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Weekend Football Preview

IT’S BACK!!!!!

Premier League

Manchester United vs. Leicester

Incomings                                                                                                                                                            Incomings
Diego Dalot (Porto)                                                                                                                  Ricardo Pereira (Porto)
Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk)                                                                                                   Jonny Evans (West Brom)
Lee Grant (Stoke)                                                                                                              James Maddison (Norwich)
Danny Ward (Liverpool)
Rachid Ghezzal (AS Monaco)
Filip Benkovic (Dinamo Zagreb)
Caglar Soyuncu (SC Freiburg)
                                                                                                                                                          W D1

The opening game of the season is brought to us from Manchester as last season’s second placed team face off against the 9th place team. United have had a quite pre-season from a transfers point of view as with Dalot being injured and Lee Grant a third choice goalkeeper. Fred is really the only person who improves the squad. Mourinho has not been quiet and made several strange comments about Martial and Pogba and United will be hoping that it does not affect their performances on the pitch. Mourinho has the pressure this season and instead of going into the season level headed it seems like United are going the Chelsea 15/16 way. Leicester have been busy this transfer window and they have improved in all areas of the pitch with some impressive signings. They did let go of Mahrez who moved to city but Ghezzal is an astute replacement. This could be a good season for Leicester and they should be fighting for a top 10 finish at least. As far as the game is concerned then it will depend on which United team show up, we know what to expect from Leicester and they will come out guns blazing United should win but Leicester could cause an upset, never forget Jaime Vardy is raring to. 

Newcastle vs. Tottenham

Martin Dubravka (Sparta Prague)
Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea)
Kenedy (Chelsea)
Fabian Schar (Deportivo La Coruna)
Yoshinori Muto (Mainz)
Salomon Rondon (West Brom)
Federico Fernandez (Swansea)
W 1 D 2 L 2                                                                                                                                                          W 

Saturday’s first game comes to us from St.James Park as Newcastle take on Spurs. It’s tenth against third and both teams will want to finish in better positions this year although its harder than ever this season. Newcastle have made several signings although a few of them are more squad signings than real improvements to the starting XI. Kenedy is a good signing and someone who did well last season while Rondon and Muto could do well as strikers. Benitez has not been happy with the business but now that the window is over it is all up to him to drag Newcastle into a top ten finish. Spurs play their first few games away from home as they will finally be moving into the renovated White Hart Lane or as it is known now the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The stadium which looks like a Toilet seat is also the main reason why Tottenham have not been able to buy any players this window and have thereby made a record for themselves as the first team to ever do so. Spurs did manage to keep all their players from last season so thats a win but they have not strengthened their squad. Many expect Spurs to finish in the top four but with a new stadium and other teams strengthening I expect them to finish outside the top four. Newcastle fans will be rapturous and with a large chunk of Tottenham’s squad returning only this week for pre-season I expect Newcastle to get three points. 

Bournemouth vs. Cardiff

Incomings                                                                                                                                                            Incomings
David Brooks (Sheffield United)                                                                                         Josh Murphy (Norwich)
Diego Rico (Leganes)                                                                                                      Greg Cunningham (Preston)
Jefferson Lerma (Levante)                                                                                                          Alex Smithies (QPR)
Bobby Reid (Bristol City)
Victor Camarasa (Real Betis)
Harry Arter (Bournemouth)
                                                                                                                                                          W 2

Bournemouth finished 10th last season while Cardiff finished second in the Championship. Bournemouth have made three signings out of which Jefferson Lerma who was signed on deadline day seems to be the one who will have the most impact. Cardiff have made several signings as they try to fight for Premier League survival this season. Bournemouth should be looking to fight for a top 10 finish although with the quality of the teams above them they could be facing a relegation battle but should survive. Cardiff in my opinion will be fighting for survival and nothing more as Neil Warnock plays a very defensive game and does not score many goals. Bournemouth to win their opening game at the weekend. 

