It’s already been a month since the new football season started, and it feels like the weeks are flying by. We have already been entertained by some high-quality matches and surprising results. Last weekend saw big wins for the likes of Paris SG and Bayern Munich and important results for teams such as Barcelona and Manchester United. The upcoming weekend sees another full schedule of events from around Europe with a number of teams looking for an improvement in performances.
Once again there is no action from the Premier League on Friday night so fans of English football will need to be content with a match from the Championship between Luton and Sheffield. Elsewhere, Lille will be looking to bounce back from their thrashing at the hands of Paris SG as they take on Ajaccio and in Germany – it’s Freiburg up against Bochum. There are two matches apiece in Spain and Italy with the highlight being Lazio against Inter.
The early kick-off in England on Saturday sees Manchester United in action against Southampton. The Red Devils will be boosted by their result and performance against arch rivals Liverpool on Monday night. They will also have new signing Casimero available and will be hoping that they can return to Manchester with three points from their trip to the south coast. There are five 4 p.m. matches with arguably the most interesting matchup being Chelsea up against Leicester.
Both teams are in desperate need of points with Chelsea losing heavily at Leeds last weekend and Leicester yet to pick up a win this season. At the same time Liverpool host Bournemouth, an ideal fixture to bounce back from the disappointment of Monday evening and Manchester City are up against Crystal Palace. The late match sees Arsenal host Fulham in an interesting-looking London derby.
There are only two matches in France on Saturday and in Germany Dortmund will be desperately hoping they can bounce back from their shock home loss to Bremen last week as they travel to Hertha Berlin. The next team to attempt to stop Bayern are Gladbach, who currently occupy the second spot in the league with two wins and a draw so far.
In Italy, the match of the weekend takes place on Saturday, with Juventus up against Roma. The home team will need to get back in shape, having dropped two points last weekend. AS Roma started the season with two narrow wins and will be looking to maintain that unbeaten start. AC Milan will also be hoping for three points against Bologna.
Once again on Sunday, there are three offerings from the English Premier League. Firstly, Aston Villa host West Ham with both in poor form so far this season and desperate for an upturn in fortunes. Wolves host Newcastle in what should be an intriguing encounter and the late kick-off sees Nottingham Forest welcome Tottenham to their home stadium.
The highlight from the French top division sees Paris SG up against Monaco, traditionally a big match but the latter have started the season poorly so might struggle against a rampant Parisian team.
The highlight of the day from Italy is Fiorentina up against Napoli. Over in Spain, the two traditional rivals both play on Sunday evening with Barcelona welcoming Valladolid to Camp Nou and the late kick-off sees Real Madrid travel to Espanyol.
Monday is a relatively quiet day with the highlight being Valencia against Atletico Madrid in Spain and action from Turkey sees Konyaspor against Fenerbahce and Besiktas taking on Sivasspor.
Southampton vs Manchester United
Both these teams recorded much-needed wins last weekend to relieve the pressure on their respective managers. Southampton came storming back from a goal down against Leicester to win 2-1 to end a run of eight games without a win. This match will not be what they will have chosen as they would like to build on that success as they have a poor record overall against United.
No Premier League team has scored more goals against Southampton than the Red Devils although last season both league encounters between these two ended in 1-1 draws.
Manchester United fans were both delighted and surprised by the performance and result against Liverpool and will be hoping for more of the same to build on that result. New signing Casimero is likely to feature in this match as the Mancunians look to push themselves further up the league. United are currently on a terrible away run, having lost their last seven Premier League matches on the road although this match is an ideal opportunity to halt that as they haven’t lost at Southampton since 2003.
The visitors are clear favourites to win here but question marks still remain over their form. Whether or not the performance against Liverpool was the start of an upturn in results or a one off performance will be tested in this encounter. Southampton can cause any team issues on their day and can be dangerous for a United defence that is yet to look stable, so therefore one can expect goals in this match.
Chelsea vs Leicester
Chelsea are on a poor run and all does not appear well in the team. Manager Tuchel continues to ask for more new players despite six new first team players arriving this summer. They were humbled 3-0 at Leeds last weekend, with individual errors proving costly. Chelsea only have two wins from their last seven home league matches and Leicester have traditionally been a tough nut for them to crack.
