Category Archives: Liverpool

Can Liverpool Still Win the Premier League With Their Defensive Frailties?

Liverpool

Liverpool are currently flying high and are 3rd on the Premier League table with the same 23 points as Manchester City and Arsenal and this has made to consider them as one of the strong favourites to win the league this season.

Jurgen Klopp has been able to transform them from md-table team to title contenders this season. It is only left for them to see if they can keep up with their current form and the demand of the game as the season moves on.

However, despite their impressive run of form and attack this season so far, there remains an area of the team which Klopp must do something about if they really want to end their 27-year wait for a Premier League crown, which is their defence. Their defence has been their undoing and it has been like that in the last three or four seasons.

The Anfield outfits boast of the worst defensive record for the most goals conceded in the top six of the Premier League and the joint second worst defensive record in the top half of the table.

Their defence denied them the title under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/2014 when they conceded an outrageous 50 goals despite scoring more than 100 goals as they finished second by two points. Likewise in 2014/2015 season, they conceded 48 goals which confined them to the sixth position and another 50 goals in 2015/2016 which saw finishing eighth while Leicester that won the league conceded only 36.

The Red Devils have conceded 13 goals in ten games this season, averaging 1.3 goals per match which doesn’t speak well of Klopp’s side defence. Conceding goals at this rate is alien to their title winning bid.

Leaking goals will definitely take its toll on the attack. Should this continue and at that rate, Liverpool would concede 49 goals for the whole season. And since the Premier League was reduced to 20 teams in 1995/1996 season, no team has ever won the league conceding such a huge number of goals.

The only team that has ever won the league conceding more than 40 goals in a season was Manchester United in 1996/1997 season. But they were only able to win it courtesy of a high number of goals they scored, 76 in that season, and that was even then. Liverpool can hope to emulate that United team also but it has not worked for them in recent seasons. They are already joint top-scorers with Manchester City with both having scored 24 goals so far in the league.

Liverpool has an exciting attacking line in the league; Daniel Sturridge (when he is fully fit), Roberto Firmino, Phillipe Coutinho and the addition of Sadio Mane from Southampton this summer. Not to mention other options up front like Divock Origi, Georgino Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and Danny Ings.

But their defence has not been consistent and often times leave too much space behind. They concede easily on counter-attack. And it clearly showed again in their 3-2 win over Crystal Palace last weekend.

Unless Klopp finds a lasting solution to their defence frailties, their attacking efforts may be wasted again.

Liverpool vs Manchester United: 5 Things Learned From The Game

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‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ Public Enemy implored us. You might want to apply that logic to the Premier League if last night’s awful match was anything to go by.

I’m not the only one who believes it was bad; Jurgen Klopp did as well. The only positive he could think of in his post-match was not conceding or as he put it: “Our first clean sheet. Yippee.”

The German has a handle on English sarcasm already but there must be more than it just being Liverpool’s first clean sheet of the season, surely? Indeed there are…

  1. Manchester United Are Better At Pressing Than Liverpool

Manchester United looked at Liverpool this season and decided to play them at their own game. The Gegenpress came from the visitors. At one point in the first half, Liverpool enjoyed just 3% possession in the final third of the pitch.

United pressed from the moment Liverpool crossed the halfway line and in tandem with 6 or 7 defenders strung across their penalty area, thwarted the Reds hopes for creating space to exploit.

With Young and the less effective Rashford, ahead of the full backs, United were able to deny Liverpool space on the flanks and neutralise Mane. With Sturridge struggling to find space, he and the Senegalese international frequently found themselves making runs into the same areas.

Their dominance didn’t manifest in the possession statistics. United ‘enjoyed’ just 35% of the ball but Liverpool managed just two shots on targets all night, such was the consistency of the United players applying Jose Mourinho’s gameplan.

  1. Liverpool Are Predictable Without Lallana

When Liverpool did escape United’s shackles, Adam Lallana’s vision was sorely missed. The England international is adept at receiving the ball on the half-turn, ready to pass to either flank.

Returning to the Premier League as a second half substitute, the England international showed no signs of discomfort following his groin injury. With his introduction, Firmino moved to the centre and caused the United central pair more problems in thirty minutes than Sturridge had in the previous hour.

Lallana’s arrival was the catalyst for the home side to force the game. Coutinho drew a fine save from De Gea whilst Can did likewise. The Spaniard assuredly dealt with both, pushing the ball to safety both times with strong hands.

