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Serie A, La Liga openers highlights weekend

BPI/Imago/Icon Sportswire

The top European leagues are back. The Premier League and Ligue 1 kicked off last week, while Spain and Italy finally gets underway this weekend. So, here are some of the games to keep an extra eye on.

Friday:

Manchester United – Southampton (Premier League Matchday 2):

Manchester United takes on Southampton at Old Trafford in the premiere of Friday night football in the Premier League.

United grabbed a 3-1 win over Bournemouth in their season opener, with Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic finding the back of the net. After a rather sluggish first half, the Red Devils kicked things into gear. The game on Friday could also be Paul Pogba’s first game back since his return to the club.

Southampton, with new manager Claude Puel, got a 1-1 draw at home to Watford in their opener. New signing Nathan Redmond got off the mark, as he scored the tying goal for the Saints.

Saturday:

Tottenham – Crystal Palace (Premier League Matchday 2):

Tottenham welcomes Crystal Palace to White Hart Lane on Saturday in a London derby. Spurs got a 1-1 draw on the road against Everton in their season opener last weekend, while Palace suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion.

Spurs won both meetings between the clubs in the league last season, but Palace took a 1-0 win in their last meeting back in January in the FA Cup 5th round after a late first half goal by Martin Kelly.

Barcelona – Real Betis (La Liga Matchday 1):

Spanish champions Barcelona hosts Real Betis in their season opener. The Catalans are coming off a Spanish Super Cup win over Sevilla, beating the cup winners 5-0 on aggregate after a 2-0 win in the first leg, and a 3-0 win in the second leg.

Barca took home the league title last season with 91 points, one point ahead of rivals Real Madrid. Barca will be without Neymar, as the Brazilian star is playing for his nation at the Rio Olympics. Betis finished in 10th place, and picked up just under half the amount of points that Barca did, ending the season with a total of 45 points. Barcelona picked up wins in both league meetings last season by a combined score of 6-0.

Juventus – Fiorentina (Serie A Matchday 1):

Juventus begin another title defense on Saturday as they take on Fiorentina in Turin. Juve has been dominating Italy, picking up five straight Serie A titles. They started off last season a bit rough, only picking up three wins in the opening 10 matches, but after the shaky start they went on a roll, winning 26 out of the last 28 games. They finished the campaign with 91 points, nine points ahead of second-placed Napoli. They added top scorer Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli, making Juve the clear cut favorite to pick up another domestic title.

Fiorentina finished last season in 5th place with 64 points. They wrapped up their preseason last week with a 2-1 defeat to Spanish side Valencia.

Sunday:

Paris Saint-Germain – FC Metz (Ligue 1 Matchday 2):

PSG started off their title defense with a 1-0 win last weekend over Bastia. With leading goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic gone, PSG is looking for one of the players to step up and grab the goals for the Parisians. Against Bastia it was left back Layvin Kurzawa that managed to get himself on the scoresheet.

Metz got a 3-2 win over Lille in their opener after two goals by Mevlut Erdinc and one by Yann Jouffre. One of Erdinc’s goals and Jouffre’s goal came from the penalty spot.

PSG won both meetings between the clubs, picking up a 3-2 win on the road and a 3-1 win at home.

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