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WEEKEND PREVIEW: International Soccer Headliners
October 26th, 2007 7AM
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Liverpool hosts Arsenal Sunday at Anfield in a battle of English Premier League unbeatens, but the current form of the two clubs couldn't be more different.

Arsenal has won 12 games in a row in all competitions, mostly a 7-0 demolition of Slavia Prague to equal a Champions League record for the largest margin of victory. Liverpool fell at Besiktas, 2-1, for its second straight loss in the Champions League.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists that his young team not get carried away by its spectacular performance against Slavia. "I know how football is and we have no reason to be carried away," he said. "The same people who are saying we will win the European Cup were saying two months ago we'd finish 15th [in the league]. It's not easy to put two great performances together. When you win 5-0, 6-0 or 7-0 you still have to get ready for the next game."

LIVERPOOL-ARSENAL, Saturday (live), noon.

Chelsea takes a four-game winning streak under new manager Avram Grant in the Blues' match with Manchester City on Saturday, the first EPL game with new Dutch assistant Henk Ten Cate at his side.

Ten Cate, the former NASL player who made a name for himself as Frank Rijkaard's assistant at Barcelona, came over from Ajax to be Grant's assistant. (Grant's other new assistant is Nigerian Michael Emenalo, the former Boston University and San Jose Clash player.)

Grant is happy with Chelsea's progress in recent weeks. "We can play better football but I don't want to look at the sky and say this is the limit," Grant told reporters after the 2-0 win over Schalke 04 in the Champions League. "We are playing well at the moment, positive football, and it has taken less time than we thought, but we go step by step. Even Arsenal took a long time to build their side. I respect Arsenal and I respect other clubs but we are not taking our example from other teams. We want to play out own game."

CHELSEA-MAN. CITY, Saturday (live), 9:55 am.

Alberto Gilardino's two goals in the opening 14 minutes of AC Milan's 4-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk were good news for Rossoneri on the eve of their important Serie A match Sunday at home against Roma.

Milan is in 11th place in Serie A, 10 points behind leader Inter Milan, and can't afford to not win at home, where it fell to tiny Empoli, 1-0, last week and is winless in Serie A. Part of Milan's problem has been its anemic attack. Filippo Inzaghi is struggling, and Ronaldo is out until mid-November, putting the pressure on Gilardino to produce. His two goals were the first of the season in the Champions League to go along with only two goals in Serie A -- both against Lazio.

Gilardino's two goals against Shakhtar were an important first step in winning back the support of the Milan tifosi. "It is really satisfying to leave the field with everyone applauding," he said. Gilardino also got the backing of Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti. "He's improving," said Ancelotti, "although he's always had difficulty at the beginning of the year finding his best form."

AC MILAN-ROMA, Sunday (live), 10 am.

Struggling Sevilla hosts a Valencia team that will looking to rebound on Sunday from an embarrassing 2-0 loss to Rosenborg of Norway in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Valencia is tied with neighbor Villarreal for second place in La Liga, one point behind Real Madrid, but could be without its top striker, David Villa, with a sprained ankle.

Sevilla is 10 points behind Real Madrid but with a game in hand. It lost four straight games following the death of Antonio Puerta, but its play has improved in recent weeks as evidenced by its 2-1 win over Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League on Tuesday.

SEVILLA-VALENCIA, Sunday (live), 4 pm.


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