European Weekend Preview: Chelsea visits Manchester United, Inter faces AC Milan, and more

European Weekend Preview: Chelsea visits Manchester United, Inter faces AC Milan, and more

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European Weekend Preview: Chelsea visits Manchester United, Inter faces AC Milan, and more

Following an entertaining first round of UEFA Champions League quarterfinal matches earlier this week, domestic action resumes across Europe’s top five leagues.

The headlining match across Europe this weekend sees Premier League leaders Chelsea travel to Manchester United on Sunday. Chelsea holds a seven-point lead at the top of the EPL and would like to add to that margin. Standing in their way on Sunday is former manager Jose Mourinho, whose Red Devils would like to bolster their chances of a top-four finish. Antonio Conte’s Blues are coming off a 3-1 road win at Bournemouth, while Manchester United beat Sunderland, 3-0, away from home.

Meanwhile in Italy, the Milan Derby will be the must-watch match on Saturday at the Giuseppe Meazza. Only two points separate the two sides in the table, with AC Milan sitting in sixth and Inter in seventh. AC Milan is unbeaten in its last three matches, keeping clean sheets in two of them. Striker Carlos Bacca leads the way with 13 goals this season. Inter is coming into Saturday’s showdown off back-to-back defeats, and sure would like three points against their rivals.

Elsewhere, Atalanta travels to Roma in Serie A play, while Manchester City heads to Southampton in the EPL. This weekend’s Bundesliga action kicks off on Saturday with Borussia Dortmund hosting Eintracht Frankfurt. League-leaders Bayern Munich head to Bayer Leverkusen, while Hoffenheim hosts Borussia Monchengladbach. Barcelona has the toughest match out of the top-three sides in Spain, hosting sixth-place Real Sociedad.

Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s European action:

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Second-place Tottenham welcomes Bournemouth to White Hart Lane in Saturday’s early fixture. Mauricio Pochettino’s side has won six consecutive league fixtures, and will look to inch closer to their London rivals Chelsea. Midfielder Dele Alli has been sensational this season, netting 16 goals so far, which is second-best on the team. Bournemouth has only won two of their last six league matches, but have taken points from Liverpool and Manchester United in that span. The Cherries sit in 15th, but will need some positive results to avoid falling into a relegation fight.

Saturday’s final match of the day should be a dandy from the South Coast as Southampton hosts Manchester City. Claude Puel’s side have won their last two matches, and four in their last five overall. Midfielder Nathan Redmond has six goals so far this season, and has been a solid signing from Norwich City. Manchester City edged Hull City a week ago, but will prepare for a tougher match this weekend. Striker Sergio Aguero will be the star on show with 16 goals so far this season.

Prior to Sunday’s Premier showdown from Old Trafford, third-place Liverpool faces a tough test at West Bromwich Albion. Jurgen Klopp’s men are unbeaten in their last six league matches, with four of those being victories. Brazilian playmakers Philippe Coutinho (9 goals) and Roberto Firmino (10 goals) have helped fill the void after Sadio Mane’s season-ending injury. West Brom may have lost two of their last three matches, but are always tough to break down at the Hawthorns.

Saturday

  • Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Bournemouth
  • Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City
  • Everton vs. Burnley
  • Stoke City vs. Hull City
  • Sunderland vs. West Ham United
  • Watford vs. Swansea City
  • Southampton vs. Manchester City

Sunday

  • West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool
  • Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Monday

  • Middlesbrough vs. Arsenal

SPANISH LA LIGA

Round 32 kicks off in La Liga as Athletic Bilbao welcomes Las Palmas to San Memes on Friday. The hosts, who currently sit in eighth-place, are coming off a tough 3-1 road defeat at Villarreal on Mar. 7th. Striker Artiz Adruiz leads the way with 12 goals this season, while attacking midfielder Raul Garcia is also a threat offensively. Las Palmas snapped a two-match losing skid last weekend when they defeated Real Betis, 4-1, at home. The victory saw four different players net goals in the victory.

League-leaders Real Madrid will look to build off their huge win in Munich midweek when they travel to Sporting Gijon on Saturday. Zinedine Zidane’s side edged their opponents, 2-1, at the Bernabeu back in November, thanks to a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo. Gijon, who has lost its last two league fixtures, remains five points from safety.

Second-place Barcelona needs to have a short memory as they host Real Sociedad this Saturday at the Camp Nou. Luis Enrique’s side were defeated, 3-0, on Tuesday against Juventus in their first-leg quarterfinal tie and would like to bounce back quickly. The hosts will be without the services of playmaker Neymar after the Brazilian received a red-card in last weekend’s loss at Malaga. Real Sociedad will look for their first victory over Barcelona since April 2016.

Friday

  • Athletic Bilbao vs. Las Palmas

Saturday

  • Deportivo vs. Malaga
  • Sporting Gijon vs. Real Madrid
  • Atletico Madrid vs. Osasuna
  • Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad

Sunday

  • Leganes vs. Espanyol
  • Valencia vs. Sevilla
  • Real Betis vs. Eibar
  • Granada vs. Celta Vigo

Monday

  • Alaves vs. Villarreal

GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich will look to extend their lead at the top of the standings as they face Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena on Saturday. Carlo Ancelotti’s side is coming off a 2-1 Champions League first-leg defeat against Real Madrid, one which saw Manuel Neuer make ten saves. Bayern will hope leading scorer Robert Lewandowski will be available for selection after missing Wednesday’s match. Leverkusen, who sits in 12th-place, will look to rebound from a 1-0 road loss at RB Leipzig.

Fourth-place Borussia Dortmund will look to rebound from back-to-back defeats as they welcome Eintracht Frankfurt to the Signal Iduna Park. Thomas Tuchel’s side were thumped by Bayern Munich, 4-1, on March 8 before losing, 3-2, to Monaco in UCL play on Wednesday. Leading-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will look to find the back of the net after going goalless in his last two matches. Frankfurt are searching for their first league win since Feb. 5.

Third-place Hoffenheim will look to continue their strong campaign as they welcome Borussia Monchengladbach to Sinsheim on Saturday. Despite losing to Hamburg last weekend, Julian Nagelsmann’s side have drastically improved from their 15th-place finish in 2015-16. Gladbach sits in eighth-place, but will look to make it three straight league victories on Saturday.

Saturday

  • Borussia Dortmund vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
  • FSV Mainz vs. Hertha Berlin
  • VfL Wolfsburg vs. Ingolstadt
  • FC Augsburg vs. FC Koln
  • 1899 Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
  • RB Leipzig vs. SC Freiburg
  • Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich

Sunday

  • Werder Bremen vs. Hamburg SV
  • SV Darmstadt vs. Schalke 04

ITALIAN SERIE A

In the only other top-half match-up in Italy this weekend, second-place Roma welcomes fifth-place Atalanta to the Olimpico on Saturday. The hosts have won their last four league fixtures, outscoring their opponents, 11-1. Leading scorer Edin Dzeko has 24 goals so far this season, while winger Mohamed Salah has added 11. After getting drubbed, 7-1, by Inter back on March 12, Atalanta is unbeaten in their last three matches. Midfielder Alejandro Gomes is the player to watch with 14 goals and seven assists.

League-leaders Juventus will look to bolster their lead at the top of the table as they face last-place Pescara.  The hosts have not won since Feb. 19, and have only won two matches all season. The bright spot for Pescara this season has been striker Gianluca Caprari, who has eight goals. Juventus is unbeaten in their last two matches and will be heavy favorites to win on the road.

Third-place Napoli remains in the Serie A title race and welcome Udinese to the Sao Paolo on Saturday. A 3-0 road win at Lazio last weekend was huge for Maurizio Sarri’s side, who saw a brace from Lorenzo Insigne. Overall, Napoli is unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions, but welcome a Udinese team who is also unbeaten in their last five matches. Strikers Duvan Zapata and Cyril Thereau have combined for 20 goals so far this season and will be Udinese’s main threats up-top.

Saturday

  • Inter Milan vs. A.C. Milan
  • Cagliari vs. Chievo Verona
  • Fiorentina vs. Empoli
  • Genoa vs. Lazio
  • Palermo vs. Bologna
  • Pescara vs. Juventus
  • Roma vs. Atalanta
  • Torino vs. Crotone
  • Sassuolo vs. Sampdoria
  • Napoli vs. Udinese

FRENCH LIGUE 1

Round 33 kicks off on Friday in Ligue 1 as second-place Paris Saint-Germain travels to Angers. Unai Emery’s side remains well in the hunt for their fifth-straight Ligue 1 title, sitting three points behind leaders Monaco. PSG has won their last five league matches, with leading scorer Edinson Cavani netting four goals in that span. Angers has lost back-to-back league fixtures, but will look to pull a huge upset at home.

League-leaders Monaco welcomes Dijon to the Stade Louis II in Saturday’s late fixture. The hosts have not lost a league fixture since Dec. 18 and are coming off a 3-2 Champions League first-leg win in Dortmund on Wednesday. Striker Kylian Mbappe has been superb so far this season, netting 12 league goals, while Radamel Falcao leads the way with 17. Dijon have not won in the league since Feb. 11, and remain two points from safety in the standings.

The must-watch match in Ligue 1 this weekend takes place on Sunday at the Stade Velodrome. Sixth-place Marseille welcomes Saint-Etienne, who sits only two points behind them in the standings. Rudi Garcia’s side have drawn their last three league matches, but remain six points behind Lyon for the final European qualification spot. Saint-Etienne is unbeaten in their last four matches and is searching for their first win over Marseille since May 2013.

Friday

  • Angers vs. PSG

Saturday

  • Nice vs. Nancy
  • Montpellier vs. Lorient
  • Rennes vs. Lille
  • Guingamp vs. Toulouse
  • Metz vs. Caen
  • Monaco vs. Dijon

Sunday

  • Nantes vs. Bordeaux
  • Bastia vs. OL Lyon
  • Marseille vs. Saint-Etienne

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