This weekend we welcomed the beautiful game back to our living rooms, offices and bars all across the world. We saw Ligue 1, and the Premier League opened week 1. This weekend we will see Serie A and our beloved La Liga open their seasons. Even though it is still technically summer, it feels like fall when Futbol is on TV in the morning… at least for me! Crack open a cold one wherever you are at and enjoy watching some quality futbol this weekend. Cheers to another wonderful season here at Barca Blaugranes and to Barcelona, may they fortune favor the bold!
10. Sevilla - With a crushing loss in extra time to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup and an exhausting loss to Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, officials responsible for the scheduling really need to do a better job! A one-legged Spanish Super Cup a week before the start of La Liga would be best. The European Super Cup should also be the first Sunday of August to give teams an opportunity to play a July preseason as well as prepare for their countries’ Super Cups. Regardless, Sevilla showed heart in both games and looking to change their way of play. Sampaoli is "more concerned with how they play," for him his style of play is very important. Wins might be a bit difficult at first for Sevilla but if they are patient with Sampaoli, this team will be VERY hard to beat come the second half of the season. Losing to Barcelona is nothing to be ashamed of as long as the compete for the full 90 minutes.
Next Opponent: Away Barcelona 2nd leg Spanish Super Cup 8/20
Previous Opponent: Home Barcelona L 0-2 1st leg Spanish Supercup 8/14
Key Injuries: Rami (DF), Escudero (DF), Krohn Deli (MF)
9. Liverpool – Winners of the best game of the week against our last week’s number 7 team, Arsenal. Arsenal is a hospital with all their injuries but Arsene Wenger did not do them any favors by sitting Ozil, Giroud, Koscielny because of fitness issues. Liverpool however looked aggressive and dangerous at times. Defensively they left a lot to be desired but ultimately they looked very good! Coutinho’s free kick was beautiful and some his link ups with new signing Sadio Mane were leaving everybody wanting more. Not sure what they will do about their defensive issues but there are still two weeks left in the transfer window. Maybe James Milner at left back when he comes back from injury or signing our own Douglas, either might be a better option at this point, as Moreno looked plain awful.
Next Opponent: Away Burnley WK2 EPL 8/20
Previous Opponent: Arsenal W 4-0 WK1 EPL
Key Injuries: Sturridge (FW), Milner (MF), Leiva (MF), Sakho (DF), Karius (GK)
8. Borussia Dortmund - Bayern is still the only team standing in their way from domestic glory. They out played Bayern for most of the match yet could not come away with a victory at home for the German Super Cup. They most certainly look poised for a new beginning as they created more opportunities and looked physically better. There were many solid exhibitions like right back Felix Passlack, who at 18, looked like a shorter stronger faster smarter version of Dani Alves in his prime! Impressive stuff from this young man. Another stand out was none other than Marc Bartra. He placed 3 solid passes for goal scoring opportunities and several great defensive stances. Wishing him all the best! Even with a loss on Sunday they traveled to second division Sandhuasen and beat them handedly with a solid lineup of most of the guys that did not play on Sunday. They move up one spot.
Next Opponent: Hallescher Friendly 8/21
Previous Opponent: Sandhuasen W 3-0 Friendly 8/15, Bayern Munich L 0-2 German Super Cup 8/14
Key Injuries: Reus (MF), Subotic (DF)
7. Juventus - They are still treating every game as true preseason game yet they look fit enough to stay with in shape West Ham and the much improved Epanyol, unfortunately they also gave up 2 goals to each. Paulo Dybala looks to pick up where he left off to open the season. We are eager to see an in shape Higuain and how they lineup. We must wait for them for a bit as their next opponent is their own under 19 squad. They will however open up Serie A at home this Sunday against Fiorentina.
Next Opponent: Home, Juventus U-19, Friendly 8/17
Last Opponent: Espanyol 2-2 Friendly 8/13
Key Injuries: Marchisio (MF), Caceres (DF), Khedira (MF)
6. Atletico Madrid - Word from their last game versus a Nigerian All-star Team was not the best which followed a 1-1 draw that saw them lose in penalties at recently promoted to Segunda, Cadiz CF. They drop 3 spots given they also did not play with most of their starters in both games but most certainly had enough to win comfortably both games and especially the second. Over the past few years we have come accustomed to watching them grind out 1-0 games but with Gamiero and Griezmann up front they will need to produce right from the get go this weekend.
