MATCHDAY: Chelsea hosts slumping Man U, Madrid vs Sevilla
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday:
For what could be his final game in temporary charge of Manchester United, Michael Carrick takes his team to Premier League leader Chelsea in the headline match of the 13th round. Carrick's only match as interim manager was a 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League. He could soon be replaced by German coach Ralf Rangnick, who has been in talks with United. Manchester City came into the weekend three points behind Chelsea and plays before the leader, at home to West Ham. Having criticized the standard of the Tottenham squad he has inherited following an embarrassing loss in the Europa Conference League, Antonio Conte takes his team north for an away match at Burnley. Also, Watford manager Claudio Ranieri returns to Leicester, the team he surprisingly led to the title in 2016, and Brentford hosts Everton.
Sevilla’s visit to leader Real Madrid is the highlight match on a day when the league’s top four teams are all in action. Sevilla enters the match at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in third place at two points back. Carlo Ancelotti will once again entrust Madrid's attack to Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior with Eden Hazard still out recovering from a stomach virus and Gareth Bale still injured. Sevilla will likely also be without several injured players, including midfielder Suso and striker Youssef En-Nesyri. Second-place Real Sociedad is just a point behind Madrid and will play earlier at Espanyol hoping to move to the top of the table. Atlético Madrid is in fourth before it visits Cádiz looking to bounce back from its home loss to AC Milan in the Champions League this week. Sixth-place Real Betis has won two straight by a combined score of 5-0 — it hosts last-place Levante, the only winless side.
After enduring their first league losses last weekend, Napoli and AC Milan will endeavor to get back on track in Serie A. The teams share the lead, one point ahead of third-placed Inter Milan. Napoli hosts Lazio, shortly after Milan welcomes Sassuolo. Roma will be looking to close the gap on the top four with a win over Torino. At the other end of the table Udinese hosts fellow struggler Genoa, while Spezia welcomes Bologna.
Leipzig hosts Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga’s first game without fans for months due to spiraling coronavirus infections in the state of Saxony. The home team will be without a host of players due to infections, too. The club says it had six more positive test results for COVID-19, adding to the three previous cases it reported in midweek . Coach Jesse Marsch is among those infected, though it didn’t stop the team routing Belgian club Brugge 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday. Eintracht Frankfurt plays Union Berlin for the early game in Frankfurt, where up to 40,000 spectators are permitted.
Paris Saint-Germain looks to bounce back from losing at Manchester City 2-1 in the Champions League when the French league leader visits lowly Saint-Etienne. PSG will miss midfielders Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera through injuries. Third-place Rennes is becoming a serious contender in the race for Champions League spots. On a 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions, Rennes visits a Lorient side which has lost its last three games. A week after its game against Marseille was abandoned, mid-table Lyon visits Montpellier. Meanwhile, fifth-place Marseille needs a win over struggling Troyes to make up ground in the race for Champions League spots.
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This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune .