If you’re planning on some soccer games to watch in August to mix with your summer vacation in England, France, Germany or Spain – these are the games to see –
August 16, London – Tottenham vs Liverpool
Liverpool lost two games last season – one in Middlesbrough and one in London against Tottenham. A pretty tough fixture for both sides to open the season with, as Liverpool hope to build on last season’s second place finish and end 2009-2010 one place higher while Tottenham and Harry Redknapp will try and avoid the yearly event at White Hart Lane – a horrible start to the season, getting the manager fired and have the replacement master a very impressive second half of the season, maybe even qualify for Europe and do it all over again next season. A nice summer vacation and the best match to watch on the opening weekend of the Premiership.
August 29, Manchester – Manchester United vs Arsenal
Manchester isn’t exactly as attractive as London, but a visit to Old Trafford and to watch Arsenal play there is always a good reason to visit. It’ll be interesting to see how United will look without Ronaldo, and the three league games to come before this match will probably give everyone a better sense of how the red devils fair without him and if Michael Owen is on his way to a comeback or to a strikers retirement home. Arsenal? So far things don’t look to impressive for Wenger’s team, but he still has a month to add something to his obviously inferior squad. Anyhow, United Arsenal is always a great game.
August 29, Marseille – Marseille vs Bordeaux
The champions come to the Stade Velodrome to visit the runner ups from last season. Lyon have spent quite a lot since the summer began in order to get the title back, but both Marseille and Bordeaux haven’t been exactly dormant. Marseille have spent around 40 million euros already, including Lucho Gonzales from Porto and also Diawara from Bordeaux. Bordeaux kept Gourcuff with the team for 15 million and also got a new keeper, Carasso from Tolouse. Bordeaux lost 1-0 last season in the Velodrome, but it didn’t keep them from winning the title. Will any result this early in the season say anything about May? Probably not, but still a great game to watch.
August 7, Wolfsburg – Wolfsburg vs Stuttgart
The surprise champions of last season, Wolfsburg, with new manager Armin Veh, who won the title with Stuttgart in 2007, against the team that finished third last season. Stuttgart lost their main goalscorer, Mario Gomez, to Bayern Munich and with the super competitive Bundesliga it’ll be interesting to see if they can mount a title challenge again. Wolfsburg have so far kept their two strikers, Dzeko and Grafite and have added Karim Ziani from Marseille. Last season they beat Stuttgart 4-1 at home, where they won 16 out of 17 games. Can they carry last season’s momentum into opening day? Anyway, expect a lot of goals.
August 29, Munich – Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg
Bayern tend to tear the league apart after disappointing seasons, and there’s a chance it’ll happen again this upcoming season. They changed quite a lot and so far have managed to hang on to Frank Ribery, which is a big big achievement. Wolfsburg will be already battle tested by the time they meet with Bayern at the Alianz Arena. Bayern beat Wolfsburg 4-2 last season in this match – will the runners up (Bayern) be able to score an early victory over the defending champions? They got Mario Gomez, Ivica Olic, Pranjic and Tymoschuk for that. Will it be enough to bring the title back to Bavaria?
August 30, Valencia – Valencia vs Sevilla FC
Valencia, with all their financial troubles are still holding on to Villa, Silva, Mata and the rest while Sevilla haven’t changed too much but are hoping to have a season like last year – a third place finish and maybe, with a little luck, mount a title challenge. If Valenica will be able to keep their stars, this game is a great way to start the season in Spain. Not a lot of defense and sophisticated tactics, but probably a lot of goals.