Preview: Barcelona hosts Madrid in Bellingham’s 1st ‘clasico,’ Arsenal plays Sheffield

AP , Saturday 28 Oct 2023

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:

Arsenal
Arsenal s Gabriel Martinelli (AP)

ENGLAND

Arsenal hosts last-place Sheffield United in what looks like lopsided matchup, but the visitors have played tough against Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City — 2-1 losses each time. The unbeaten Gunners are third in the Premier League standings after nine games. Sheffield has just one point and has lost five straight games.

Brentford makes a short trek to Stamford Bridge for a west London derby against Chelsea. Newcastle visits Wolverhampton after losing 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Bournemouth hosts Burnley with both teams stuck in the relegation zone. Vincent Kompany’s squad has just one win and four points. Bournemouth is winless and has lost four straight league matches.

SPAIN

Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in the first “clasico” match for Jude Bellingham. Madrid leads the defending champions by one point. Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández has not revealed if Robert Lewandowski, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri González and Jules Koundé are fit to play after missing several weeks due to injuries.

Bellingham has become an instant star at Madrid, scoring 11 goals in 12 games since moving to Spain this summer. Also, Sevilla visits Cadiz aiming to bounce back from its loss to Arsenal in the Champions League, while last-place Almeria host Las Palmas and Getafe is at Mallorca.

ITALY

Juventus can put an awful year behind it by moving provisionally top of Serie A with a win over Hellas Verona. Last season a false accounting case saw the storied Italian club docked points and excluded from the Europa League, while two players have been banned this season.

But not playing in Europe has helped Juventus focus on Serie A, where a third straight win would send the Bianconeri a point clear at the top with the Milan teams playing the following day. Juventus has also not conceded a goal in its past four matches.

Verona has just one point from its past five games. Bologna can move level with fourth-place Napoli with a win at Sassuolo. Lecce will be looking to end a four-match winless streak when it hosts Torino to move closer to the Champions League spots.

GERMANY

Manuel Neuer is expected to make his long-awaited return in goal for Bayern Munich at home to promoted Darmstadt. The goalkeeper and captain hasn’t played since he broke his leg while skiing in December last year following the World Cup. Neuer’s longtime understudy Sven Ulreich has been filling in for him so far this season.

Bayern goes into the weekend third but could end the day top of the standings with a win, so long as second-place Stuttgart — missing the league’s injured top scorer Serhou Guirassy — doesn’t beat Werder Bremen. Leader Bayer Leverkusen doesn’t play until Sunday. Also Saturday, Leipzig is in fifth ahead of hosting struggling Cologne, Augsburg plays Wolfsburg and Heidenheim visits Borussia Moenchengladbach.

FRANCE

France U21 forward Elye Wahi has been a key asset for Lens in the Champions League this season. He now needs to carry his European form into the French league to help his side continue recovering from a poor start that saw it earn just one point from its five opening games.

Wahi has scored just one league goal after signing from Montpellier, where he bagged 32 goals over two seasons. Lens sits in 14th place in the standings after nine rounds, five points behind Nantes. Reims hosts Lorient in Saturday’s other match.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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