Another week into the season means another huge dollop of Continental Breakfast being dumped on your plate whilst you tune into Soccer AM. Whilst that programme may be past it's sell by date, our feature certainly isn't and with four belting games from a quartet of divisions across Europe, this one's one to read about!
Two of the top three in Germany will be greeted by the Yellow Wall on Saturday as Hertha Berlin make the trip west to tackle table-topping Borussia Dortmund. Both sides didn’t concede in their opening game of the season, with the hosts convincingly winning 0-3 at Wolfsburg, whilst Stuttgart were on the end of a comfortable Hertha home victory.
Christian Pulisic got off the mark last week in style with a goal and an assist, as did Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with his first of the season, and we all saw Marc Bartra’s stunning strike, too. This is a new dawn for Dortmund under Peter Bosz and following their pretty poor start to the campaign last season; losing at Leipzig before going on a one-win-in-seven streak soon after, and they’ll be hoping not to fall into a trap against Hertha.
What We Sayin’?
Despite the fact that many will favour the hosts this weekend, it’s worth noting that Berlin have dangermen themselves, including Davie Selke – who has a decent scoring record – whilst Karim Rekik and former Chelsea man Salomon Kalou are two ex-Premier League players. However, we’re edging towards Dortmund to win and BTTS at 13/8.
Last season’s Ligue 1 Champions Monaco make a return to league action at the Stade Louis II and they welcome a club who will expect to be fighting to take their crown in the form of Marseille. The hosts have seen something of an exodus over this summer, with the likes of Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Tiemoue Bakayoko all depart for pastures new in the Premier League, whilst there remain doubts regarding the long-term futures at the club for the likes of Fabinho, Thomas Lemar, and, of course, the main man, Kylian Mbappe.
However, opponents Marseille have produced some shrewd business this summer, with the return of iconic goalkeeper Steve Mandanda – who had a pretty bleak time during his solitary season at Crystal Palace – whilst the signings of Adil Rami, Luiz Gustavo and Valere Germain have strengthened the spine of what was already and strong side.
What We Sayin’?
Monaco have won the last three meetings and are unbeaten in their last four clashes with Marseille. Whilst they have lost a few star players this summer and there are doubts as to whether Mbappe will play a part this weekend, we fancy them to get the job done at home. A Monaco win and BTTS at 15/8 looks close to a certainty for us.
Two of the big hitters in Italy meet in the capital this weekend as Inter Milan trek to the Stadio Olimpico. Both of these teams won on the opening day, with Inter currently in second place behind their city rivals AC. Even at this early stage of the season, neither side will be wanting to lose any ground on the usual suspects Juventus.
Despite losing Mo Salah to Liverpool this summer, Roma have spent the money well, strengthening all over the park. Lorenzo Pellegrini has returned to the capital, whilst they’ve also signed the likes of Aleksander Kolarov, Hector Moreno, Rick Karsdorp and highly rated Turkish winger Cengiz Under.
Inter have managed to hold onto reported Manchester United target Ivan Perisic for now, whilst the cloud lingering over striker Mauro Icardi appears to have lifted after the Argentine received a lot of stick during periods last season.
What We Sayin’?
Roma to win. With home advantage, you’d have to fancy them to take all three points. They’ve also won the last two meetings and haven’t lose to Inter at home since April 2011. Both sides have strong attacks so a Roma win and BTTS isn’t completely out of the question for this one at 14/5.
The La Liga and Champions League holders – and the current best team in world football – make their home bow domestically against Valencia, who will be hoping this season is much better than the last few really disappointing campaigns – which shows their demise wasn’t all down to Gary Neville. They’ve strengthened with quality over quantity – shown by the loan signings of Inter pair Jeison Murillo and Geoffrey Kondogbia, but Joao Cancelo has moved to the Italian side.
For the hosts, it’s pretty much the same old, same old. They’ve added a couple of bodies to their already strong squad in Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos and left back Theo Hernandez, whilst keeping hold of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, who were reported Manchester United targets – just like they are every single summer.
What We Sayin’?
Playing Madrid isn’t a great time for many sides apart from maybe Barcelona on the odd occasion, but for Valencia, it’s been almost ten years since they last defeated the famous Madridistas at the Bernabeu. That was when the hosts had the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Raul, Fabio Cannavaro and Iker Casillas in their side whilst Valencia included fresh faced stars David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata in their XI. It’s been a frustrating time whenever they’ve visited the Bernabeu and we expect this one to be another dismal and wasted journey. A 4-0 home win is priced at 7/1.
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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