European soccer weekend: What to watch in the main leagues
What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
The 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium hosts its first Premier League match on Sunday when Tottenham plays Chelsea. Tottenham has temporarily moved across north London while a new arena is built to replace the demolished stadium at its White Hart Lane home.
While Tottenham opened the season with a victory at Newcastle, Chelsea made a miserable start to its title defense with a loss to Burnley. Another title contender, Liverpool, also struggled. After being held by Watford, the next assignment for Juergen Klopp’s side is a home match with Crystal Palace on Saturday, when Arsenal also plays Stoke. Huddersfield beat Palace in its first-ever league game and hosts Newcastle on Sunday.
Manchester United is at Swansea on Saturday fresh from a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham that provided a small indication that Jose Mourinho could avoid another sixth-place finish this season. Former United captain Wayne Rooney is back in action in the city on Monday when the second round is completed by his new Everton side playing at Manchester City.
— By Rob Harris in London
Neymar is set for his home debut for Paris Saint-Germain against Toulouse on Sunday.
If last weekend’s performance away to Guingamp is anything to go by, home fans will have high expectations at Parc des Princes.
The Brazil forward, a world record signing at 222 million euros ($262 million) from Barcelona, scored one and created another for striker Edinson Cavani in a 3-0 win. The sharpshooters combined well considering it was their first match together.
Toulouse, however, will not necessarily be overawed, having drawn at PSG last season and won at home.
Defending champion Monaco will likely again be without teen star Kylian Mbappe at Metz on Friday. The 19-year-old forward was left out last weekend as he pressures for a huge move to PSG. Still, with Radamel Falcao netting four times already, he may not even be missed.
— By Jerome Pugmire in Paris.
Real Madrid displaced Barcelona as the top team in Spain by winning the title for the first time in five years in May. Going into their league openers on Sunday, Madrid still has the upper hand.
Madrid, which opens its title defense against Deportivo La Coruna, routed Barcelona 5-1 over two legs to collect the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday. Barcelona opens against Real Betis with Ernesto Valverde now in charge of a team he is trying to restructure following the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
Atletico Madrid, which has finished third for three straight years since winning the title in 2014, opens against newcomer Girona on Saturday. Atletico has been unable to sign any players during the offseason due to a FIFA ban for breaching rules on youth players.
— By Joseph Wilson in Barcelona.
Bayern Munich’s campaign for a record-extending sixth straight Bundesliga title begins on Friday at home to Bayer Leverkusen. Coach Carlo Ancelotti has had to deal with the retirements of Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso, but the arrivals of midfielder Corentin Tolisso, forward James Rodriguez, and defenders Niklas Suele and Sebastian Rudy should compensate. Defending the Bundesliga title alone will not be enough for Ancelotti, who is under pressure to deliver more in Europe.
Volkswagen-backed Wolfsburg, which came close to being relegated last season, begins at home on Saturday to Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund has been distracted by Barcelona’s aggressive pursuit of French forward Ousmane Dembele, who remains suspended for missing training. Leipzig, last season’s surprise runner-up, starts its campaign at Schalke on Saturday.
— By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin
After an expensive overhaul at AC Milan, how quickly will Vincenzo Montella’s new-look side gel? The Chinese-led consortium that purchased Milan from Silvio Berlusconi for $800 million in April has infused the club with cash and spent more than 200 million euros ($234 million) on players in the offseason. The Serie A campaign starts away at Crotone, which only narrowly avoided relegation last season.
Juventus begins its search for a seventh successive title with the first match of the weekend, at home to Cagliari on Saturday.
Napoli, which finished third, will be hoping to push Juventus even closer this time and it visits newly promoted Hellas Verona, also on Saturday. Roma, last year’s runner-up, visits Atalanta on Sunday.
— By Daniella Matar in Milan
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