Both Manchester Clubs showing their class

 

Both Manchester clubs had amazing performances over the weekend and are proving to be the clear top two contenders. Five games in and both clubs look to be separating themselves from the pack. The two teams started the season with four wins and a single draw, being the only teams yet to lose. The parity is so tight that both teams have scored 16 goals and conceded two goals. With the goal difference exactly the same and both teams in amazing form, the December Manchester derby can’t come fast enough.

Manchester city dominated Watford 6-0 controlling every facet of the game. Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick and is finally looking back to his world-class form for the first time under Guardiola. Gabriel Jesus scored the third goal of the game is proving to be a deadly matchup playing with Aguero. to begin the year there were doubts if both players could play together but after the last week, there is no longer doubt. They can.

Kevin de Bruyne also put in an amazing performance and is looking like the pace setter of the team. He created key pass after key pass versus Watford if he continues with that form he will be a shoe in for player of the year. Manchester City’s squad is deep and is proving they can handle the high number of fixtures with no problem.

Manchester United responded on Sunday by getting another 4-0 win at home versus Everton. United dominated the game starting with a lead early with an amazing volley by Antonio Valencia. This led the Red Devils to have a controlled performance where they handled Everton’s attack with no real panic and turning up the pressure late. They scored three goals after the 80th minute. Half of their goals this year have come in that manner.

Lukaku continued to be potent scoring on Sunday and being the point of reference of the offense for United. The team is playing exactly how Mourinho teams do, being solid at the back and in the midfield, not worried about the goals. They know they have the talent to get them. With this team you’re not worried about it like last year, you know that the goals will come.

 

 

Both showcased themselves this weekend and proved to be the class of the league so far. This goes to show that when you spend correctly and just to spend on the names, teams can improve a lot during the summer. For City, it was the Goalkeeper and the wing backs. Now the team looks in control at the back and comfortable on passion throughout. Adding Walker and Mendy give them two backs that are workhorses on the wing that will track back and forward. Something they were missing. Ederson at goal also has given the team senses of security like they never had. United, on the other hand, spend their money on a center forward and a central defensive midfielder. Lukaku has scored five goals in five matches and Matic has fit in and brought stability to the midfield. Both clubs were the highest spenders and five games in they look to have spent wisely. The rest of the league will have to step or this might just be a two-team race.

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EPL Week 4 Rundown

Manchester City score 5 to see off Liverpool at the ETIHAD

Manchester City faced their first real test of the season and responded beautifully controlling a heavy pressing squad like Liverpool with ease. Many expected Man City’s defense to struggle with the pace the Reds bring and they did early. Yet as the game went on Manchester City looked extremely comfortable on the ball and were never really rattled by Liverpool’s attack in the second half.

The game started well for both sides with each team being able to create chances. The game was quick and back and forth until Manchester City found the net when Kevin De Bruyne found Aguero with a great through that the Argentine put it in with class. Liverpool knocked at the door but Ederson was up for all the shots from the Reds.

Then came the talking point of the game, Mane’s red card. The Senegalese international accidentally kick the City keeper, Ederson, who ran out to head the ball right out side of the box. Although Mane’s eyes were always on the ball the kick got the keeper clearly in the face in a gruesome fashion that almost looked like a Karate Kick.The referee didn’t really have an option and sent Mane off.

After the red everything was lost for Liverpool who lost their fight and organization, trying many different formations to stop the bleeding but nothing was done. Manchester City controlled the pace and found five goals. Highlighting the performance is how well Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were able to play together. Many believe both strikers can’t be on the field together but Saturday they looked in perfect sync, creating chances of each other’s movements. Jesus scored twice and was a handful for the overmatch Liverpool defense.

The last two goals were scored by Sane who came in and made an immediate impact. Finishing up an amazing team goal when he teamed up with Mendy on the left-hand side. Then came the Golazo of the weekend when Sane took a left footed shot from outside the box and put it left in the top corner, leaving the keeper with nothing to do.

Manchester City Finally looked like a Guardiola side if they are able to control games and create chances constantly like they did Saturday they could easily find themselves competing for all the titles this year. Liverpool, on the other hand, will have to work on the same issues they had last year and find ways to stay compact at the back even when playing a high pressing style.

Manchester United finally drop points

United started the year with perfect form winning all three of their matches by multiple goals. The form finally stopped when they traveled to Stoke over the weekend. The Potters were great at pushing United and putting their center backs under pressure, something we had yet to see this year. United faced their first adversity of the season a responded well to get the game back and find the lead. They couldn’t keep control of the game but the team showed heart in the performance.

Choupo-Motíng caught Baily napping and found the space in behind to finish a cross and put Stoke City ahead late in the first half. United responded quickly scoring a scrappy goal right before the halftime whistle. Manchester came back strong in the second forcing the issue and finding the net when Lukaku put in the rebound of his own attempt to get United ahead.

The lead didn’t last long as it was time for Stoke City to respond quickly to going down. Phil Jones did a horrible job defending the corner and let Choupo-Moting get a free header to tie the game. United pushed the issue but was never able to regain the lead and dropped their first points of the year.

Manchester United still sit a top of the table but have shown that they are beatable and that the issues at the back we saw last year are still there. They still look the part and responded well to going one goal down.Still, should be considered the title favorites from what we have seen of this season so far. As for Stoke this was a great result and are showing great play. They look in prime position to make a push at the Europa League spots and be nowhere near the relegation battle.

Spurs And Arsenal get much-needed wins

Spurs got a much-needed win after dropping points at home last week beating the Toffees 3-0. They faced the tough challenge of traveling to Goodison Park and face the heavy spending side Everton and passed it with ease. Spurs Controlled the game and finally look like the elite side we saw last year. Harry Kane broke the goal drought he had to start the year. Netting two goals, one from a cross that found its way in and the other was a classic give a go goal Kane scores. Ericksen scored the other goal and was the best player on the field dribbling up and down the pitch and finding any pass he wanted. Spurs form comes at a good time who welcome Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in Champions League play in a matchup that might decide the group.

Arsenal was the other team desperate for a result after the disastrous result versus Liverpool last week. They look in control all the game beating a Bournemouth 3-0 having the ball and creating chance after chance. The defense looks in no pressure all 90 minutes which was something that everyone was looking at. The Gunners face another tough test next Sunday when they visit Chelsea and the defense will have to perform like today if they want the result. Danny Welbeck found the net twice putting in a performance that might delay Alexis Sanchez re-introduction to the first 11. Arsenal looked better and started both their new signings of Lacazette and Kolasinac, something they have to do to keep performances up. Keeping the home form up was key for Arsenal to keep the pressure of the fans off the team.

