What to watch in the main European football leagues

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October 28, 2017
Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game against Burton Albion, during their English League Cup soccer match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, last month.

(AP):

ENGLAND

Manchester United is going through its first sticky spell of the English Premier League season, with a loss at Huddersfield following a dull goalless draw against Liverpool. Getting its title challenge back on track won't be easy this weekend, considering Tottenham is heading to Old Trafford.

Spurs have won all four of their away games in the league, scoring 12 goals in the process with Harry Kane netting six of them. They have taken advantage of United's wobble to pull level on points with today's opponent. Both teams are five points behind first-place Manchester City.

City, the league's only unbeaten team, visit West Bromwich Albion with Sergio Aguero needing one goal to break the club's all-time scoring record of 178.

Fourth-place Chelsea is away to Bournemouth and fifth-place Arsenal is at home to Swansea.

Crystal Palace, on just three points after nine games, will stay in last place even with a home win over West Ham.

SPAIN

Unbeaten Barcelona get to face another lacklustre opponent as it try to keep up momentum atop LaLiga.

After playing against last-place Malaga last weekend, Barcelona take on an Athletic Bilbao team that has only one victory in its last 10 games in all competitions.

Athletic's latest disappointing result was a 1-1 draw at third-division club Formentera in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

To make things worse, Athletic has lost seven straight games against Barcelona in the league.

Barcelona has won eight of its first nine league games and has a four-point lead over Valencia, which play at next-to-last Alaves today.

Third-place Real Madrid, five points off the lead, play at Girona tomorrow. Fourth-place Atletico Madrid host Villarreal today.

GERMANY

After losing on penalties at home to Bayern Munich in the German Cup on Wednesday, Leipzig will not lack motivation when the sides meet again in the Bundesliga today.

Leipzig, which is on a four-game winning streak in the league, is just a point behind Bayern and can overtake the home side if it manages to end Jupp Heynckes' unbeaten start on his return as coach.

Bayern's last league game, a 1-0 win at Hamburger SV, showed Heynckes still has some work to do to mold the side into the ruthless outfit that captured a Champions League-Bundesliga-German Cup treble in 2013 in his last stint in charge.

Still, Bayern is level on 20 points with league leader Borussia Dortmund, which has dropped four points after drawing its last two games.

Dortmund visit promoted Hannover today. A three-way tussle for the title is shaping up.

ITALY

AC Milan relieved some of the pressure that had been building on coach Vincenzo Montella with a 4-1 midweek win over Chievo Verona, but the Rossoneri will be put to the test again today against six-time defending Serie A champion Juventus.

Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci won't face his former club after being banned for two matches for elbowing an opponent in the face.

Also today, Roma host Bologna three days before welcoming Chelsea to the Stadio Olimpico in the Champions League.

Tomorrow, leader Napoli face Sassuolo to warm up for its Champions League match with Manchester City and fourth-place Lazio visit last-place Benevento.

On Monday, second-place Inter Milan visit struggling Hellas Verona and is looking to stay unbeaten.

FRANCE

The last time Nice visited Paris Saint-Germain, it was very much involved in the title race.

But Nice is woefully out of form heading into Friday's match, having lost six league games so far two more than all of last season, and sit just one point above the relegation zone.

One minor relief for Nice is that PSG forward Neymar is missing through suspension after being sent off last weekend. Nice should welcome back top scorer Mario Balotelli following a calf injury.

Defending champion Monaco has been out of sorts and trails league leader PSG by four points after 10 games. Coach Leonardo Jardim's side played well in patches against Caen last weekend, but a win away to Bordeaux today would be a surer sign his team is back on track.

Elsewhere, fifth-place Marseille looks to make it six league games unbeaten when it travels to struggling Lille tomorrow.

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