Preview: Manchester United looks to forget off-field issues, Milan derby in Serie A

AP , Saturday 16 Sep 2023

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

Milan
Milan (AP)

ENGLAND

After a slew of off-field issues at the start of the season, Manchester United needs to focus on results as it returns to action with a home game against Brighton in the Premier League. Issues regarding Mason Greenwood, Antony and Jadon Sancho have cast a shadow over the opening weeks of a campaign that has seen United lose two of its first four games.

Brighton beat United home and away last season, so there is the potential for another setback for manager Erik ten Hag. Wolverhampton hosts Liverpool in the early kickoff, while league leader and defending champion Manchester City travels to West Ham. Newcastle has lost its last three games in the league and hosts Brentford in the late game.

ITALY

Serie A returns with a bang after the international break as the Milan derby features the only squads with perfect starts. The match at the San Siro also features the league’s top scorers so far: Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez (five goals) and AC Milan counterpart Olivier Giroud (four goals).

It’s also the first Milan derby for a host of new players in the Italian league, like U.S. standout Christian Pulisic at Milan and France international Marcus Thuram at Inter — with both players having made a big impact in the opening rounds. Juventus, which is two points behind the leaders, hosts Lazio, which beat defending champion Napoli before the break. Napoli looks to bounce back in a visit to promoted Genoa.

SPAIN

Barcelona hosts Real Betis in the Spanish league following the international break and with its Champions League opener three days away. Barcelona is two points behind Spanish leader Real Madrid and can move in front with a win over Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis. Barcelona hosts Antwerp on Tuesday.

Atletico Madrid will play its first match in more than two weeks when it visits Valencia after its last game was postponed because of bad weather. Athletic Bilbao hosts Cadiz without forward Nico Williams, who injured a muscle while playing for Spain. Mallorca is winless so far this season through four games before visiting Rafa Benítez’s Celta Vigo.

GERMANY

Borussia Dortmund is already under pressure in the Bundesliga after making its worst start to the league in 14 years. Edin Terzić’s team has only five points from its first three games and faces another potentially tough match at Freiburg. Italy captain Leonardo Bonucci could make his Union Berlin debut at Wolfsburg.

The 36-year-old defender would need to stop Wolfsburg’s Jonas Wind from adding to his five goals so far. Leipzig hosts Augsburg, Stuttgart visits Mainz and Cologne welcomes Hoffenheim. Eintracht Frankfurt visits Bochum in the late game.

FRANCE

Lens pushed Paris Saint-Germain all the way in a close-fought French title race last season and finished second by one point. It’s a different situation this time and Lens is still looking for its first win of this campaign.

The northern side is in next-to-last place and has picked up only one point from the first four matches heading into the home game against promoted Metz. In the other game, Rennes hosts Lille with the winner of that game able to move into second spot.

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

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