Morata Keeps on shining

Chelsea Had a difficult road test visiting recent champions Leicester City and came back with three points. Still without Hazard and saving some players for the midweek champions league matchup, Chelsea was able to see out the result and gain all three points.

The first goal of the game was Morata who again was able to score a header by finding the space in between the center backs and sending the ball home. Filing in nicely with Diego Costa yet to show up to practice. The second goal came in the second half when Kante hit a low rolling shot that found the bottom corner facing his former team. Leicester City thought they found a way back when they had penalty scored by Vardy but it was difficult for the Foxes to create chances and continue having a rough start to the season. Chelsea, on the other hand, find their third straight win after the embarrassing loss in against Burnley week one.

Crystal Palace loss but West Ham win in their must win-or-get sacked games.

Crystal Palace sacked their manager Franck de Boer yesterday after starting the year with four defeats and his team not scoring a single goal. He was brought in this summer to change the style of play but that could never have been done in four games. What will make matters worse for De Boer is the final match he had. The goal they conceded was a huge gift from a back pass that Chris Wood pushed it home. Palace controlled the 90 minutes creating 23 shots and allowing only two but they were unable to find the net and now De Boer is out of a Job. Palace face a long season as four games in they lose their manager and the same problems remain, the team will have to respond quickly if they want to stay up.

West Ham was the other team facing a 0-4 start but the hammers responded with a gritty 2-0 over recently promoted side Huddersfield town. They played a classic English style of sending a ball over a top and having Andy Carrol knock the ball down to create chances. They left it late but found a deflection goal and a tap in off a corner. This win will give the manager more time to fix the system and it was a great result as the club’s first home game of the season.

The rest of the league

Watford got a great 2-0 win on the road as they beat a Southampton side that continues to struggle infront of the goal. They have failed to score the last three games. Brighton got their first win and goal of the season versus West Brom from in a 3-1 game. The last game saw Newcastle getting a scrappy 1-0 win at Swansea as they look to ignore the lack of spending in the transfer window.

There is no midweek action this week as the top teams will have Champions League play in the first European match day on the season.Expect some weird squad selections next week in response to these matches.

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Headlines From Transfer Deadline day

Winners: Tottenham

Serge Aurier comes in to fill the hole left behind by Kyle Walker(Image: Getty Images)

Spurs added depth to their squad which is what they desperately needed.They seem like the only club who really go what they wanted. The north London club has a starting 11 that can compete with anyone. Serge Aurier is a World class wing back they are bringing in from PSG. He will probably take up the role left behind by Kyle Walker’s departure to Manchester city. They got 50 million from Man City found a cheaper replacement on deadline that cost less than half (23 million).

The other pick up was Fernando Llorente who will come in and be a valuable back up to Harry Kane. The only other striker in the squad was Victor Janssen who can’t seem to score in the Premier League. Llorente is an experienced Spanish international that will understand his role, he is big, mobile and finally, gives Spurs a real option off the bench. To add more to the news they stole the striker from Chelsea who was talking to Swansea all week and then Spurs came in on deadline day and signed the Striker.

They may have missed out on bringing in the third player that was promised on deadline day but the squad has added a lot of talent. With the addition of Davinson Sanchez, last week Spurs looks like they have a full squad to compete and actually win the Premier League. They still might be a little thin to really compete in the Champions League after their difficult draw.

 

Losers: Arsenal and Alexis Sánchez

 

Alexis Sanchez’s Long waited move fell through on Deadline Day (Images; Getty Images )

After losing 4-0 at Anfield, Many expected Arsenal to be very active and bring in players. They threw in a massive bid for Thomas Lemar that was accepted by Monaco but the young French international decided he didn’t want to go a club that wasn’t in the Champions League.

They sold players on Transfer deadline day but not the one that many thought would go in Alexis Sanchez. The Gunners did accept a bid for Sanchez from Manchester city but decided not to go through with the deal after not getting a replacement. Now Arsenal is stuck with a player that is causing problems in the locker room, You don’t know how motivated and will probably leave on a free next summer.

The Gunners are in a crisis and on transfer deadline day they did nothing to improve their situation. From the Alexis point of view, he is frustrated that Arsenal backed out of the deal and that the Chilean will having to be in London more time that he wants to be probably not competing for trophies.

On the end of the spectrum, Manchester city lost the opportunity of becoming one of the scariest teams in Europe. The addition of Alexis Sanchez to the squad would have put the up there with the best teams in the world and one of the favourites to win the Champions League.

Arsenal Finished outside the top Four last season and all they have done this summer is gotten rid of some players and only brought in two Reinforcements. If Sanchez and Ozil don’t come motivated than the Gunners face the fear of becoming a mid-table team. Lacazette is a world-class striker that will get Arsenal goals and Kolasinac will be a much-needed help to the defence but that simply isn’t enough to get them among the Elite in the EPL. Arsenal should’ve done something on Deadline day or not have left it all for late in the transfer window.

Chelsea gets rejected by a player again

Usually, when a team are champions a lot of players want to go there but it is very interesting transfer window, Chelsea has managed to get rejected on numerous occasion. Romelu Lukaku rejected them earlier in summer when he decided to go to Manchester United over the Blues. Then two days ago Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain decided to turn down the move to go to Chelsea in preference to go to Anfield. Then to end Transfer deadline day they got rejected by Ross Barkley, a player that currently seems out of favor in his current squad.

While they still brought in players during the summer that will help the squad it still seems weird that so many players have rejected them recently. It wasn’t all bad news for Chelsea they were able to bring Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater on Deadline day. Zappacosta is a Right back but can play on the left-hand side and will be a much-needed backup in the heavy wingback system of Chelsea. Danny Drinkwater will be another proven midfielder that helps Chelsea deal with the expanded fixture list this season.

Chelsea didn’t have the worst day but they should have a better day and better summer but were denied by many of their top targets throughout the transfer window.

 

Liverpool miss out on having the perfect summer

Deadline day has passed and Coutinho is still a Liverpool player. They will have sweat it out one more day as Barcelona’s Window closes today. In addition to that, they have Brought in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who be able to play various positions in the high pressing Liverpool system.

Virgil Van Dijk will stay at Southampton to surprise of many (Image; Getty Images )

The thing is they failed in bringing in Virgil Van Dijk who would have been the perfect signing for the Reds. Liverpool is in much need of a secure center back that you can have confidence in every game. The other loss was not being as strong in their pursuit of Lemar. They were a couple million short of the offer that accepted from Arsenal and the player started that he really wanted to play for the Reds.

If Liverpool would have brought in those two players alongside what they did they would have had the perfect summer. As of now, that is in prime position to get top four again and be able to compete in every competition they are in. Yet, if they would have added them they would be among the contenders. This squad is slightly a step down from the other Manchester Squads and Chelsea but those two players would have put them right up there.

