What to watch this weekend

by

January 13, 2018
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling
Paris Saint Germain's Edinson Cavani
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah
Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (left) and teammate Marco Reus celebrating a goal.
FCSchalke 04's Leon Goretzka
Barcelona's Paulinho fights for the ball with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos (left) during a recent LaLiga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, December 23. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
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What to watch this weekend

(AP):

ENGLAND

Manchester City's players are 16 matches away from becoming the latest "Invincibles" of the Premier League. The biggest obstacle to achieving that feat might just be in front of them this weekend.

Protecting a 15-point lead and an unbeaten league record after 22 games, City heads to Anfield to take on a fourth-place Liverpool side that is unbeaten at home in 16 matches across all competitions this season. City has not won there in the league since 2003.

A loss should not necessarily derail City, which is 1-50 with some British bookmakers to win the league. So most of the intrigue for the remainder of the season could lie in the fight for UEFA Champions League qualification behind City.

Three points separate Manchester United in second place and Liverpool, with Chelsea between them in third. Tottenham and Arsenal are within five points of Liverpool.

Chelsea is at home to Newcastle today, when Tottenham hosts Everton. Arsenal visits Bournemouth tomorrow and United hosts Stoke on Monday.

SPAIN

Real Madrid looks to regain its winning touch and deflect talk of a crisis when it hosts Villarreal today.

Madrid enters the game under pressure after a sequence of disappointing results, including two consecutive matches without a win in LaLiga a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo and a 3-0 home loss against Barcelona.

The European champions also endured a setback in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, drawing with second-division club Numancia 2-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and advancing to the quarterfinals thanks only to a 3-0 first-leg win.

Madrid trails Barcelona by 16 points, but has a game in hand, near the league's halfway point.

Barcelona, coming off four straight wins in the league, visits mid-table Real Sociedad tomorrow.

Second-place Atletico Madrid, nine points off the lead, is at Eibar today.

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GERMANY

Leipzig hosts Schalke today in a clash between candidates for second place in the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich are currently 14 points clear with no realistic challenger for the title following yesterday's ____ win over Bayer Leverkusen. Tomorrow, injury-hit Borussia Dortmund hosts Wolfsburg.

Also tomorrow, last-place Cologne hosts Borussia Moenchengladbach for the Rhine derby. Cologne has only one win all season and faces an improbable task to escape relegation.

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FRANCE

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) resumes its quest for the French league title with a nine-point lead, but amid some turmoil caused by Edinson Cavani's late return from his winter vacation.

Cavani, the league top scorer with 19, was not included in Unai Emery's squad for matches against Rennes and Amiens in domestic cups and it's still unclear whether the Uruguay forward will be used tomorrow at fifth-place Nantes.

Cavani was not the only PSG player to return late from South America as Javier Pastore also failed to report to training in time after the winter break.

The Argentine midfielder, who is expected to leave PSG during the January transfer window, said he had "personal issues to deal with" but expressed his commitment to the club.

PSG captain Thiago Silva was critical of his teammates, insisting their late return could harm the club's ambitions of securing an unprecedented quadruple.

After qualifying for the League Cup semifinals in midweek, defending champion Monaco travels today to Montpellier, its next opponent in the cup. Level on points with Monaco, third-place Lyon hosts struggling Angers tomorrow.