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Ajax, Paris and Atlético among the hunted

Published: Friday 17 January 2014, 9.00CET
The likes of AFC Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain face tests of their leadership credentials, Clarence Seedorf makes his bow and José Mourinho's sequence comes under threat.

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Published: Friday 17 January 2014, 9.00CET

Ajax, Paris and Atlético among the hunted

The likes of AFC Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain face tests of their leadership credentials, Clarence Seedorf makes his bow and José Mourinho's sequence comes under threat.

Cyprus: AEL Limassol FC v AC Omonia (Sunday 14.00)
First Division leaders AEL will look to pull further clear of struggling Omonia when the sides meet in Limassol. Sixth-placed Omonia – Cyprus's most-decorated club along with APOEL FC – are already seven points off the pace. They hope the recent appointment of Miguel Ángel Lotina can effect an upturn in their fortunes, though the former RC Deportivo La Coruña coach is asking for patience. "When a coach arrives at a new club, he needs time to get his message across to the players and that is not easy," said Lotina.

Netherlands: AFC Ajax v PSV Eindhoven (Sunday 16.30)
While Ajax finished the first half of the Eredivisie campaign top on goal difference, PSV are 11 points shy of the summit, in seventh. It is a far cry from 22 September when Phillip Cocu's team won 4-0 against the Amsterdam side, prompting caution from Ajax coach Frank de Boer. "PSV have gone through a deep trough and the race to get back on track starts at the [Amsterdam] ArenA," De Boer said. "It's a huge match for us as victory would most likely mean us knocking out one competitor for the title."

England: Chelsea FC v Manchester United FC (Sunday 17.00)
United, still likely to be without Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, are the latest team bidding to end José Mourinho's phenomenal 70-game Premier League unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge. The third-placed Blues are just two points shy of leaders Arsenal FC, nine points better off than seventh-ranked United. Mourinho, though, thinks the title holders will come good. "They're all together and are going to rebuild again," said the Portuguese. "They will get back on track, although it is probably too late to win the league."

©AFP/Getty Images

Verona striker Luca Toni

Italy: AC Milan v Hellas Verona FC (Sunday 20.45)
Clarence Seedorf's first match in the Milan dugout comes against Serie A's surprise package. The visitors rejoined the top tier last summer after 11 years away, yet are up to sixth, behind FC Internazionale Milano on goal difference. Seven-time European champions Milan, though, are a further ten points adrift in 11th position. "I want to start a new winning cycle, Milan have suffered enough," said Seedorf. The Rossoneri lost 2-1 at Verona on the opening day of the season and will be particularly wary of Luca Toni, scorer of both goals back in August.

Spain: Club Atlético de Madrid v Sevilla FC (Sunday 21.00)
Sevilla have bounced back well from last month's Copa del Rey elimination by third-tier Real Racing Club, collecting seven points from a possible nine to stay seventh in the Liga. Indeed, with Unai Emery's charges unbeaten in their last seven league outings – including five victories – they will travel to the capital in confident mood to face the joint leaders. "No team has won at the Vicente Calderón this season but we are looking at this fixture as one more match which we want to win," said Sevilla defender Daniel Carriço. "We are on a good run, have found our balance and are strong defensively."

France: Paris Saint-Germain v FC Nantes (Sunday 21.00)
Paris appear well set to retain the Ligue 1 title after extending their lead over AS Monaco FC to five points last weekend. However, they are up against a Nantes side that continue to surprise in their first term back among the elite. Michel Der Zakarian's team are sixth and have already won at FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Olympique de Marseille this season. "Sunday's game will be very tough," said Nantes striker Jordan Veretout. "But should we play as we did against Nice [in the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday], we can take some points."

Last updated: 17/01/14 9.30CET

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