Pre-season friendlies: 10 of the best matches to look forward to before the Premier League season starts
The season gets underway again on 16 August
Friday 18 July 2014
The Premier League might not be back until August, but there are some exciting looking fixtures coming up during the pre-season friendly period. Here we pick the best 10:
Arsenal vs Benfica
Emirates Stadium, 2 August
Arsenal will face reigning Primeira Liga holders Benfica in Arsenal’s opening fixture of the Emirates Cup. The Gunners will face Benfica at home, in what seems an intriguing encounter between two excellent teams. This will be a good opportunity for Arsene Wenger to incorporate new signing Alexis Sanchez into proceedings, with the Chilean promising plenty following his performances at the World Cup. Despite the acquisition of Sanchez, Benfica will provide a stern test for the London club following their form in Portugal, and Europe, last season.
Arsenal vs Monaco
Emirates Stadium, 3 August
In Arsenal’s second match of the Emirates Cup, the Gunners will face big-spending Monaco. Assuming Colombian star James Rodríguez stays at the Stade Louis, this will be an excellent opportunity to see the Colombian in action since his electric performances at the World Cup. Monaco currently boast a talented squad, with Colombia’s Radamel Falcao, in addition to Rodríguez, likely to trouble Arsenal’s back four.
Chelsea vs Werder Bremen
Wesser Stadium, 3 August
This will be an exciting opportunity to see new signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa in action at the Wesser Stadium. Chelsea have bought well so far over the summer window, addressing problems in midfield and attack. With this particular encounter, it will be intriguing to see how well new signings Costa and Fabregas perform, with Werder Bremen boasting a well organised defence.
Everton vs Porto
Goodison Park, 3 August
Everton midfielder Leon Osman will be given a fitting testimonial match against Portuguese giants Porto. Out of the three pre-season fixtures, Porto boast the strongest challenge to Martinez. Everton recently signed midfielder Gareth Barry, on a free, from Manchester City, and additional signings will be needed to challenge at the upper echelon of the table this season. The Portuguese outfit had a difficult season last season, and will therefore be looking to dampen the mood at Goodison.
Liverpool vs Roma
Boston, USA, 23 July
New Roma signing Ashely Cole will have a chance to face Premier League opposition, so soon after his departure from Chelsea, in the form of Liverpool. Roma overachieved last season, finishing 2 in Seria A, meaning the Italian team will likely prove a stern test for Rodgers and his team. Liverpool have made some marquee additions to their squad, with new signings Adam Lallana and Ricky Lambert the most notable. Both players will probably feature in Rodgers team for the fixture.
Manchester City vs AC Milan
Heinz Field, USA, 27 July
City’s opening encounter in the Guinness International Champions Cup will be against Italian giants AC Milan. Milan had a poor season last year, finishing 8, and will therefore be looking to start this pre-season campaign strongly. City players Sergio Aguero and Martin Demichelis recently suffered extreme disappointment in the World Cup Final, meaning this tie will be a good chance to see how both bounce back from recent disappointment.
Manchester City vs Liverpool
New York, USA, 30 July
An all English tie, in the Guinness International Champions Cup, will follow City’s opening encounter against AC Milan. To many, this will seem the most intriguing, and significant, of the fixtures, with both teams battling it out so closely for the Premier League title last season. It is unclear how significant the loss of Luis Suarez will be for Liverpool; the result, and performance of Liverpool against City, should shed some light on the matter.
Manchester United vs Inter Milan
Washington DC, USA, 29 July
United, partaking in the same competition as Liverpool and Manchester City, will face Inter Milan in their second fixture of the Guinness International Champions Cup. Attention has been directed at current United manager, and previous Netherlands manager, Louis Van Gaal. The presence of Van Gaal will certainly enhance the appeal of the encounter for the neutral, as it will be intriguing to see if he can turn this United side back to winning ways. Inter Milan, despite their apparent deficiencies last season, should still provide stern opposition.
Manchester United vs Real Madrid
Ann Arbor, USA, 2 August
Cristiano Ronaldo will face his old club in a mouth-watering clash between Manchester United and Real Madrid on 2 August. A re-run of the 2013 Champions League round of 16 encounter between these two sides, United and Madrid boast extreme talent in both squads. Madrid, with their current squad, should be favourites, and will likely test the ultimate resolve of United’s back four. As this is the final group stage match for both teams, this match has additional impetus, especially for the neutral.
Tottenham vs Schalke 04
White Hart Lane, 9 August
Tottenham’s final pre-season fixture will be against Schalke 04 of Germany. New manager Mauricio Pochettino has failed, thus far, to make any marquee signings. Tottenham will need to add additional quality to challenge a strong Schalke team, who finished last season 3, and boast the likes of German talent Julian Draxler and Netherlands international Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Out of all of Tottenham’s pre-season fixtures, Schalke will probably prove the sternest of tests.
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