Some of 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 get up at ungodly hours, here are a couple of games to keep an extra eye on.
West Ham United – Leicester City (English Premier League Matchday 2):
Two teams that enjoyed some Opening Day success meet up on Saturday. West Ham shocked Arsenal at the Emirates, grabbing a 2-0 win over the Gunners. Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate got the goals for the Hammers. Arsenal’s new goalkeeper Petr Cech received a lot of flack for his performance, as both goals came after mistakes by the Czech international.
Leicester was in goal-scoring form as they beat Sunderland 4-2. The team picked up where they left off last season, and had a 3-0 lead at halftime after a goal by Jamie Vardy and a brace by Riyad Mahrez. Marc Albrighton, who had a great game, scored in the second half and had assists on the two first goals.
Spartak Moscow – CSKA Moscow (Russian Premier League Matchday 5):
Moscow derbies are always heated affairs, and although it’s early in the season, both teams want to have bragging rights. CSKA opened up league play with four straight wins and sits in second place behind Zenit St. Petersburg on goal differential. Spartak are in fourth place, two points behind CSKA and Zenit.
CSKA won the last meeting back in May, 4-0 on the road, so they will be confident that they can win on Spartak’s ground once again.
Borussia Dortmund – Borussia Monchengladbach (German Bundesliga Matchday 1):
The German Bundesliga is back, and Borussia Monchengladbach will travel to Dortmund for a meeting with a team that fell way short of expectations last year. Monchengladbach finished third last season and grabbed one of the Champions League spots. Dortmund were supposed to battle Bayern Munich for the title, but after a disastrous start to the season, the team finished seventh in the standings.
Dortmund still has a quality squad, and it will be interesting to see how new manager Thomas Tuchel will adjust to team in order to have a more successful campaign this year. Monchengladbach will have to balance league play with the Champions League, and it remains to be seen if they can cope with a tighter schedule.
Crystal Palace – Arsenal (English Premier League Matchday 2):
It will be the second straight London derby for Arsenal as Arsene Wenger and his men take on Crystal Palace on Sunday. The Gunners will look to bounce back after a poor showing in the opening game against West Ham last weekend. Wenger was not happy at all in the way his team played, but didn’t single out new goalkeeper Petr Cech, despite the netminder having a particularly bad day.
Palace opened up the season with a 3-1 win over newcomers Norwich City. Alan Pardew has 11 Premier League wins in 19 games in charge and another win would make him the winningest manager in the Premier League in Palace history. New signing Yohan Cabaye had a great first game, and scored in the victory over Norwich.
Manchester City – Chelsea (English Premier League Matchday 2):
The two top teams from last season go head to head in a battle of the giants on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Reigning champions Chelsea only got a draw against Swansea on opening day, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois got sent off and will miss the game against City.
Runners-up City got a comfortable 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in their opener. Yaya Toure had a strong showing, scoring a brace in the first half. Vincent Kompany added the third goal in the second half. Both meetings last season between City and Chelsea ended in 1-1 draws.