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MATCHDAY: Manchester Derby in EPL, Zlatan Ibrahimovic Back for AC Milan

Associated Press

Last Updated: March 06, 2022, 09:38 IST

Manchester Derby (twitter)

Manchester Derby (twitter)

Manchester City and Manchester United have different ambitions heading into the derby at City's Etihad Stadium.

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

ENGLAND

Manchester City and Manchester United have different ambitions heading into the derby at City’s Etihad Stadium. City is seeking to retain its Premier League title and can reclaim its six-point lead over second-placed Liverpool with a win. United’s target is simply to finish in the top four to get back in the Champions League and the team is in fourth place. City has been hit by an injury to star center back Ruben Dias, who could be missing for up to six weeks, while striker Edinson Cavani is back in contention for United. Arsenal is engaged in that race for the top four and will look to keep the pressure on United with a win at Watford, which is in the relegation zone.

SPAIN

Third-placed Real Betis hosts fifth-placed Atlético Madrid with both sides fighting in a tight pack of teams for next season’s Champions League berths. Betis will play after just two days’ rest since they beat Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey semifinals. Betis is the only Spanish club still playing in three competitions having also reached the Europa League round of 16. Atlético, meanwhile, have had all week to prepare for the trip to Seville. Barcelona visits Elche playing their best football since Xavi Hernández took over as coach. Former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored five times in Barcelona’s three consecutive wins. Rayo will try to recover from their failure to reach the cup final when they visit Cádiz, while Mallorca is at Celta Vigo with both on winless runs.

ITALY

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available for AC Milan for the first time since January following an Achilles problem and his return couldn’t have better timing. The Rossoneri visit Napoli in a match where the winner will move atop Serie A. The 40-year-old Ibrahimovic has scored eight goals in 15 Serie A matches this season and could be an option off the bench for Milan. Also, fourth-placed Juventus host relegation-threatened Spezia looking to extend their 13-match unbeaten streak and keep their faint title hopes alive.

GERMANY

Hoffenheim can stake their claim for Champions League qualification by moving to fourth in the Bundesliga with a win at Hoffenheim. Sebastian Hoeneß’ team is full of confidence after three wins in a row, coming from behind to win the last two. But Cologne are a tough team to beat at home, where they have won their last two thanks to goals in each from top-scorer Anthony Modeste. The French forward has been reinvigorated under coach Steffen Baumgart and has scored 15 goals this season. Borussia Dortmund was due to play the early game in Mainz, but that match was postponed to March 16 due to a coronavirus outbreak at Mainz.

FRANCE

Monaco will rely on Wissam Ben Yedder, the top scorer in the league, to get back to winning ways against second-placed Marseille. Despite the dismissal of Niko Kovac, Monaco still sit in the middle of the table under new manager Philippe Clement and got knocked out in the semifinals of the French Cup by Nantes on Wednesday. Fourth-placed Rennes hope to make up ground in the race for Champions League spots when they host Angers. Led by prolific forwards Martin Terrier and Gaetan Laborde, Rennes have won their last two games while Angers have lost their last five games and will miss suspended striker Mohamed Ali Cho. Level on points with Rennes, Strasbourg will be without an injured Adrien Thomasson against Reims. After a mediocre first half of the season, defending champions Lille are making a late push for a European spot. Lille striker Jonathan David will look to snap an eight-game goalless drought in all competitions against Clermont. In a relegation fight, Saint-Etienne will miss an injured Romain Hamouma against Metz. Saint-Etienne’s form has improved under new manager Pascal Dupraz, racking up 10 points from the last five games.

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first published:March 06, 2022, 09:38 IST
last updated:March 06, 2022, 09:38 IST