Matchday Previews: Chelsea hosts Man City, Real Madrid to face Villarreal

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Phil Foden trying to get away from Kante and T Silva | Photo: AFP

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


It's a battle of the Premier League heavyweights when Chelsea hosts defending champion Manchester City. Chelsea looks to be City's biggest rival for the title after opening league play with four wins and a draw and only conceding one goal — a penalty. Chelsea has beaten City in their last three meetings, most recently the Champions League final in May. City is three points behind Chelsea after losing to Tottenham and drawing at home to Southampton last weekend. Manchester United and Liverpool are tied on points with Chelsea heading into matches against Aston Villa at home and Brentford away, respectively. Among the four other games is Everton's home game against Norwich, which has lost all five games so far.


Spanish league leader Real Madrid takes on Villarreal and will try to extend its five-game winning streak in all competitions. Carlo Ancelotti's squad has the league's best attack with 21 goals from six matches, with Karim Benzema at the top of the scoring charts with eight goals. Unai Emery's Villarreal ended its winless streak in the previous round after starting with six consecutive draws in all competitions. Madrid holds a two-point lead over defending champion Atlético Madrid, which visits last-placed Alavés earlier Saturday. Alavés is one of the two teams yet to earn points this season, along with Getafe. Valencia, coming off two straight losses, hosts Athletic Bilbao. Sevilla hosts Espanyol.


Defending champion Inter Milan could be tested when Atalanta visits the San Siro. While Atalanta has led the league in scoring the last three seasons, Inter — by a large margin — has the early lead in that department this season with 18 goals in five matches. Even more significant is that 11 different players have scored for Inter this season — more than at any other Serie A club. AC Milan visits Spezia, which lost 3-2 to Juventus midweek. Also, Genoa hosts Hellas Verona in its first game since being sold to new American owners.


Borussia Dortmund coach Marco Rose is in for a hostile reception when he returns to former club Borussia Mönchengladbach for the first time since his acrimonious switch between the teams. Gladbach fans were dreaming of a bright future with Rose at the helm as the team looked set for Champions League qualification, but there was a dramatic slump after he said he was joining Dortmund at the end of the season and Gladbach missed out on European qualification altogether. Rose’s successor Adi Hütter is finding it difficult to repair the damage as Gladbach has only one win from its first five Bundesliga games this season. Dortmund is flying thanks to its fearsome forwards but there are worries in defense. Also, Hertha Berlin visits Leipzig, Frankfurt welcomes Cologne, Bayer Leverkusen hosts Mainz, Wolfsburg visits Hoffenheim and Union Berlin hosts Arminia Bielefeld.


League leader Paris Saint-Germain goes for its eighth straight win when it hosts midtable Montpellier. PSG will again be without superstar Lionel Messi, who took a blow to the knee last weekend and missed the midweek game against Metz. Messi has resumed training but is not match fit yet. Elsewhere, defending champion Lille looks for its third win of the season when it travels to in-form Strasbourg and Lyon hosts Lorient with both sides pushing to get into the top three.


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