Another week closer to the start of the club football season. Here’s another look at some selected fixtures to just add a little extra coinage to our ever-growing coffers!
Friday 30 July
Borussia Dortmund vs Bologna (17:00)
Dortmund haven’t had the greatest friendly run, and whilst that certainly isn’t any call for concern…uncertainty has, and always will be the greatest un-doer of a football club.
Manchester United have recently announced the acquisition of the greatest right winger in world football (okay, yes, I might be a little over zealous) in Jadon Sancho, and almost immediately the rumour mill has now zoned onto the future of Erling Haaland. For Dortmund’s sake I hope the club brings about certainty sooner rather than later – especially since the Bundesliga gets underway in less than a fortnight!
For Friday evening’s business I think you will get little value for Dortmund to win, but to win and both teams to score might add just enough spice. Bologna have a relatively strong side already and given they have scored eight times in their last three I’m behind them to get on the board.
Saturday 31 July
Preston North End vs Manchester United (15:00)
Preston North End are currently entertaining a rather cinderella-esque story and there is more than a few whispers about Jamie Thomas. At 24 years old, previously dabbling in the non-league and jumping between opportunities, he was given a chance last week against Accrington Stanley and took it with both hands – these are the stories which make football the beautiful game!
United, on the other hand, were somewhat brought back to earth and reminded of their pre-season work, losing 4-2 to QPR. But again, it’s a positive to see those youngsters getting a chance to prove their worth.
This is a tricky game to have a bet, if I’m honest, but both teams to score could be the way to go.
Leipzig vs Ajax (16:00)
Ajax will be somewhat pleased with their pre-season preparation thus far and will want to consolidate their result against Bayern Munich with something positive against another German powerhouse.
Leipzig will begin their pre-season campaign (if we can call these games a campaign) and whilst clubs will want to be reluctant to read too much into the games, the positive wave and undoubted confidence boost shouldn’t be easily overlooked.
Leipzig won’t be at their best and Ajax should be rearing to go, I think Ajax to win + both teams to score is as close to a banker as a game this early on could possibly be. Get on!
Bayern Munich vs Napoli (16:30)
I’ve already mentioned in previous articles the slow pressure that is steadily building at Bayern Munich and the fact that their new manager will be certainly tested as the season gets underway. There is no question they are going through a building phase and the longer results and performances of quality evade them, the pressure will build irrespective of the fact that it’s just a ‘friendly’ game.
Bayern Munich’s game against Ajax would have been a great test for the German Kings. Playing against another club so deeply rooted in tradition and approach would have provided a good test for them and playing out to a 2-2 draw might have been a positive for both of them really.
Napoli will get their first hit out on Saturday, I think Napoli could be a team to watch and appreciate this year but for now I don’t see any value in including them in any bets. If you must have a dabble, I think Bayern is a banker, if the value on offer doesn’t justify the wager, I would consider backing them to win + over 2.5.
Wolfsburg vs Atletico Madrid (18:00)
Atletico Madrid will be confident of another competitive La Liga season when all of that action gets underway a little later in August. Last season they ended up clinching the league title, but their domestic season still left a lot to be desired.
Diego Simeone will be aware that a continued robust approach coupled with a fresh flare and je ne sais quoi.
Wolfsburg have been incredibly lacklustre recently and I don’t expect too much from them. I know their squad is still largely fringe players and youngsters getting game time, but the loss to Holstein Kiel (come on, of course you’ve heard of them, Bundesliga 2? Haven’t won a game since early May?) is enough cause for concern…Atletico to win on whatever handicap the lads at Hollywood offer should be the play.
Sunday 1 August
Arsenal vs Chelsea (16:00)
The Champions of Europe, the Princes of England and Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Army return! It will be their second run out since their triumph against Manchester City in the Champions League and I think it is the perfect game for a side that plays for a manager like Tuchel. Whether Chelsea play Arsenal for jam or all of the marbles, you know the game will have serious undertones and rightly so!
A lot of the English game is criticized by the likes of Roy Keane for becoming soft and accommodating but you can see right from the get-go that Tuchel doesn’t leave too much space for niceties at Chelsea. His side will want to play to their structure and philosophy from early on and hopefully pick up from last season.
I know it’s another early call, but this Chelsea side should be followed closely – they could be the source of many positive returns on our provident fund and themselves possibly come away with silverware again when it’s all said and done.
To spare a word for Arsenal…their preparation (much like their business in the transfer window) hasn’t exactly shot the lights out and I wouldn’t have any confidence in them at the moment. But it is still early, and I certainly wouldn’t completely right them off going forward. Nevertheless, a Chelsea win should be backed all the way to the bank.