The wait for another season of football frenzy is over. This weekend, scintillating football artistry will resume across the major leagues in Europe. And for football-crazy Nigerians, SuperSport will be bringing all the matches live to them wherever they are.
Last weekend, soccer fans were given a dose of what they are in for in the Premier League, when league runners up, Arsenal, took on reigning champions, Manchester City, in the FA Community Shield. The North London side won 4-1 via penalty shootouts after a thrilling 1-1 at full-time.
After losing the league title to Manchester City despite leading for 248 days, the Gunners seem to have tidied the grey areas, having spent a whopping sum of 200 million pounds for the services of three senior players- Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber, all of whom put up a decent performance against Man City in the Community Shield win.
As the Premier League kicked off on Friday with the defending champions travelling to newly promoted Burnley, fans are already divided as to where the title would tilt at the end of the season.
Though the Citizens lost their inspirational captain, Ilkay Gundogan to Barcelona and Riyad Mahrez to Saudi Arabia, Pep Guardiola’s side has welcomed Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea and one of the most exciting defenders in the world, Josko Gvardiol, from RB Leipzig. The argument however remains that none of these new signings could be a good replacement to the two departures.
Another team seen as a title contender is the red side of Manchester coached by Erik Ten Hag. The Red Devils made some decent signings in their attempt to wrestle the title from their ‘noisy neigbours’ with the acquisition of Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta, Mason Mount from Chelsea, goalkeeper, Andre Onana, and defender, John Evans, from Inter Milan and Leicester City respectively.
Newcastle, who will be playing in the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 20 years are also leaving no stone unturned, as nine new players arrived St. James’ Park in the summer. Notable among them are Sandro Tonali from AC Milan, Harvey Barnes from Leicester and Chris Wood from Nottingham Forest.
Liverpool have lost Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino to the Saudi Arabian surge. Though Dominik Szoboszlai, who joined from RB Leipzig and World Cup winner, Alexis Mac Allister, from Leicester, are two world-class midfielders, the club’s depth is still questionable.
The Spanish Laliga will still be as competitive as ever, most especially amongst the three top teams-Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletco Madrid. These teams have been able to retain most of the big players and were still able to attract some big guns to their fold.
The White Angels beat other bidders from across Europe to the signature of Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, while Barca snatched Ilkay Gundogan under Guardiloa’s nose. Atletico on the other hand further weakened Leicester City side with the acquisition of Caglar Soyuncu. Bellingham is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world today and Real will be relying a lot on him in their quest to stop Barcelona from a back-to-back itoe win. However, with Inigo Martinez, Chadi Riad and Julian Araujo now warming up at Camp Nou for the new season, the Madrid teams have to be more consistent to snatch the title from Barca.
Meanwhile, Napoli’s resurgence in Italy means Serie A’s more illustrious sides-Juventus and the two Milan sides -AC and Inter, would have to show more grit to be back in reckoning. The two Milan sides surprised bookmakers by going as far as the Champions League semifinals and finals last season. Indeed, the eventual winner, Man City, had to dig deep before edging out Inter in the final.
Interestingly, the three major European competitions’ finals were competed by Italian clubs and they didn’t bow out without a good fight. They would be hoping for another good outing this season.
However, when it comes to the continent, the English teams are still highly favoured, considering the strength and competitiveness of the Premier League, while the flair of the Spanish representatives cannot be ignored.
As the new football season begins, fans can enjoy every action of the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and other continental competitions on SuperSport channels, available on DStv and GOtv.
Enjoy scintillating fixtures in the Premier League and La Liga this weekend and other interesting live football matches across Europe this season on DStv Prestige, Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, and GOtv Supa+. Download the MyDStv or MyGOtv app or dial *288# to subscribe, renew or upgrade your subscription.