MATCHDAY: Man City-Arsenal in FA Cup; Leipzig can cut gap
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:
Manchester City hosts Arsenal in the FA Cup, but it is a match that could have a wider impact on the race for the Premier League title. Leader Arsenal is five points ahead of reigning champion City, having played one game fewer. A win at the Etihad Stadium would strengthen belief that the Gunners can sustain a title challenge. But victory for City could provide it with a psychological boost in the second half of the season.
Espanyol visits Almeria seeking a third straight win in the Spanish league to continue moving up the bottom half of standings. Consecutive wins at Getafe and over Real Betis at home have lifted it out of the relegation zone and into 13th place. Espanyol striker Joselu Mato has scored 10 goals, second in the competition only to Barcelona’s Roberto Lewandowski and his 13.
In-form Leipzig aims to put more pressure on Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich with a win at home over Stuttgart. Marco Rose’s team can cut the gap to just a point before the rest of the 18th round. Bayern, which started the year with two draws, hosts Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Leipzig is full of confidence after drawing with Bayern 1-1 then routing last-place Schalke 6-1 away. But Stuttgart has shown signs of improvement since Bruno Labbadia’s return as coach.
Fifth-place Rennes will be in a confident mood for the trip to Lorient after beating league leader Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round of games. Rennes needs a win to keep in touch in the race for third place and a spot in the Champions League qualifying rounds. Rennes is without its best striker, Martin Terrier, for the rest of the season as he recovers from knee surgery but bolstered its attack by signing Cameroon forward Karl Toko Ekambi from Lyon. Seventh-place Lorient, meanwhile, is trying to keep top scorer Terem Moffi amid interest from Marseille and Nice. Moffi's 12 goals this season put him one behind league top scorer Kylian Mbappé of PSG.
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The Associated Press