Fulham vs. Crystal Palace

Incomings                                                                                                                                                            Incomings
Jean Michael Seri (Nice)                                                                                                         Vicente Guaita (Getafe)
Maxime Le Marchand (Nice)                                                                                  Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham)
Fabricio Agosto Ramirez (Besiktas)                                                                                        Max Meyer (Schalke)
Andre Schurrle (Dortmund)                                                                                                 Jordan Ayew (Swansea)
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle)
Alfie Mawson (Swansea)
Calum Chambers (Arsenal)
Sergio Rico (Sevilla)
Joe Ryan (Bristol City)
Luciano Vietto (Atletico Madrid)
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Man United)
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Marseille) 

A London Derby on opening day as newly promoted Fulham take on 11th placed Crystal Palace. Fulham had a brilliant season under Slavisa Jokanovic as they scored their way through to play offs into the Premier League. Their owners have backed the manager as they have made several brilliant signings Seri, Schurrle, Mitrovic, Rico, Vietto are just some of the players that really add to this Fulham side. Several of the players did join the club in the latter stages of the transfer window and so it might take a few weeks for us to see them regularly. Fulham should fight for the top 6 and comfortably finish in the top 10. Crystal Palace had a brilliant second half season under Roy Hodgson and Guaita, and Meyer are probably the pick of their signings. Meyer essentially replaces Loftus Cheek who has chosen to stay with Chelsea this season. Their best bit of business was to keep Zaha who was on fire in pre-season and seems to be raring to go. This game should be brilliant and expect to see a few goals either team can win.

Watford vs. Brighton

Incomings                                                                                                                                                            Incomings
Ben Wilmot (Stevenage)                                                                                                           Leon Balogun (Mainz)
Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona)                                                                                          Joseph Tomlinson (Yeovil)
Marc Navarro (Espanyol)                                                                                                Florin Andone (Deportivo)
Adam Masina (Bologna)                                                                                                    Jason Steele (Sunderland)
Ken Sema (Ostersunds)                                                         Bernardo Fernandes Da Silva Junior (RB Leipzig)
Ben Foster (West Brom)                                                                                                               Hugo Keto (Arsenal)
Domingos Quina (West Ham)                                                                                                David Button (Fulham)
Yves Bissouma (Lille)
Percy Tay (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar)
Anders Dreyer (Esbjerg)
Billy Arce (Independiente Del Valle)
Leo Skiri Ostigard (Molde)
Peter Gwargis (Jonkopings Sodra IF)
Dan Burn (Wigan)
Martin Montoya (Valencia)
                                                                                                                                                          W 1

Last season’s 14th place take on 15th place in their season opener. Watford had a mixed season last year but picked up in the latter stages and they have added several quality signings to their squad. Brighton were essentially in a relegation battle last season but managed to finish 15th. They have made a bucket load of signings for this season and I frankly do not know any of them. Both teams have had good pre-seasons although the league is a totally different ball game. This game should be open although I can see Watford starting their season with a win. 

Wolverhampton vs. Everton

Incomings                                                                                                                                                            Incomings
Benik Afobe (Bournemouth)                                                                                                   Richarlison (Watford)
Willy Boly (Porto)                                                                                                                   Lucas Digne (Barcelona)
Raul Jimenez (Benfica)                                                                                                            Joao Virginia (Arsenal)
Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)                                                                                                    Bernard (Shakhtar)
Leo Bonatini (Al-Hilal)                                                                                                           Yerry Mina (Barcelona)
Ruben Vinagre (AS Monaco)                                                                                            Andre Gomes (Barcelona)
Paulo Alves (Liverpool)
Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco)
Jonny Castro Otto (Atletico Madrid)
Adama Traore (Middlesbrough)
John Kitolano (Odds Ballklubb)
Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht)
1                                                                                                                                                           4

Last season’s Championship winners go up against 8th place finishers. Wolves under Santos revolutionised the Championship with their football and completely destroyed teams in similar fashion to City. Wolves are now raring to go for the Premier League and with players like Jimenez, Moutinho, Patricio etc added to the likes of Neves, Costa, and Jota Wolves will be challenging for a top 6 finish. Everton sacked Allardyce and appointed Marcos Silva in the the pre-season. After having only bought Richarlison they went into overdrive in the final week and pushed through major deals for Digne, Mina, and Gomes from Barcelona, not to mention Bernard who signed from Shakhtar. Everton will be hoping to push for a top 6 finish and should be guaranteed a finish in the top 10. This game should be an open one and either team can win. 