Liverpool still had a good summer they added some depth to the squad and didn’t really over spend for any players.

 

Other Big Moves

The most eye-catching move was made by Swansea who brought in Renato Sanchez on loan from Bayern Munich as their replacement to losing Sigurdsson a couple of days ago. He is a young prospect that was key in Portugals run to win the Euros last year. Amazing that a world class player goes to a mid-table team. The other team that had great news on Transfer Deadline day was Crystal Palace who got in the much needed center back in Buying Sacko from Liverpool. They also got help up top with signing Niasse, Crytal Palace has not started the season well. Losing three games they needed to bring in players was something the team had to do if they ever want to get out of relegation battles.

Renato Sanchez will be on Loan at Swansea this year (Image; Getty Images)

 

This Transfer Deadline day will be remembered for the WHAT IF. So many transfers were close to coming together that fell through. It was a day that had players reject moves, teams waiting on other teams to do so and angry players driving and flying to other countries to work out their move. Transfer Deadline day is always crazy but finally, it is the end of the silly season and teams can focus of what they have because nothing else can be done. So much money was spent this summer and it only set up the best Premier League yet.

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Weekend Review, Arsenal humiliated and Madrid drop points

It was a big week in club soccer as the teams get prepared for the international break. Too many managers these weeks are going to be frustrated with the break. As it puts them two weeks without the squad and they can’t fix many of the problems that team have. So any team coming from a win, it is huge they go into the break in a good mood and will most likely keep their form, On the other hand, the teams that lose don’t have a chance to work on the problems and will only have 2 or 3 days before the next matchup.

 

England

The big match up of the weekend was Liverpool vs Arsenal. Many expected a high scoring match from both teams as they both are considered to have leaky defenses. Yet, only one team showed up at Anfield and that was Liverpool. The Reds won the game 4-0 dominating both half of the game creating chance after chance. They showed that they could still be elite even without Coutinho in the side. They have to fight off Barcelona for a couple more days but if they lose the Brazilian to a transfer the front three of Saido Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mouhammed Salah will have no problem scoring and creating chances.

 

Arsenal though probably had their worst performance in the last five years falling to put a single shot on target. This has lead many Arsenal fans to bring back the campaign of Wenger out. To make matters worse Arsenal has to fight off losing some of their key players these next few days and have no time practice because of International break. The Gunners are in a crisis. Their new formation isn’t working with many players looking disinterested in playing and the squad is nowhere deep or as good as the Arsenal fans expected. With three matches in, I doubt Wenger loses his job but during his whole time at Arsenal this might the worst position he has ever been.

Here are the game highlights

In the rest of the league of Chelsea dominated most of the game beating Everton 2-0, finally looking like the champions of last season. Alvaro Morata and Fabregas particularly impressed as the Spaniard duo connected for the goal and were influential. It’s early in the season but Alvaro Morata scored in the weekend and has been showing he could be the perfect replacement to the departure of Diego Costa from the squad.

 

Tottenham dropped points again at home, officially dropping more this season than in all of the last year. The team is trying to convince that the Wembley form is not a problem but these were more points drop at the end when Spurs are playing in this stadium. This a problem if it continues throughout the season and they don’t have their home form of last year they will have no chance of winning the premier league. They dominated most of the game finally breaking through with Dele Ali’s goal but they couldn’t see the result out and letting Chris wood have a good run at the box score.

The Manchester Squads both had wins over the weekend. United continue their scary good form to start the season by dominating a Leicester City side to win 2-0. United has been in amazing form to start the year and is becoming the clear favorites to win the premier league before the transfer window completes. Mourinho seems to always win titles in his second years and this team seems to finally feel like the old Ferguson teams.

Manchester City won on a 90-minute winner versus Bournemouth right at the end. Sterling hit the shot and celebrated with the fans but to the surprise of the whole stadium, he got a second yellow. This means Sterling will miss the next game for celebration with the fans but he didn’t really do anything over the top. Bournemouth might come out of the game feeling gutted as the southern team had Charlie Daniels score an amazing goal in the 11th minute. They lost the lead by a goal from Gabriel Jesus who plays a smartly taken quick free kick to catch the team sleeping.

The rest of the EPL saw 3 draws, Newcastle surprised with a 3-0 win over West Ham and Swansea stealing a win at Crystal Palace. Manchester is the only perfect side and sits on top of the table but the upcoming days with transfer window closing it will let us know where everyone truly stands.

 

Spain

In Spain, the great Real Madrid dropped points at home drawing to a resilient Valencia side in a game that was back and forth and either club could have won.The champions couldn’t survive with missing two of stars with both Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo out with a suspension. Marco Asensio came to the rescue for Madrid with an amazing performance that might set him up to be a starter even when Ronaldo comes back. Bale was jeered out after his performance bringing his departure back into question. Barcelona cruised into another 2-0 with an outstanding performance from Messi who scored twice. the team doesn’t look as strong upfront but they are still able to really control matches versus the mid table Spanish sides. To Many Barca is in crisis but things are looking up they will add a couple more signing before the transfer market closes a go into the international break top of the table.

Italy

In Serie A the weekend was highlighted by the comeback 3-1 win by Inter Milan over Roma on the road. The Italian capital side dominated the first half and created chances after chances scoring ones with a true striker’s goal from Dzeko hitting the post three times. In the second half, Icardi took over and score two quick finishes to give Inter the lead and Vecino finishing it in the 89th minute putting home a Perisic cross in for his second assist in the game.

 

The other big clubs also took care of business. Juventus completed a two goal comeback to beat Genoa 4-2 on the road. Dybala scores a hat-trick bringing his team back after conceding two goals in the opening 15. The defence is not as sound but if Dybala keeps playing like this It won’t matter. AC Milan won 2-1 at home versus Cagliari with an amazing free kick by Suso. Milan scored early with the teenage sensation Patrick Cutrone putting home a cross but lost the lead. The Suso free kick was the ultimate kick in the game. The big spending squad has yet to reach its potential but have started the season on the right foot. Napoli also had a comeback win beating Atalanta 3-1 with Zielinski scoring an amazing goal.

The transfer window is wrapping up and it will curious to see how the teams look after the three days that are left. It will be interesting to see which teams set themselves up for success or failure, so expect random big news this couple days.

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Analysis the Champions League Draw

Here are the Groups:

Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, FC Basel, CSKA Moscow.
Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic.
Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, FK Qarabag.
Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting CP.
Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, NK Maribor.
Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord.
Group G: Monaco, FC Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig.
Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL Nicosia.

 

Real Madrid in the Group of Death

Two-time defending champions get drawn in the Group of Death. (Image by Getty Images)

Group H is clearly the group to watch as the two-time defending champions Real Madrid have drawn Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham in their group alongside Cyprus side Apoel.

