Milan have started off the season in flying form after a solid 6-0 home victory in the Europa League on Thursday night which should give them some good confidence coming into this encounter especially since they are taking on a lower table team in Crotone. Milan have signed up 9 players for this campaign which is almost the entire squad. While they are happy to be back in Europe; the investment in players like Andre Silva, Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Mussachio, Lucas Biglia, Franck Kessie, Hakan Calhanoglu, Andrea Conti and Ricardo Rodriguez shows how serious the new Chinese owners are to get back Milan to the glory days and start their campaign off with a victory. They have won their 3 Europa League games scoring 9 goals and not conceding a single one, which will give them confidence heading into this game against Crotone.
Napoli come into this season after having coming in 3rd in the Serie A last season. They have already faced Espanyol, Atletico Madrid, Bayern, Bournemouth and Chievo in their preparations which has given them quite a bit of competitive edge coming into this encounter. While they have not lost any players, they have added a few like Adam Ounas as their major transfer of the season. The large core of the team has remained in tact and have a great understanding with each other which saw them be the highest scorers in Serie A with 94 goals in 38 games, and that form has continued this pre-season already with 7 goals in their last 3 games. They also successfully negotiated a strong 2-0 win in mid-week over Nice and that will stand them in good stead as they travel away to take on Verona.
Monaco have resumed their title defense exactly in the same way that they snatched the title from the dominance of PSG scoring lots of goals and trying to outscore their opponents in every game. Monaco have already put 7 goals past their opponents and are only 3rd in the table because of goal difference. Despite losing several key players like Bernardo, Mendy, Germain and Bakoyoko the rest of the squad has been in tact. Falcao has started where he left off last season already netting 4 goals in the 2 games played so far. He has been well supported by the likes of Jemerson, Moutinho and Diakhaby in his pursuit for attacking opposition and plundering goals past them. Defensively, they have been leaking in both their games so tonight new signing Terence Kongolo should partner Kamil Glik in the heart of defense to try and sure it up for Monaco.
Newcastle disappointed many fans two season ago when they relegated to Championship, however the team managed to fight back well and earn instant promotion back to Premier League last season despite many setbacks and ups and downs, they even managed to win the Championship title in the end thanks to three consecutive victories in last rounds.
They ended up with a point more than Brighton, while their direct promotion wasn’t doubtful is last few weeks of the season ending with nine points more than third placed Reading. During the pre-season friendlies they lost only to Mainz, winning over Hearts, Bradford, Wolfsburg and in most recent game, winning over Verona 2:0.
Newcaslte brought in central defender Florian Lejeune from Eibar, right back Javier Manquillo from Atletico Madrid, defensive midfielder Mikel Merino from Dortmund, offensive players Jacor Murphy (Norwich) and Crhstian Atsu (Chelsea) spending over 36 Million GBP for now. On the other side, only important transfer out was offensive Florian Thauvin who went to Marseille.
Mitrovic should be leading their attack as central striker in 4-2-3-1 formation with the help of offensive midfielders: Atsu, Perez and Ritchie. Only Javier Manquillo should be starting today out of their recent signings. Injured is DeAndre Yedlin, right back, while serious doubt for this one represents offensive Dwight Gayle.
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.