United though, kept nipping at Liverpool’s heels and in tandem with a 6 – 3 – 1 formation when they didn’t have the ball, forced Liverpool into hopeful balls toward the blue wall strung across the United penalty area.

  1. Paul Pogba’s Price Tag Is Weighing Heavy On His Shoulders

For the most part, he chased shadows. And then on 54 minutes he produced a peach of a cross for Ibrahimovic which the Swede surprisingly squandered. It was a horrible moment for Zlatan, genuinely bad.

The most expensive player in the world is not a title sitting comfortably on his shoulders. For the money United paid, they will be expecting more from him in the big games. In the recent Mancunian derby, he was all but anonymous and last night he was very much on the edges of the action.

Whilst Mourinho’s tactics influenced that – dictated his performance even – he showed little inclination to make incisive breaks when United had the ball. It increasingly left him running into channels and dead-ends.

His performance is summed with the damning statistics that of his 38 passes, just 27 were completed accurately. Not a lot of bang for your buck.

  1. Anfield Is Not The Seething Cauldron It Once Was

“You’ll never walk alone” still belts out from the Kop, sung with a proud gusto but football is becoming sanitised. Gary Neville tweeted:

 

He’s right. Years ago, Mourinho would have been walking a gauntlet of hate and whilst that manifested in unacceptable behaviour, to be faced with indifference and mobile phone cameras showed the Portuguese he had already won half the battle.

As it became apparent that United were a better side than the Kop expected, a hush descended onto Anfield with Jurgen Klopp’s barkings could be heard above the crowd.

Liverpool, struggling to break down their opponents’ obduracy, needed something to spark the supporters from their slumber and found little opportunity to do so.

United were relatively well-disciplined in not conceding free kicks or picking up bookings, so avoiding raising temperatures. In Anfield’s silence, United found strength to continue their performance.

  1. Ander Herrera Key To Smothering Liverpool

Until the second half, Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho were kept very quiet by United’s midfield. Integral to that was Ander Herrera. Recently called into the Spanish squad, he performed excellently in the same role Sergio Busquets does for Barcelona; the quiet destroyer.

He shackled both Liverpool’s central midfielders well, picking their pockets for possession on more than one occasion whilst forcing them to move the ball quickly and in doing so, passes went astray at an uncharacteristically high rate.

The Brazilian was allowed only one opportunity of note, with David De Gea’s right hand clawing the ball to safety whilst Can’s low shot was blocked in an equally emphatic manner. Aside from those moments, Herrera dictated the pace and tempo of United’s efficient pressing game.

Rightly accorded “Man of the Match”, expect Herrera to become a more permanent fixture in that role as Mourinho tries to make his team more difficult to beat.

 

Find Out The Real Reason Why Liverpool Ditched The Chance To Sign This Brazilian Attacker

Liverpool Transfer News

Liverpool’s pursuit of the Brazilian attacking midfielder Alex Teixeira drew a lot of footballing media attention over the last month. The Reds put on an initial believed to be in the region of €32 million which was rejected by Shakhtar who believe that the value of the player is closer to €50 million.

Alex Teixeira

Alex Teixeira

Now, Klopp has revealed why Liverpool decided to withdraw from the deal early in a time where big money moves in the final minutes of the transfer window have become a norm of the day.

“It’s very important that yes, you can trust us,” Klopp said. “It was absolutely a common decision (on Teixeira). We said we can’t play this game until the end. “We made offers. I won’t say too much about that, but they were realistic, absolutely, with the pluses of it being January, the Premier League, all the pluses you have when you make negotiations with other clubs. “But it was a case of ‘if you don’t want it okay, we can’t change the situation, do what you want’.

 

Liverpool’s Tactical Future Under Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp was a huge success at his last club Borussia Dortmund. He took them to two titles in the Bundesliga and into the Champions League final during his time as head coach. It will take time for him to get his message and methods across, but on first impressions he has already made great strides and so far looks to be a perfect match.

The 48-year-old German took control of his first match as the new Liverpool FC manager on Saturday against an in-form Tottenham Hotspur side. Even though he has only been in charge for a few days, there was a big change in the attitude and tactics of the team.

Klopp’s philosophy is one that demands a high intensity and pressing game. The first jobs he will need to sort out though is Liverpool’s leaky defense. During Rogers tenure, the team over a period of 122 Premier League games conceded a goal against at an average of 1.27. It was why many people put free bets on them not keeping a clean sheet. During Klopp’s time at Dortmund, they only conceded an average of 0.69 goals over 68 league matches. It is an area that the German manager has highlighted during his first interviews after taking the job.

