The European leagues, including the English Premier League, are finally underway. With top-notch soccer once again filling up our weekend schedules and having us up at ungodly hours, here are a few games to keep an extra eye on.
Chelsea – Crystal Palace (English Premier League Matchday 4):
Another weekend, another London derby in the Premier League. These games always have an extra dimension to them as the fans want to have the bragging rights when they go back to work on Monday. Chelsea got their first win of the season last week, beating West Bromwich Albion 3-2.
Chelsea will be without John Terry, as he’s suspended after getting sent off in the game against WBA. Crystal Palace has had a great start to the season with two wins in three games and a narrow loss against Arsenal. Palace is coming off a 2-1 win over Aston Villa last Saturday, and also beat Shrewsbury Town 4-1 in the midweek clash in the Capital One Cup.
Bayern Munich – Bayer Leverkusen (German Bundesliga Matchday 3):
An early top meeting between second-place Bayern and third-place Leverkusen. Bayern Munich has been convincing to start the season. They pummeled Hamburg SV 5-0 in the opening game of the season and followed that up with a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim, despite going down 1-0 after just a few seconds. New signings Arturo Vidal and Douglas Costa has played well and seemed to have melded well with the squad.
Bayer Leverkusen also beat Hoffenheim 2-1, but they did it on Opening Day. In addition to two league games, Leverkusen knocked out Italian side Lazio in the Champions League qualification playoffs. They won the first meeting 1-0, and then played Hannover in the league last Saturday and won 1-0. Then on Wednesday they met Lazio in the return leg and beat them 3-0.
Tottenham Hotspur – Everton (English Premier League Matchday 4):
Everton has been sort of a mixed bag so far with one win, one loss and one draw to start the season. When players like Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley are on their game, then Everton is a difficult team to beat for any side in the league. The loss of Leighton Baines on left back is a hard blow to the team as Baines provided a lot of great crosses and assists from the left side.
Tottenham has struggled to convince in the opening games of the season. After three games, the Spurs are still looking for their first win of the season after losing to Manchester United on Opening Day, followed by draws against Stoke City and Leicester City. Star striker Harry Kane has looked a bit rusty, and it’s no secret Tottenham is looking to add another striker before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.
Swansea City – Manchester United (English Premier League Matchday 4):
United is coming off a convincing 4-0 performance against Club Brugge in the second leg of the Champions League qualification playoffs. Wayne Rooney got a hat trick and finished a 10-game scoreless drought. The Red Devils are back in the biggest club tournament in the soccer world and will be heading to Wales full of confidence. United are still unbeaten after two wins and a draw to start the season.
Swansea has already shown that they are one of the most entertaining teams in the league. They played a great game against Chelsea on Opening Day and got a 2-2 draw against the reigning champions.
They followed that up with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United before drawing 1-1 with Sunderland last weekend. Andre Ayew has had a great start with his new team, which isn’t a surprise if you have followed Ayew during his team in Ligue 1 with Marseille.
AS Monaco – Paris Saint-Germain (French Ligue 1 Matchday 4):
An early grudge match between two of France soccer’s biggest rivals is a great way to end the weekend. PSG recently signed Layvin Kurzawa from Monaco, and the left back could make his debut against his former team.
PSG has opened up the season with three straight wins, but they haven’t dominated their opponents on the scoresheet. They beat Lille 1-0 on Opening Day, the got a 2-0 win over Ajaccio before grabbing another 1-0 win over Montpellier last Friday.
Monaco are still unbeaten in league play after one win and two draws. They did get knocked out by Valencia in the Champions League qualification playoffs, 4-3 on aggregate. These teams don’t like each other and although Monaco doesn’t draw the biggest crowd, the fans at Stade Louis II will be booing the reigning champions from the French capital.