After two spells in charge of Chelsea and 2 1/2 years with Manchester United, Mourinho has taken over an English side midway through a season for the first time. Tottenham is in trouble, too, in 14th place after winning just three of its 12 league games. However, Tottenham is only three points from fifth place so can easily climb the standings if there is a good reaction to Mourinho’s methods.
West Ham is two places behind Spurs and in even worse form, with Manuel Pellegrini perhaps on course to be the next Premier League manager fired after Mauricio Pochettino. West Ham hasn’t won a game in any competition in two months.
The Premier League resumes after the latest break for international games with Liverpool holding an eight-point lead ahead of a match at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Second-placed Leicester visits Brighton, while Chelsea visits Manchester City in a match between teams in third and fourth, respectively.
— By Steve Douglas SPAIN Real Madrid hosts Real Sociedad in the marquee match of the Spanish league this weekend. Madrid is in second place behind Barcelona on goal difference. Sociedad has proven to be one of the surprises of the season and is only two points behind in fifth place.
Barcelona visits Leganés after Lionel Messi scored goals for Argentina in a 1-0 win over Brazil and a 2-2 draw with Uruguay during the international break. Barcelona’s defense, however, will need retooling with Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo injured and Sergi Roberto suspended. Senegal defender Moussa Wague could play his first minutes of the season in their place.
Atlético Madrid, in third place a one point off the pace, visits Granada on Saturday without the injured Diego Costa. — By Joseph Wilson GERMANY Bayern Munich hopes Hansi Flick’s winning start as interim coach continues at Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday.
Bayern beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0 at home in the last game before the international break and another win could close the gap on Bundesliga leader Borussia Mönchengladbach. Flick, who took over from the fired Niko Kovac, has overseen two wins with no goals conceded so far.
Gladbach, which leads by four points, faces a tough game on Saturday at Union Berlin. The promoted side is high on confidence after four wins across all competitions. Second-placed Leipzig hosts Cologne on Saturday when Markus Gisdol makes his debut in charge of the visitors.
Cologne’s former coach, Achim Beierlorzer, makes his debut in charge of Mainz at Hoffenheim on Sunday. — By Ciarán Fahey ITALY Atalanta is hoping to get back to winning ways but it faces a tough test at home to league leader Juventus, although the eight-time defending champion will be without Cristiano Ronaldo.
Atalanta is competing in the Champions League for the first time in its history and it appears to be struggling with the demands of the added competition. It has won only one of its past seven matches in all competitions and has slipped to fifth, 10 points behind Juventus.
The Bianconeri have left Ronaldo at home in order to have him fully fit for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Atletico Madrid. Juventus has a one-point advantage in Serie A over second-placed Inter Milan, which visits Torino.
Napoli will be looking to snap a five-match winless run when it visits AC Milan, also on Saturday. — By Daniella Matar
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