is in fifth place — eight points behind frontrunners Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid. Fourth-place Villarreal visits sixth-place Sevilla on a 12-match unbeaten streak. Cádiz hosts Valladolid trying to end a three-game losing run — its last win was a stunning 2-1 victory over Barcelona. Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis is at Levante seeking a second straight victory to confirm its recent improvement.
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