A new season of club football is fast approaching and if teams are to have a successful campaign, preparation will be key. With the CONCACAF Gold Cup and CONMEBOL Copa America now done and dusted, players can rest and join up with their football clubs in due time. Manchester City face West Ham in the Asia Premier League trophy, while Frank Lampard’s Chelsea travel to Dublin ahead of their preparations. Arsenal travel to the United States, while Manchester United make the trip to Australia. Elsewhere, Liverpool face inland opposition in the form of Bradford City.
Saturday 13 July
1/5 Manchester United | Draw 37/10 | Perth Glory 9/1 (13:00)
Plenty of eyes will be on Manchester United ahead of the new season. With this being Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full season at the helm, plenty of pressure will be on the Norwegian club legend to deliver and bring one of the biggest teams in the world back to where they belong. The big surprise in their travelling squad was star duo Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, who both look set for the exit door at United, while new boys on the block, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, have both been included in the club’s 28-man squad. Manchester United should tinker around with a few different formations, but should beat Perth Glory.
11/1 St Patrick’s Athletic | 5/1 | Chelsea 2/11 (15:00)
Another head coach who will attract attention in pre-season will be Chelsea’s Frank Lampard. The newly-appointed boss, who takes over from Maurizio Sarri, will fly out to Dublin for a double header against Bohemians and then this weekend’s opponents, St Patrick’s Athletic. Lampard, the club’s all-time record goalscorer, opted to mix the squad up with youth and experience, giving the likes of Kurt Zouma, Michy Batshuayi and Tiemoue Bakayoko a chance in Chelsea colours. Failure to spend in the transfer market due to the Blues’ transfer ban has forced Lampard to afford a new opportunity to some of the youngsters in the camp, naming Trevoh Chalobah, Fikayo Tomori and Lewis Baker in the squad that travelled to Dublin. Lampard will want to convince the Chelsea faithful that he is the right man for the job, and only a win here would be acceptable. Put your money on Chelsea here.
Sunday 14 July
13/1 Bradford City | 13/2 | Liverpool 1/8 (16:00)
Jurgen Klopp faces a tricky test in pre-season with only 16 players to choose from at the start of the club’s training in Melwood. First-team regulars Fabinho, Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana, Joel Matip, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all in contention to play against Bradford, while new signing, Sepp van den Berg, will also be with the squad. With Klopp likely to have none of his front three available for pre-season, now will be the perfect time for the young attacking talents at the club to step up and make their name in Liverpool colours. The brightest star in the team has to be Ben Woodburn. The young Welshman has already made his name for his national team and the club’s Under 23s. With not many players to call upon, perhaps the Reds could be held to a draw here by Bradford City.
Tuesday 16 July
17/2 Colorado Rapids | 47/10 | Arsenal 3/10 (03:00)
After a 3-3 stalemate in their opening pre-season encounter, Arsenal will be looking to bounce back strongly in the United States when they face Colorado Rapids. The Gunners will have most of their first-team players this time around as well as Unai Emery at the dugout after Steve Bould took charge in Arsenal’s opening game. Gabriel Martinelli, who is the Gunners’ only signing so far, has been training with the squad alongside first team stars, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Premier League Golden Boot winner, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Colorado Rapids’s Major League Soccer season is currently ongoing with their form leaving a lot to be desired. The American side sit rock bottom of the Western Conference. Take Arsenal to win here.
Wednesday 17 July
7/20 Manchester City | 17/4 | West Ham 8/1 (14:30)
Manchester City and West Ham square up in the Premier League Asia Trophy, the only Premier League-affiliated competition to be hosted outside England. The tie between City and the Hammers will also be a repeat of their opening day clash set to take place next month. There’s already been plenty of buzz around these two clubs ahead of the new season with Man City breaking their transfer record, signing Rodri from Atletico Madrid for a fee believed to be around £62.5m. On the other hand, West Ham’s biggest star, Marko Arnautovic, has departed to the Chinese Super League, joining Shanghai SIPG. Alongside Rodri, City have David Silva and Aymeric Laporte in the squad as well. Back the English champions here.
TREBLE @ 9/1
Manchester United Win 1/5
Chelsea Win 2/11
Bradford City vs Liverpool Draw 13/2
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