- Associated Press - Thursday, September 27, 2018

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

ENGLAND

Fresh from inflicting Liverpool’s first loss of the season in the League Cup, Chelsea hosts Juergen Klopp’s side in the Premier League on Saturday.

Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, who scored the winner at Anfield on Wednesday after dribbling past several opponents, said “we won against one of the best in the world at the moment.” Liverpool is the only team with a 100 percent record in the league after six games.

Chelsea stumbled for the first time in the league last weekend when it drew at West Ham. The east London club has another challenging game when it hosts Manchester United on Saturday. United, though, is reeling from a loss to second-tier club Derby in the League Cup and an ongoing dispute between manager Jose Mourinho and midfielder Paul Pogba.

United is already eight points behind Liverpool. Champion Manchester City is two points off the pace going into Saturday’s game against Brighton.

Arsenal has started to find form under new manager Unai Emery, enjoying a six-game winning run across three competitions. Arsenal hosts fourth-place Watford on Saturday when north London rival Tottenham goes to Huddersfield. Both Arsenal and Tottenham are six points behind Liverpool.

- By Rob Harris in London.

SPAIN

Atletico Madrid has found its stride just in time for a derby match at a Real Madrid side that is coming off a 3-0 loss at Sevilla.

Atletico has won two league matches in a row and can move ahead of its crosstown rival with a victory on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu. Diego Simeone’s side already beat Madrid 4-2 in extra time to claim the UEFA Super Cup in August.

Madrid will be without playmaker Francisco “Isco” Alarcon. Madrid said on Tuesday that Isco required surgery for appendicitis. Defender Marcelo is also doubtful after he was forced out of the match in Seville with an apparent muscle injury.

Barcelona will host Athletic Bilbao earlier on Saturday looking to break a poor run of play that has cost it points to two of the league’s most modest teams. Barcelona drew 2-2 at home with Girona last weekend and lost 2-1 at Leganes on Wednesday.

Sevilla, which has outscored its rivals 14-3 in three straight wins across all competitions, visits Eibar on Saturday, while Valencia will try to finally get its first win of the season at Real Sociedad.

- By Joseph Wilson in Barcelona.

ITALY

There is a familiar look to the Serie A table as Juventus’ match against Napoli is once again first against second. Napoli beat Juventus in Turin in April but ultimately finished second as the Bianconeri clinched a seventh successive scudetto.

This match at Allianz Stadium comes a lot earlier in the campaign but is equally as significant, with Napoli forward Arkadius Milik already calling it “the match of the season.”

Juventus leads Napoli by three points having won all six of its Serie A matches so far. But Napoli is starting to click under Carlo Ancelotti, who is again likely to rotate his squad.

There is another equally as important match on Saturday, with Roma hosting Lazio in the capital derby. Lazio is on a run of five successive victories while Roma picked up only its second win of the season with a 4-0 triumph over Frosinone on Wednesday.

By Daniella Matar in Milan.

FRANCE

Paris Saint-Germain’s perfect start to the season could come under threat at Nice, where it has often struggled in the past faced with a vitriolic crowd against the capital club.

Kylian Mbappe is set to return to the PSG side for Saturday’s match, having served a three-match suspension following his red card for an impulsive moment of retaliation during a league game against Nimes.

PSG hardly needs him, considering how many goals the side is scoring: 24 in seven wins so far. Edinson Cavani, the league’s top scorer for the past two years, already has five in four games since returning from injury, while Neymar also has netted five.

After beating Manchester City in the Champions League, and following up with two convincing league wins, second-place Lyon will be confident of maintaining its strong form with a home win against Nantes on Saturday. Third-place Marseille, which trails Lyon on goal difference, is at fourth-place Lille on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Monaco is desperate for a win after dropping to 18th, but coach Leonardo Jardim’s side has a difficult Friday night trip to Saint-Etienne - one of the league’s strongest sides at home.

- By Jerome Pugmire in Paris

GERMANY

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka has been ruled out of Friday night’s Bundesliga trip to Hertha Berlin with an ankle injury.

Goretzka limped out of Tuesday’s draw with Augsburg and won’t be risked by coach Niko Kovac.

The champions are two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund, which plays at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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