Real Madrid will have to continue the high form they are in if they want to survive. The Spanish side is still favorite to come out of the group, but they can’t afford to have slip-ups. Unless they are the top team in the world, they might not survive.

Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid are in a group again after being grouped together last year. Borussia Dortmund will look at the same challenge as last year when they also had a tough group with the defending champs, and they found some success winning the group.

Both games between the clubs ended in 2-2 draws, so it looks like things will be settled this year. The rematches should be fun to watch.

The addition of the Spurs drama is extra to the group this year. Spurs completely underwhelmed in last year’s competition, losing three games and two at Wembley. Many believe Spurs can’t fill and play well there.

Spurs will have to put the Wembley curse behind them with the difficult group. (Image by Getty Images)

Well, this year all their games are at Wembley because of the new stadium being built. If the Wembley form continues, or if the curse is true, it will be a tough year for Spurs, who will have to host the two-time champions and the high attacking Dortmund side.

Still, this group will feature six games of high-quality football in three cathedrals of the sports. The Bernabeu, Westfalenstadion and Wembley are world-class places. Every match between the clubs will be a spectacle to watch. This group will showcase the beauty of European club football.

Rounding out the group is Apoel, who will be the underdog in every match in the group. Not much is expected from them.

The Cyprus team does have some experience in the competition from 2012 when the team surprisingly got to the quarterfinals. The club will be looking to replicate the run they had, but it will be difficult with the group they were drawn in.

The Group of Life is Group G

Group G has Monaco, Porto, Besiktas and Red Bull Leipzig. It is the group where everyone seems to have a genuine chance of winning it.

There are no favorites in the group. Monaco is the champions in the group, but they have sold many of their stars from the semifinal side last year. With even more sales to come, it will difficult for the club to bring back the form they were in.

Monaco was given a lifeline with the difficult group, but none of the true football giants are in it. It will be challenging for the French Ligue side. Depending how they use the huge amount of funds that are coming in, they might be alright.

Porto, on the other hand, has been accustomed to making the second round of the tournament and will like their chances against teams who don’t really have experience. Porto has the side full of veterans that look poised to take control of the group. The Portuguese side will have the tough test, but with most of the squad at Monaco being sold, they seem destined to win the group.

Besiktas is the other team that will fancy their chances of coming through. They see the lowering of the level at Monaco and want to break  the bad streak Turkish football has had in Europe.

The Turkish league has risen in funding in recent year, but it has yet to have translated to Europe. Now Besiktas has the opening of making some noise with this group. They have a big fanbase and the funding to really make noise. Don’t be surprised if you see Besiktas in the second round.

Red Bull Leipzig is the last team and really makes the group interesting. The German side finished second in the Bundesliga and will make their European debut with this group. The German side hasn’t really made the addition of the squad, but have been keeping many of the players in the team from the surprise year, something Monaco hasn’t been able to do.

With this draw, the Leipzig side will definitely fancy their chances of going through. Expect a young high-pressure side that attacks anytime they can.

This group seems the most entertaining on paper from the point of view that every team will believe they are the better side. This will give us a group full of open matches.

Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester city get favorable groups

All three teams came into the draw with nightmare possibilities and left with scenarios they will like.

Manchester United gets an easy favorite and becomes a contender to win it all. (Image by Getty Images)

United got drawn in group A alongside Benfica, Basel and Cska Moscow. All are games where the Red Devils will be favorites to win.

Manchester United may have gotten in the tournament through the back door of the Europa league, but now the three-time winners look poised for a deep run this year. They have started the league with two 4-0 thrashings. Things are looking bright for the English giants and Jose Mourinho.

If United can get one or two more players, they could be serious contenders to win the champions this year. It wouldn’t have been the first time Mourinho has won the Europa League and then the Champions League the following year.

Liverpool is the middle of the Coutinho drama, but there is good news. The Reds got drawn into Group E with Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor. They got one of the best options they had as their group’s champions with Spartak Moscow from Russia, a side Liverpool could get a win against.

Liverpool gets some much needed good news in the draw (Images : Getty Images )

They also get a win over Sevilla, which is the most favorable Spanish side they could have gotten and gives them the chance to avenge the loss they had in the Europa league final two years ago.

The last side Maribor is the Slovenian side that is among of the worst teams in the 32. They will look to shock the world, trying to get results with clubs much bigger in fan base and funding.

The Reds now look to be in a good place to make a run. Maybe this news makes them a little more willing to sell Coutinho. Liverpool could sell a couple players and still make it into the second round of the competition.

Man City ended up with the toughest group out of the three, but one that the club should handle. Group F is Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli and Feyenoord, along with the Manchester club.

Man City should be favorite, but face a very good Napoli side, who could easily get a result. Napoli returns a very cohesive squad that will challenge any team. A Shakhtar side that is a veteran of the competition and seems to be in final 16 every year. Feyenoord is a young side that will surprise this year.

Man city is favorited, but if Pep doesn’t get the squad focused, things could go wrong fast in this group. Compared to Liverpool’s and United’s group, it’s hard, but Manchester City should have the squad to go through easily.

Chelsea dealt with tough group

Chelsea have tough test as they come back to the competition (image: Getty Images )

The blues are in a group that will test how deep the squad is as they will have no easy games.

Chelsea is in Group C alongside recent finalist Atletico Madrid, Roma and debutant Qarabag. Chelsea is coming from missing the Champions League last year and want to be among the leaders in the competition again.

Atletico Madrid is among the favorites to win it all, losing two recent finals, but face the unique challenge of being transfer banned. For the group stage, the club will be without reinforcement which might make it tough for the Spanish side.

Roma will look to take control from Chelsea with locker room troubles and an Atletico side that can’t improve themselves. They have brought in some talent and brought in a young Italian manager Eusebio Di Francesco.

Qarabag is the side in trouble. The side is the first club from Azerbaijan to ever make the Champions League group stage and will prove to be a long trip for the three big European clubs. Besides the Group of Death with the defending champions, this seems to be the toughest group on paper.

Big matches you won’t want to miss

Bayern Munich vs PSG – September 27 at Parc des Princes and December 5 at Allianz Arena
Atletico Madrid vs Roma – September 12 at Stadio Olimpico and November 22 at Wanda Metropolitano
Roma vs Chelsea – October 18 at Stamford Bridge and October 31 at Stadio Olimpico

Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid – September 27 at Wanda Metropolitano and December 5 at Stamford Bridge
Juventus vs Barcelona – September 12 at Camp Nou and November 22 at Juventus Stadium
Sevilla vs Liverpool – September 13 at Anfield and November 21 at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
Manchester City vs Napoli – September 26 at City of Manchester Stadium and November 1 at Stadio San Paolo
Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund – September 26 at Westfalenstadion and December 6 at Santiago Bernabeu
Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham – September 13 at Wembley and November 21 at Westfalenstadion
Tottenham vs Real Madrid – October 17 at Santiago Bernabeu and November 1 at Wembley

 

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Weekend preview: Games to watch

All the leagues are now going this weekend and here is a guide to the five games you must watch.

