European soccer weekend: What to watch in the main leagues

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LONDON (AP)What to watch for in the leading football leagues in Europe this weekend:

ENGLAND

Everton tries to move on from manager Marco Silva when it travels to fourth-place Chelsea on Saturday, hoping to turn around a poor run of form that has landed the club in the relegation zone.

Silva was fired on Thursday, a day after a 5-2 loss to Liverpool – the club’s eighth defeat in 11 Premier League matches.

Former player Duncan Ferguson will take temporary charge of the team but faces a daunting list of fixtures, with games against Manchester United and Arsenal coming up next.

The headline fixture this weekend is the Manchester derby with neither neighbor where it wants to be. City is already 11 points behind leader Liverpool in its title defense, sitting in third place. United is another 11 points back in sixth.

Leicester is Liverpool’s closest challenger and Brendan Rodgers’ second-place side will be chasing a club-record extending eighth successive win when it plays at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham hosts Burnley on Saturday while the round concludes with Arsenal at struggling West Ham on Monday.

-By Rob Harris in London.

SPAIN

Atletico Madrid visits Villarreal on Friday in serious need of a victory to avoid falling further behind in the Spanish league title race.

Diego Simeone’s side only has one win its last seven matches across all competitions. It will travel to Villarreal after back-to-back 1-0 losses at Juventus and against Barcelona at home.

Atletico has slid into sixth place at six points adrift of leader Barcelona and Real Madrid, which is in second place on goal difference. The two powerhouses also have a game in hand against one another.

Barcelona hosts newly promoted Mallorca on Saturday, after Madrid welcomes the struggling Espanyol.

Sevilla, which is a point behind the frontrunners, visits Osasuna on Sunday in the first match for the hosts since their run of 31 home matches without a loss was ended by Athletic Bilbao.

-By Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, Spain.

GERMANY

Surprise league leader Borussia Monchengladbach is dreaming of a return to its 1970s glory days, but will have to get past a tough game Saturday against Bayern Munich.

It’s a crucial test for Bayern, which is fourth after a 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen last week, interim coach Hansi Flick’s first defeat in the job.

With Gladbach and Bayern taking points off each other, the big winner could be second-place Leipzig. Julian Nagelsmann’s team is one point off Gladbach at the top as it takes on Hoffenheim.

– By James Ellingworth in Dusseldorf, Germany.

ITALY

Former Manchester United teammates Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling will face each other when Serie A leader Inter Milan hosts Roma on Friday.

Inter will be hoping to move four points ahead of eight-time defending champion Juventus, which visits third-place Lazio on Saturday.

Lazio is six points behind Juventus and two points above its city rival Roma.

Napoli will be hoping to take advantage of any slip-ups as it aims to end its winless run of eight matches when it visits Udinese.

– By Daniella Matar in Milan.

FRANCE

Well before the rivalry between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain was heavily promoted by the clubs’ owners, the classic game of the 1980’s pitted Bordeaux against Marseille.

Having won 16 titles between them, Bordeaux and Marseille established themselves as French football powerhouses long before PSG even existed.

But with Bordeaux a fading force and Marseille no longer a real contender for the French league title in recent years, the matchup lost its interest.

Until this season, when Marseille and Bordeaux have proved to be the main challengers to PSG’s supremacy. Ahead of their meeting at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday, Marseille sits second in the standings, five points above third-place Bordeaux.

Despite a messy ownership situation at Bordeaux that led to fan protests midweek, the team coached by Paulo Sousa has been one of the most entertaining sides so far. Unbeaten in its past six matches in all competitions, Bordeaux travels to the nine-time champions on the back of a 6-0 win over Nimes. Marseille is full of confidence too, having won its past five league matches.

-By Samuel Petrequin.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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