- Associated Press - Thursday, September 7, 2017

What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:

___

ENGLAND

After routing Arsenal 4-0 before the international break, Liverpool will return to action with another match that will signal the strength of the team’s title credentials. It’s a strengthened side, too, that will face Manchester City on Saturday after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was bought from Arsenal on transfer deadline day.

Liverpool opened the season with two wins and a draw. Only Manchester United has made a perfect start, and has scored 10 goals without zero conceded. The team coached by Jose Mourinho travels on Saturday to Stoke, which has already beaten Arsenal.

The first games since the transfer window closed will also see a focus on the players who failed to secure moves, and whether they play. Alexis Sanchez’s Arsenal faces Bournemouth and Riyad Mahrez’s Leicester hosts champion Chelsea.

- By Rob Harris in London.

___

SPAIN

Barcelona will be at full strength for the first time this season when it hosts Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Saturday.

Ousmane Dembele will likely make his debut after being signed for more than 105 million euros ($125 million) to replace Neymar, and Luis Suarez is expected to return to the squad after recovering from an injury.

Lionel Messi was the team’s lone star in the first two league games - victories over Real Betis and Alaves.

Real Sociedad and Leganes are the only two other teams which opened with consecutive victories. Leganes will try to extend its perfect record when it hosts Getafe on Friday, while Real Sociedad plays at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

Defending champion Real Madrid, coming off a disappointing home draw against Valencia, hosts promoted Levante on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid, which opened with a draw at Girona and a win at Las Palmas, is at Valencia later Saturday.

- By Tales Azzoni in Madrid.

___

FRANCE

Kylian Mbappe is set to make his Paris Saint-Germain debut at Metz as the team looks for a fifth straight win.

The 18-year-old Mbappe joined from Monaco in a loan deal that will cost PSG 180 million euros ($216 million) when it becomes permanent next year.

PSG’s attack will feature Neymar, Mbappe and striker Edinson Cavani, last season’s top scorer with 35 league goals.

Cavani has already started well, with five goals in four games, but Monaco striker Radamel Falcao has done even better with seven.

Defending champion Monaco, which sold other key players from its title-winning side, also goes for five in a row. A win on Saturday at Nice, which finished third last season but has struggled so far, will extend Monaco’s national record to 17 straight wins carrying over from last season.

- By Jerome Pugmire in Paris.

___

GERMANY

Bayern Munich visits Hoffenheim on Saturday for what should be one of its toughest games in the Bundesliga this season.

Hoffenheim beat Bayern 1-0 in the same match last season as it finished an unprecedented fourth.

Julian Nagelsmann, the youngest coach in the Bundesliga at 30, has been a revelation since saving Hoffenheim from relegation in his first season and leading it to European soccer in his next.

On Saturday, however, Nagelsmann will encounter familiar faces in Germany defenders Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Suele, who return with their new club after leaving in the offseason. Hoffenheim midfielder Serge Gnabry will miss the game against his parent club because of injury, which has also ruled out Bayern defender David Alaba.

- By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin.

___

ITALY

If Spal manages to get a result at Inter Milan on Sunday, Italian soccer will really sit up and take note of the newly-promoted side.

Back in Serie A for the first time in nearly 50 years, Spal kicked off its campaign with a 0-0 draw at Italian Super Cup champion Lazio. The team then beat Udinese the following week.

It should face a sterner test at San Siro, with Inter convincingly winning its opening matches against Fiorentina and Roma.

AC Milan, which also has two victories, travels to Lazio.

Six-time defending champion Juventus, Napoli and Sampdoria also have perfect records. Napoli visits Bologna on Sunday, while the other two play on Saturday, with Juventus hosting Chievo Verona and La Samp welcoming Roma.

- By Daniella Matar in Milan.

___

More AP soccer coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide