What to watch in international soccer this weekend
The top televised soccer action from Europe this weekend will see the red-hot league leaders in France and England facing stern challenges while Spain’s ice-cold Real Madrid will be seeking a return to form under its new caretaker coach.
Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain remains the lone unbeaten team in Europe’s top five leagues but it will get a test Friday when second-place Lille travels to Parc des Princes (BeIN Sports, 12:45 a.m. PDT). PSG, which is averaging better than 3 1/2 goals a game, has won its last six matches with Lille and has the team’s top two scorers in Kylian Mbappe (10 goals) and Neymar (8). But Lille has the next-best duo in Jonathan Bamba and Nicolas Pepe, who have seven scores each. There’s not much difference in goal either: PSG has given up six scores in 11 games, two more than Lille.
English Premier League: Liverpool has lost only one league game since March but all that has gotten the Reds is a share of the top spot in the EPL table with Manchester City. Now Liverpool has a chance to take sole possession of the lead Saturday when it faces Arsenal in London (NBC, 10:30 a.m. PDT) The Reds haven’t lost to Arsenal in their last six meetings but the Gunners, after some early stumbles, have an eight-game winning streak. Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is tied for the league lead with seven goals, one ahead of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.
La Liga: Real Madrid has finished outside the top five in the La Liga table just once since 1977. So it was no surprise that the team sacked manager Julen Lopetegui after last week’s humiliating 5-1 loss to Barcelona dropped it to ninth place after 10 games. The team immediately responded to caretaker coach Santiago Solari, thumping third-tier Melilla 4-0 in a Copa del Rey match Wednesday. Solari, a former midfielder and longtime youth coach at Real Madrid, will make his La Liga managerial debut Saturday against visiting Real Valladolid, which is unbeaten in its last seven matches (BeIN Sports, 8:15 a.m. PST) The four goals against Melilla are more than Real Madrid scored in its last five league matches combined but Solari will be without four key contributors — Marcelo, Dani Carvajal, Rafael Varane and Mariano Diaz — who are injured.
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