The 2018/19 season is in full swing this week with the kickoff of the new English Premier League season. We’ve seen how Chelsea and Manchester City lined up last week, so get ready to see the rest of the English giants set the tone for their respective seasons. Elsewhere, in France, Germany and Spain, we will be entertained by their respective Super Cup games featuring the usual suspects. Here’s a roundup of the top games this week:
English Premier League
Manchester United vs Leicester City
If preseason was in any way a judge of how the Red Devils will fare in their opening game of the 2018/19 Premier League season, then Mourinho will be falling flat on his face at Old Trafford this weekend. Manchester United had an abysmal run of games leading up to the tie with Leicester, having only one win – a big win that is, against Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup. However, with Fred and Dalot joining the Reds this season, along with a team that finished second last season, Mourinho may not be thoroughly worried with facing a team that ended up in 9th. On top of that, Leicester’s star Mahrez is all but out the door as he puts on the colours of Man City. Puel will not have the firepower he would desire against a red-hot Man Utd, but he has the services of Ghezzal who’s had a pleasant history with the Leicester manager. With that said, the Red Devils still look too strong in this match up.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Leicester City
Newcastle vs Tottenham
Off the back of an awful preseason, Benitez looks to continue his struggle of managing Newcastle for another Premier League season with no marquee signings to stake his claim for a top-4 place. The Magpies, however, made two interesting buys in the form of Muto and Ki, a couple of hot Asian talents who’ve made impacts in their own right at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Could these two make a big difference for Newcastle? Probably not – and especially not against Tottenham who are banking on the legacy of last season’s players to bolster them into the top of the league this season. Pochettino may be facing the brunt of the fans for not making any signings, but with a fruitful preseason with wins over Roma and Milan, along with a draw against Barcelona, no one can really fault the manager for sticking with what works. Spurs are on course for great season, and it starts with a mauling of Newcastle.
Prediction: Newcastle 0-4 Tottenham
Arsenal vs Manchester City
Can anyone stop Manchester City? That is the question of the month as Pep’s Blues walked over a lacklustre Chelsea side in the Community Shield last week, even without key players like De Bruyne, Sterling, David Silva and Jesus. Man City continue to prove that they have depth in their ranks and come hell or high water, they can, and will produce results. With that said, the ball in is in Arsenal’s court to make something out of this tie. They have seen the Cityzens in action and now it’s up to Emery to pull together a team that can at least hold out the defending Premier League champions. The Gunners have Lichtsteiner and Torreira to help with holding out Aguero or Jesus, and Sokratis as a wild card from Dortmund. These new signings have been pretty decent in preseason and the London faithful can only hope that this translates into the EPL.
Prediction: Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
PSG vs Caen
They’ve already won the French Super Cup by dominating archrivals Monaco last week and with bottom-dwellers Caen next on the list, Tuchel shouldn’t have a problem. PSG are arguably the best team in France at the moment, boasting the likes of World Cup stars Di Maria, Neymar, Cavani, Mbappe, and now Buffon in their ranks. They did the unenviable task of casting aside Monaco without a host of their key players. Unless Caen can come up a rock-solid defensive strategy to hold the Parisians, there’s only one way this match is going to end. Tuchel will more than likely field his best 11 for the first time while in-charge of his new team and that spells an easy win for PSG.
Prediction: PSG 4-0 Caen
Spanish Super Cup
Barcelona vs Sevilla
You would think that a club like Barcelona wouldn’t need transfers to get better, but the Catalans went ahead and acquired the services of Vidal and Malcom among 8 other signings that will make the defending La Liga champions a force to be reckoned with. They had the longest unbeaten run last season and almost won the league with zero losses. Domestically, Barcelona owned it and this season, we could see a repeat of what transpired last season. Messi and Suarez will be looking to bounce back into form after failures in the World Cup and when these two click, goals will be the result. It would be interesting to see how Vidal and Malcom would add to the potency of Barca’s attack, but with the capabilities of these two players already known to the world, Sevilla look to suffer a defeat in their season opener.
Prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Sevilla
German Super Cup
Frankfurt vs Bayern
Bayern will be out for revenge after they lost out to Frankfurt in the DFB Pokal last season, denying them a clean sweep of the German domestic titles. It was complacency that saw them drop that game, but with the return of Sanches and Rodriguez, the German champions look to start their new campaign on a high and take home the first trophy of the season. Ribery and Lewandowski should be joining the fray, alongside Robben and Muller. Despite Bayern fairing poorly in preseason, Frankfurt can expect them to come out firing on all cylinders in this tie. And the fact that Kovac used to be managing Frankfurt could play a key role in the success of Bayern.
Prediction: Frankfurt 0-2 Bayern