MATCHDAY: Arsenal out to reclaim top spot; Neymar milestone
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday:
Arsenal can reclaim first place in the Premier League from Manchester City by beating London rival Brentford. Arsenal won its first five games before losing at Manchester United two weeks ago in its last match. It is Brentford striker Ivan Toney’s first appearance since getting called up to the England squad for the first time, having scored five goals in six games so far. Everton hosts West Ham in the other game.
Real Madrid visits Atlético Madrid in a capital derby amid a controversy over the goal celebrations of Vinícius Júnior. The Brazilian, who is Black, has criticized racist language used by a television sports talk show guest about his dancing after goals. Before those comments, Atlético midfielder Koke Resurrección said “there will be trouble” if Vinícius dances post-goal at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Real Madrid is seeking a sixth straight win in as many rounds this season to reclaim the lead from Barcelona. Vinícius will have to take an even greater role in attack as Karim Benzema is out injured. Sevilla visits Villarreal with coach Julen Lopetegui under pressure after his team has won only once in seven games. Osasuna and Real Betis, both with four wins and a loss, can pull one point behind Barcelona and remain in the top four with victories. Osasuna hosts Getafe, while Betis welcomes the promoted Girona. Real Sociedad also plays Espanyol in San Sebastián.
Defending champion AC Milan will be without key player Rafael Leão for the top-of-the-table clash with Napoli at San Siro. Leão, who has weighed in with three goals and as many assists, is suspended. Both teams are unbeaten and are joint top of the table, along with Atalanta, which visits Roma. José Mourinho’s side is just a point behind the top three. It is level on points with Udinese, which has had a surprisingly good start to the season. After losing its opener at Milan, Udinese has drawn one game then won four straight. It hosts Inter Milan, which is still missing injured forward Romelu Lukaku. Anything but a win at Serie A debutant Monza for Juventus would leave coach Massimiliano Allegri under even more pressure. Like Monza, Cremonese is winless and hosts Lazio. Also, Fiorentina welcomes Hellas Verona.
Neymar is set to make his 100th league appearance for leader Paris Saint-Germain at Lyon and is arguably in his best form for the club since joining for a world record fee of 222 million euros five years ago. The injury-plagued Brazil forward is fitter than for many years and has scored a league-high eight goals to go with six assists. In his 99 league games for PSG he has been involved in 120 goals (77 goals and 43 assists). PSG backup goalkeeper Keylor Navas has shaken off a lower-back injury and is in the squad. PSG is level on 19 points with second-placed Marseille, which is also unbeaten in the league and hosts Rennes.
Union Berlin can return atop the Bundesliga with a win at home over Wolfsburg, which claimed its first win of the season at Eintracht Frankfurt last week. Union is the only unbeaten team left in the league, and it is yet to fall behind in any of its domestic games. Union will be keen to make up for its Europa League loss at Braga on Thursday, its second straight so far in the competition. After starting the Bundesliga with six defeats, Bochum is looking for its first point against visiting Cologne with a new coach after firing Thomas Reis during the week. Freiburg visits Hoffenheim to close out the seventh round.
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