A look at what’s happening in European football on Saturday: (More Football News)
Arsenal is hardly in panic mode after a surprise 1-0 loss to Everton but the Premier League leader will want to get back on track when Brentford visits Emirates Stadium. Next week there’s a showdown with second-placed Manchester City. Arsenal has a five-point lead and a game in hand over City. Brentford has four wins and two draws in its past six games. Chelsea will try to reboot its top-four hopes when it travels across London to face West Ham in a match that should offer an intriguing midfield duel between Enzo Fernandez and Declan Rice. Chelsea paid a British record fee to sign Fernandez, and Rice could fetch similar figures if he leaves the Hammers. Fourth-placed Newcastle visits second-from-bottom Bournemouth in the evening match. Leicester hosts Tottenham. Brighton is at Crystal Palace. Wolverhampton will try to build off its 3-0 win over Liverpool when it visits last-place Southampton. Fulham hosts Nottingham Forest.
While Real Madrid tries to win the Club World Cup final against Al-Hilal in Rabat, Morocco, Real Betis visits Almeria in the league trying to get back on track. With five losses to go with just one win in its last six games overall, Manuel Pellegrini’s side has slid into seventh place. Javier Aguirre’s Mallorca wants to build on its win over Real Madrid in the last round when it visits a struggling Sevilla that is perilously close to the relegation zone. Valencia is likewise near the bottom before it welcomes Athletic Bilbao, the team that eliminated it from the Copa del Rey quarterfinals last month.
League leader Bayern Munich is under pressure to beat Bochum at home with rivals all looking to capitalize on any dropped points by the 10-time defending champion. Union Berlin is just a point behind before its trip to Leipzig, which sees itself as a more likely title challenger. Fourth-placed Leipzig is just four points behind Bayern. Third-placed Borussia Dortmund is three points behind before it visits Werder Bremen. Both Union and Dortmund have won all their games since the league returned after its long winter break. Also, Pellegrino Matarazzo makes his debut as Hoffenheim coach against visiting Bayer Leverkusen, Freiburg hosts Stuttgart and Mainz welcomes Augsburg.
Paris Saint-Germain leads the league with an eight-point cushion over Marseille and Lens. On a seven-game unbeaten run, Monaco could snatch second place when it hosts an inconsistent PSG team that will be without Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. Monaco coach Philippe Clement is spoiled for choice up front with Wissam Ben Yedder and Breel Embolo. Ben Yedder has seven goals in his last six games while Embolo has notched five in his last five games. PSG has looked fragile lately, losing to Lens and Rennes in the league last month and getting knocked out of the French Cup by Marseille on Wednesday. Mbappe is still sidelined by a thigh injury, and Messi strained his hamstring against Marseille. Marseille plays at mid-table Clermont and will have defender Eric Bailly available again after he served a seven-game suspension. But Marseille will miss wing back Nuno Tavares, who is nursing a thigh injury. Clermont hasn’t found the net in its last three games.
Lazio hosts Atalanta in Serie A with both sides locked in a tight battle for the Champions League qualifying spots. Lazio is just a point above Atalanta and one below city rival Roma, which visits lowly Lecce. Lazio and Atalanta endured setbacks last week. Lazio was held to a surprise draw at relegation-threatened Hellas Verona. Atalanta travels to the Italian capital without two key players after defender Joakim Mæhle and forward Luis Muriel were sent off in a loss at struggling Sassuolo. At the other end of the table, Spezia will be aiming to snap a four-match losing run when it travels to Empoli. That streak has left Spezia just four points above the relegation zone.