Bayern Munich vs Bayern Leverkusen

Bayern Munich kick off the Bundesliga with a tough test.

Bayern Munich will try to erase the bad preseason today (Images: Getty Images)

Bayern will look to start the season off with a good start. They have won the last five titles and are looking for a record sixth in a row. Yet, the feeling has changed after a bad preseason, where the team lost four games, many are believing this might be the most vulnerable we have seen the Munich side in years. Many of their stars like Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are ageing and they have many new signings that have yet to find their place in the squad.

Friday will be the start of this squad and we will get to see if what everyone fears are true.They face a tough opponent in Bayern Leverkusen who look to improve from the form they showed last season. Leverkusen had a huge fall from grace dropping from playing in the Champions League to finishing 12th in the table. Adding more to the problem. they have sold their best-attacking options in selling Chicharito and Hakan Çalhanoğlu. Still one would expect them to improve from their form last year. They bring back most of the spine of the team and bring in the veteran and former title winner in Sven Bender to play along side his twin brother. They are a side that is not going to beat itself.

The game will show if Leverkusen is still able to play at a Champions league level and if they will miss their two main men up front. On the other hand, this game will let us see if Bayern Munich are the team we saw in the pre-season or the one we saw the last five years. The game is today at 2:30, which is the perfect way to start your weekend.

Barcelona vs Real Betis

Ernesto Valverde will have the tough job of surviving without Luis Suarez ( Images: Getty Images)

Barcelona is in the middle of a crisis and begins the league this Sunday. After losing by an overall 5-1 margin to their bitter rivals Real Madrid, losing Neymar to PSG and now facing four to five weeks without Suarez, Barcelona is desperate for good news.

With less than two weeks left in the transfer window, Barcelona is desperate to get talent in through the door to improve the level and depth of the squad. This is something they need badly. The level they showed in the Spanish Super Cup is far from what we expect from the Spanish giants and not good enough to win the league. On Sunday we will see a Barcelona we haven’t seen in a while, one without Neymar nor Suarez. This will be a big test at home to show that they can survive this stretch without Suarez and the new signing that have yet to come in. Ernesto Valverde will have to work with what he has.

The game is also important because the last few years the league has gone down to the final moments and a bad start to the season can create a gap in the points on the table too big for them to make up during the year. This stretch will prove how good of a Manager and fit Valverde is as the team will have to find a new way to play.

From the Real Betis point of view, they see a weak Barcelona and a chance to get points at the Camp Nou. A place where not that many teams will find success this year. Any points are good for the Seville side as they look to get out of the relegation battle they were in last year. Betis did find success last year against the Catalan side drawing 1-1 and only dropping the 3 points by a Suarez goal at the last minute. The teams face off Sunday at 2:15 pm

Tottenham vs Chelsea

Spurs will face Chelsea Sunday in the first top six match up of the year (Images: Getty Images)

The top two teams from England last year face off in a London derby that has been full of sparks the last couple of seasons. Chelsea is coming off a shocking home loss against a Burnley side that was dreadful on the road last year. Adding insult to injury the squad will be without Cahill because of the red card last game and Eden hazard who is still hurt. Another loss will put pressure on Chelsea as the defending champions will be looking at back to back defeats to start the year.

Spurs, on the other hand, will want to prove that they are true title contenders this year. Chelsea cost them their title chances two years ago and beat them last season they will still look for revenge. The North London side are one of the title favourites and nothing will go better in the squad than a derby win over the reigning champions. This is setting up to be a very heated encounter.

Expect an amazing atmosphere as this will be the first game the Spurs will play at their temporary home of Wembley. Tottenham will play all their home games this year at Wembley while their new stadium finishes up for next year. The Spurs will look to kick off the season right in the historic stadium while Chelsea will look to make up for their recent performances at the grounds. Coming from losing back to back finals against the other North London side, Arsenal.

It may be only the second week of the season but this game could be crucial as both teams expect to be in title contention. Being the first game between the top six this year, everyone in England will be locked into this match. The game kicks off at 11:00 am on Sunday

 

Inter Milan Vs Fiorentina

Matias Vecino and Borja Valero joined Inter Milan from Fiorentina, which they face this weekend. (Image: Getty Images)

Serie A is also beginning this weekend and the game to watch is Inter Milan vs Fiorentina. Inter Milan want to consider themselves a title contender and there is no better test that an established team in Italy like Fiorentina. The game will also have an extra flavor to it as Inter got two of the most important players from the Florence side this summer.

Matias Vecino and Borja Valero moved into the Milan side this summer giving up on the Florentine side, a side Valero was the captain of. Fiorentina is one of the most ambitious clubs in Italy and is doing a massive overhaul of their roster this summer, bringing in 19 players and letting 15 go. Creating a massive earning of 79 million. The squad is now young and full of potential highlighted by the signing of Giovanni Simeone and will look to surprise the Milan side in the season opener.

Fiorentina has the potential with this squad to create a young core for years to come and this game will be the first test for the inexperienced squad against one of Italy’s finest. For Inter it is important to start with a win as having good momentum this year will be huge as an extra Champions League place has been added to the Italian league. With their main rivals A.C. Milan having big spending summer, Inter wants to have a good showing to bring up the morale of the fans who were expecting a bigger transfer window up.

Both squad vision themselves being among those top four in Italy and playing Champions League next year. They have very different setups: Fiorentina with the young talented squad and Inter Milan with big very diverse and veteran squad and on Sunday we will see who is better set up for the year to come.

Other games to keep an eye on.

Other games that should peak interest are Arsenal and Manchester United who both get their first road test of the year. Mourinho’s Squad takes on a Swansea side that has just lost their top player in Gylfi Sigurðsson. Arsenal goes to Stoke to face a team who keeps being very ambitious with the signings. Expect former Madrid player Jesse to make his debut in the game.

In Spain both Madrid side starts on the road with winnable games, the great Madrid side that will be without Ronaldo to start but if the super cup is any indication the team the team will have no problem with Deportivo La Coruna. Atletico Madrid plays Girona FC the recently promoted side that has five Man City loan players on the roster.

The last good game to keep an eye on is Schalke 04 versus Reb Bull Leipzig, both teams are the favourites to push Bayern this year expect a high level back and forth encounter. In Italy Roma play Atalanta in a game that faces off two teams that were in the top four last season and set up to be a very entertaining encounter.

