Man City start season with a new silverware
EUROPEAN FOOTBALL ROUND-UP
EPL: This season’s Premier League will kick off on Saturday. Defending champions Manchester City beat Chelsea in this season’s curtain-raising Community Shield 3-2 last weekend and seem ready to start their title defence against newly promoted Southampton on this Sunday.
Roberto Mancini has made the solitary signing of Jack Rodwell, presumably as cover for the talismanic Yaya Toure.
Their neighbours Manchester United have been much busier in the transfer market, so far adding Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa along with highly rated youngster Nick Powell from Crewe Alexandra.
Arsenal, although rocked by Robin van Persie’s desire to leave, have improved their squad with German international Lukas Podolski along with striker Olivier Giroud and playmaker Santi Cazorla. They will kick off this season against Sunderland.
Chelsea, complete with permanently appointed manager Roberto Di Matteo, have bought heavily this season with the additions of Eden Hazard, Brazilian playmaker Oscar and German winger Marko Marin, and still seem to have a few kinks to work out, but should make easy work of Wigan on Sunday.
Newly appointed Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will face Kenny Dalglish’s former number two when Liverpool play West Brom who have signed Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku on loan.
Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham, who have signed last season’s Swansea success Gylfi Sigurdsson, along with defender Jan Vertonghen, will play Newcastle. Newly promoted Reading will play Stoke, while West Ham will play Aston Villa. QPR will play Swansea under new manager Michael Laudrup while Fulham will play Norwich.
Can Real Madrid defend their title?
La Liga: The league also starts this Sunday as Real Madrid begin their 2012-2013 campaign against Valencia, who have recently bought both Fernando Gago and Sergio Canales from Los Blancos.
Barcelona also kick off their title quest Real Sociedad with Tito Villanova replacing Pep Guardiola who resigned last season.
The Catalans will have the up-andcoming left-back Jordi Alba in their ranks, after signing him from Valencia earlier this summer.
Athletic Bilbao will also play this Sunday against Real Betis with the other Sunday kick-off being Atletico Madrid playing Levante. Newly promoted Celta de Vigo will play Malaga while Sevilla will play Getafe on Saturday.
The weekend’s other match will feature Mallorca versus Espanyol.
Note: Serie A and the German Bundesliga both kick off on Saturday the 25th rather than this weekend.