MATCHDAY: Manchester derby on tap, Messi to miss PSG game
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Defending Premier League champion Manchester City visits Old Trafford and hopes to contain Cristiano Ronaldo. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says “we’ve moved on” from the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool that called his leadership into question. Since then, United has a win over Tottenham and a draw at Atalanta in the Champions League. A derby victory heading into the international break would take pressure off Solskjaer as well as put the team level on points with third-place City. Current league leader Chelsea hosts always-stubborn Burnley and again is without injured striker Romelu Lukaku. Crystal Palace is coming off an upset of City and faces a Wolverhampton team that is unbeaten in its past five games. The league’s last two winless clubs are in action: Norwich is at Brentford; and Newcastle visits Brighton.
Barcelona visits Celta Vigo in its last game under caretaker coach Sergi Barjuan. The Catalan club has secured the return of former player Xavi Hernández as its new full-time coach, but he won’t arrive until Monday. Barcelona is mid-table and needs to win to not fall further behind in the Spanish league standings. Real Madrid hosts crosstown rival Rayo Vallecano, one of the surprises of the campaign. Madrid can overtake leader Real Sociedad, which plays on Sunday. Rayo has the best home record in the competition but has only one once on the road. Espanyol seeks its first win in four rounds when it hosts Granada, while Levante, the league’s only winless side, visits Alavés after 12 games without a victory.
Perfect in the Champions League, Juventus continues to struggle in Serie A. The Bianconeri are coming off consecutive defeats in the Italian league entering a match against visiting Fiorentina. “In order to play with a lot of attacking players you need offensive players who pay attention to the defensive phase,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, who has had a rough start to his second term in Turin. “Otherwise you become vulnerable and you win one, you draw one and you lose one.” Fiorentina is in seventh place, three points ahead of ninth-place Juventus. Also, fifth-place Atalanta visits last-place Cagliari coming off a draw with Manchester United in the Champions League; and relegation-threatened Spezia hosts Torino.
Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich hosts the only unbeaten team, Freiburg, which has conceded just seven goals in 10 league games this season. Bayern is the top-scoring team but has concerns over a defense which conceded nine goals in its last three games in all competitions. Still without injured striker Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund visits a struggling Leipzig team which was boosted by its 2-2 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday. New Wolfsburg coach Florian Kohfeldt looks to continue his winning start against Augsburg. Stuttgart hosts Arminia Bielefeld and Bochum plays Hoffenheim.
Lionel Messi must wait even longer for his first league goal for Paris Saint-Germain. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner will miss the away game against Bordeaux because he is nursing minor knee and hamstring injuries. Messi then travels to meet up with Argentina for World Cup qualifiers. The Nov. 20 home game against Nantes will be his next chance to net his first league goal after drawing a blank in five games since joining from Barcelona, although he has netted three times in the Champions League. In the other match defending champion Lille looks to move away from midtable with a home win against eighth-place Angers.
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