With all the leagues now going strong, and a transfer window that is still open it will be a good weekend to be a soccer fan.

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Soccer is finally back! Madrid dominates and much more

Real Madrid steamroll Barca in an instant classic

Real Madrid beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou by a score of 3-1 in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. After a close first half, the European champion took control finding the lead when Marcelo’s cross was deflected in by Pique for an own goal in the 50th minute. Barcelona did find a way back, they dominated the possession in big spells but when it came to the final third Barcelona couldn’t find the back of the net. Many chances were missed and they struggled in numerous attempts to link up in front of goal, something they are known for. This Highlighted throughout the game what the squad is missing from the departure of Neymar.

Barcelona found a way back in very lucky fashion when the team was awarded a penalty that wasn’t there. While Suarez does in a sense move out-of-the-way of what would have been a foul by Keylor Navas, the striker rolled on the ground like he had been hit with a lead pipe. The theatrics came with great success as Messi buried the penalty the penalty and it was game on.

The draw didn’t last long. Minutes later Madrid’s speed and organization took control. Madrid look deadly in every counter they had in the game and Barca seemed to struggle in covering back their tracks constantly getting caught out of position.  This became more evident with the subs brought in. Ronaldo coming in fresh was hard to handle by a tired defence in Barca. It’s rarely the case one of the best players in the world is an option coming off the bench.

Ronaldo takes Center Stage

Then the game became perfect for Ronaldo scoring a true Golazo on the counter where the keeper could do nothing. Taking his shirt off and having a revenge celebration to respond to what Messi did in the last Classico played in the Bernabeu. Then a couple of minutes later the Portuguese superstar was thrown out the game for falling in the box. The referee saw the action as a simulation trying to deceive him into giving a penalty, Ronaldo was baffled with the decision ending it with a push of the referee. Ronaldo got a five match suspension for the action yesterday and faces a month without playing.

Yet, even after Ronaldo was sent off and playing with 10 men, Madrid was still able to control the game. Madrid never really felt the pressure by Barcelona and continued creating on the counter. Culminating with another Golazo from the left-hand side this time by Asensio.

What was learned from this first leg is Real Madrid might be even better than last year. In the match, they didn’t have two of their most important players to start with Ronaldo and Modric. It made no difference. Madrid played what they wanted and created at will showing how deep the squad really is.  Barca, on the other hand, looks in crisis, the Neymar hole is there and no solution seems to be on the roster right now. The midfield looks weak and struggles to be present in almost all of Madrid’s counter attacks and a defence that in recent big games haven’t really shown up. With only a couple of weeks left in the transfer market, Barca looks in real need of reinforcements more than just their recent signing of Paulinho. Creating real depth to the squad has to be the goal for Barcelona in the coming days.

 

Here are other things that happened in the world of soccer

Juventus lost the Super Cup.

Juventus lost the Super Cup in dramatic fashion when they conceded a goal in the dying minutes of the game. Juventus known for one of the best defences conceded three to Lazio, two coming from Ciro Immobile. The Lazio striker made problems of the Juventus’ back line highlighting the departure of Leonardo Bonnuci to Milan. Losing aerial battles and scrambling to clean things up is something you would have never seen last year.  Juventus did well to get back in the match coming back from two goals down but fail to secure the game. The defence let Lazio right back into the lead only minutes from the end, something you would have bet before hand would never happen. Juventus must look elsewhere for another centre back if they want to have the same elite defence they have had the last couple seasons, especially with other teams in Italy spending big to catch them this year and end the streak of Serie A titles.

EPL is back and better than ever.

The EPL is finally back and it started with a thriller at the Emirates where Arsenal survived a 4-3 game versus Leicester city. Yet this turned out to be just the curtain raiser. The defending champions Chelsea lost 2-3 at home against Burnley, who won only one game last year away from home, as Chelsea finished the game with nine men. Liverpool also started with a thriller drawing with Watford 3-3 in a game that was back and forth for the whole 90 minutes, showcasing why the EPL is the most entertaining league in the world.

In the other results, the two main title contenders both won by a score of 2-0 on the road. Tottenham took care of Newcastle dominating the possession and the pace for almost all the 90 minutes. Manchester city played well as well, displaying patience with their system as they faced a very organized and compact team in Brighton slowly becoming more of a team that we are accustomed to seeing with Pep Guardiola.

Manchester had the best opening weekend in England finishing the match day at the top of the table beating West Ham by a huge score of 4-0. Lukaku scored twice and the team played well around him, creating chances after chances and not letting the hammers create much. After week one Mourinho is on top but if the season is like the first week we are all set up for one of the best English premier league seasons and one full of surprises.

Here are all the goals from the weekend.

Neymar made his debut

The biggest signing this summer, Neymar finally makes his debut( Image: Getty Images )

Neymar finally made his debut for PSG scoring and assisting, which was his first debut in his career he was able to score. The team looks pretty cohesive in the rout win over Guingamp. Neymar looks comfortable with the squad and fitting right in with the type of play of the league. It will be interesting to see the moves PSG ends up to clear their books for Financial Fairplay and if the squad can stay playing at this level. One thing is for sure, Neymar will have no problem scoring in this league.

Transfer window is still open and a lot of teams need help

These coming weeks expect a lot of action in the transfer market as teams will be desperate to get deals done to improve the squad. Too many teams the next two weeks are the most important and shape up their seasons. Getting in and keeping talent can be as important as anything a team did on the field. So expect big names to move that you wouldn’t have expected and teams signing players you have never heard of ridiculous amounts. The next two weeks will probably be filled with huge flops and big steals and will be very interesting to follow.

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Season Begins Today, Here are bold predictions

 

The season starts later today at 2:45 pm when Leicester City visit the Emirates to face Arsenal. So with the season just around the corner here are predictions for the English Premier League season coming up.

Arsenal will gamble with Ozil and Sanchez and win.

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil who both could leave for free next summer (image: Getty Images)

Arsenal’s two top players are in the last year of their contracts, which lead many to believe they were for sale since the players might leave on a free transfer next summer. Both players are unwilling to sign extensions after Arsenal didn’t earn a place in the Champions League this season. The Gunners as of now have said they will not sell both players and will let them run out their contracts, with the belief that if they get champions league for next season they will resign with the club.

This is a huge gamble because if the team loses both players next summer they will face a huge hole in the squad with no money to try to replace them. If Sanchez and Ozil both leave then Arsenal will probably fall from the level of the teams trying to win titles, a level that will be very hard to achieve without receiving money for selling them. World class players are hard to come by and losing two for free can be detrimental.

