The International Champions Cup gets underway this week which will be music to football fans ears as they will finally witness some moderately competitive action. The tournament is being played at three different countries, namely China, the United States and Singapore. Seventeen teams will contest the tournament, although not every team will play each other due to them being situated in different countries. It’s a rather star studded event with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Dani Alves, Mesut Ozil and Paul Pogba all set to make appearances. We’ll take a look at a few of this weekend’s headline clashes below.
*Please note this preview was written before the midweek International Champions Cup fixtures.
Friday 21 July
7/4 Manchester United | Draw 47/20 | Manchester City 14/10 (03:30)
We are flirting with the twilight zone here with a Manchester Derby slap bang in the middle of July and being played out in Texas to boot. It’s not one for the purists but it does offer early bragging rights the fans of the two Manchester clubs. Both of these sides are likely to field mixed teams which will see a few youngsters rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in world football. While that’s rather exciting for fans of the two clubs, the real draw card for each set of supporters will be witnessing their summer signings in action. For United fans, this means another chance to see former Everton man Romelu Lukaku in the famous red strip while for Sky Blues fanatics, Friday’s early kick-off will be their first chance to watch the world’s most expensive defender, Kyle Walker, in a City shirt. I think we’ll see goals here with both sides possessing some brilliant attacking players. As such, I’m all over the Total – Over 2.5 – Goals market which is available at 8/10!
Saturday 22 July
11/20 Bayern Munich | 29/10 | AC Milan 9/2 (11:35)
Our next serving is a tasty German-Italian infused dish with Bavarian giants, Bayern, taking on an AC Milan side who have not received a rave review from a critic since the turn of the decade. Like the two Manchester clubs, AC and Bayern are likely to field a few young guns alongside. The Italians have essentially overhauled their entire squad making nine summer signings which included the capture of midfielder Lucas Bilgia from Lazio. Bayern have been slightly more subdued on the transfer front but they have managed to capture James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on a two year loan deal. Munich are heavily favoured here but I hate tipping odds on favourites in pre-season as there’s just way too much risk involved. Instead, I’m getting on the Totals – Over 2.5 – Goals market once again at 9/20.
Arsenal vs Chelsea (13:35)
*Betting available closer to kick-off at www.hollywoodbets.net
London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea lock horns this Saturday in what should be a cracking encounter. The Gunners are coming off a successful tour of Australia which saw them bag five goals in two matches while only conceding once. One of the aforementioned goals was bagged by summer signing Alexandre Lacazette. The French international will be shouldering a lot of the goalscoring burden should the Gunners let go of Alexis Sanchez, who is currently being rested due to his participation in the Confederations Cup. Chelsea have also enjoyed a solid pre-season campaign with their 8-2 thrashing of Fulham being the highlight of their off-season antics. The Blues have taken a rather strong squad to the International Champions Cup, although both sides are likely to give a few of their youngsters a run this Saturday. I think both sides will at least bag a goal apiece here, they have the striking talent and their defences will be rather makeshift.
Sunday 23 July
2/1 Juventus | 49/20 | Barcelona 12/10 (00:00)
It will be a repeat of one of last season’s Champions League semi-finals with Juventus taking on Barcelona on Sunday. And while this is a pre-season friendly, you can bet the Catalan giants will be going all out to avenge their heart-breaking defeat to the Italian Champions. Both of these sides have taken almost full strength squads, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all featuring for the Catalan-based club. Juve are generally reliant on a solid defensive set up which might not be as full strength as it would be, following the departure of Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan. That said, get on Barca to win at 12/10!
17/20 PSG | 26/10 | Tottenham 11/4 (02:00)
The final game that we will take a look at is the tie between big spenders PSG and the Premier League runners-up, Tottenham. The English side come into this one with a rather large price affixed to their names while and are just short of 3/1 for the win. I quite fancy Spurs to take this one. They’ve brought a solid squad to State side while PSG are missing a few of their big guns due to the recently concluded Confederations Cup. It’s certainly one I wouldn’t wager the house on but a small punt on a Spurs win could reap a decent dividend.
TREBLE @ 9/2
Man United vs Man City Over 2.5 Goals 8/10
Barcelona Win 12/10
Bayern vs AC Milan Over 2.5 Goals 9/20
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