EPL wrestlers try to get out of trouble – Winnipeg Free Press
A preview of what’s happening in European football on Saturday:
It’s a big day at the foot of the Premier League with relegation contenders Wolverhampton and Nottingham Forest clashing at Molineux. Managerless Wolves are third from bottom and Forest are one point and a place below in 19th. Bottom-run Leicester could capitalize when they host Crystal Palace early in the kick-off and could climb out of the relegation zone – albeit only temporarily – with a win. Third-placed Tottenham take on Everton and Fulham take on Bournemouth.
Located just one point behind Paris Saint-Germain, the surprising Lorient can climb to the top of the championship. The Brittany side welcome Reims, who sacked coach Oscar Garcia midweek and have failed to win since late August. Lorient is on a series of six consecutive victories. After escaping relegation with one game to play last season, the team have been rejuvenated by coach Régis Le Bris’ attacking approach in a 4-2-3-1 system. Lorient striker Dango Ouattara is set to return after missing last weekend’s game through suspension. Ouattara scored four goals and delivered as many assists. Reims have just eight points from 10 games but held leaders PSG to a goalless draw last week. Also, Lens welcomes Montpellier.
Struggling Juventus were on a punitive retreat ahead of the derby against Turin. The Bianconeri were hampered by a 2-0 defeat at Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League on Tuesday, three days after a defeat by the same scoreline against AC Milan. Juventus president Andrea Agnelli sticks with beleaguered coach Massimiliano Allegri after the defeat in Europe. Torino are two points behind eighth-placed Juventus and would appreciate nothing more than to overtake their most accomplished rivals in town. Moreover, second-placed Atalanta are looking to extend their unbeaten start against Sassuolo and climb to the top of the table – at least for a day. Leader Napoli host Bologna on Sunday. The promoted Monza are aiming for a fourth straight win when Silvio Berlusconi’s club visit Empoli.
Athletic Bilbao host Atlético Madrid in a bid to extend their superb start and move closer to the top of the league. Bilbao have won five, drawn two and lost just once since coach Ernesto Valverde returned for his third spell with the Basque club. That’s enough for Bilbao to sit in third place five points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid before the former clash on Sunday. Bilbao will be without suspended midfielder Ander Herrera. Atlético are in fourth place, one point behind Bilbao. Sevilla also travel to Mallorca in search of their first win under Jorge Sampaoli after two draws with their new coach. Jorge Almirón makes his second stint in charge of the latest Elche on a visit to Valencia, while struggling Cadiz play at Girona.
Xabi Alonso started impressively as Bayer Leverkusen manager with a 4-0 hammering of struggling Schalke, but came down to earth in a 3-0 defeat to Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday. As Alonso aims to make up for his predecessor Gerardo Seoane’s poor showing at 15th-placed Leverkusen, he visits an Eintracht Frankfurt side stuck in mid-table and keen to build momentum. Frankfurt are without defender Makoto Hasebe after injuring his knee ligament in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss at Tottenham. Desperate for consistency after rocky Bundesliga and Champions League campaigns, Leipzig host Hertha Berlin, while Borussia Mönchengladbach travel to Wolfsburg. Promoted Werder Bremen are in European places as they host Mainz. The two lowest-ranked teams meet when Stuttgart take on Bochum.
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