Yet, if Arsenal do finish in the top four this season than the move will be seen as brilliant. As Arsenal got to keep their best players and never take a step back and can continue building a squad around them. This year will be a make or break season for Arsenal, it will set up the years to come. If they reach top four then Arsenal will continue to be the Gunners of recent years but if they don’t they will probably take a huge step back that will take years to recover. This is all a gamble Arsene Wenger is doing but it is not the first time the club just put all its faith in the manager.

Ultimately Arsenal does look in a prime position to get back into the top four since they have added to the squad and been able to keep their best players. Something not all clubs in England have been able to do.

Liverpool have a drop-off

Phillipe Coutinho’s future still up in the air (Images:Getty Images)

Liverpool is in the middle of the biggest transfer sagas of the summer with Barcelona after Phillipe Coutinho. Yet, while many are clambering for the player to stay it won’t make a difference. Liverpool’s problem last year was the depth of the squad, they went undefeated against the other teams in the top six but still managed to finish fourth. This shows that Liverpool’s problem is beating the teams they are supposed to beat not the top class opponents.

Many expected Liverpool to bring in many players to set up the squad with a bigger depth and as of now, they have only three additions with the potential of losing their best player. The problem will also be highlighted by the fact that Liverpool are in the Champions League and that brings more fixtures into the schedule. So if the squad remains the same it is easy to predict that the team will produce similar results. If they struggled last season this year will bring even more matches for the team to juggle. The second issue is the top teams they have had success against have gotten better and it would be hard to assume they will find the same success against the top side as they did last season.

This season will show if Jurgen Klopp can manage a full premier league season and build a squad that can be consistent day in and day out. Liverpool will have to be more consistent and step up the level of play of the team if they want to find the same success they had last season. There are still three weeks left in the transfer window so the depth issue might be resolved a couple fixtures into the season.

Spurs and Man City will pass Chelsea

Kane was leading scorer last season and will look to improve this year (images: Getty Images )

Chelsea this summer has looked like they have taken a step back which is in direct opposite of Man City and Tottenham. Man City has spent over 200 million and finally look to have a squad more built with Pep Guardiola’s style. Tottenham have been able to keep their great young core that keeps improving year by year.

Spurs last year already scored more and allowed fewer goals than Chelsea and with three weeks left you’d expect the team to add a little bit more to the squad. Man city will come back with a healthy Gabriel Jesus plus a complete overhaul of the defence that allowed 39 goals last season. On the other hand, Chelsea is losing players and not really gaining much. While their defense is still intact and the addition of Antonio Rudiger will help, the problem this year will be the goals. Since Diego Costa is out the door Chelsea doesn’t really have a striker that can net 20 goals in a season. Spurs have Kane, City have Aguero and Chelsea doesn’t have a player that can counter them.

Unless they add another forward player in the three weeks left in the window, Chelsea will have a tough time being able to score goals at the level needed to win the championship. So while Chelsea is trending downward, Man City and Spurs have looked amazing in the preseason and are the two clubs who have seemed to separate themselves from the rest. It goes to show how Chelsea has suffered this transfer window where they needed the year as favorites and are now falling behind Spurs and City.

United will contend but will ultimately fall short

If United want to win it all Rashford has to become a proven scorer (image: Getty Images )

Manchester United has done a lot this summer to improve the squad with many believing that it will be enough to win the title. The red devils fixed a lot of the problems in their squad they brought in Victor Lindelof to fix their issue of not having a good centre back in the air. They got Lukaku to get a world class striker that can score goals and move defenders since Zlatan Ibrahimovic was let go. Their latest move might have been the most important, Matic brings a good defensive midfield that can win the ball back and give Pogba and Mata space in front to be able to create plays.

United are starting to look like an elite team again like it used to be during the Ferguson years. Yet, the talent gap may still be too big for them to catch up in just one summer. While so much talent has been added at United, they will still be needing goals and unless the wingers they have (Rashford, Lingard) break out and start scoring like they never had.

Every single one of the top teams last year had two guys that could score more than 15. Costa and Hazard for Chelsea, Kane and Ali in Spurs, Aguero and Jesus at Man City. That is something United are still missing and if they don’t find that second scorer alongside Lukaku it will be difficult for them to have the fire power to win the title. Manchester United only scored 54 goals last season, which is 31 fewer goals than the champions Chelsea. Adding to the fact is that of those 54 goals 17 were from Zlatan who will not be there next season. So while adding Lukaku gives the side goals they will need someone to step up along side him if United want to win it all.

Burnley will struggle

Burnley sold their second leading scorer Andre Grey to Watford (Image: Getty Images )

Burnley finished 16th last year summing up the magical number of 40 points to stay in the league. They played fantastic at home, winning 10 games and drawing there while only losing six matches. This is an incredible home record for a team in the relegation battle. In direct contrast, they were one of the worst teams in the road gaining points only five matches and losing 14. They collected 33 of their 40 points at home something that will be very difficult for them to repeat this season.

What will add difficulty to Burnley aspiration of staying up is the transfer window they are having. They have sold their best defender in Micheal Keane to Everton, gotten rid of one of their minute’s leader George Boyd and on Saturday they sold their second leading scorer from last year in Andre Gray to the only team they finished above in the table. Burnley scored 39 goals last year, that is the worst mark among all the teams returning from last year.

On the other end, Burnley hasn’t really added to the squad. They brought in a Jonathan Walters from Stoke who only score 4 goals last year and Jack Cork who will come in to fill in the role Boyd left. If Burnley wants to stay up they will have to find a goalscorer in the three weeks left in the transfer window. They can’t expect their home form from last year to show up again so unless they improve at scoring away from Turf Moor they are bound to end up relegated.

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Has Chelsea gotten worse this summer?

Chelsea won the premier league with two matches left last season, losing only five matches. They added the second-highest points tally in Premier League history with 93 points. In doing so, they broke the record for the number of wins in a season with 30 and equalized the record for consecutive wins in a season (13.). At the end of the season, they were seen as heavy favorites to repeat with the potential of ending the year with a domestic double. Then the FA Cup Final happened, Victor Moses gets sent off and Arsenal controls the rest of the match to win the title, ending the great season Chelsea with a sour taste.

Transfer moves have actually hurt the Blues chances

Diego Costa was told he wasn’t needed earlier this summer (image: Getty Images)

Ever since Victor Moses was sent off the team in that final, Chelsea has been trending downwards. Diego Costa was told he wasn’t needed a couple of weeks later with the goal in mind that Romelu Lukaku would be brought in as a replacement. Then fast forward a couple of weeks and their main rival Manchester United came in and swooped up the Belgium striker leaving Chelsea forced to buy their second option in Alvaro Morata. In essence, Chelsea created a problem they didn’t have to face by just telling Diego Costa nothing and selling him when the replacement was in the club. Now you still haven’t found a good replacement and the league starts this upcoming weekend.

