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LIGUE UN – PSG v SAINT ETIENNE: Live on beIN SPORTS from 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PT
PSG face proper test of new Neymar superstar era
Now the glorious sight of Neymar whacking opposition sides out of the ballpark on a weekly basis to earn his $251 million fee is all very entertaining in its own right. But at some point, the almighty looking PSG and its front line of the brilliant Brazilian, Edinson Cavani and Angel di Maria are going to need a road block in their Ligue Un title charge.
So far, Guingamp and Toulouse have not been up to the job with 9 goals scored in those matches – 6 in the latter – but Saint Etienne look to be made of much sterner stuff. Indeed, only two other teams have always managed three wins from three in Ligue Un: reigning champions Monaco and Friday’s opponents in the French capital.
Indeed, Les Stephanois have an impressive record with victories over Nice, Caen and Amiens without a single goal being conceded. Saint-Etienne are led this season by Oscar Garcia – a Spanish coach who was in the running for the Barcelona job before Ernesto Valverde was snapped up. Dodged a football bullet there, really.
Unlike PSG, Saint-Etienne is a team without stars or footballing supermen. Not a branding exercise in sight. Instead, a disciplined unit awaits Neymar and co, a unit that would party like it’s 1999 to bring down the Parisians a peg or two.
SERIE A: ROMA V INTER: Live on beIN SPORTS CONNECT from 2:40PM ET / 11:40ET PT
An early clash of the titans in Ligue Un
The Milan version of Million Dollar Listing – we are so behind Team Fredrik in New York – must be storming the ratings this year as the realtors find homes for a whole host of luxury-loving footballers. AC Milan have literally bought an entirely new starting XI and Inter are on the way to that eventuality too.
A fearsome front-line is still in place lead by Mauro Icardi but there is a new skip in the step at Inter which suffered a whole bag of instability last season with 17 different coaches. Well, not quite but it felt like that. But now Inter have Luciani Spalletti in charge. And happily, the new Inter boss will be returning to the Italian capital where he was the manager until last May. And by all accounts, a warm hand will be given on his entrance.
INSERT INTER v FIORENTINA GOALS
Inter kicked off their Serie A campaign in style last week with the 3-0 pasting of Fiorentina while Roma were a little more sedate after a 1-0 win at Atalanta. Saturday’s game should be a little more useful though to look at the levels of these new-look teams this season.
LA LIGA: REAL MADRID V VALENCIA – Live on beIN SPORTS from 4:15PM ET / 1:15PM PT
Real Madrid face proper test of new young Galacticos superstar era
To those who only casually observe La Liga – first of all, shame! – but secondly, these are the kind of matches where titles and won and lost. Even this early in the season.
Barcelona only lost La Liga last season by a single match, not the overwhelming Madrid blow-out that is often portrayed. The last nine editions of this particular clash have ended up in a draw or being decided by just the single goal. And that’s even when Valencia have been an absolute shambles.
But that’s certainly not the case for Sunday’s game. Valencia are all grow-up. And this time, we mean it. Marcelino the manager has come in and has installed confidence and competence to a team that has been lacking both in recent years. A four-four-two block will look to obstruct Real Madrid for 90 minutes whilst trying a grab a sneaky one at the other end with the reformed Simone Zaza.
The midfield was already solid enough with the creativity of Carlos Soler and former Madridista Dani Parejo, but Geoffrey Zondogbia might well be introduced to add some more pizzazz.
Real Madrid beware…a club like that is only one bad result away from a crisis.
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