Leicester City are also a team that have a few issues to deal with. There has been very little transfer activity this summer, frustratingly for manager Brendan Rogers and the fans. A trip to Chelsea is never an easy match and this will prove the case this time for Leicester too as manager Rogers has only beaten them twice in his career.
A clean sheet will be the focus for the foxes here. James Maddison is their man in form, as he was towards the end of last season, so they will be hoping he can inspire them to something special here once again. On the flip side, they have issues with the likes of Wesley Fofana wanting to leave the club and Youri Tielemans not wanting to sign a new contract, meaning the squad is in a state of limbo.
With both teams struggling, especially defensively, one can expect goals in this match. Chelsea should have enough to justify their status as strong favourites here as they were somewhat unlucky to only draw with Tottenham in their last home match and nothing went their way against Leeds. Leicester will need to up their game to leave London with any points.
Bayern vs Gladbach
Bayern made it three out three last weekend with their 7-0 demolition of Bochum, with their 14 goal positive difference after three matches a record for the Bundesliga. With Dortmund losing their match it is this week’s opponents Gladbach that currently occupy second spot with seven points from three matches. The Bavarian goal scoring machine will likely be unchanged for their latest task and another three points will be expected at home, with them being heavy favourites once again.
Gladbach managed a narrow 1-0 win last weekend against Hertha Berlin and will be hoping they can continue their relatively decent record against Bayern. They won this fixture 2-1 last season as well as a 5-0 win in the German Cup and a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture. In fact, Bayern have only won three of the last ten meetings between these two teams. Gladbach are unbeaten in their last five away matches so they have a few reasons to be cautiously optimistic.
Sadio Mane has started very well for Bayern following his move from Liverpool and is likely to be involved in any goals once again. This is a match where we can expect goals so the likely result is a home win with both teams to score and the match to be a high scoring one. The value might be in being able to pick out the right goalscorer.
Juventus vs AS Roma
Juventus were disappointed with their goalless draw against Sampdoria last weekend, not only for the result but also the performance. They will need to up their game against a far tougher opponent this weekend in AS Roma. The Turn giants are searching for their third win in a row against the team from the capital, having beaten them home and away last season. Juventus have won six of the last ten meetings between these two with Roma only triumphing twice.
AS Roma are the only other team in the league to possess a perfect defensive record, having won both of their first two matches by the same score of 1-0. They will be looking to continue that stability as they look for revenge for last season’s two defeats. Mourinho has already won eight Serie A matches at Roma by the same 1-0 scoreline and will be more than happy to add to that tally. Paolo Dybala will be up against his old team and will be hoping to open his account for Roma against them.
This is likely to be a feisty encounter with at least five yellow cards being shown in each of the last five matches between these two. It is early in the season but both regard this match as crucial to their ambitions for the rest of the season, with the top of Serie A looking very competitive once again this year. The home team are slight favourites to win and not many goals are expected, so we won’t rule out a low scoring draw in this match.
Paris SG vs Monaco
The Parisian giants have certainly started the season in ominous form, scoring seventeen goals in three matches so far. Last week they demolished Lille, a team that won the league title a couple of seasons ago and this week they face a Monaco side that have not had the best start to the season, losing their Champions League qualifier against Monaco. The visitors have managed one win, one draw and one loss from their opening matches.
The Parisians haven’t had this fixture all their own way, however, as they have won six out of the last ten meetings. Last season it was one apiece as both teams won their home matches so despite the odds being heavily in favour of Paris SG, the three points are not guaranteed. Last weekend the front three of Mbappe, Messi and Neymar were all on the scoresheet so the question for Monaco will be how to keep them as quiet as possible.
Monaco’s last performance was quite poor as they lost to Lens 4-1 following an early red card for their Brazilian Vanderson. Discipline will therefore be key and they will be hoping to welcome back Mohamed Kamara as well as a possible start for Minamino.
It is very hard to look past a home win here, despite Monaco’s decent overall record in this fixture. Goals are very much expected so picking a correct winning margin, the total number of goals and goalscorers are likely the way to go.