Liverpool vs. West Ham

Incomings                                                                                                                                                            Incomings
Fabinho (AS Monaco)                                                                                                           Ryan Fredricks (Fulham)
Naby Keita (RB Leipzig)                                                                                                              Issa Diop (Toulouse) 
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City)                                                                                      Lukasz Fabianksi (Swansea)
Alisson (AS Roma)                                                                                                                   Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Andriy Yarmolenko (Dortmund)
Fabian Balbuena (Corinthians)
Felipe Anderson (Lazio)
Xande Silva (Vitoria)
Lucas Perez (Arsenal)
Carlos Sanchez (Fiorentina)
1                                                                                                                                                           1

Last seasons fourth placed side go up against thirteenth in their first game. Liverpool enjoyed a stellar season last year but slagged off towards the end due to the Champions League final. Liverpool have not really strengthened their squad as all their signings are essentially replacements for departing players. They have though resolved a problem area which is their goalkeeper as they have brought in Alisson who is probably one of the best in the world. Liverpool should be challenging City for the title this season as it is high team that Klopp wins something with this team, no more excuses. West Ham struggled to safety last season and the owners seem to have learnt from it. They went and hired Pellegrini as their coach who has a Premier League title to his name. They then went and bought several top players to redo the squad signings like, Diop, Wilshere, Anderson, Yarmolenko, Sanchez etc. West Ham should be in for an exciting season ahead and should challenge for a top 6 finish. West Ham could cause Liverpool problems although since it is the season opener at Anfield I expect Liverpool to win. 

Southampton vs. Burnley

Incomings                                                                                                                                                            Incomings
Stuart Armstrong (Celtic)                                                                                                    Vinnie Steels (York City)
Mohamed Elyounoussi (Basel)                                                                                   Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough)
Angus Gunn (Man City)                                                                                                                  Joe Hart (Man City)
Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach)                                                              Matej Vydra (Derby)
Danny Ings (Liverpool)
W                                                                                                                                                          W 3

Southampton scraped to survival as they finished 17th while Burnley finished 7th and got a Europa League spot. Southampton have not had a great transfer window and with the quality of the sides in this season’s Premier League I see them fighting for survival again. Burnley did extremely well last season and have made some decent signings. For Burnley getting a top 10 finish should be key and it will not be easy with the quality that is in the Premier League this season. Burnley should win this game but only just. 

Arsenal vs. Man City

Incomings                                                                                                                                                            Incomings
Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus)                                                                                      Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen)                                                                                              Claudio Gomes (PSG)
Sokratis (Dortmund)                                                                                                  Philippe Sandler (PEC Zwolle)
Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria)                                                                                 Daniel Arzani (Melbourne City)
Matteo Guendouzi (Lorient)  
W                                                                                                                                                           W 1

6th vs 1st closes out the opening weekend as City take on Arsenal in London. Wenger finally left Arsenal at the end of last season and he was replaced by Unai Emery. Emery went around quick with his transfer business as they strengthened their team especially in defence, mid field and goal. Leno is a good goalkeeper while Torreira should add some bite to their midfield. Arsenal struggled last season and this season their main aim should be to finish in the top four. City were champions and many expect them to be champions this season as well, some fans are already discussing the battle for second as no one thinks City will finish lower. City have strengthened with Mahrez but all other signings are for their youth team. City might be champions again this season although in recent seasons the defending champions have always done poorly in their next season so lets see what happens. Arsenal should hope to win their opening game of the Emery era at the Emirates while City will hope to plant their flag early in their fight to retain the title. Arsenal might just nick this although if their defence does not show up then City will win it. 

Super Copa

Sevilla vs. Barcelona

Sevilla take on Barcelona in the Super Copa Espanga. Barcelona have made several squad signings and should win this game. Although Sevilla always cause problems and at times upset the big teams. An interesting game but Barcelona to win. 

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