One of the key components of Klopp’s tactics is the reorganisation of player positions when the ball is lost. The manager like his players to apply a different pressing style when the play is in various areas of the pitch and his defenders to hold a high defensive line. This style of play requires excellent awareness by his defenders that has lacked over the last few seasons.

The main characteristics that describe Klopp’s tactics are emotional, speed with quick transitions. To implement this style of play, it will need to be supported by the whole team. There are question marks if the currently defensive players will be able to carry out the type of play that he demands as manager.

Klopp has a talented bunch of players at his disposal, which he realises. He is an excellent motivator and manages to get the most out of the players. So far he has impressed everyone connected to Liverpool FC in an amazing introduction after he signed his three-year deal. It has led to lots of people putting free bets on the Reds to finish in the top four this season.

The big winners with Klopp signing as manager will be the squads dynamic players. With Gomez injured for the rest of the season, Alberto Moreno will be the first choice left back. He is the type of defender that will fit into the high-intensity style that the manager demands. When he was in charge of Dortmund, they were excellent at counterattacking with quick transition when the ball was won back in deep positions. Moreno has shown that he is an excellent ball carrier that can adapt to this methods easily.

Another winner could be Jordon Ibe. The likes of Coutinho, Lallana and Firmino can play wide but do not offer the direct style and touchline hugging that the young English man does. To match the high intensity, players that can get up and down the pitch all game will be the players that get the start under Klopp. That applies to the likes of James Milner and Jordan Henderson, who have excellent engines on them. One of the best free bets to make is that these two players will be key to Liverpool success over the season.

One of the main changes though will come in the mentality of the players. Klopp wants to see more bravery, running and fighting together along with more fun in their eyes. Under the management of Klopp, that should not be a problem.

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EPL Team Of The Week Gameweek 5 Featuring Manchester United And Arsenal Stars

Premier League

Butland
The Stoke goalkeeper has had the hype around him for a long time and he is stepping up to fill Asmir Begovic’s place with style. He made a number of key stops to prevent Arsenal and although his side lost, it would have been a lot worse without Butland, who was arguably the man of the match.
Nyom
The Watford right back had a great game as he managed to keep both Wayne Routledge and Jefferson Montero quiet all afternoon. The latter has caused a lot of defenders problems this season with his pace and direct running, therefore Nyom’s performance shouldn’t be overlooked. He also offered support going forwards and played a key role in Watford’s win.
Stones
John Stones has been the subject of a lot of speculation this summer, but he has put his head down and continued to put in consistent performances for Everton. On Saturday, he was incredible as Everton completely outclassed Chelsea in every department. It would have left Chelsea fans and Jose Mourinho wondering what could have been as Stones looks ready to make the step up to a bigger side.
Blind
The Dutch international has been playing out of position at centre back, but he is beginning to look like he is meant to play there. He was comfortable against Liverpool and didn’t look out of his depth against some excellent attacking players. He also managed to score at the other end, with a wonderfully placed finish.
Targett 
The Southampton left back is the latest to come through the club’s famous youth academy and establish himself in the first eleven. He has become a regular in the side, which is bad news for Ryan Bertrand, who will be facing a real test to get his place back in the starting eleven when he returns from his knee injury. On Saturday, Targett played a key role in getting his side a clean sheet with some excellent tackles, while his reading of the game was excellent.
Cazorla

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Arsenal have had a mixed start to the season, but they gave an accomplished performance to beat Stoke on Saturday and they were unlucky not to score more than the two goals that they managed. Cazorla ran the game in the midfield and opened the opposition up on a number of occasions, including an assist for Olivier Giroud late on.
Noble
Mark Noble has been one of the most consistent players in the Premier League over the last few seasons and he once again played a vital role in a West Ham victory. He assisted Payet’s first goal and dominated Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita in the Newcastle midfield. His reading of the game was excellent, as was highlighted by his ability to intercept the ball on a number of occasions.
Mahrez

The Leicester winger had an incredible start to the season, contributing six goals in his opening five matches. The Foxes have had a great beginning to the campaign and Mahrez has been central to that. Every side needs a player who can produce in the final third and that is what Mahrez is to Leicester. At the weekend, he produced when the game was going against his side, which highlights his good mentality. He managed to produce two of the three goals and he was at the centre of all the Leicester attacking play.

