European Weekend Preview: Arsenal hosts Liverpool, Roma faces Fiorentina, and more

European Weekend Preview: Arsenal hosts Liverpool, Roma faces Fiorentina, and more

European Soccer

European Weekend Preview: Arsenal hosts Liverpool, Roma faces Fiorentina, and more

A pair of the top three in-form sides in the English Premier League christen Saturday’s European schedule with a showdown in London. Arsenal welcomes Liverpool to the Emirates seeking to claim their first league win over the Reds since 2015.

Unai Emery’s team are on a 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions, which has them sitting fourth. A 2-1 midweek win over Blackpool in the Carabao Cup saw many starters rested for this weekend’s tough match. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has started strong for the Gunners this season, scoring seven goals in 10 matches.

Liverpool is close behind leaders Manchester City, and have won their last three matches in all competitions. A 4-1 beatdown of Cardiff City last weekend saw Mohamed Salah steal the show with a goal and a pair of assists. The 26-year-old has seven goals in all competitions this season, and scored in both matches against the Gunners last year.

Elsewhere, AS Roma takes on Fiorentina in the headlining Serie A showdown this weekend. First meets second in France as PSG entertains Lille at the Parc Des Princes. Marseille also travels to Montpellier on Sunday. A pair of top six teams meet in the Bundesliga as Hertha Berlin hosts RB Leipzig. Real Madrid will look to bounce back from a embarrassing beatdown against Barcelona by facing Valladolid at home.

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

English Premier League

AFC Bournemouth has been one of the nice surprises in the Premier League this season and Eddie Howe’s men will face Manchester United on Saturday looking to keep their stock rising. The Cherries are unbeaten in six straight across all comps, most recently edging Norwich City 2-1 in Carabao Cup play. Summer signing David Brooks scored a trio of goals in October and has been an underrated player so far for the South Coast club.

Manchester United defeated Everton 2-1 last weekend, behind goals from Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. The Red Devils haven’t been at their best yet this season but should be expected to get a point from Bournemouth. Pogba’s three goals and three assists have been important for Manchester United and the midfielder will need to be at his best away from home.

Here’s all of this weekend’s EPL fixtures:

Saturday

  • AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester United
  • Cardiff City vs. Leicester City
  • Everton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Newcastle United vs. Watford
  • West Ham United vs. Burnley
  • Arsenal vs. Liverpool
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Sunday

  • Manchester City vs. Southampton
  • Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace

Monday

  • Huddersfield Town vs. Fulham

Spanish La Liga

A week after being steamrolled by Barcelona, Real Madrid will look for a comfortable performance against Valladolid. Los Blancos rolled past Melilla 4-0 in Copa Del Rey action but have not been convincing in La Liga action this season. Currently sitting in ninth place, Santiago Solari has taken over for the sacked Julen Lopetgui. If Real Madrid wants to get back to form, they need their stars to step up. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have both started slow and will need to lead by example starting this weekend.

Valladolid is unbeaten in seven straight in all competitions, recently defeating Mallorca 2-1 in Cup action. For a team that does not score a lot of goals, two players will need to be influential this weekend if the visitors want to shock the defending European champs. Leo Garcia and Enes Unal each has chipped in two goals and will be key to Valladolid offensively.

Here’s all of this weekend’s La Liga fixtures:

Saturday

  • Leganes vs. Atletico Madrid
  • Real Madrid vs. Valladolid
  • Valencia vs. Girona
  • Rayo Vallecano vs. Barcelona

Sunday

  • Eibar vs. Alaves
  • Villarreal vs. Levante
  • Real Sociedad vs. Sevilla
  • Huesca vs. Getafe
  • Real Betis vs. Celta Vigo

Monday

  • Espanyol vs. Athletic Bilbao

German Bundesliga

Fifth meets sixth in Saturday’s headliner across Bundesliga play with Hertha Berlin hosting RB Leipzig. Both teams are deadlocked on 16 points through their opening nine matches and know the importance of breaking from the pack. Hertha are unbeaten in five straight, drawing a trio of matches in between wins against Bayern Munich and Darmstadt. Salomon Kalou remains a consistent threat for Berlin offensively, while Ondrej Duda leads the way with six tallies.

