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2019-20 FESIG League Preview – (Ligue 1 & Premier League kick off edition)

The 2019-20 French Ligue 1 and English Premier League Football seasons kick off this weekend with mouthwatering clashes at Stade Louis II and Old Trafford. Frank Lampard takes charge as Chelsea manager at the Theatre of Dreams against an old adversary Ole Gunnar Solskjaer starting his first full season as Red Devils manager. Defending champions, Paris Saint-Germain open the campaign at home – Parc des Princes while Manchester City travel to the capital to face former manager – Manuel Pellegrini and his West Ham United team.

We begin in France;

AS MONACO v OLYMPIQUE LYON – FRI. 09 AUG 2019, 19.45HRS
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Monaco hosts Lyon in the opening match of the new Ligue 1 season. Leonardo Jardim’s team narrowly avoided relegation last season; Les Monégasques need a good start as they aim to make amends for the previous disastrous campaign. New Lyon boss, Sylvinho will have his Ligue 1 baptism at Stade Louis II against an experienced campaigner. Lyon finished third last season but will aim to close the gap against the champions this season. It is a fresh starter for Les Gones following the rocky end to Bruno Genesio reign at the Groupama. Lyon’s preseason preparatory matches results have been poor but the new manager has shown tactical flexibility in the five matches played.

VERDICT – On paper, Lyon have the better squad with Monaco still in the market trying to improve the squad. Monaco have won the last two meetings between these two at home and would be eager to start the new season on a bright note. This is a tricky game, Monaco are struggling offensively while Lyon have been poor at the back. Expect goals from both teams in what should be a decent season opener. 

LILLE OSC v NANTES – SUN. 11 AUG 2019, 14.00HRS
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Second place last season was a magnificent achievement for a club that narrowly avoided relegation in 2017-2018. So what can we expect of Lille in 2019-2020? Christophe Galtier has to build a new team that can compete like last term with no few than 10 new additions in the summer. On the other hand, Nantes will make the 75 minutes flight up north in the season opener with former Lille coach Patrick Collot in charge following Vahid Halilhodzic’s departure. The Bosnia walked away from the club a week to start of the season to leave Les Canaris in an extraordinary situation.

VERDICT – Nantes managerial situation will have a significant impact on the team and its preparation. The Canaries are regarded as poor travelers in the league and have lost on their last four visits to Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Lille have enough in them to open the new campaign with three points in front of their fans.

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN v NIMES OLYMPIQUE – SUN. 11 AUG 2019, 20.00HRS
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Defending champions PSG starts their title defense when they welcome Nimes to Parc des Princes on Sunday evening buoyed with the come from behind victory over Rennes in the Trophée des Champions in China. Les Parisiens are the top favorites for the league title again this season with or without Brazilian superstar Neymar whose future might lie away from Paris. Nimes enjoyed a good season on return to the top flight finishing in the top half and will look to consolidate this campaign. The visitors have had a quiet transfer window till now with midfielder Sidy Sarr as the most expensive purchase at €2m. PSG are a different level from the Crocodiles who should be no match for the oil-rich capital club.

VERDICT – PSG won the two league meetings last season and will aim to continue in similar fashion. In the absence of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe is the man to lead Thomas Tuchel’s team and the French forward has opened his account for the season with the winning goal in the French Super Cup. PSG are favorites and they would be expected to dominate and win at home.

To England;

LIVERPOOL v NORWICH CITY – FRI. 09 AUG 2019, 20.00HRS
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Liverpool are targeting a winning start to the new season after finishing just one point behind champions Manchester City last season. Norwich are making their Premier League return after a three-year absence. The Reds had a poor impressive preseason, but that was not the case in the FA Community Shield clash against Manchester City on Sunday. Norwich were the best attacking side in the Championship last season with 93 points and were also unbeaten in the last ten league matches. The Canaries will be aware that it is a different kettle of fish in the Premier League especially when you are at the home of the European Champions.

VERDICT – Liverpool are on a 40-match unbeaten home run in the Premier League (30W, 10D) dating back to April 2017.The Canaries managed a draw on their most recent visit to Anfield, holding Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in 2015, but are huge underdogs for this clash. The Reds performance in the Community Shield indicates Jurgen Klopp’s team are not slowing down and should record a routine win at home

WEST HAM UNITED v MANCHESTER CITY – SAT. 10 AUG 2019, 12.30HRS
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Manchester City begins their title defense away against West Ham who finished last season with three consecutive wins. On the other hand, City won 14 straight league matches to clinch the title last season and gave a decent performance in the FA Community Shield last weekend. West Ham had a less than impressive campaign last season finishing mid-table finish. Manuel Pellegrini has brought in quality players in Pablo Fornals and Sebastein Haller to improve the squad and help them score more goals. What should we expect at the London Stadium in this lunch time kick off?  

VERDICT – Manchester City have won the last eight meetings against West Ham United including the 4-0 thrashing at the London Stadium last season. The Hammers had a decent preseason tour and should provide City with a real test. It is difficult to look beyond the Champions in this game.

MANCHESTER UNITED v CHELSEA – SUN. 11 AUG 2019, 16.30HRS
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer begins his first full season as Manchester United boss as he welcomes new Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard to Old Trafford. It has been a frustrating transfer window for Red Devils supporters even with the Harry Maguire deal. After finishing last season in sixth place and 32 points behind their neighbors Manchester City, the failure to oversee a major clear out has seen pessimism take over the mood at the club. Frank Lampard returns to his beloved club as new head coach at a difficult time when star player Eden Hazard has moved on and a transfer ban is in place to enable them replace him effectively. His task would be to develop the youngsters and create a competitive team to fight for a top four place. 

VERDICT – Manchester United have a strong home record on opening day (19W, 6D, 1L) in the last 26 matches. Solskjaer team ended last campaign on a five-game winless run and will be eager to put an end to the negative trend in the new season. With no Hazard, Chelsea task has got bit tougher and with no clue on how Lampard and his team will set up, Manchester United have to seize the initiative and give their suffering fans something to cheer in a long while.

This wraps up our preview of the opening weekend in the French and English top divisions. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in all 20 matches available for the weekend. 

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