Weekly Segment: The Three Most Exciting Games of the Week!
English football returned last week with a bang, bringing excitement in the form of goals, late dramas, and even a penalty shootout!
This weekend, the Premier League and a number of other top European leagues return to action, as well a hotly anticipated World Cup knockout game!
With the matchup of champions, a World Cup quarter-final, and two teams looking for rejuvenation, here are this week’s three most exciting games…
Burnley vs. Manchester City (Friday, 11th August. 8pm. Sky Sports)
What better way to begin the new Premier League season, than a clash of champions at Turf Moor?
Championship winners Burnley welcome the reigning Premier League champions Manchester City (Man City) on the opening night of the new season, where a student of the game hopes to topple his master.
Ex-Man City player and captain Vincent Kompany led the Clarets to a rousing league triumph in the Championship last season, which saw his side become Centurions on their way back to the top-tier of English football.
The Belgian and his men actually met their inaugural challengers last season, in the FA Cup, resulting in an unsurprising schooling in which Man City ran out 6-0 winners. Kompany and co. will have learned a lot from the encounter, and will be looking to turn the tables this time round.
Manchester City, on the other hand, will be aiming to set the bar high after their recent Community Shield defeat to Arsenal. They will be looking to replicate something similar to last season’s opening day, which saw them dispatch West Ham United in a 2-0 away win.
History favours the Citizens, as they’ve dominated the meetings between themselves and Burnley, winning every match dating back to February 2018.
Key Stat: Manchester City have won the last 11 meetings between the two sides, scoring 40 goals and conceding only once.
Players to watch: Erling Haaland scored a hattrick against Burnley in their FA Cup meeting last season. Josh Brownhill was the Championship’s third highest-rated player last season, contributing 15 goal goals and assists in 41 matches for the Clarets.
England vs. Colombia (Saturday, 12th August. 11.30am. ITV/ITVX)
If you’re after an early football fix this Saturday, then the Lionesses are on the job!
The England women clinched a spot in the Women’s World Cup quarter-final earlier this week, beating an impressive Nigeria side.
A Lauren James stamp on opponent Michelle Alozie left the Three Lions with 10 players in the remaining minutes of regulation time. However, they managed to dig in and get to extra-time, and eventually secure victory in a tense penalty shootout.
England were criticised for their round of 16 performance, after a rousing 6-1 victory over China in their final group game. Fans will be hopeful that they can make a strong start this time around, as they chase back-to-back tournament successes.
They now face South-American outfit Colombia, who claimed their quarter-final place with a 1-0 over Jamaica. Until then, the Jamaicans hadn’t previously conceded in the tournament.
Key Stat: The last time these sides met was in the group stage of the 2015 World Cup, where England won 2-1.
Players to watch: Alex Greenwood is England’s highest rated defender during the tournament, as England have conceded only once thus far. Linda Caicedo has received praise thus far for her skill on the ball, and scoring a wonder goal for Colombia against Germany in their group stage match.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool (Sunday, 13th August. 4.30pm. Sky Sports)
Rounding off the weekend is a Premier League classic, as Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge.
After an appalling season by their own standards, Chelsea must make a strong start to the 2023/24 Premier League season.
The West London side spent around £525M last season, and while they brought in some highly regarded players, they found themselves languishing in the bottom half of the table.
Chelsea’s season was curtailed by managerial turmoil, as the appointment of highly-praised manager Graham Potter fell short of expectations, followed by the return of club legend Frank Lampard.
The ex-Blues midfielder fared even worse, as he oversaw the London club’s horrific final run-in at the end of the season.
Now under the tenure of Mauricio Pochettino, fans will be desperate to see their side lay down a marker for the season this Sunday after a solid pre-season outing. However, Liverpool are also chasing somewhat of a resurgence after a heavily-criticised season.
The Reds have seen an summer changing of the guard, with some much needed fresh legs incoming and some hefty departures in the form of club captain Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, and the injury-prone Naby Keita
Fans were also able to welcome the arrivals of World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and young Hungarian star, Dominik Szoboszlai, with both exciting during pre-season. Liverpool are also rumoured to be interested in Southampton star Romeo Lavia and Leicester midfielder Kieran Dewsbury-Hall.
Given that both sides massively underperformed by their own standards last season, and have had somewhat of a rebuild, the stage is set for an intriguing matchup.
Key Stat: The past 6 meetings between the two sides in all competitions have all resulted in draws.
Players to watch: New Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson struck home twice in pre-season, and Chelsea fans will be hoping he can get off the mark quickly. Darwin Nunez had a tough debut season for Liverpool, but the Uruguayan striker is looking to set the record straight after scoring four times in pre-season.