Great Friday for the football fans as we have the Premier League finally starting! And as if that was not enough, Ligue 1 (France) Eredivisie (Netherlands) and the Portuguese Primeira Liga are also having their start today.
In England Manchester United receives Leicester after a depressing transfer window. The Red Devils were desperately looking for a defender but in the end they did not manage to get a deal done.
The big game of this first round will be played in London next Sunday, when Arsenal receives the Champions Manchester City. The Citizens are again the favorites to win the League but they should have high competition from Liverpool this season.
Walk in the park for PSG, Benfica and Porto in a close race. PSV and Ajax doing the same in the Netherlands
In France PSG should win the title again despite the fact that Ligue 1 is getting better and better every year. With Monaco and Lyon selling some of their stars, I think this might be a good year for Olympique Marseille and I can see them finishing second this year.
In Portugal we should have a race between Benfica and Porto. Sporting is having a though summer, they lost William Carvalho, Rui Patrico and Gelson. Jorge Jesus also left his coaching position, so I don’t see them strong enough to fight for the title. In my opinion Benfica will be champion and Porto the runner-up.
Just like in Portugal, we traditionally have a race with 3 candidates where Feyenoord is the underdog. I look to the Ajax team this season and there is so much talent that is almost an obligation for them to become champions. PSV will need to make sure they don’t lose points with the smaller teams so they can follow Ajax and maybe surprise them. I don’t see that happening and i believe Ajax will be first and PSV second.
In the first year where teams from Spain, England, Italy, Germany and France do not need to go through the qualifiers, we have 6 open spots for the group stage.
In the League path we have 3 of the top teams in the same bracket, as from Benfica, Fenerbahce and Spartak Moscow only one team might reach the group stage. PAOK was also quite impressive in the last qualifying so is not out of question they can upset two of those teams.
In the Champions Path everything looks quite open, with only PSV looking to be a clear favorite. Celtic has a complicated way to the group stage as they have to face AEK Athens and most probably Malmo.
The 3rd qualifying stage will be played on 7/8 August and 14 August. The final playoff will be on 21 and 28 August.
Some of the best European leagues are almost starting and this during this weekend he have the Super Cup in France, Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey and England.
This afternoon PSG destroyed the rivals Monaco 4-0 with Di Maria scoring twice. With Cavani and Mbappe still on holidays and Neymar on the bench, the French champions made it visible of how deep is their squad as Nkunku and Timothy Weah also scored today.
In the Netherlands we also had two of the top teams facing each other, with Feyenoord beating PSV in the penalty shootout after a 0-0 in the 120 minutes. The goalkeeper Justin Bijlow had a huge game, saved Feyenoord from the defeat several times and is a name that you should keep an eye this season.
This evening in Portugal we have a match between FC Porto and Desportivo das Aves. Porto is a clear favorite here but after defeating Sporting in the Portuguese Cup final, Aves will want to surprise other of the Portuguese top teams.
Atletico Madrid announced earlier today that they reached an agreement with PSV for the signing of Santiago Arias. The Colombian International competed for 5 years in the Dutch team, playing 172 games in total. The Colombian international will fight with Juanfran for a place in the starting 11.
On the way out we have Vrsaljko, who will join Inter on an initial one year loan, with the Italians having an option to complete a permanent deal with the Croatian international. With Cancelo sold to Juventus, Vrsaljko should find no problems to get a place in the starting 11.