Coming off a busy the end of the transfer window and international break the European soccer season returns and there are some interesting matches that are set to take place, there are particularly big clashes in the English Premier League, German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A with big teams getting back into the swing of things before the UEFA Champions League group stages begin.
Here are the matches we’ll be focusing on this week:
English Premier League: Everton vs. Chelsea (Goodison Park) – Saturday September 14, 2013
The first match we’ll be focusing on this week is an Everton squad looking to recover from back to back 0-0 draws against West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City when they host a Chelsea side at Goodison Park that have started well but are coming off a dramatic UEFA Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich, young forward Romelu Lukaku missing the vital penalty. The main storylines surrounding both sides is the moves made in the transfer window, Chelsea has coincidentally loaned Lukaku to Everton but Jose Mourinho made two massive additions by bringing in both midfielder Willian and forward Samuel Eto’o from now financially struggling Russian club Anzhi. Conversely, in addition to Lukaku Roberto Martinez also secured the services of midfielder Gareth Barry on loan from Manchester City, signed James McCarthy from Wigan, managed to keep defender Leighton Baines from moving to Manchester United and sold well sought after Marouane Fellaini for a major profit.
This is a really interesting match and it wouldn’t surprise me if Chelsea had a tough time getting the three points but with the acquisition of Samuel Eto’o combined with the play of midfielders like Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle and Kevin De Bruyne give them an advantage that’s hard to pass up.
Prediction: Chelsea ML (+115)
German Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund vs. Hamburg SV (Signal-Iduna-Park) – Saturday September 14, 2013
League leaders Borussia Dortmund are the only team in the Bundesliga with an undefeated record, before the big clash away to Napoli in UEFA Champions League they host Hamburg SV at Signal-Iduna-Park. Hamburg are coming off a 4-0 victory over newly promoted Eintracht Braunschweig but have started the season in erratic fashion, in its first four matches of the season the club have both scored and conceded 9 goals. Thorsten Fink relies heavily on the play of captain and midfielder Rafael van der Vaart to create and score goals but will also need the likes of Maximillian Beister and midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu. For Dortmund, the quality they’ve assembled is clear in just how many threats are across the field from Polish goal scorer Robert Lewandowski staying with the club for at least another season, the two new signings in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mikitaryan as well as Marco Reus and others that make up for the well-publicized loss of Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich last season.
Much like what will be the case throughout the season there is little to no value going with Dortmund from a betting perspective due to them being such favorites, that said going with Dortmund against the might be worth it all things considered.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund -1.5 (-140)
Italian Serie A: Inter Milan vs. Juventus (San Siro) – Saturday September 14, 2013
The final match we’ll be looking at is one of the biggest rivalries in Italy, as the two time defending champions Juventus travel to the San Siro to take on a revamped Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia. Inter Milan have started the season off in good form with back-to-back clean sheet victories against Genoa and Catania by 2-0 and 3-0 score lines respectively, however the step up in competition is significant when going up against Juventus. Under Walter Mazzarri the club is getting good performances out of Ricardo Alvarez and Rodrigo Palacio from an attacking perspective while having a quality goalkeeper in Samir Handanovic in goal, how they deal with a Juventus side under Antonio Conte that haven’t missed a beat and are already hitting top gear with Arturo Vidal, newly acquired Carlos Tevez and Paul Pogba amongst others makes them odds on favorites to go for a Scudetto three-peat. Both of these sides have a good amount of depth but other than arguably Bayern Munich this Juve side are have been the deepest side in European soccer and this season is no different, with an upcoming UEFA Champions League match away to FC Copenhagen the only opponent that might get the best of them is themselves and how Conte deals with fixture congestion.
Even with a UEFA Champions League match looming, playing away at the San Siro and it being the Derby d’Italia I give Juventus a clear edge, my main play this week is the OVER 2.5 but pairing it with Juventus to win outright is worth a look.
Prediction: OVER 2.5 (-115) & Juventus ML (+110)