A look at what’s happening in European football on Friday:
With back-to-back draws, Arsenal is stumbling as the team looks to hold off Manchester City in the Premier League title race. The leaders couldn’t ask for a better opponent to get back on track. Arsenal hosts last-place Southampton, which is starting to get cut adrift in the relegation battle. The south-coast club, which has been in the top flight since 2012, is four points from safety with seven games left. Arsenal has thrown away 2-0 leads to draw 2-2 with Liverpool and West Ham over the past two weekends and has seen its lead trimmed to four points from City, which also has a game in hand. With City inactive in the league this weekend because of its involvement in the FA Cup, Arsenal can push seven points clear ahead of a trip to City on Wednesday. Left back Oleksandr Zinchenko is back in training for Arsenal after missing the game at West Ham but center back William Saliba still isn’t available.
Espanyol hosts Cadiz in a clash between relegation-threatened teams. Espanyol is particularly desperate to end a six-game losing streak, with the last two coming under new coach Luis Garcia. Espanyol is in 19th place and three points from safety. Cadiz is only one point above the drop in 16th. Espanyol has a demanding schedule down the stretch with games against Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and Sevilla, so beating Cadiz is a must.
Hellas Verona will be hoping for a confidence-boosting victory over Bologna to leave it on the brink of escaping Serie A’s bottom three. A victory would lift Verona level on points with 17th-placed Spezia, which visits bottom club Sampdoria on Saturday. Verona would still be below Spezia, however, as it has the worse head-to-head record. Verona has only won one of its past eight matches however. Moreover, Bologna has only lost one of its matches in that period. Bologna is eighth in Serie A, five points below the European qualifying places.
Stuttgart can drag Augsburg into the Bundesliga’s relegation scrap if it maintains its success under new coach Sebastian Hoeneß. The team was last when Hoeneß was appointed to replace the fired Bruno Labbadia and since remained unbeaten in three games: a win over Nuremberg in the cup, then a win at relegation rival Bochum before last weekend’s morale-boosting 3-3 draw with Borussia Dortmund despite playing the entire second half with 10 men. Stuttgart is now in the relegation/promotion playoff spot, five points behind Augsburg.
Leader Paris Saint-Germain can take another step toward a record 11th French title with a win at rock-bottom Angers. Time is running out for Angers which has only won three league games and is a hefty 17 points away from 16th place in a season where the bottom four teams get relegated. Even if Angers wins all its remaining seven games it will only have 35 points — which is just four more than 16th-place Brest already has. Angers has scored only 24 goals in 31 games and its leaky defense has conceded 66. Only Troyes with 67 has allowed more.