Naismith
The Everton forward has been a key part of the squad at Goodison Park over the last few seasons. He isn’t the most talented player, but he always puts in 100% and he can always be relied upon for a good number of goals every season. He came on after an early injury and never looked back as he became the first player to score a hat-trick against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side. His movement in the final third was always smart and he made the Chelsea defence look ordinary at times. The Scottish international is a good finisher when chances come his way and he displayed that on Saturday.
Payet
Dimitri Payet highlighted why he should be considered for the French national side after voicing his disappointment at being left out of the previous squad. He ran the show on Monday against Newcastle, scoring two goals. The first goal was a wonder strike, while the second showed his intelligent movement as he was in the right place at the right time. He could turn out to be one of the signings of the summer if he maintains his form.
Vardy
After his breakthrough into the England squad, Jamie Vardy continues to impress for Leicester with his tireless style of play, while he is adding goals to his game. Last season he struggled to score, but he already has three goals and that is due to his improved movement in the final third. If he continues to play well for his club, Vardy should be a certainty for Euro 2016.

Liverpool v West Ham: Lineups, Preview And Prediction

Liverpool v West Ham

Saturday 29th August, 15:00

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Liverpool come into this weekend’s fixture as one of six remaining unbeaten sides in the Premier League after the first three rounds of matches. Their perfect record was brought to a halt in their last match having failed to score against Arsenal, twice hitting the woodwork. They will be looking to get back to winning ways this weekend to maintain their strong start to the season that has yet to see them concede a goal.

West Ham come into this tough fixture following back-to-back defeats, but will be looking to get back to winning ways. Their opening day victory away at Arsenal shows us that West Ham have the capability of coming away from a big club with all three points, and the positive memory of that win should serve them in good stead for their visit to Anfield.

Liverpool

A lot of people are going to have their eye on the attacking midfield talent on display in this match, in particular Dimitri Payet and Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho has made a solid start to the season, finding the back of the net once, completing seven dribbles, racking up four interceptions and 86 passes completed. He will be a vital weapon in the Reds’ armory going forward, as demonstrated by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Payet, according the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, may have had an even better start to the season than Coutinho. The summer signing has scored with his only attempt on goal, and whilst he has only completed six dribbles, he has completed 60% of his overall tally in comparison to Coutinho’s 53.8%. He has also put 29 crosses into the box, which is 24 more than Coutinho, and completed 12 more passes that the Liverpool man. Either way, this is likely to be a key encounter come Saturday.

Further forward still, it will be interesting to see who gets the edge in the battle of the strikers between Liverpool new boy Christian Benteke and the Hammers’ Diafra Sakho. Benteke, according to the EA SPORTS Player Perofmrance Index, has netted once this season from seven shots, of which four have hit the target. He has also showed his quality both on and off the ball by completing four dribbles and winning four tackles respectively. He is 19/20 to score anytime with 888sport.com.

Sakho’s statistics are alarmingly similar to those of Benteke, as revealed by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Sakho has likewise hit the target with four of his seven attempts this season, and also completed four dribbles. Unlike Benteke, however, Sakho is yet to find the net, but will be hoping to at least even up that tally this weekend with his first of the season. He is 37/10 to score anytime with 888sport.com.

Liverpool v West Ham Possible Starting Lineups: 

Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Skrtel, Gomez; Lucas, Milner, Can; Firmino, Coutinho; Benteke

West Ham: Randolph; Tomkins, Ogbonna, Reid, Cresswell; Noble, Kouyate, Obiang, Payet, Jarvis; Sakho

Liverpool v West Ham Stats:

  • Liverpool only have a longer top-flight unbeaten home streak against Stoke City (52 matches).
  • The Hammers have scored just seven goals in their last 30 league visits to Anfield, failing to find the net on 24 occasions.
  • It is more than nine years since a West Ham player scored in a Premier League match at Anfield: Bobby Zamora in a 2-1 defeat in August 2006. The Hammers’ only Premier League goal at Anfield since then was a Martin Skrtel own goal in the 4-1 loss in December 2013.
  • Liverpool have won nine and lost only two of their last 14 Premier League games at Anfield, with only Sunderland keeping a clean sheet during that run.
  • West Ham were winless in 12 Premier League away games before beating Arsenal on the opening day of this season.

Stats via BBC

Liverpool v West Ham Prediction:

A 1-0 win for the home side.

Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars with at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.

 

Liverpool v Bournemouth: Preview, Lineups, Stats And Prediction

Liverpool v Bournemouth

19:45, Monday 17th August

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Liverpool play host to Bournemouth, with both teams coming into the fixture off the back of encouraging performances last weekend.

Brendan Rodgers always emphasises the importance of recycling possession and retaining the ball in his teams and this was no different last weekend, with Liverpool completing 378 passes. He’ll do well to warn his team of Bournemouth’s passing ability, though, as they completed 464 passes against Aston Villa (the third most in the league).

Two players who will be essential to either team’s chances of dominating possession will be Andrew Surman and Jordan Henderson. The duo completed 87 and 76 passes respectively in the last round of fixtures, which was the most for either side. Henderson is 41/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time on Monday.

Bournemouth’s centre-backs are likely to be wary of the aerial threat of Liverpool’s new signing Christian Benteke, with the striker likely to cause Tommy Elphick a real headache. Benteke demonstrated his excellent heading ability against Stoke as he won 64% of his aerial duals, whereas Elphick won 57%.

In centre midfield pairing Jordan Henderson and James Milner, Liverpool have an impressive engine room, with the duo capable of working their socks off for the sake of the team and the pair ran an impressive 12km and 11.1km respectively. In turn, Andrew Surman (11.1km) and Matt Ritchie (11km) topped the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for Bournemouth, and they’ll need to maintain these energy levels when they come up against Brendan Rodgers’ men on Monday.

Liverpool v Bournemouth Match Stats

  • Liverpool have never lost to Bournemouth in six previous cup fixtures (W4 D2). This will be their first league meeting.
  • Bournemouth’s two previous trips to Anfield to face the Reds have ended in a 4-1 defeat (FA Cup 3rd round replays in 1927 and 1968).
  • Liverpool only attempted four shots (excl. blocked) in their first game against Stoke City – fewer than any other side on MD1.
  • Simon Mignolet has kept more clean sheets than any other Premier League goalkeeper in 2015 (10).
  • No side won more away games (13) or collected more points away (44) than Bournemouth in the Championship last season.

Stats via Dailymail

Liverpool v Bournemouth Possible Starting XI:

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Gomez, Milner, Can, Henderson, Coutinho, Firmino, Benteke

Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Mings, Ritchie, Gradel, Surman, Gosling, Kermorgant, Wilson

Liverpool v Bournemouth Prediction: 

A 2-0 win for the home side.

Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars with at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.

 

 

 

 

(2015-16) Predictions For The Top 5 Leagues

With the footballing season just around the blocks, and transfers raining all over the clubs here are my predictions for the major leagues in the upcoming season.

  • Barclays English Premier League

barclays

Arguably the best league in the world had an uncharacteristic tittle saga last season with Chelsea showing great defensive resolve in the second half, and with the start they had it was always their tittle to lose. This season promises to be different. Not many teams have been able to retain the Premier League in the past years (even the Invincibles failed to achieve it). So, It is going to be a mammoth task for Chelsea, but they surely have the team and the Manager for that.

Last year’s runner up City have got some additions in the attack, but until their defensive situation is managed it doesn’t look like they will be able to mount a title challenge. Manchester United and Liverpool have bought many players and only time will tell how they settle in the premier league. The team, which really looks like giving Chelsea the run for their money is Arsenal F.C. They had a very solid ending to the last season, having settled their goalkeeping woes with the signing of Petr Cech and they had a brilliant pre- season setting momentum for the season ahead.

So, In the premier league it looks like a close battle between Chelsea and Arsenal for the title, (could go up-till the last match week). I know I’d put my money on Arsenal. The remaining top 4 should also be a good battle between the Manchester Clubs and Liverpool.

  • Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (La Liga)

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Historically being a two horse race, La Liga has found their third “dark” horse in Atletico Madrid. This summer Atletico Madrid has done some serious business with players like Jackson Martinez, Luciano Vietto added to their ranks. The loss of Adra Turan with surely haunt him and other midfielders will have to step up to make up for his absence.

Last season’s winners Barcelona have made a couple of signings who will only be able to play the second half of the season. Though the strength of the team still lies in the front 3 south American superstars. They would expect to start off the new season where they ended the last, scoring goals at will. Barca’s newly appointed captain Andres Iniesta will have to take up the mentor role which Xavi and Puyol had tremendously done before him.

