European Look Ahead: Man. City on cusp of title, Italy's race for third and more

European Look Ahead: Man. City on cusp of title, Italy's race for third and more

European Soccer

European Look Ahead: Man. City on cusp of title, Italy's race for third and more

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City (Getty Images)

By JOHN BOSCHINI

For Manchester City, the Premier League title is within their grasp, but standing in the way is a familiar face.

Former City manager Mark Hughes takes his Queens Park Rangers side into Etihad Stadium on Sunday with a chance to spoil his old club's run to the title. Hughes was sacked by City in 2009 and was replaced by Roberto Mancini; however, revenge won't be the only thing on Hughes' mind as QPR needs at least a draw to guarantee safety from relegation.

Manchester City can wrap up its first English title since 1968 with a win, which would cap off a remarkable late-season comeback, as Manchester United held an eight-point lead with six matches remaining in the season.

United will be praying for a miracle from QPR but face a difficult test of their own with an away trip to Sunderland. Martin O'Neil has lost only once at home since taking over the Black Cats in December, but Sunderland's motivation could be lacking with nothing on the line for them. 

Here is a look ahead to the rest of the action from around Europe:

ENGLAND

While the title race in England has gone down to the final day, there is drama in spades in the race for the Champions League. Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, and Newcastle United are jockeying for the two remaining Champions League spots. Adding to the drama is the fact fourth place may not guarantee Champions League play next season. Should Chelsea, who are eliminated from the race for fourth place, defeat Bayern Munich in next Saturday's Champions League final, only the top three finishers will qualify.

With Blackburn and Wolverhampton already relegated, Bolton will need a win and a City win over QPR to stave off the drop. Stoke City have nothing to play for and could be susceptible to an upset.

SATURDAY

Chelsea vs. Blackburn Rovers, 10 a.m.
Everton vs. Newcastle United, 10 a.m.
Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers, 10 a.m.
Norwich City vs. Aston Villa, 10 a.m.
Stoke City vs. Bolton Wanderers, 10 a.m.
Sunderland vs. Manchester United, 10 a.m.
Swansea City vs. Liverpool, 10 a.m.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Fulham, 10 a.m.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal, 10 a.m.
Wigan Athletic vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers, 10 a.m.

SPAIN

Like Italy, the race for the final Champions League spot has come down to the final day with four teams in contention for one spot. Malaga holds a two-point lead over Atletico Madrid and a three-point advantage over Levante and Mallorca. Mallorca will need a multi-goal win at Real Madrid to have an advantage, and it's difficult to see Jose Mourinho dropping points at home even though the title was wrapped up weeks ago.

Malaga can put the issue to bed on Sunday with a win over all-but relegated Sporting Gijon. Should they slip up with a draw or loss, Atletico Madrid can move into fourth place with a win over Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine are still only one point clear of the drop and desperately need a win to avoid one of the more humiliating relegations in recent memory.

SATURDAY

Real Sociedad vs. Valencia, 2 p.m.
Real Betis vs. Barcelona, 4 p.m.

SUNDAY

Espanyol vs. Sevilla FC, 2 p.m. 
Getafe vs. Real Zaragoza, 2 p.m. 
Levante vs. Athletic Bilbao, 2 p.m. 
Malaga vs. Sporting Gijon, 2 p.m. 
Racing Santander vs. Osasuna, 2 p.m. 
Rayo Vallecano vs. Granada, 2 p.m.  
Real Madrid vs. Mallorca, 2 p.m. 
Villarreal vs. Atletico Madrid, 2 p.m.  

ITALY

The race for the third and final UEFA Champions League spot has come down to the final day with four teams still in contention. Udinese currently holds the third spot and have an away trip with Catania set for Sunday. Catania has been solid at home this season and should Udinese slip up, Napoli can jump into third with a victory over Napoli. Should both teams lose, the winner of Inter Milan and Lazio could sneak into third.

Aside from the fight for third place there is very little drama left in Italy. Lecce need a win against Chievo Verona to have a shot at survival, but Genoa need only a draw against struggling Palermo to survive. Juventus will celebrate their Scudetto at their home stadium with a largely meaningless game against Atalanta.

SUNDAY

AC Milan vs. Novara, 9 a.m.
Fiorentina vs. Cagliari, 9 a.m.
Juventus vs. Atalanta, 9 a.m.
Cesena vs. AS Roma, 12 p.m.
Parma vs. Bologna, 12 p.m.
Catania vs. Udinese, 2:45 p.m. 
Chievo Verona vs. Lecce, 2:45 p.m. 
Genoa vs. Palermo, 2:45 p.m. 
Lazio vs. Inter Milan, 2:45 p.m. 
Napoli vs. Siena, 2:45 p.m.  

FRANCE

Montpellier need four points from their final two games to wrap up an unlikely Ligue 1 title. First up for the league leaders is a daunting matchup with third-place Lille. Lille have already clinched third place and a Champions League spot while riding a five-game winning streak. Montpellier squeaked out a 1-0 victory over Lille in the second week of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain could hand Montpellier the title this weekend if they fail to win against Stade Rennes. It won't be an easy task for PSG, as Rennes have been far more impressive on the road than at home.

SUNDAY

AC Ajaccio vs. Lyon, 3 p.m.
AS Nancy Lorraine vs. St Etienne, 3 p.m.
Bordeaux vs. Lorient, 3 p.m.
Brest vs. Valenciennes, 3 p.m.
Caen vs. Sochaux, 3 p.m.
Dijon FCO vs. Toulouse, 3 p.m.
Marseille vs. AJ Auxerre, 3 p.m.
Montpellier vs. Lille, 3 p.m.
Nice vs. Evian Thonon Gaillard, 3 p.m.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Stade Rennes, 3 p.m. 

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What do you think of this weekend's fixtures? Can City hold off United? Who will emerge victorious from the race for third in Serie A? Can Montpellier wrap up the title this weekend or will PSG move into the lead?

Share your thoughts below.

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