International Champions Cup Preview

International Champions Cup Preview

The International Champions Cup continues with some enthralling matches lined up this weekend. All of England’s top six giants will be involved, as well as European heavyweights, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Barcelona. With domestic action just a fortnight away, preparations are well and truly underway – and with some stars returning from an extended break due to their nation’s World Cup exploits, managers will have a closer look at what they have to work with for the upcoming campaign.

R100 FICA
*Forecast Betting


Saturday 28 July

Arsenal 13/10
Draw 5/2
Paris Saint-Germain 7/4 
(13:35)

Arsenal conclude their Singapore tour with a clash against French champions, Paris Saint-Germain. It may not count for much, but Unai Emery will want to claim bragging rights over his former employers. The Gunners have travelled with most of their first-team players including Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. PSG fielded a relatively weak side in their 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich last weekend, with Gianluigi Buffon and Adrien Rabiot being the only two standout players for the club. Arsenal won their first two pre-season games 8-0 and 9-0 respectively and are yet to face Atletico Madrid at the time of writing. Still, Emery’s charges should have enough firepower to beat a second-string PSG outfit.

Benfica 34/10
Draw 51/20 
Juventus 15/20 
(19:05)

At the time of writing, both sides are yet to kick-start their International Champions Cup campaign. Benfica have gotten their friendlies underway, though, beating Sevilla 1-0 in their last outing. The club haven’t made any big marquee signings, although there is plenty of hype around Nicolas Castillo. Juventus will not be ready to unleash Cristiano Ronaldo just yet as the Portuguese superstar is still on an extended break, although they did travel with the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic and new signing, Emre Can. On paper, Juve should cruise past their opponents, and the pitch should be no different this time ‘round.

Chelsea 19/20  
Draw 5/2 
Inter Milan 26/10 
(20:05)

A new era awaits for Chelsea as Maurizio Sarri prepares for his first season at the Blues helm. It will be a completely new transition compared to previous seasons, with Sarri known for his possession-based philosophy, something the Chelsea fans have never seen utilised by their club before – or at least since the “Roman era”. At the time of writing, Inter Milan have given all their players a run out, but not been getting the results they’d hoped for. The key battle in this game will be in midfield with Cesc Fabregas and Radja Nainggolan going in at each other, but with more talent and class around him, Chelsea’s number four should win the duel. Back Sarri’s men to triumph here.

Manchester United 7/4  
Draw 24/10
Liverpool 27/20 
(23:05)

Old rivals, Manchester United and Liverpool, battle it out in Michigan late on Saturday night. The Red Devils will be looking to make the most on their trip to the United States as Jose Mourinho enters his third season in charge of United. The pressure will also be mounting for Jurgen Klopp ahead of the new campaign after the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, followed the world’s most expensive defender, Virgil van Dijk, to Liverpool. With the money the Reds are spending, they surely have to be in the mix for the title. Alisson, as well as Roberto Firmino, will only join up with the squad next week, while Xherdan Shaqiri could be given a chance to shine in his new colours. Even though it is pre-season, a clash between these two sides is never straightforward, hence why the draw is tipped.

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Sunday 29 July

Bayern Munich 14/10  
Draw 26/10 
Manchester City 31/20 
(01:05)

With just one game played so far for these two giants in the International Champions Cup, at the time of writing, things are looking good for just Bayern Munich. They eased past PSG in their opening game of the pre-season tournament and fielded a relatively strong side, featuring Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. Manchester City also utilized their tricksters on the wings last time out, giving new boy, Riyad Mahrez, a run, while Leroy Sane also featured in their loss to Dortmund. Apart from the aforementioned duo, City don’t have many star players to call upon to get the job done. Munich are a top bet here to win in 90 minutes.