Next Opponent: Home, Deportivo Alves WK1 La Liga 8/21
Previous Opponent: Nigerian All-Star Team, Friendly 8/12
Key Injuries: Griezmann (FW), Miguel Moya (GK)
5. Manchester City - Last week, this team was probably the toughest to figure out based on their preseason and their new additions. Against Sunderland, they scored early with Raheem Sterling moving to the right side with Nolito on the left. They looked like a side that was trying very hard to do something they were not accustomed to but Pep has made his presence felt and will surely make Manchester City into a more possession based team with the best attackers in the EPL. Joe Hart has lost his place on this team and Barcelona fans wait for them to make the move for Bravo official. Pep Guardiola wants to play a certain way and there are some players on this team that will be on the move until the last day of the transfer window. They make the biggest jump this week on taking care of business despite having a few issues on defense. Winning convincingly against Steaua Bucurest also helped, as a team with their stature should win 5-0.
Next Opponent: Away, Stoke City WK2 EPL 8/20
Previous Opponent: Sunderland WK1 EPL 8/13
Key Injuries: Kompany (DF), Sane (MF), Gundogan (MF)
4. PSG - Under Unai Emery they are undefeated in Ligue 1. Which surprisingly is only the second time in six years they start with a season opening victory. A winning goal from their very strong 6’0ft left back Layvin Kurzawa. It seems there was a reason they were more than fine moving Lucas out of Paris, he was impressive on both sides of the ball. Without Cavani, they lacked a certain bite to their attack but looked well organized throughout the game. They might hover here for a while unless they lose or tie in league play but we should not see them really challenged until Monaco two weeks from now. Zlatan sure does not miss them but do you think they miss him?
Next Opponent: Home, FC Metz Lique 1 8/21
Previous Opponent: SC Bastia W 1-0 WK2 Ligue 1 8/12
Key Injuries: Cavani (FW), Krychowiak (MF), Thiago Silva (DF)
3. Bayern Munich - Carlo Ancelotti started his stint as Manager by doing something Pep could not; win a German Super Cup. Although some may say this is another arbitrary friendly, Ancelotti certainly fielded a very strong starting XI and wanted to start off on the right foot. They certainly struggled in the first half but in the second, a three touch play allowed Vidal’s motor to mark the difference. To that point and even after, BVB looked much more dangerous Bayern and most certainly looks less concerned with possession. Although a poor game for Bayern standards, they played a very well organized side and came out victorious.
Next Opponent: Away, Carl Ziess Jena DFP Pokal 8/14
Previous Opponent: Borussia Dortmund W 2-0 German Super Cup 8/14
Key Injuries: Boateng (DF), Robben (MF), Douglas Costa (MF), Vidal (MF)
2. FC Barcelona - Luis Enrique selected a very experienced starting XI giving many of us much to debate. Barca looked quite bothered by Sevilla’s pressure to start the game but did manage to create more oppurtunities in El Pizjuan. Unfortunately, they did not have enough legs to sustain such effort and Barca took advantage looking much better and scoring two in the second half. The loss of Andres Iniesta was cushioned by the emergence and new midfielder Denis Suarez. Will he start mid-week? Barcelona have a couple of things to work on and with rumors of pending transfers swirling over the last several days, they might be in for an adjustment period at the end of August. They looked better than Bayern and Athletico Madrid this week moving them up two spots from last week.
Next Opponent: Home, Sevilla Super Cup 2nd Leg 8/17
Previous Opponent: Sevilla W 2-0 Spanish Super Cup 1st Leg 8/14
Key Injuries: Iniesta (MF), Alba (DF), ter Stegen (GK)
1. Real Madrid - No Bale, no Pepe, no Cristiano, no problem! Zidane has turned these Champions League winners into a scrappy, tough and never out of it undisputed European Super Cup Champions. He hasn’t really settled into a concrete style of play. This has actually proved to be a good tactic for them, as it highlights the natural greatness of their players. When the game is on the line Sergio Ramos dons on his Superman cape and scores goals on a regular basis. It isn’t a one-time thing anymore; he might be the most clutch defender in extra time to ever play the game This team might have one of the best benches in all of Europe with the likes of Marcos Asensio, Lucas Vasquez, Isco, James, Mateo Kovacic, Danilo, Varane and Alvaro Morata.
Next Opponent: Away, Real Sociedad WK1 La Liga 8/21
Previous Opponent: Remis W 5-3 Tropheo Santiago Bernabeu 8/16
Key Injuries: Ronaldo (FW), Pepe (DF), James (MF)
Did we miss anyone, make a mistake or just plain wrong? Make your case below and comment.