Overview of European leagues: Premier League, La Liga and Serie A
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The choice of premier league This weekend, Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on the evening of Sunday August 14 for what promises to be a thrilling London derby.
The Blues and Spurs are both hoping to step up their games and challenge Manchester City and top-tier Liverpool, making this clash a true six and a chance to send a statement early in the campaign.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel hopes new signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly can make a major impact in this clash against Tottenham.
“[Sterling] had chances, very heavily involved in other chances, it was a good performance,” the German said of the £47.5m signing from Man City. On Koulibaly, Tuchel added: “He is a very, very good recruit. A strong personality, a strong player. I’m happy he can play minutes now. He is getting better and better, which is very important for us for the start of the season.
The round begins on Saturday afternoon with Aston Villa hosting Everton, before five games at 4.00pm CAT are headlined by a clash between Arsenal and Leicester City, while the final clash comes from the Community Stadium in London and sees Brentford looking to draw on a surprise home win over Manchester United.
This latest clash is attracting further interest thanks to Christian Eriksen’s move from the Bees to the Red Devils in the off-season, with Brentford manager Thomas Frank admitting the Danish playmaker is irreplaceable.
“I’ve said many times that I wish he’d stayed,” Frank said when asked if the current squad could fill the void left by Eriksen’s departure. “He obviously brought us a lot of quality, we can’t replace that, it’s impossible. But we can hopefully replace it with something different, so when one player goes out and another comes in, you change things that create other relationships, other dynamics.
Apart from Chelsea’s clash against Tottenham on Sunday, Nottingham Forest at home to West Ham United, while the round ends on Monday night with Liverpool hosting Crystal Palace.
SuperSport is the only place you can get English commentary on the legendary the leaguewhere the showpiece match sees Real Madrid begin their title defense with a trip to the Estadio de Los Juegos Mediterraneos (also known as the Power Horse Stadium) to take on newly-promoted Almeria on Sunday night.
Los Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti has already identified Barcelona as a likely title rival this season and has urged his side not to rest on their laurels after a brilliant 2021-22 season in which they won the La Liga and UEFA Champions League crowns.
“In football, I’m not at all surprised,” said the Italian tactician. “Barca are building a fantastic team, but I’m interested in my team. You always have to respect Barca.
Barcelona’s continued evolution under Xavi Hernandez, which saw them bring in Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde, will have its first competitive test against Rayo Vallecano at home on Saturday night.
“I want to have two starting players for each position,” Xavi said. “It’s a good problem to have. Last year we had a small squad. We’re happy to have a more complete squad now.
Another team to watch this season is Sevilla, who couldn’t quite fight for the title last term but remain a resourceful and ambitious club. Los Nervionenses will open the new La Liga season with a clash at Osasuna on Friday night.
“We have to draw conclusions from our pre-season, we had difficult games, but we were able to learn lessons which will be important for the start of the season,” said manager Julen Lopetegui.
The first round also includes Villarreal at Real Valladolid, Valencia at Girona, Athletic Bilbao hosting Mallorca in the Basque region and Atletico Madrid with a derby in Getafe at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Monday night.
New A-series the season opens early in the evening on Saturday 13 August with defending champions AC Milan hosting Udinese at the San Siro. The Rossoneri will be looking to get off to a strong start in the 2022-23 campaign.
Milan full-back Alessando Florenzi, whose efforts on loan last season helped secure a permanent transfer from Roma, believes the team spirit and belief gained from winning the Scudetto will help the team in red and black .
“The coach [Stefano Pioli] told us something, “success changes people”. We have to make sure this doesn’t happen to us,” Florenzi said. “The coach is very good at it. The Scudetto magic is there, I feel it, however, it has to be nurtured. Otherwise it will die out.
One of Milan’s main rivals for the title will be Internazionale, who will miss Lecce later on Saturday night, while capital clubs Roma and Lazio will look to make strong statements on Sunday with their games against Salernitana (at away) and Bologna (home) respectively.
Roma have an exciting attacking squad, with Tammy Abraham joined up front by Paulo Dybala, who was signed as a free agent. Abraham believes his decision to join the Giallorossi a year ago was the best of his career so far.
“The best decision of my life was to come here. In no rush to return to the Premier League. I want to score one more goal than last season,” said the England striker. “I hope I can break my personal goalscoring record. Not in a hurry, though, because I don’t feel one hundred percent ready yet. On the other hand, at this stage of pre-season, nobody is. .
The Serie A first round ends on Monday with a pair of fixtures, as Verona host Napoli, before Juventus host Sassuolo at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. Bianconeri boss Massimiliano Allegri says his side have a “duty” to win back the title this season.
“Juventus, as always, want to achieve all their goals,” explained the manager. “This summer has seen the arrival of top-level players: some with experience, others young. In addition, it’s the second season so we’re already starting from a good base. After a season without a trophy, for the first time in 10 years we have a duty to win the Scudetto.
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