European soccer weekend: 3 derbies in England on Sunday
What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
It’s derby day in the Premier League on Sunday.
The pick of the meeting of neighbors is Unai Emery’s first chance to take on Tottenham since succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. A change in manager has transformed the mood at Arsenal but the team is worse off in the standings.
Tottenham is in third place, three points ahead of Arsenal. After 13 games last season, Arsenal was a place higher in fourth, with Tottenham a point behind.
Liverpool is transformed this season, though, heading into the Merseyside derby against Everton. Juergen Klopp’s side remains unbeaten and is only two points behind leader Manchester City, having been 14 points adrift at this stage last season.
Chelsea’s unbeaten start was ended by Tottenham last Saturday. Now Fulham makes the short trip to Stamford Bridge with former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri seeking a second successive win since being hired by the last-place team.
— By Rob Harris in London.
Alaves is the revelation of the season. The small Basque Country club hasn’t lost any of its six home matches and has risen to fourth place. Victories at its Mendizorroza Stadium include 1-0 over Real Madrid last month.
Led by Andre Silva’s eight goals, Sevilla has a record of seven wins, to go with a draw and a loss, over the last nine rounds.
Barcelona will be without striker Luis Suarez, who is sidelined for two weeks because of a right knee injury, when it hosts Villarreal on Sunday trailing Sevilla by one point in second place.
— By Joseph Wilson in Barcelona.
Reus is enjoying his best ever season for Dortmund, contributing eight goals and seven assists after appearing in all 12 league games. Alcacer has nine goals in seven appearances and scores on average every 29 minutes.
Mid-table Freiburg has only two points from its last three games.
Borussia Moenchengladbach, four points behind Dortmund, hopes to keep pace with the league leader with a win at fourth-place Leipzig on Sunday. Fifth-place champion Bayern Munich, nine points off the pace, visits Werder Bremen on Saturday.
— By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin.
A loss to relegation-threatened Udinese last weekend and a 2-0 collapse to Real Madrid in the Champions League — even though Roma advanced to the knockout rounds — have left coach Eusebio Di Francesco under pressure.
— By Andrew Dampf in Rome.
Bordeaux coach Ricardo will have to produce another upset to end Paris Saint-Germain’s victory procession on Sunday.
Runaway leader PSG travels to the wine-making region of Bordeaux tipsy on a 14-game winning run in Ligue 1 and boosted by a 2-1 win against Liverpool in the Champions League.
Although Bordeaux is only in 12th place, that will not deter Ricardo, who has a taste for knocking down favorites. In 2007, he coached Bordeaux to a League Cup final win against Lyon few expected given Lyon’s near-untouchable status at the time.
PSG enjoys an even higher level of domestic superiority these days, but Ricardo — a tough and uncompromising Brazil defender who played for PSG from 1991-95 and managed the club from ’96-’98 — will have his players well prepared.
A PSG defeat will hardly make much difference to the standings, given that second-place Lyon is 15 points behind. Lyon was impressive going forward during a 2-2 home draw with Premier League champion Manchester City in the Champions League, but also defended poorly at times. Lyon’s defense faces another tough test in Saturday’s trip to fourth-place Lille, which has one of the league’s top scorers in Nicolas Pepe.
Also on Saturday, third-place Montpellier is away at Thierry Henry’s Monaco side, which is in 19th place.
__ By Jerome Pugmire in Paris.