RB Leipzig has not lost in their last nine matches, beating Hoffenheim twice while also taking points from Schalke. Yussuf Poulsen and Timo Werner are one of the more dangerous attacking pairs in the Bundesliga, and the duo has combined for eight goals so far. Leipzig trounced Berlin 6-2 in this fixture last May.

Another pair of top ten sides will meet as league leaders Borussia Dortmund travel to Wolfsburg. Dortmund needed a 120th minute winning goal from Marco Reus to edge Union Berlin 3-2 in German Cup play. Christian Pulisic played a hand in all three of Dortmund’s goals; scoring once, assisting once, and winning the late penalty.

Wolfsburg have bounced back from a rough patch with a pair of clean sheet victories in league and cup play. A 3-0 road win over Fortuna Dusseldorf last weekend saw Wout Weghorst contribute a goal and assist. The 26-year-old Dutch forward has five goals in all competitions since his move from AZ Alkmaar this summer.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Bundesliga fixtures:

Friday

  • Stuttgart vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Saturday

  • Bayern Munich vs. Freiburg
  • Schalke vs. Hannover
  • Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hoffenheim
  • Augsburg vs. Nuremburg
  • Wolfsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund
  • Hertha Berlin vs. RB Leipzig

Sunday

  • Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf
  • Mainz vs. Werder Bremen

Italian Serie A

Two of Serie A’s oldest rivals will meet on Saturday as Fiorentina hosts AS Roma. Both teams are level on 15 points and will hope a win this weekend will springboard them up the league table. AS Roma drew 1-1 with Napoli last weekend, feeling frustrated about conceding a late equalizer. Stephan El Shaarawy (three goals) is a dangerous option on the wing and will be a handful for Fiorentina to quiet.

Fiorentina are coming off back-to-back draws against Cagliari and Torino respectively, failing to win in their last three matches. Defensively, they’ve been one of the league’s best so far only conceding eight goals in 10 matches. Midfielder Marco Benassi (four goals) leads the team and is a creative player for Fiorentina in their build-up play.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Serie A fixtures:

Friday

  • Napoli vs. Empoli

Saturday

  • Inter Milan vs. Genoa
  • Fiorentina vs. AS Roma
  • Juventus vs. Cagliari

Sunday

  • Lazio vs. Spal
  • Chievo Verona vs. Sassuolo
  • Parma vs. Frosinone
  • Sampdoria vs. Torino
  • Bologna vs. Atalanta
  • Udinese vs. AC Milan

French Ligue 1

The top two teams in France’s top-flight square off on Friday with PSG hosting Lille. Thomas Tuchel has had an impressive start in his first season with PSG, yet to suffer a loss in all competitions. A perfect 11-0-0 start in Ligue 1 has PSG sitting eight points clear of Lille in the league table. Their 39 goals scored has seen 12 players find the back of the net, with Kylian Mbappe’s 10 leading the way.

Lille has been a huge surprise in Ligue 1, sitting in second place on 25 points through 11 matches. After fighting off relegation a season ago, A strong defensive unit has helped Lille to a +12 in goal difference through their opening 11 matches. Nicolas Pepe and Jonathan Bamba are tied with seven goals apiece, and will be important if Lille wants to spoil the party in Paris.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Ligue 1 fixtures:

Friday

  • PSG vs. Lille

Saturday

  • Lyon vs. Bordeaux
  • Caen vs. Rennes
  • Dijon vs. Nimes
  • Nice vs. Amiens
  • Stade Reims vs. AS Monaco
  • Strasbourg vs. Toulouse

Sunday

  • Nantes vs. Guingamp
  • St. Etienne vs. Angers
  • Montpellier vs. Marseille

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