World Soccer Predictions
by Strike Point Sports - 8/19/2009
Two hundred and ninety five days and counting - that is until the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Next July's grandest of them all will mark the first time in the history of this tournament that the stage will be on the continent of Africa. And while plenty of moneymaking opportunities will emerge next summer, as well as beforehand with continuing WC qualifiers, we're here today to talk about looking at some of Europe's top-flight domestic leagues as a good way to make a buck on the beautiful game.
The UK's top league has already begun, but the EPL, like most other top domestics in Europe, run through next spring, so plenty of matches will be up for grabs each weekend. A lot of parity still resides outside of the big four (Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal).
Obviously, like any other professional sport, any team in the table is capable of winning, especially with how well teams play at home opposed to away. Personally, I don't see the norm holding up this term. One of the top four in the Premiership will not finish in that order. Call me crazy but I see Liverpool falling short, having lost a great deal of talent to the summer transfer market.
I think the chalk holds up and Chelsea reigns on top. The other three UEFA Champions League qualifiers: Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal. Several sleepers to consider are Tottenham and Stoke City.
Italy's top echelon football is one of two major leagues to get underway this weekend. Just as with the EPL, the top four spots in the standings earn automatic births to next year's UEFA CL tournament.
Inter Milan are the current title holders. In fact, three straight years the Nerazzurri have claimed the top spot as champions. In '09-'10 they are favored again (10-11). And it was Jose Mourinho's club that made the biggest splash throughout the country, swapping striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Samuel Eto'o.
Internazionale's Milan counterpart A.C. Milan made a similar move, although it was the sale of Brazil's Kaka and failed to bring in a big-time name to replace the greatness supporters of the Rossoneri came to expect at the San Siro for the past couple of seasons. Currently A.C. Milan can be bought at 3-1 to win the league.
My pick, however, is the Turin club Juventus. I really liked what The Old Lady did this summer in the transfer market. Having finished second last year, the additions of Brazilians Diego and Felipe Melo, as well as Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro, will have Juve atop Serie A this campaign. Add to the mix one of the best goalkeepers in Gianluigi Buffon and the young, promising Sebastian Giovinco, and a very strong contingent resides in the western Italian city. Odds for Juventus are 11-4 for an outright league title.
When you think of Spain's top-flight league, let's face it, it's Barcelona, Real Madrid and everyone else. And this year that statement is more prevalent than ever.
The sole reason for listing the Catalonian giants first is to give them their due after a simply remarkable treble last season, having won La Liga, the Copa del Ray, as well as the much heralded Champions League over then reigning champs Manchester United. Barca sits at 10-11 to repeat as champions.
Real Madrid, as if they weren't notorious enough with their record 31 league titles, now comes into the upcoming season with a handful of high priority signings and some major expectations.
Cristiano Ronaldo. Kaka. Karim Benzema. Xabi Alonso. It's absolutely disgusting how much talent this team has. Now will it hold up and produce trophies? You also consider the Dutch handful that are already playing in the Spanish capital: Arjen Robben, Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Royston Drenthe, not to mention Spanish national keeper Iker Casillas, the best in the world at his position.
Hands down the race to the top of the table, both in the domestic season, as well as potentially the Champions League is the No. 1 storyline in all of European soccer. Real Madrid currently can be purchased at 6-5 to win the league championship.
In review, here is whom I like to win their respective domestic leagues, as well as some other picks and early Champions League predictions (of course before group play gets underway.)
English Premiership - Chelsea
Serie A - Juventus
La Liga - Real Madrid
French Ligue 1 - Bordeaux
German Bundesliga 1 - Bayern Munich
Champions League - Real Madrid (Sleepers: Arsenal and Lyon)
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