What to Watch in Week 5

  1. How will Manchester United respond? – United have had a rough week, suffering their first defeat of the season against their rivals Manchester City. Then they went to the Netherlands in the Europa League and lost 1-0. Jose Mourinho has suffered his first two defeats of his United career and now faces a tough trip to Watford.  Watford is coming off their first win of the season following their great comeback against West Ham.  United sit fourth in the table right now and they will hope to get back on pace this weekend.  Mourinho looks like he will be without Mkhitaryan this weekend so look for Rooney, Mata, and Martial to all start behind Ibrahimovic.  The question will be when will Rashford come on and change the game in a positive way for United.  Will the Europa League fatigue hurt United or will Mourinho get his side back on pace?
  2. Which team will get their first win in the Bundesliga? – Only 2 games in, Werder Bremen, Schalke 04, Ingolstadt, Hamburger, Mainz, and Hoffenheim are all still looking for their first win of the season. Most of these teams were not expected to be near the bottom of the table this season and some might possibly even push for a European place. They are going to need to string some wins together if that is going to happen.  This weekend, they all face teams that have won a game this season, so it should be interesting to see if any of them can get a win.  Werder Bremen travels to Monchengladbach this weekend.  Gladbach will look to get back on track after losing twice this last week.  Schalke 04 faces one of the two unbeaten teams this season in Hertha Berlin.  Ingolstadt faces a trip to the defending champions and the other unbeaten team, Bayern Munich.  Hamburger faces the new boys Leipzig as they come of their big win over Borussia Dortmund.  Hoffenheim has a tough home game against Wolfsburg this weekend.  Lastly, Mainz travel to Augsburg.  In hopes of a great overall season, let’s hope for big wins for all of the team that have not won a game this season.
  3. Can Napoli put some pressure on Juventus and Roma? – Napoli faces Bologna on Saturday with the chance to go to the top of the table. If they are able to defeat Bologna, then Juventus would need a win to go to back on top of the table. This looks like it could be a fascinating race this season and some early pressure from Napoli and Roma will only bring the best out of Juventus.  Juventus has a tough trip to Milan and face Inter.  Inter is in the middle of a rebuilding process and new manager Frank de Boer would love to make an early statement.  Inter are coming off their first win of the season when they defeated Pescara 2-1 last weekend.  Juventus is the only team in Italy to win all three games.  Genoa, Napoli, and Roma are all still unbeaten.  Can these three teams put pressure on Juve and make this season a close race to the finish?
  4. How long does Pako Ayestaran have? – Valencia have started the season in terrible form losing all three of their opening games to Las Palmas, Eibar, and Real Betis. This has not been the start that the Valencia faithful would have hoped for. They saw most of their team’s spine from last season leave as Mustafi, Gomes, and Alcacer all left this summer.  They brought in some talent, but they are struggling to gel this season.  Valencia are one of two teams that are yet to get a point and the distance between them and a spot in Europe is only going to grow.  The fans of Los Che will demand that they get back into Europe after exiting the Champions League group stage and the Europa League round of 16 last season, only to miss out all together this year.  Pako Ayestaran should get a little bit more time but if he fails to get a point this season, that time might be gone.
  5. How will the rest of the league respond following PSG’s 6-0 win today? – PSG made a statement today with their 6-0 win over Caen. PSG has failed to win in their two previous games.  Cavani scored 4 goals in the first half and then Moura and Augustin added goals in the second half.  Now the cameras turn to Monaco, Nice, and Lyon.  Monaco can go back on top of the league with a win or a draw this weekend against Rennes.  Rennes can go level with Monaco and PSG if they win that game.  Nice can go top if they win this weekend against Montpellier.  Lastly Lyon can get back in the race with a win this weekend.  This will be a big weekend as Monaco looks to respond to PSG and show they are in it for the long haul.

5 Games to Watch This Weekend

Everton vs. Middlebrough – Everton has been one of the surprise stories of the season winning three in a row after drawing their opening game with Tottenham.  They are one of three unbeaten teams left in the Premier League.  Ronald Koeman has the team working really well.  Middlesbrough has performed well so far as they have 5 points from the initial 4 games.  Another win for Everton will put them into serious contention for the top 4 and possibly the title this season.

My Pick – Everton 3, Middlesbrough 1 – Lukaku (2), Bolasie, and Stuani
Brad’s Pick – Everton 2, Middlesbrough 1 – Gueye, Lukaku, and Negrado

Athletic Bilbao vs. Valencia – These two teams have struggled this season and were both expected to be in and around the top 4.  Athletic Bilbao got their first win of the season last weekend when they defeated Deportivo La Coruna.  Two wins in a row would be a major bonus and could see them shoot up the table.  Valencia are in desperate need of points and a win could see them get out of the bottom 3.

My Pick – Athletic 2, Valencia 1 – Aduriz, Williams, Haddadi
Brad’s Pick – Bilbao 2, Valencia 0 – Susaeta, Williams

Hertha Berlin vs. Schalke 04 – This is a story of two clubs that seem to be going in opposite directions.  Schalke has failed to win their opening two games this season.  Hertha Berlin has won both of their opening two games. This is Hertha’s big chance to make a statement.  Last season they really struggled against the top teams in the Bundesliga and while Schalke are struggling, they still were able to defeat Hertha twice last season.

My Pick – Hertha 2, Schalke 1 – Weiser, Ibisevic, Huntelaar
Brad’s Pick – Hertha 1, Schalke 2 – Ibisevic, Huntelaar, and Choupo

Inter Milan vs. Juventus – The defending champions travel to Milan to face Inter.  Frank de Boer’s side lost at home in the Europa League to a side that they should not have on Thursday.  Now they face tough opposition in Juventus.  Juventus also struggled in Europe this weekend as they drew with Sevilla at home.  Now Juve will look to get back to winning ways.

My Pick – Inter 1, Juventus 2 – Candreva, and Higuain (2)
Brad’s Pick – Inter 1, Juventus 3 – Eder, Mandzukic, Dybala, and Pjanic

Marseille vs. Lyon – The Choc des Olympiques takes place this weekend as Lyon travels to Marseille.  Lyon started the season really well, winning their first two games but has now lost their last two games to see them slip to 8th.  Lyon has been hit with the injury bug as Nabil Fekir, Jallet, Lacazette, and Valbuena are out injured.  Marseille have had a rough start, only winning 1 game so far.  A win would be great for both teams.

My Pick – Marseille 2, Lyon 2 – Thauvin, Gomis, Tolisso, and Cornet
Brad’s Pick  Marseille 2, Lyon 2 – Gomis, Iseka, Tolisso, Darder



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