LONDON (AP) — Having been brought down to earth by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Arsenal doesn't have time to lick its wounds as Arsene Wenger's team prepares for a tricky English Premier League match against relegation-threatened Sunderland on Saturday.
Manchester City also saw the limits of its European ambitions with a 2-0 home loss to Barcelona and is expected to bounce back at home against Stoke. Third-place City is unbeaten in its last nine games against Stoke in all competitions.
Leading Arsenal by one point at the top of the standings, Chelsea hosts Everton. Here are five things to know about the upcoming games:
WHAT'S WRONG WITH OZIL? Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil had an immediate impact when he became Arsenal's most expensive player last summer. Arguably the best passer in European football, Ozil got off to a strong start in London, delighting the Emirates crowd with displays of sheer class. But his form over the past three months has been disappointing and he reached his nadir on Wednesday, missing a spot kick with a feeble shot as Arsenal was crushed 2
0 at home by Bayern. After his missed penalty, Ozil was constantly overrun. "He was affected by (the penalty)," Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger said. "He wanted to do so well that it affected him. You could see even five or 10 minutes later on the pitch he still was shaking his head. It had a huge impact on his performance." Ozil is a world-class player. But at the moment, he looks out of his depth, bereft of an ounce of self-belief.
VIDIC SET FOR INTER MOVE: Since joining the club at the start of 2006, Nemanja Vidic has been a key element of Manchester United's triumphs, winning the Premier League five times as well as the Champions League. With United's defense too often exposed this season, manager David Moyes has plans to rebuild his back four and Vidic will leave at the end of the season when his contract expires. His next stop is likely to be Italy. Inter Milan president Erick Thohir confirmed on Thursday the Serie A club is very close to completing a deal for the 32-year-old Serb. "Vidic? I can't say anything even if the deal is 90 percent done," Thohir said.
TALKING TOO MUCH? Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, always keen on playing mind games, has managed to anger both Arsenal and Barcelona in the space of a week. After labelling his old foe Wenger a "specialist in failure," Mourinho also said Barcelona was the "worst in many, many years," then Barcelona beat Manchester City 2-0.
Barca midfielder Cesc Fabregas asked the Portuguese coach to mind his own business: "He should talk about Chelsea and their tie. I don't think he should talk about anything else. It is not his business. Some people want us to fail all the time, some people have been talking a bit too much, for a few days they will have to shut up." Chelsea faces Everton, which needs a result at Stamford Bridge after being cut adrift eight points behind Liverpool in the race for the fourth Champions League place.
MAGATH UP FOR RELEGATION FIGHT: New Fulham manager Felix Magath is convinced his team will avoid relegation. Ahead of Saturday's game at West Brom, the Cottagers are bottom of the league, four points adrift of safety. But the former Bayern Munich coach believes hard work will ultimately pay off. "In the next months we will have a lot of work to avoid relegation but in the first days here the work we've achieved has been very good," Magath said. "I'm sure we will avoid relegation with this team as the players are willing to avoid relegation." Fulham appointed Magath on an 18-month contract on Friday after firing Rene Meulensteen. A strong disciplinarian, Magath has won three Bundesliga titles as a coach.
UNDER PRESSURE: With 12 games remaining, Mourinho has played down the Blues' chances of winning the title. Defender David Luiz is feeling the pressure mounting on the leaders, though. And he loves it. "We are not afraid, we are top of the league now, we are happy with this," the Brazil international said. "I love pressure, you don't need to take pressure off me because I love pressure and that's why I play for a big club - that's why I am here."