Week 8

  1. Will we have a new team on top of the Premier League? – Manchester City suffered their first loss of the season last time out and they now have 3 teams hot on their heels. Tottenham and Liverpool have won 4 games in a row and are now within 1 and 2 points respectively. Arsenal has won 5 in a row and is now 2 points back.  These three teams are all playing great football and are hopeful that they can all be in the title hunt this season.  This weekend, Manchester City faces a tough opponent in Everton.  If they drop points, it will open the door.  Arsenal host Bob Bradley’s Swansea in the first game to ever have an American manager.  Tottenham travels to West Brom this weekend.  Liverpool hosts Manchester United in the biggest game of the weekend.  Will Manchester City slip up and give us a new top team in England?
  2. How will Barcelona respond? – Last time out, Barcelona fell to a 4-3 defeat to Celta Vigo. They played horribly and looked like a team that was not interested. This weekend they face Deportivo La Coruna.  They will be expected to come away with an easy victory.  Jordi Alva and Seri Roberto are both out injured so look for Vidal and Digne to fill in.  Umtiti and Messi have returned to training this weekend.  This is going to be a big game for Barcelona as any more dropped points and they might find the hole too big to climb out of.
  3. Can Ingolstadt or Hamburger get their first win of the season? – Every team in the Bundesliga has won at least 1 of their first 6 games this season except Ingolstadt and Hamburger. Both of these teams do have a point as they drew against each other in the first game of the season. They have each lost their last 5 games.  This weekend will be another chance for one of these teams to move off the bottom and up the table.  Ingolstadt has a tough trip to Koln this weekend and Hamburger travels to Monchengladbach.  If these two fail to come away with any points this weekend, then they risk being left behind by the rest of the league.
  4. Will we ever see another close Serie A campaign? – It seems like Juventus is extremely superior to the rest of the Italian teams. They have run away with the league the last couple of years and all signs are pointing towards another title for Juventus. Through 7 games, Juventus have only lost 1 game so far and are 4 points above Napoli in second place.  They have conceded only 4 goals this season and scored 15.  Both are the best in the league so far.  This weekend, they face Udinese.  They will be favored by a lot and expected to come away with all 3 points.  This will be crucial since their nearest rivals face off with each other.  A draw between Napoli and Roma could almost end the title race right now if Juve wins.
  5. Can PSG respond to Nice and Toulouse winning already this weekend? – Nice defeated Lyon 2-0 today and Toulouse came up with a massive victory over Monaco. This means that Nice now sits atop the table 4 points above Monaco and 5 points above Toulouse. PSG is the last team in the top 4 to play this weekend and they are in need of a win as they sit 7 points behind Nice.  If they are going to win the league again then they will need to turn their form around quickly.  Nice seems to be the real deal as they are undefeated this season.  PSG has lost 2 games this season.  They are in fourth and in need of a turnaround.  PSG travels to Nancy this weekend.  Nancy are on the bottom of the table and should give PSG a chance to move up the table.

5 Games to Watch This Weekend

Liverpool vs. Manchester United – The Northwest Derby takes place this weekend and Jose Mourinho will be looking to get his side going with a marquee win over his new rivals Liverpool.  Jurgen Klopp will look to continue their run of 4 wins in a row.  This has to be the biggest game of the weekend and all eyes will be on Anfield on Monday.

My Pick – Liverpool 2, United 2: Goals by Coutinho, Mane, Ibrahimovic, and Rashford
Brad’s Pick – Liverpool 2, United 3: Goals by Firmino, Mane, Ibrahimovic, Rashford, and Mata

Villarreal vs. Celta Vigo – This game really intrigues me as a fan of the Spanish Liga.  These are two teams that could in the future really make a claim at being consistently being around the top 4.  I think that Celta is a team that could rise up and become the next big club in Spain.  Celta is coming off their win against Barcelona and having gone unbeaten in their last 4, winning 3 in a row.  Villarreal is unbeaten for the season having won 3 and drawn 4 games.  While these are 5 spots apart in the table, they are only 3 points apart.  Look for the winner to be in the conversation for a Champions League place.

My Pick – Villarreal 2, Celta 1: Goals by Sansone, Pato, and Aspas
Brad’s Pick – Villarreal 1, Celta 2: Goals by Castillejo, Sisto, and Wass

Wolfsburg vs. Leipzig – Leipzig are one of the more intriguing teams in the league this season.  They have come into the league with big aspirations and a bad reputation.  They have had a meteoric rise up the leagues.  Leipzig are unbeaten this season and sit in 5th place.  This is the first time that they face Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.  Wolfsburg have had a rough season so far as they have only won 1 game so far this season.  They are a talented team that will hope to end Leipzig’s unbeaten season this weekend.

My Pick – Wolfsburg 1, Leipzig 2: Goals by Draxler, Werner, and Forsberg
Brad’s Pick – Wolfsburg 1, Leipzig 1: Goals by Draxler and Werner

Napoli vs. Roma – This weekend sees the second place team host the third place team in Italy and both teams are in desperate need of a victory if they are going to stay in the race for the Scudetto.  Right now Napoli is 4 points behind Juventus and Roma is 5 points back.  Napoli are without Arkadiusz Milik who got injured over the international break.  How they are able to replace him will have a great impact on this game.

My Pick – Napoli 2, Roma 1: Goals by Gabbiadini, Callejon, and Salah
Brad’s Pick – Napoli 2, Roma 3: Goals by Callejon, Hamsik, Dzeko (2), and Salah

Stade Rennais vs. Bordeaux – This weekend we focus on the 6th and 7th place teams in Ligue 1.  Bordeaux and Rennes are 2 of 4 teams that have 13 points so far.  A win this weekend will put either one of these two teams right into the mix for a European place.  Rennes has a long list of injuries and suspensions but might get Gourcuff back this weekend.  Rennes are perfect at home but this might be the end of that run.

My Pick – Rennes 1, Bordeaux 1: Goals by Sio and Menez
Brad’s Pick – Rennes 1, Bordeaux 0: Goal by Andre

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