Barcelona 7/10 
Draw 29/10 
Tottenham 33/10 
(05:05)

Barcelona’s International Champions Cup campaign gets underway when they battle it out with Tottenham Hotspur in Pasadena, California. The Spanish champions will be without Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez but should hand Arthur Melo and Clement Lenglet a debut since their big-money moves to the club. Tottenham will be without a bulk of their players, with most representing England and Belgium at the World Cup. They still have the likes of Christian Eriksen, Victor Wanyama, Erik Lamela and Heung-min Son to call upon, which will boost their chances. Barca have travelled with a great crop of young talent as well, but this time, Spurs should be too good for them.

Monday 30 July

Paris Saint-Germain 21/20  
Draw 26/10 
Atletico Madrid 43/20 
(13:35)

Thomas Tuchel will be stuck with a youthful team until the big guns such as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe return from their extended break. Atletico Madrid are in a similar position as they have Jan Oblak in their camp, along with just a few first-team players. On paper, it would seem that Atletico have a slight advantage as Angel Correa, Juanfran and Vitolo are all part of their tour. A cagey contest is expected, but perhaps Atletico should grind out a narrow victory.

*Forecast Betting

Wednesday 1 August

Manchester United 7/4 
Draw 24/10 
Real Madrid 14/10
(02:05)


Manchester United and Real Madrid will square off next Wednesday in what should be another thrilling encounter. These two sides met in last year’s UEFA Super Cup final, where Real Madrid claimed their fourth Super Cup trophy. This will be the European champions’ first major test without Cristiano Ronaldo, but luckily, they’ve had most of their regulars with them in pre-season training including Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. United have some quality of their own with Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez there to guide the Red Devils to a productive pre-season. It should be a tough test for both clubs but Madrid are expected to edge it.

Tottenham 12/10 
Draw 47/20 
AC Milan 2/1 
(02:35)

Spurs’ pre-season action continues with a tie against Italian heavyweights, AC Milan, next Wednesday. Gennaro Gattuso is lucky to have most of his first-team players with him, while the club are also in the market to strengthen, with Milan set to be in for another striker. Tottenham are yet to utilize the transfer market so far but have tied down the likes of Lamela and Son on long-term contracts. Back a stalemate here.

Barcelona 13/20 
Draw 29/10 
Roma 34/10 
(04:05)

By next Wednesday, Barcelona’s new signings will get a full feel of what it feels like to represent one of the biggest clubs on the planet. Having said that, they should be comfortable and slot right in against Roma. The Italians have been one of the most recognised selling clubs, losing Alisson Becker and Radja Nainggolan this window. They’ve added former PSG playmaker, Javier Pastore, to their squad who comes with bags of experience, as well as Justin Kluivert, son of Dutch legend, Patrick. End-to-end action is expected, but Barca should prevail.

Arsenal 17/10 
Draw 2/1 
Chelsea 16/10 
(21:05)

London rivals, Arsenal and Chelsea, will continue to battle things out in the International Champions Cup. These sides met last year in a pre-season friendly as well, a game in which Chelsea ran riot, winning 3-0. Head-to-head records do not count for much in pre-season, as teams see it more for preparation. Arsenal have strengthened in areas they’ve needed strengthening in, while Chelsea’s star players, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Willian have all been linked with moves away. The Gunners have their first-team to contend with, apart from new-signings, Lucas Torreira, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Granit Xhaka. It’s not going to be easy, but Arsenal are tipped to come out on top.

Benfica 18/10 
Draw 47/20 
Olympique Lyon 27/20 
(22:05)

Benfica and Lyon battle it out in the last match of the round. Both clubs are seen as favourable fixtures for other sides in the International Champions Cup, so against each other, they’d need to prove who is the best from the rest. Much of Lyon’s pre-season preparations have been headlined by Nabil Fekir’s move, whether it is still on the cards or not. Both clubs will be well-prepared heading into the tie after playing over three friendlies each. Not much separate these two sides here, back the draw.

TREBLE @ 16/1
Juventus Win 15/20 
Arsenal Win 13/10
Tottenham Win 33/10

Written by Jesse Nagel

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