What to watch in the leading football leagues in Europe this weekend:
The north London clubs face opposition from the west of the capital after a spell of setbacks.
After back-to-back Premier League home losses, Tottenham travels to Fulham on Sunday still third in the standings but nine points behind leader Liverpool and only a point ahead of Chelsea. Tottenham is without Harry Kane after its top scorer was ruled out until March through injury.
Arsenal hosts Chelsea on Saturday after falling six points behind Maurizio Sarri’s team by losing three of its last six league games, including last weekend against West Ham, dealing a blow to its hopes of qualifying of the Champions League.
Manchester United is now only behind Arsenal on goal difference as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his sixth-place team to Brighton on Saturday chasing a club-record sixth successive league victory. Such a feat would raise the chances of Jose Mourinho’s interim successor keeping the job into next season when a title challenge would be expected.
For now the title race is between Liverpool and defending champion Manchester City who are separated by four points. Liverpool hosts Crystal Palace on Saturday and City plays the next day at last-place Huddersfield, which is without a manager after David Wagner left the job on Monday.
— By Rob Harris in London.
Real Madrid can return to the top three for the first time since the seventh round in September by beating Sevilla on Saturday. That’s far from certain in this inconsistent season for Madrid, which has been as low as ninth.
Both Madrid and Sevilla have 33 points after 19 matches, five points behind Atletico Madrid, and 10 behind leader Barcelona. Sevilla is ahead of Madrid in third with only goal difference separating them.
Atletico is Barcelona’s closest challenger and is still five points behind going into Saturday’s game against last-place Huesca. Barcelona hosts Leganes the next day.
— By Tales Azzoni in Madrid
Juventus started 2019 by winning its first trophy of the season and now the quest for an eighth straight Serie A title resumes following the winter break.
Juventus, which beat AC Milan 1-0 on Wednesday to win the Italian Super Cup, hosts bottom side Chievo Verona on Monday. Cristiano Ronaldo’s side has a nine-point lead over closest challenger Napoli, which hosts fourth-place Lazio on Sunday.
Third-place Inter Milan trails Juventus by 14 points and hosts Sassuolo on Saturday.
Milan will be looking to swiftly get over its Super Cup disappointment and continue its push for a Champions League spot when it visits Genoa on Monday. But the Rossoneri will be without midfielder Franck Kessie, who was sent off against Juventus, while defenders Alessio Romagnoli and Davide Calabria are also suspended following their yellow cards in that match.
Forward Gonzalo Higuain may already have completed a move to Chelsea by Monday, too.
— By Daniella Matar in Milan.
Saint-Etienne is in the rare position of being ahead of bitter local rival Lyon heading into their derby on Sunday.
Two of France’s most storied sides share 17 league titles: a national-record 10 for Saint-Etienne and seven for Lyon, all achieved consecutively at the turn of the decade when it was considered France’s untouchable side the way Paris Saint-Germain is now.
But these days neither can compete with PSG, so their meeting is all about the race for second place in the French league and an automatic Champions League spot.
Heading into the game, Saint-Etienne is in third place —one point behind second-place Lille— with Lyon two points behind Saint-Etienne in fourth spot.
They are evenly matched: Lyon has marginally the better attack (33 goals to 31) and Saint-Etienne only a slightly better defense in goals conceded (23-24).
Saint-Etienne, however, has home advantage and one of Ligue 1’s best players in top form. Tunisia forward Whabi Khazri netted twice in Wednesday’s 2-1 home win against Marseille to take his league tally to 12, only two behind PSG’s Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe will be fancied to add to his league-leading haul considering PSG is at home to last-place Guingamp on Saturday, the same day midfielder Cesc Fabregas is set for his home debut when struggling Monaco hosts Strasbourg.
— By Jerome Pugmire in Paris.
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