Everton looked quite stable during the previous season and fully deserved their seventh position and Europa League exit, as the team lost their form towards the end of the season while they were even competitive in a Champions League spot battle during some part of the season.
The side has brought many quality players in during the transfer period and had some really good results during friendlies, making the start of the season positive already. They’ve already played in Europa League qualifiers winning twice over Slovakian side Ruzomberok, both times with narrow 1:0 victory. In the last friendly match the side drew 2:2 against Sevilla last Sunday evening.
They were very busy regarding tranfers around the club, as the club brought goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland, central back Michael Keane from Burnley, right back Cuco Martina from Southampton, offensive players Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Henry Onyekuru (Eupen), strikers Sandro Ramirez from Malaga and Wayne Rooney from Manchester United. Romelu Lukaku left the club leaving for Manchester United, while the club have also left Gerrard Deulofeu (Barcelona), Aiden McGeady (Sunderland), Tom Cleverly (Waterford) and Arouna Kone (Sivasspor).
ice have started the season with a loss when they visited St. Etienne, but their Champions League campaign has been successful so far. They managed to progress thanks to an away goal rule with a 3:3 aggregate score which they reached in the 79th minute of the second game. They are now facing Napoli in the playoff round and it will be another tough test for them. They didn`t show much against St. Etienne, with the hosts getting the lead in 4th minute which they kept intact till the end. Nice had one good chance via Eysseric shortly after the goal, but they didn`t take it and that was practically it. This time they will have enough rest inbetween domestic and European obligations and hopefully record some points. Cyprien is out injured, while Balotelli will not be risked in this game having also struggled with injury recently. Rest of the players are available, including Sneijder, but it remains to be seen will he start considering his recent arrival.
Bury managed to make a positive start into the new League One season, as the team managed to overpower Walsall and record narrow 1:0 victory last Saturday evening. Only goal was scored in the additional time of the first halftime when Beckford scored, while the guests tried to respond later on, however without change in the scoreline.
Having in mind that Bury ended the last season barely escaping the relegation, their target for the new one is to avoid relegation battle if possible towards the end and the team wants to end up safely in the middle of the table at least, something that seems to be a realistic target for them this season. They will be playing against Wigan on the road next Sunday and will surely rotate some players for this one.
Defenders Phil Edwards, Nathan Cameron and Eoghan O’Connel are injured, all without playing so far. Same as midfielder Danny Mayor and Jay O’Shea (only one that played in the season opener).
Colchester didn’t look that well and suffered quite convincing 3:1 defeat away from home against Accrington last Saturday evening in the season opener, result that was actually expected as well. They ended the previous season at eight position, just a point below play-off positions and even though their wishes remain the same, it won’t be easy this time.
Their team somehow looks weaker this season and it won’t be surprise in case the side just stands around the middle of the table at the end. Their hosts entered the game well last weekend, taking the double lead via Jackson in 9th and Kee in 32nd minute, while Beckles increased the lead in 64th minute. Players of Colchester tried to respond and had some offensive phases, but were only able to reduce the deficit toward the end via Szmodics in 81st minute.
A very interesting fourth round of Austria’s Erste Liga. Kapfenberg vs Linz, Neustadt vs Hartberg and Innsbruck vs Lustenau will be very close games and are very difficult to predict. The only game which initial situation is a bit clearer is FAC vs Wattens.
FAC had a terrible start into the season. After a loss in the Austrian Cup against Horn (3rd league) they also had three losses in Erste Liga. Although they had three tough opponents (Lustenau, Ried, Hartberg) they didn’t play well at all. The season opener against Lustenau was very frustrating (1:5). The loss in Hartberg was unlucky due to two late goals, but well-deserved. The loss in Ried came after a 2:0 lead for FAC. Remember: Ried lost 4:0 at Liefering on Monday. I’m not sure what to think about Ried these days. They started at championship favorite no. 1 into the season, but their performances are up and down. I think the 2 goal lead of FAC last week came because of Ried’s inconstancy and not due to FAC’s strong performance.
FC St. Pauli startet with an away win against secret favorite for the title Vfl Bochum and substantiated its ambitions. The team from Northern Germany played well-organised and didn’t give Bochum many chances. With their fighting spirit and their offensive power St. Pauli will be a hot candidate for the top-5 this season. They lost just three times in 2017 yet. Coach Olaf Janßen and his team are looking forward for the next win.
Dynamo’s first game of the season was a tough fight. They scored the game winner in the 88th minute. Their number 1 striker Testroet was injured. He will miss the rest of this year, maybe the rest of the season. Dynamo got two new guys this week, but they won’t be a serious thought for Monday’s game. Although Dresden was very strong away from home last season, they are not in last season’s form yet. That’s because they lost two very important players (Kutschke, Gogia). Furthermore the Ultras of Dresden will strike due to the new personalization restrictions of away tickets. The missing support could be a big factor in this game.
After starting 2:2 draw at home against Mattersburg in the season opener, players of Rapid improved a lot and celebrated quite ease 1:4 victory on the road against St Polten last weekend. They entered the game very strongly and managed to take the double lead just before the halftime whistle.
Goals were scored by Murg in 37th and Kuen in 42nd minute, taking the lead more than deservedly. Hosts managed to reduce the deficit in 69th minute via Schutz, while the guests managed to seal the victory with two goals in last ten minutes, via an own goal in 81st minute and a goal from Keles in first minute of additional time. The team stands at second position now, having two points less than leaders from Sturm Graz.
Central defender Christopher Dibon is injured, same as midfielders Ivan Mocinic, Philipp Malicsek and Philipp Schonesberger and striker Giorgi Kvilitaia, all five without performing so far in the season anyway.
Union Berlin did quite well in the season opener when the team managed to take all three points away from home against Ingolstadt with a 1:0 victory. Only goal was scored in 59th minute via Trimmel, in quite a balanced game that could have ended differently on some other day.
However, players of Union Berlin showed plenty of determination during their play and looked especially well once they took over the lead, standing pretty well in the defense. After last season when they lose the promotion for few points only, they continued having same ambitions and surely will be boosted with the first victory. They just continued where they stopped during friendly matches, since the team had six victories out of six matches (winning over Wolfsberger, Birmingham and QPR too).
Team from Berlin should only miss offensive midfielder Akaki Gogia (no performance so far in the season).
Altach had to start their season much earlier than most of Austrian and European sides, as the team had to start from first qualifying round of Europa League, since they firstly progressed over Gerogian side Chikhura by taking a narrow 1:0 victory on the road and drawing 1:1 at home, which was enough for the side to have a second round game against side from Belarus Brest.
After a 1:1 draw at home against Brest, they convincingly won on the road 3:0, showing class difference thanks to goals from Ngamaleu, Nutz and Netzer. Finally, they took a 1:1 draw in the first leg against Gent, taking the lead and surprising their opponent thanks to a goal in fifth minute via Ngwat-Mahop. It was overall a very open game, but must be said that the hosts had more of the ball possession and looked as a better side, finally managing to leverl up in 76th minute via Coulibaly. They also come from a 4:1 defeat on the road to Admira in second round of Bundesliga, with the coach changing the team a bit.
Goalkeeper Lukse (0/0) is continuing to be injured, same as midfielder Prokopic (0/0). Doubtful are defender Lienhart (1/0) and forward Ngwat-Mahop (0/0).
Basaksehir surprised a bit in the first leg as the Turkish side took a draw in a 3:3 game and are now awaiting the re-match game being favorites to progress to the play-off round for Champions League group stage. After disappointing start and being 2:0 down in the scoreline in the first halftime, Turkish side showed much more competitive spirit in the repetition.
Their performance was much better, way more concrete in attack and they deservedly got a positive result and even managed to revert the scoreline thanks to goals from Mossoro in 59th, Elia in 62nd and Mossoro again in 74th minute, but lack of concentration cost them and didn’t manage to pull out a victory since the hosts leveled up five minutes later. During the preparation period, Basaksehir won over Triglav and drew to Vitesse while their league is set to start in two weeks.
Midfielder Aurelien Chedjou (signed from Galatasaray this Summer) remains doubtful with a back injury.