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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gunning Newcastle Faces Top Defense

LONDON -- The best offense meets the No. 1 defense this weekend in the English Premier League, while in Italy first-place AC Parma travels to hostile Olympic Stadium to face a hungry Lazio of Rome, and Brazilian star Bebeto may make his debut in the Spanish League.


In England, the irresistible force, Newcastle, has scored 22 goals on its way to a perfect record after six league games, and boast two of the top three goalscorers in the league. The immovable object, Liverpool, has allowed just three goals in five league games, and two of those were scored by two-time defending champion Manchester United.


Strikers Robert Lee, with eight goals, and Andy Cole, who scored his seventh against Barnsley, would seem offense enough for the Magpies, but manager Kevin Keegan was busy this week trying to fetch some more.


On Wednesday, Newcastle and Derby agreed on a $3.37 million price tag for Paul Kitson, who said it would be a "dream move" to play for the Premier League leaders. The transfer collapsed a day later when Kitson, who scored 13 goals for Derby last season, and Newcastle officials could not reach agreement on the player's personal contract terms.


Newly promoted Forest has been the most surprising team in the campaign. Led by Stan Collymore's five goals, Frank Clark's clubs sits in third place with 14 points, four behind Newcastle.


The only other unbeaten team in the league, Blackburn is hosting Aston Villa.


Parma of Italy has had little trouble in winning all three of its matches so far, dominating the play at midfield en route to outscoring its opponents by a combined 7-1. The team has a two-point lead in the standings over Juventus, Sampdoria and three other squads. Lazio is a point further behind.


The Romans suffered a 2-1 loss last week at the hands of Dutch striker Rudd Gullit, who burned the defense for both of AC Milan's goals, including the winner in injury time.


Lazio's management painted the tight loss to the three-time defending champions as a moral victory. The encounter with Parma gives Lazio another chance to prove it is a true contender.


Juventus, which hosts Sampdoria in Sunday's other big match, looked organized for the first time this season in its 2-0 win at Napoli last Sunday after struggling against promoted sides the first two weeks. The others grouped behind Parma play on the road, with AS Roma at Reggiana, AC Milan at Cremonese and Fiorentina at Internazionale of Milan.


In the Spanish League, Deportivo de la Coruna has won its first three games without marquee player Bebeto, but he may be in the lineup for Saturday's game against Espanol.


The striker reported several weeks late to the club, then unsuccessfully tried to buy out his contract for $5 million to play in Brazil. Deportivo threatened to fine him almost $400,000 for returning late, but he said this week the fine had been dropped. Bebeto's antics angered coach Arsenio Iglesias, an old-school disciplinarian, who promised to play the Brazilian only if he was in shape. Iglesias is unlikely to announce a starting lineup until hours before Saturday's match.