A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday:
The semifinal lineup in the FA Cup will be completed, while there are two key games in the race for European qualification in the Premier League. In the cup, Chelsea hosts Sheffield United before Manchester United visits Leicester, with Manchester City and Southampton already into the last four. In the league, West Ham can move level on points with fourth-place Chelsea with a home win over 10th-place Arsenal, which is seven points further back and not yet entirely out of contention for a finish in the European places. Tottenham, which is in eighth place and three points behind West Ham, will look to bounce back from its shock elimination from the Europa League in midweek when it visits ninth-place Aston Villa.
Atlético Madrid hosts Alavés needing a win to get its Spanish league title march back on track. Diego Simeone’s side drew last round and was eliminated from the Champions League by Chelsea midweek. Another setback would leave the leaders three points from Real Madrid and with the risk of Barcelona moving even closer. Simeone says that his players continue to give it their all despite his team’s recent setbacks and that “what happens from here on is my responsibility.” Barcelona will put its run of eight consecutive road wins in the league to the test at fifth-place Real Sociedad. It enters the round four points behind Atlético. Granada visits Valencia, while Villarreal hosts Cádiz aiming to stay in the fight for a Europa League spot. Getafe hosts Elche with both trying to avoid a relegation fight.
AC Milan will want to bounce back from its Europa League exit and close the gap to Serie A leader Inter Milan when it visits struggling Fiorentina. Milan, which was eliminated from European competition by Manchester United, can move to within six points of Inter after the Nerazzurri had this weekend’s match against Sassuolo postponed because of a number of coronavirus cases. Third-place Juventus is just a point behind Milan, having played a match less, and hosts relegation-threatened Benevento. Fourth-place Atalanta visits Hellas Verona and is two points above Roma and Napoli, which face each other in the Italian capital. Also, Lazio visits Udinese and Torino will be looking to continue its push away from the bottom three when it visits Sampdoria.
Hertha Berlin has finally acknowledged it is in a fight for Bundesliga survival after slipping into the relegation zone. A draw against Bayer Leverkusen could be enough to take the ambitious club out of it, as long as Mainz doesn’t beat Hoffenheim in the early game. Hertha’s misfiring attack is coach Pál Dárdai’s main concern – his team has only scored four goals including a penalty in seven games – but he can welcome back Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha, who has recovered from a thigh injury. Leverkusen will be without Moussa Diaby following his positive result for COVID-19, but the visitors will be determined to bounce back from a surprise loss at relegation candidate Armina Bielefeld. Freiburg welcomes Augsburg for the late game.
Neymar is in Paris Saint Germain’s squad for the crucial game away to title rival Lyon. The Brazil star has been out for five weeks after tearing a left adductor muscle. Striker Mauro Icardi pulled a thigh muscle in the midweek French Cup win against Lille and sits out, along with injured winger Pablo Sarabia. PSG and Lyon are level on points and three behind leader Lille, which hosts Nimes earlier in the day. PSG was beaten 1-0 at home by Lyon and has already lost seven league games this season, the most defeats in a season since Qatari backers QSI bought the club 10 years ago.
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