Game Week Previews
Game Week 1 : EPL
Key Matches: While United start one of their toughest opening weeks in the Premier League – David Moyes did not help his own cause by crying out loud – against Swansea. Spurs will fancy their chances away to new boys Crystal Palace. Title contender Manchester City welcomes Newcastle United whereas Jose Mourinho would celebrate his second innings with two games and very likely going atop of the league.
Team News: Focus on the man in charge – except for Arsenal every other major club has a new man at the helm. If we consider Brandon Rogers and Andres Villas-Boas are also in their second season only, it cannot get any more exciting than this. Elsewhere, it looks like none of Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale would even be seen in the substitutes bench for the season opener. But they are sure to make the headlines over their omission (or a surprise inclusion in the team sheet!).
Player to Watch: Roberto Soldado comes on the back of two consecutive 20 goals season and a fine debut would mean there is every possibility AVB can push his troops hard for a Champions League spot. Or may be an outside shot at the title assuming Bale stays and commits himself to the cause.
Predictions: An injury-hit, rusty Arsenal can stumble against the battling Villa force. Likewise the Swans have the best chance of unsettling Manchester United at this point of the campaign. Expect a goal riot as the as the Happy One marches on against Hull City.
Game Week 1 : La Liga
Key Matches: There are two mouth-watering ties for a true football fan – Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid, Valencia vs Malaga. While La Liga will very likely remain a two horse race, these teams proves to be the supply line of new talent for rest of Europe.
Team News: Ten clubs will be coming into the season with a new manager including the top two. It has been a summer of exodus from the La Liga as Roberto Soldado, Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Iago Aspas were all lured by the glamour of EPL and Radamel Falcao was snatched up by the big Spending French. But the one new entrant to the league has been the talk of the footballing world. It will be disappointing for fans though, as they may have to wait to see Neymar play alongside The Lionel Messi who is doubtful with his injury problems.
Player to Watch: Atletico Madrid have been blessed with a world class forward for quite sometime now. They were able to replace Diego Forlan with Fernando Torres, and then Torres with Falcao. Now they have acquired David Villa from Barcelona to fill the void. This could be the best thing that has happened to Villa as he looks to cement his place in the national side before World Cup 2014.
Predictions: Barcelona will steam-roll against Levante, a club with the lowest average possession among all the top five European leagues last season. Newly promoted Eiche are expected to get a harsh reality check against a Rayo Vallecano side which registered their highest ever point tally in the league last season. This week presents a good opportunity to Cristiano Ronaldo (against Real Betis) as he looks to take a head start while his competitor is a doubtful starter.
Game Week 2: Bundesliga
Key Matches: Final game of the weekend – Borussia Dortmund hosting Eintracht Braunschweig. Both the coaches, Jurgemn Klopp and Thorsten Lieberknecht, lived under the same roof during their playing days for Mainz. It would be fascinating to see how they keep their emotions under control, or let it go as the game approaches the final whistle.
Team News: Mario Goetze may feature for Bayern Munich but it remains to be seen how Pep Guardiola shuffles his supremely talented bunch of midfielders. One of them, Luiz Gustavo, has joined Wolfsberg and he is likely to start right away against Schalke.
Player to Watch: Franck Ribery. Fast claiming his status as the best playmaker in the world, Ribery was instrumental in Bayern winning the unprecedented treble last season. He has become the fulcrum of Bayern axis and one feels under the supervision of Pep, there is more to come from the willy Frenchman.
Predictions: There are two matches in the game week that could go to the wires – Wolfsberg vs Shalke and Stuttgart vs Bayer 04Leverkusen. Expect nothing less than a feisty encounter in these two showdowns. Quite the opposite in the match involving Eintracht Frankfurt. They have leaked six goals in their season opener and they would do really well – actually it would be awesome if they can do it – to improve on that against FC Bayern Munich.