A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday:
Manchester City and Chelsea meet for the second time in less than 72 hours, this time in the FA Cup. City won 1-0 when they played in the Premier League on Thursday and Chelsea’s lengthy injury list added more names that night after Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic went off hurt. City is beginning its bid to win the FA Cup for the second time under Pep Guardiola, after 2020, while Chelsea last won the competition in 2018. There are seven more third-round matches in total but only two of them feature Premier League clubs. Aston Villa hosts fourth-tier Stevenage and Leeds visits second-tier Cardiff.
Barcelona visits Atlético Madrid without Robert Lewandowski, seeking a win that would break its deadlock with Real Madrid at the top of the league. Lewandowski, the league top scorer, will serve the first of a three-game suspension. In his place, Xavi Hernández could turn to Ferran Torres, Memphis Depay or Ansu Fati. Barcelona will be aiming to take advantage of Madrid’s 2-1 loss at Villarreal on Saturday. But Barcelona has struggled since returning to action following the World Cup break. It drew with Espanyol 1-1 in a league derby and needed added time to avoid an upset to a lower-tier rival in the Copa del Rey. Atlético is in fourth place and among a group of teams fighting for a top-four finish and Champions League berth. Real Sociedad is in third place before visiting Almería. Real Betis visits Rayo Vallecano just two points behind Atlético in its last game before the Copa del Rey holder heads to Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Super Cup. Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla hosts Getafe.
League leader Napoli will be looking to bounce back from its first defeat of the campaign when it visits lowly Sampdoria. Napoli lost at Inter Milan 1-0 on Wednesday, when the league resumed after a 7 ½-week break but nevertheless still has a four-point advantage over Juventus. Defending champion AC Milan will be hoping to move back above Juventus and into second spot but faces a tricky match at home to Roma. José Mourinho’s side is four points below the Champions League spots and level with city rival Lazio, which hosts Empoli. At the other end of the table, Spezia and Salernitana will be desperate for points to move away from the relegation zone. They play Lecce and Torino, respectively.
The French Cup round of 64 continues with six-time champion Lille hosting Troyes in an all-first division game. Top-flight Ajaccio, Lorient, Reims and Toulouse are also in action with all of them away from home. Corsican side Ajaccio travels to the east of France to take on fourth-tier Jura Sud and southern team Toulouse is at fifth-tier Lannion. Lorient visits La Châtaigneraie and Reims plays another amateur side when it goes to Loon-Plage.
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