European football matchday: Real Madrid aim for LaLiga top spot; Manchester United visit Villa
Manchester City can win the Premier League if Manchester United lose at Aston Villa.
A look at what’s happening in European football on Sunday:
Real Madrid can lead the league with three rounds to go with a home win against Sevilla. The victory would leave the defending champion tied on points with Atlético Madrid, but Zinedine Zidane’s team has the tiebreaker advantage because of a better head-to-head record.
Sevilla can keep their own title chance alive with a win as they sit seven points behind Atlético. Barcelona were at second place after drawing with Atlético 0-0 at the Camp Nou Stadium on Saturday. Barcelona stayed two points behind Diego Simeone's team.
After losing to Chelsea on Saturday, Manchester City can win the Premier League if Manchester United lose at Aston Villa. United open an unenviable run of three league matches across five days with a trip to Aston Villa. As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side tries to lock down second place, they then play at home against Leicester on Tuesday and on Thursday against Liverpool in a match that was rescheduled from last weekend after being postponed due to crowd disorder.
Solskjaer’s side remains unbeaten away in the league and faces a mid-table Villa side still without influential captain Jack Grealish.
West Ham and Everton also meet as they chase European qualification. West Bromwich Albion is on the brink of being relegated as they face ninth-placed Arsenal. Brighton are 10 points above the relegation zone heading into the trip to Wolverhampton.
Juventus host AC Milan in a direct battle for a place in the Champions League. The sides are level on points along with third-placed Atalanta, who visit already-relegated Parma. Napoli moved a point above the trio after beating Spezia 4-1 on Saturday. Milan coach Stefano Pioli has never beaten Juventus counterpart Andrea Pirlo, either as a player or coach, in 25 years.
Pioli has also won only one of 22 matches against Juventus in his coaching career. At the other end of the table, there is a direct fight to avoid relegation as Benevento host Cagliari, with just one point separating the sides. Fellow strugglers Torino and Genoa play Hellas Verona and Sassuolo respectively. Roma host bottom club Crotone.
After a coronavirus-enforced two-week break, Hertha Berlin’s busy schedule continues with a relegation battle at home against Arminia Bielefeld. Hertha’s demotion worries have eased since claiming four points from two games in the past week, but Bielefeld occupy the relegation-playoff spot and would gladly switch places with Hertha, who have a better goal difference.
Hertha have played a game less and both teams are on the same points. Second-to-last Cologne are just a point behind Hertha and Bielefeld ahead of their game against visiting Freiburg. Also, Eintracht Frankfurt hope to keep their Champions League qualification campaign on track with a derby win at home over Mainz, who are unbeaten in eight games.
Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain are under big pressure and need to win at Europa League-chasing Rennes to stay one point behind leader Lille in a tense title race. But PSG must do so without 25-goal league top-scorer Kylian Mbappe because of suspension and midfield schemer Marco Verratti, who has a knee injury. But Rennes are without the heart of their midfield as France internationals Eduardo Camavinga and Steven Nzonzi are out.
Rennes are seventh and two points behind Marseille and Lens in fifth, the Europa League spot. If Marseille win at Saint-Etienne earlier in the day, Rennes have to beat PSG or risk falling too far behind with only two rounds remaining after this one.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier acknowledged Kylian Mbappe's claims he has more freedom playing for France, admitting the star forward's club role is "more restricted".
The Spanish side have been under great economic stress in recent years but gained financial leverage this summer with a string of operations which allowed them to strengthen the team.