International Champions Cup: Selected Fixtures Preview


Our football writer previews selected International Champions Cup matches which kick off on Tuesday. 

The International Champions Cup is a pre-season tournament which includes some of the best European football clubs.With teams like Manchester United, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Manchester City, PSG, Borussia Dortmund and AS Roma parading new signings and giving us a taste of what's to come next season.

Tuesday 18 July 

AC Milan 2/1 | Draw 5/2 | Borussia Dortmund 23/20
With a new chairman on board, Chinese billionaire Yonghong Li, AC Milan have made their intentions clear - restructure and reinvent themselves as a club. Signing defender Leonardo Bonucci from Italian Champions and UEFA Champions League finalists, Juventus, was more than a statement. They’ve also acquired the services of top players like Andre Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez, Hakan Calhanoglu, Andrea Conti, Mateo Musacchio, Franck Kessie, Fabio Borini and Lucas Biglia. That’s a whopping nine signings and they’re still after Alvaro Morata’s signature. The financial injection is expected to work wonders for the San Siro based club that last played in the Champions League three years ago and finished 6th in the Serie A last season.

Dortmund finished third in the Bundesliga last term but they managed to end it on a high by claiming the DFB-Pokal crown. Their fans must be delighted that the club has managed to hold onto sought after Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and renewed Shinji Kagawa’s contract. These teams have met four times in European competition with each side claiming two victories. BvB will be too strong for the new look AC Milan. I foresee a defeat for the Italian side which still needs to gel.  

Wednesday 19 July 

Bayern Munich 15/20 | Draw 28/10 | Arsenal 3/1
Carlo Ancelotti had an average first season with Bayern, winning the league which is expected by their standards but he got ousted by Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals as well as going down to rivals Dortmund in the DFB Pokal semi-finals. The retirement of Philip Lahm and Xabi Alonso, as well as Jerome Boateng’s continued unavailability due to injury, is expected to compel him to give youngsters such as Joshua Kimmich, Renato Sanches and James Rodriguez - who is on loan from Real Madrid - a run.

After failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League by finishing outside the top four for the first time ever since Arsene Wenger took over the coaching reigns 21 years ago, the Gunners have responded by signing French forward Alexandre Lacazette, who has hit the ground running and scored on his debut against Sydney FC. The other edition, Sead Kolasinac has also settled in well and his ability to play as a left-back and centre-back will come in handy when Wenger employs his newly-favoured three-man defence. Arsenal have won both their first two pre-season friendlies, scoring five goals in the process. These sides went head to head in the Champions League last 16 in the previous campaign and Bayern triumphed Wenger's men 10-2 on aggregate. This will be a much tighter one but I think Bayern will come out on top.

Thursday 20 July

AS Roma 29/10 | Draw 28/10 | PSG 8/10
AS Roma finished second on the Italian Seria A standings last season. They have just appointed Eusebio Di Francesco as the manager after Luciano Spalletti left for Inter Milan. Roma has also signed 20-year old Turkish forward Cengiz Under from Basaksehir.

PSG’s 2016/17 UEFA Champions League campaign will be famously remembered for the controversial 6-5 aggregate defeat by Barcelona in which the French club threw away a 4-0 first leg lead. They also failed to win the league for the first time since 2012. Manager Unai Emery, who took charge at the start of last season is really under pressure to improve the team or at least take it back to where it was when he took over. I’m expecting the team to come out all guns blazing this season. This will be a convincing victory for PSG. 

Friday 21 July

Manchester United 7/4 | Draw 47/20 | Manchester City 14/10
The UEFA Europa League champions have started their pre-season very well, thrashing LA Galaxy 5-2 after over a month without competitive football. After the game, Jose Mourinho was impressed with his attackers, brace hero Marcus Rashford and debutant Romelu Lukaku. He also experimented with three at the back but said he was trying it out in case they happen to need it during the course of the season.

Guardiola has met Mourinho three times since his move to the Premier League at the start of last season. He won the first league derby, lost the EFL Cup match and drew the second league match. With Manchester City Guardiola has finished outside the top two for the first time in his coaching career. City have just acquired the services of Kyle Walker from Tottenham, who will be a suitable player for Guardiola’s inverted fullbacks tactic. Manchester City will manage to record a victory over their rivals.

Written by Benedict Ngwenya for @Hollywoodbets

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