MATCHDAY: Chelsea host Man U in free fall, Madrid vs Sevilla

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A look at what’s going on in European football on Sunday:

ENGLAND

In what could be his last game at the helm of Manchester United, Michael Carrick takes his side to Premier League leaders Chelsea in the 13th round title game. Carrick’s only game as interim manager was a 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League. He could soon be replaced by German coach Ralf Rangnick, who is in talks with United. Manchester City have entered the weekend with three points from Chelsea and play ahead of the leaders, at home against West Ham. After criticizing the level of the Tottenham squad he inherited following an embarrassing defeat in the Europa Conference League, Antonio Conte is taking his side north for an away game at Burnley. Moreover, Watford manager Claudio Ranieri returns to Leicester, the team he surprisingly led to the title in 2016, and Brentford welcomes Everton.

SPAIN

Sevilla’s visit to leaders Real Madrid is the highlight of a day where the league’s top four teams are all in action. Sevilla enter the match at the Santiago Bernabéu in third place, two points behind. Carlo Ancelotti will again entrust the Madrid attack to Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior with Eden Hazard still recovering from a stomach virus and Gareth Bale still injured. Sevilla will likely also be without several injured players, including midfielder Suso and striker Youssef En-Nesyri. Second-placed Real Sociedad are just one point behind Madrid and will play Espanyol earlier in hopes of climbing to the top of the table. Atlético Madrid are fourth before traveling to Cadiz to recover from their home loss to AC Milan in the Champions League this week. Sixth-placed Real Betis have won back-to-back wins in a combined 5-0 score – they host last-place Levante, the only side without a win.

ITALY

After suffering their first league defeats last weekend, Napoli and AC Milan will look to get back on track in Serie A. The teams share the lead, one point ahead of third-placed Inter Milan. Napoli host Lazio, shortly after Milan host Sassuolo. Roma will look to close the gap on the top four with a victory over Turin. At the other end of the table, Udinese welcomes his compatriot Genoa, while Spezia welcomes Bologna.

GERMANY

Leipzig host Bayer Leverkusen in the first Bundesliga match without fans in months due to spiraling coronavirus infections in the state of Saxony. The home team will also be deprived of many players due to infections. The club says it has had six more positive test results for COVID-19, adding to the previous three cases it reported midweek. Coach Jesse Marsch is among those infected, although that did not prevent the team from beating Belgian club Brugge 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday. Eintracht Frankfurt take on Union Berlin for the start of the match in Frankfurt, where up to 40,000 spectators are allowed.

FRANCE

Paris Saint-Germain appear to be rebounding after losing to Manchester City 2-1 in the Champions League when the French league leaders travel to Saint-Etienne. PSG midfielders Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera will be missed with injuries. Rennes, third, becomes a serious contender in the race for places in the Champions League. In a series of 12 unbeaten matches in all competitions, Rennes is visiting a team from Lorient who have lost their last three matches. A week after the abandonment of his match against Marseille, the Lyon midfielder goes to Montpellier. Meanwhile, fifth-placed Marseille need a victory over struggling Troyes to regain ground in the race for Champions League places.

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