Is Bakayoko enough?

Tiémoué Bakayoko who Chelsea got for £40 million (Image: Getty Images)

That is just the main example of how the Blues have been fumbling this transfer window. Their second big money signing was Tiémoué Bakayoko which cost the Blues £40 million. The young Frenchman was brought in to make more competition in the middle of the field. He is an elite ball winner coming from the French champs Monaco and is just 22 years old. Yet Chelsea didn’t mess up in signing him, they did in responding to his arrival by selling Nemanja Matic, one of the corner stones of the latest two championships Chelsea has won, and Nathaniel Chabolah.

 

 

Selling players to the competition will hurt Chelsea

Selling Matic to Manchester United has given one of Chelsea’s biggest rivals a great player that fills one of their biggest holes for the same money as Bakayoko. So while you feel the squad has marginally improved United has improved far more. So ultimately the transfer move has in a way benefited your rival more than the team, which is something you never want. Both the selling Matic and denouncing Diego Costa are self-inflicted problems that have really hurt their chances of repeating.

Nemanja Matic who was sold to one of Chelsea’s biggest rivals Manchester United (image: Getty Images)

The third thing that has made them worse is losing many of the young talents that would have helped the squad dealing with the rise of fixtures this season when the team is in the Champions League. Chelsea is known in recent years for having one of the best academies in the world but none of the players seem to be making the jump into the first team. The example this year can be seen with Dominic Solanke who was sold for basically nothing to Liverpool and Nathaniel Chabolah who was captain of the England youth setup and was sold for only £5 million.

 

 

Is Chelsea a selling club?

The biggest problem with Chelsea’s transfer window is they haven’t really spent, which is troublesome in a summer where all your biggest rivals are spending over £200 million. As of today, Chelsea has spent £127,500,000 while earning £105,300,000 from offloading players. This means they have just spent £22,200,000 and that is without the sale of Diego Costa. So once that deal is finally done it would mean Chelsea would be a selling club while the rest of its competitors are spending an insane amount of money.

So while Chelsea making money in the summer is not a bad thing, it is if you are trying to compete in all the competition at the same time. What defending champion has decided to not spend in the transfer market? Even two times European champion Real Madrid is making moves. Big clubs always try to improve the squad in summer but the Blues look more focused on doing good business than actually improving a squad that needs work.

What the community shield showed us

In a matter of months, Chelsea has gone from the heavy favorite to a club that must spend to keep up with the rest. The example of the level dropping was seen in the Community Shield Sunday where the display against an Arsenal team that was missing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil was pretty poor. Both Batshuayi and Morata struggled to keep the ball up front and hold possession which led to many long balls from the wings to just fly over. This shows that a proper replacement for Diego Costa has yet to be found or that both strikers need to improve for the team to find success.

Arsenal beat Chelsea in the community shield showcasing a lot of Chelsea’s problems ( Images: Getty Images)

The second big hole was seen when Fabregas got tired. When the Spaniard got tired in the second half Arsenal was able to find spaces a keep possession in big spells. Fabregas is no longer the player that can play box to box for a full 90 minutes and there was no Matic to come in and help. Bakayoko will help but he is young and unproven and time will be needed for him to incorporate himself well with the squad.

Chelsea was the talk of English football last season but in a matter of a couple months, they are no longer favorites. This leaves many fans lost with what the plan actually is, Chelsea will have to make moves to try to improve the squad in the coming weeks before the season starts if the Blues really want to repeat as champions and have a good showing in the champions league. The summer has been bad for Chelsea but there is still time to bring in a couple of players that turn everything around.

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Are soccer players underpaid? A comparison with U.S. leagues

In soccer, getting and signing contracts is still the wild west. There is no salary cap. There’s no player’s union. Players have very little leverage and what ends up happening is the players get underpaid.

So while you see massive transfer figures going on this summer, remember that the players see none of that money. It’s just billion dollar clubs trading millions and the player can’t get a bit of the money he just made the club he was sold from. Money in soccer is bigger than ever before yet the players seem to be getting less of the pie as the pie is getting bigger.

How is it that the global game in a globalized society is falling behind the American league in Average salaries and in highest salaries paid out?

So when people say a player is valued at over $100 million, he gets none of that money. Players are getting less portion of the revenues and it can be seen when you compare it to the American leagues. While you see the average salary keep getting raised in baseball and basketball, in Soccer it’s barely a gap and it’s  less than noticeable. All the money is ending up in transfer fees and in the hands of a billionaire instead of in the players who actually put in the hard work.

European Leagues compare to American Leagues

soccer players underpaid

Even though Messi signed a mega contract this summer most players in La Liga make less than $1milion (image: Getty Images)

If you compare the English Premier League’s average salary with that of the other leagues it dwarfs the rest of Europe. In the United States, the NFL is considered the worst paying of the major sports with no guaranteed contracts and an average salary of $2.4 million, yet only one soccer league in the world passes it.

The EPL passes it with the average salary of $3.2 million. La Liga is the next closest falls behind with just $1.6 million.

What factors into these numbers is the TV rights money not being shared. In England, money is shared equally among teams in the league and its the reason is the only league close to the American ones.

In Spain Real Madrid and Barcelona get most of the money and it creates a massive difference with the clubs they are competing against. This explains why the league has the lowest median salary. While Barcelona and Madrid have two of the highest payrolls in all of sports, only eight Spanish teams boast an average salary of over a million. Barca or Madrid’s payroll is bigger than the bottom ten teams combined and money would be left over.

Top Salaries compared

soccer players underpaid

Steph Curry makes $12 million more than any player in the EPL. (images: Getty Images)

Yet looking at these numbers, you want to think at least the highest-paid player’s contracts in soccer must be around the same as any other sport. Nope, and it’s not even close.

Paul Pogba is the highest-paid player in the EPL. He cost Manchester United over $100 million last transfer window and will make less money in his contract than Jrue Holiday. That’s right, one of the best soccer players in the world will make the same money as the starting point guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year.

So while of course, it is not like soccer players are not getting good money, but the transfer fees keep rising and the reach of the game is growing by the year. Why aren’t players receiving more of the pie? The EPL is the highest-paying soccer league in the world and even its top grossing players aren’t close to the money other athletes are getting.

The global sports, like soccer, should bring the most in terms of players wages and rights, yet they are trying to play catch up with American leagues’ systems. The worst part of it all is there really isn’t a soccer player’s union that fights for the rights of the players. So the money of everything will keep staying in the owner’s hand and the player will be stuck having no leverage and using rumors to get bigger deals done.

 

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