We’re lucky to be born in a generation where entertainment, such as football games, are available by a single tap of our hands. Whether you are a fan of La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, or even Ligue 1, this weekend is bound to notify you of the new season’s arrival (if you’ve not made that realization already).
To start off, Valencia visit Barcelona at the Camp Nou early in the morning (here in the Americas). Los Che have a new manager in their ranks in former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. This after a disastrous first few weeks of the season in which they have conceded 15 goals and scored only 11. However, they could be turning a new leaf after holding on to beat Sporting Gijon 2-1 last weekend.
Barcelona, though, are on an entirely different dimension when it comes to current form, having comprehensively beaten Man City 4-0 in the Champions League Wednesday night.
It’s off to Bundesliga next, as Bayern Munich take on Borussia Mönchengladbach (took me a while to get that down) in the Allianz Arena. Bayern are currently in an unusual situation in the Bundesliga, having drawn both of their last two games in the competition. However, it shouldn’t take quite that long before the team start to click once again and start bursting with wins in a competition they’ve come to dominate in recent years.
Then, to Italy we go, as AC Milan seem to have suddenly found their feet ahead of their match against title favorites Juventus. Milan are on a 5-match unbeaten run, having won 4 while drawing only 1. Montella deserves much of the credit for turning a team—who’ve got much of the same individuals as last season—into potential title challengers. Bacca has been prolific for the Rossoneri, but perhaps more importantly, Kucka has stepped up into becoming a consistently productive midfielder. While there’s still a long way to go before we reach May, the Milanese faithful are beginning to dream—after all, Milan last won the Scudetto having taken 16 points from their first 8 games, the same tally they have now.
However, the challenge that awaits them on the way to their dream is a mighty one. Juventus have experienced a remarkable rise in form of their own in recent weeks, the latest of their exploits being beating Lyon away from home with only 10 men. Add in the comeback victory against Udinese, and the story gets simpler. The winning mentality that exists within this Juve squad is unmatched by any other Serie A club. A Milan win, though, and the Rossoneri will be on the fast track to again becoming one of Europe’s finest.
Next, it’s off to the Premier League in England as Manchester City host Southampton very early on Sunday morning. The Saints are on an impressive run of wins with Claude Puel, having remained unbeaten in their last 4 Premier League games, without conceding a goal for 612 minutes before succumbing to a meaningless penalty against Burnley last weekend.
Man City, meanwhile, have to bounce back after taking a hammering against Barcelona midweek and an unlucky draw against Everton before that. Guardiola will want to revise his mistakes during the entire last week, and starting Sergio Agüero, for one, will go a long way towards achieving that goal (no pun intended).
After this game, you’ll want to switch your channel to beIN Sports to watch Atletico’s matchup against Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez stadium. Both teams are flying high at the moment, and in a battle of wits between the Argentinian managers, it’s almost impossible to predict who’ll win.
Then, back to the Premier League again, as Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Conte seems to have ushered a sense of freedom and confidence within this team, and it has paid dividends in the last two weeks. Whether it’ll persist against Mourinho’s United, though, is an entirely different matter. The Portuguese will likely set his side up to defend like they did against Liverpool, albeit that prediction is a bit more uncertain than it was last week. Hopefully, the game lives up to its true heights, unshackled by overly defensive tactical setups.
Lastly, there’s a La Liga and a Ligue 1 game to conclude our (hopefully) inspirational weekend. Real Madrid take on Athletic Club at the Santiago Bernabeu whilst, simultaneously, PSG host Olympique Marseille. Madrid are undoubtedly the favorites in their matchup, but still face a trivial test against Bilbao. The same cannot be said of PSG, whose Ligue 1 form has been suspect at best this season. The French champions are shorn of their swagger and confidence—undoubtedly the after effects of their legend’s departure—though they have gotten away with it for the most part due to the gulf that exists in terms of talent and wealth between them and the rest of the pack. Another setback will ruffle some feathers amongst the higher-ups of the Parisiens. Unai Emery can only hope the midweek victory against Basel was not a false dawn, and will be determined to attain the maximum number of points possible from Sunday’s game.
Statistics via WhoScored.com