The third horse of this race has a newly appointed manager in the dressing room and the kind of season Los Bloncos have will very much depend on Rafa Benitez. He needs to settle up the playing roles and positions of his superstar players Ronaldo and Bale. The onus will be on Sergio Ramos to take up Casillas’s leader role to post some serious threat to Barcelona’s tittle.

La Liga promises to be a great neck to neck battle between the three giants of Spanish and European football. At this moment Barcelona tips away with the title for me due to the stability they have in their team. (Expect some big upsets form Sevilla FC after their spree of intelligent buys).

  •  The Bundesliga

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For the past three years Bayern Munich have been running away with the Bundesliga title, and it wouldn’t be too early to say that they are surely on track to make it four in a row. They have made some good transfers by replacing Bastian Schweinsteiger with the fiery Chilean Arturo Vidal, who’s widely regarded as one the best midfielders in the world over the last few years. They also added Brazilian Douglas Costa to provide more cover on the wings after both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben suffered injury-riddled campaigns. Basically, health is the only thing that can stop the Bayern machine from rolling onto yet another title. If they can finally get the likes of Robben, Ribery, David Alaba and Thiago Alcantara to play the full season, they should be virtually unstoppable.

The only other thing that can remotely come close to hindering Bayern in their aspirations is the surprise package of the last season Wolfsburg. They had a tremendous season scoring 72 goals only behind the champions Bayern who scored 80. The main goal of Wolfsburg now is to make sure the their instrumental playmaker Kevin De Bruyne stays in the squad.

Now coming from last year’s surprise to last year’s disappointment. Under their new coach Thomas Tuchel, Borussia Dortmund will be looking to dust off last season’s blues with a solid performance. The German core of Rues, Hummels and Gundogan have remained intact and will have to step up to their reputations.

Event though Bayern Munich looks very likely to retain their title, you never know with the game of football. A couple of injuries, a bad start and inspired performances from Wolfsburg could cause a big upset. May be Lord Bendtner could conjure up a miracle. It still is Bayern’s tittle to lose.

  • Serie A

Juventus-Champions-2013-14

Going into the new Serie A season, it’s very easy to wonder if the Italian league is on the up. A Champions League final appearance of Juventus back in May showed that there’s still talent in the league, and this summer has seen the other sides strengthening significantly too. They’re closing in on the Premier League in the co-efficient table, looking to overtake them and regain their fourth Champions League spot.

Last season’s Champions Juventus have undergone a big change this summer. The side that guided them to the Champions League final has been torn apart, with some big stars moving on. They allowed Carlos Tevez to move back to Boca Juniors, while Arturo Vidal left for Bayern to fill the void left by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Andrea Pirlo also departed, heading for New York and MLS. They did respond in a pretty impressive way, signing the likes of Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala, Sami Khedira and Simone Zaza. Keeping hold of Paul Pogba will be key and they seem in no mood to let go of their star man, despite rumours of huge bids from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man City.

That said, there’s little to inspire you to back anyone else. The transfer window may have hit Juve hard, but they’ve bounced back. Roma lost Andrea Bertolacci to AC Milan, and no other side have had a major addition since then.

Juventus have no serious competition when it comes to the Serie A title, although you can always expect a miracle.

  • Ligue 1

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The league where rich gets richer. Paris Saint-Germain after clinching their third title in a row have added more firepower in their team with the scoops of Benjamin Stambouli and Di Maria. The rest of the championship-winning team is relatively unchanged – Yohan Cabaye and Thiago Motta are the only notable departures.

Lyon caught almost everyone by surprise as they finished runners-up to PSG last season. They did so in large part because of the incredible goal-scoring exploits of striker Alexandre Lacazette. The 24-year old Frenchman had a breakout season with 27 goals to lead all of Ligue 1. Keeping him on board will be their priority

Monaco has been a hotbed of transfer activity this season. Geoffrey Kondogbia and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, two key contributors last season, were both sold off for eight-figure sums, and the funds from their sales were then re-invested in a host of young, up-and-coming talent. Veteran midfielders Joao Moutinho and Jeremy Toulalan are still around, though, and will provide a solid foundation to help the growing youth movement in the club.

PSG is very much on course to make it four seasons in a row and it would have to take something special to overthrow the Parisians from power. The onus is on the likes of Lyon, Monaco, St. Etienne to take PSG’s throne.

A guest blog by  Pratik Jha, read his articles at Derailed douchebaggery